Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby aknott68 on Tue 02 Jan 2018, 2:16 pm

Happy new year to everyone on here trust you all had a great Christmas and New year break.

As my girlfriend is an incredibly generous woman I've been given an experience of flying in formation with a spitfire out of Sywell in a deHavilland Dove.

I just wondered if anyone on this forum had done such an experience and any hints and tips for trying to get the best photo results from what I'm sure will be an amazing experience flying around Castle Ashby area.

Cheers
aknott68

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby Normannis on Tue 02 Jan 2018, 7:54 pm

Hi I have done one of these flights using the dove but it was specifically set up as an air-to-air sortie so the experience may not transfer over to what you will get. The windows are not too bad on the dove but you will have difficulty focusing if the spitfire is at a higher or lower altitude.Essentially it’s best when you can keep your lens at as flattest angle to the window.Wear Black or the darkest colour you can to avoid reflections in the window. If you have 2 bodies take them ideally one with small Zoom ie 30-70 and the other with 70-200.We experienced the windows misting up so it might be worth having a cloth to wipe your window.
You might consider removing any filters from the lenses as they can scratch the windows and you won’t be popular I’ve attched a link to my gallery for your info
http://typhoon.zenfolio.com/p772798683
Normannis

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby jalfrezi on Wed 03 Jan 2018, 9:04 am

You could look at buying, or making your own lens skirt to cut out the reflections - something like this - http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/lens_hoods__caps/lenskirt/23098_p.html,

Alternatively, a polarising filter might work but may be tricky to get right on the day.
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jalfrezi
UKAR Staff

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby aknott68 on Wed 03 Jan 2018, 9:33 am

Normannis wrote:Hi I have done one of these flights using the dove but it was specifically set up as an air-to-air sortie so the experience may not transfer over to what you will get. The windows are not too bad on the dove but you will have difficulty focusing if the spitfire is at a higher or lower altitude.Essentially it’s best when you can keep your lens at as flattest angle to the window.Wear Black or the darkest colour you can to avoid reflections in the window. If you have 2 bodies take them ideally one with small Zoom ie 30-70 and the other with 70-200.We experienced the windows misting up so it might be worth having a cloth to wipe your window.
You might consider removing any filters from the lenses as they can scratch the windows and you won’t be popular I’ve attched a link to my gallery for your info
http://typhoon.zenfolio.com/p772798683


Many thanks for the reply, I've looked at the web site and there look to be some great photos on there - could you just confirm for my benefit what aperture/shutter speed combination you found most effective in keeping the images nice and sharp? Thanks also for the advice about needing to try and focis the photos on those when the lens plane can be kept relatively parallel to the window that makes perfect sense to me.

Cheers
aknott68

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby aknott68 on Wed 03 Jan 2018, 9:42 am

jalfrezi wrote:You could look at buying, or making your own lens skirt to cut out the reflections - something like this - http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/lens_hoods__caps/lenskirt/23098_p.html,

Alternatively, a polarising filter might work but may be tricky to get right on the day.

Thanks Jalfrezi I'll have a look into this as well
aknott68

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby Normannis on Wed 03 Jan 2018, 12:54 pm

I started of at 200 iso and worked down to 100 . I was on shutter priority and started at I think 125th and worked down to 80th but this was a conscious decision on my part and is high risk.I took a lot of images and I threw a lot away! It would probably be best to start at 250th and then work down but it depends how long your going to have with the aircraft. See if the operators give you any type of briefing as regards times on each side of the dove etc if they don’t ask questions! Also the purists would say you shouldn’t blast away with your motor drive but you’ve.got to ask yourself when your going to get to do this again and blast away. It may not be pretty to take 500 images to get 50 usable ones but as long as you get the 50...
Normannis

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby aknott68 on Wed 03 Jan 2018, 1:29 pm

Normannis wrote:I started of at 200 iso and worked down to 100 . I was on shutter priority and started at I think 125th and worked down to 80th but this was a conscious decision on my part and is high risk.I took a lot of images and I threw a lot away! It would probably be best to start at 250th and then work down but it depends how long your going to have with the aircraft. See if the operators give you any type of briefing as regards times on each side of the dove etc if they don’t ask questions! Also the purists would say you shouldn’t blast away with your motor drive but you’ve.got to ask yourself when your going to get to do this again and blast away. It may not be pretty to take 500 images to get 50 usable ones but as long as you get the 50...


Thanks again Normannis. from memory the event is 20 minutes in the Dove and 10 in formation with the Spitfire.
As for the use of motor drive and purists, I'm afraid your absolutely right given the cost of this sort of event the chance of me doing it again being so low I don't mind to go against the purist approach in this case. To be honest my photography isn't anywhere as near as good as some on this site and therefore I need every chance I can get to get an image I'll remember for a long time, I'll be happy to get a couple of shots that I can then print and frame if possible.

Thanks again for your help
aknott68

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby not_the_dj on Wed 03 Jan 2018, 4:42 pm

I did their Fly with a Spitfire over Dover from Headcorn the other year for my 40th, a wonderful experience. Make sure you take time in the flight to appreciate it in realtime, not just focusing on taking photos.

If you get choice sit further back in the Dove, that way you won't have the wing in the way as much as the seats further forward.
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not_the_dj

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby MC hammer on Wed 03 Jan 2018, 9:27 pm

When you first get on the Dove, put your face close to as many windows as you can and then slowly move your face up and down whilst looking at the aircraft's wing, that way, if there are any slight distortions in the glass, the straight lines of the wing or maybe ground line marks will ripple slightly and that window can be avoided if you have a choice. If you don't have a choice of windows, then look for a part of the one you have that looks ok, they are quite big windows on a Dove after all.

Of course the windows may all be very good and this apparent madness may not be needed but once in the air, these distortions are difficult to detect and it would be a shame to find that one part of your subject constantly looks to be out of focus when downloaded. My ATA shooting has always been through two layers of glass. I guess that a Dove only has one layer??, so maybe it will not be a problem but best to check it out before the mad ten minutes with the Spitfire. It may be worth swapping windows if you can at some point to hedge your bets.
MC hammer

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby aknott68 on Thu 04 Jan 2018, 3:42 pm

not_the_dj wrote:I did their Fly with a Spitfire over Dover from Headcorn the other year for my 40th, a wonderful experience. Make sure you take time in the flight to appreciate it in realtime, not just focusing on taking photos.

If you get choice sit further back in the Dove, that way you won't have the wing in the way as much as the seats further forward.


Thanks for the advice not_the_dj and I will indeed take the opportunity to do what I've done at Duxford during Spitfire tail chases and at the right point just put the camera away and enjoy the experience ;0)
aknott68

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby aknott68 on Thu 04 Jan 2018, 3:44 pm

MC hammer wrote:When you first get on the Dove, put your face close to as many windows as you can and then slowly move your face up and down whilst looking at the aircraft's wing, that way, if there are any slight distortions in the glass, the straight lines of the wing or maybe ground line marks will ripple slightly and that window can be avoided if you have a choice. If you don't have a choice of windows, then look for a part of the one you have that looks ok, they are quite big windows on a Dove after all.

Of course the windows may all be very good and this apparent madness may not be needed but once in the air, these distortions are difficult to detect and it would be a shame to find that one part of your subject constantly looks to be out of focus when downloaded. My ATA shooting has always been through two layers of glass. I guess that a Dove only has one layer??, so maybe it will not be a problem but best to check it out before the mad ten minutes with the Spitfire. It may be worth swapping windows if you can at some point to hedge your bets.


MC hammer again thanks for the insight, I don't know whether they only fly these trips when they've got a full load which might constrain ability to change seats but its always worth knowing the tricks in case that is an option - thanks for the pointers
aknott68

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby not_the_dj on Sat 06 Jan 2018, 8:37 am

When I did my flight there was a briefing at the start about not moving around in the Dove once in the air. They obviously don’t want everyone jumping over to one side all at once!

The Spit spent pretty much equal time on either side and repeated it’s positions, but there was a difference in sun position of course.
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not_the_dj

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby rjlaker on Sat 06 Jan 2018, 11:53 am

I've done 2 with the HAC Spit, 1 with MH434, one with the old HAC Hurricane and 1 in the Dove with TD314 - and I use a rubber lens hood. This cut out nearly all reflections for me. Normannis is spot on with the camera settings - I got a few first off at about 1/250 to be a bit safer, then went lower as the flights progressed. The prop is usually at a lower RPM than at an air display so the blur is a bit harder to get. not_the_dj is right about seating position too - if you can sit further back, that'd be better. Take it all in and enjoy every moment!


Below are a few shots. Hope this helps!
Rob

ImageDSC07661wm by rjlaker, on Flickr

Image_DSC2908wm by rjlaker, on Flickr

Image_DSC5977wm by rjlaker, on Flickr

Image_U0A9658wm by rjlaker, on Flickr
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rjlaker

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby aknott68 on Mon 08 Jan 2018, 10:38 am

Rob

Thanks for the response and also for the wonderful images you've included - I only hope that I can come close to half the quality of these images when I do my trip.

Cheeers
aknott68

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby MadAboutPhotography on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 11:51 am

Just found this thread after asking the same question, so all questions answered and some super photography Rob.
MadAboutPhotography

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby FGR2 on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 10:15 pm

Interesting thread and will be most useful to me. A work colleague had bought one as a gift, but through a change in circumstances she was selling it on. I bought it off her today, but she wouldn't accept the full amount for it, so I have got it for £100 less than it should be. It also includes a tour of the Spitfire beforehand.
FGR2

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby MadAboutPhotography on Wed 14 Mar 2018, 9:53 am

FGR2 wrote:Interesting thread and will be most useful to me. A work colleague had bought one as a gift, but through a change in circumstances she was selling it on. I bought it off her today, but she wouldn't accept the full amount for it, so I have got it for £100 less than it should be. It also includes a tour of the Spitfire beforehand.


What a lovely present to yourself :grin: Enjoy the experience.
MadAboutPhotography

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby Stagger2 on Wed 14 Mar 2018, 4:58 pm

FGR2 wrote:Interesting thread and will be most useful to me. A work colleague had bought one as a gift, but through a change in circumstances she was selling it on. I bought it off her today, but she wouldn't accept the full amount for it, so I have got it for £100 less than it should be. It also includes a tour of the Spitfire beforehand.

He should've dumped her after the flight! :wink:
But his loss is your good fortune. :yahoo:
Stagger2

Re: Any guidance regarding Spitfire formation flights

Postby FGR2 on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 8:11 pm

I didn't want to ask, known her a few years now and she is the nicest, and most funniest person that you could ever wish to meet. Will have to get her something as a thank you.
FGR2


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