A business trip combined with anti-social Easyjet flight times meant I had the best part of a day spare before my return to the UK, so I decided to take look at Monte Réal Air Base, which is approximately 90 minutes north of Lisbon.
Unsure of spotting vantage points, I put out requests for information, to which I received some information about the difficulties photographing from outside the base due to the abundance of trees and size of land on which it is sited. These proved accurate and generally the north end of the runway is the only decent area, which given the runway orientation of directly north-south means many of the landing shots are somewhat backlit if you are attempting touch down shots or take off shots. I found the farmers ring wells handy to stand on with the aid of leaning against the pump house, just be careful not to fall in, but they do give you a shot over the barbed wire. There is a clearing in the forest south of the runway which I scoped out, but this will only give you access to approach shots from the south and not much notice at that. The east of the airfield is buildings and the west is forest tracks, which whilst I endeavoured to navigate the tracks looking for shots of the F16's outside their HAAS, only led to a temporarily stuck hire car and very limited viewing spots (not worth the sweat and toil of trying to free the car)
The other advice I received was to be careful photographing the jets in a foreign country, but I e-mailed the Air Force PR department ahead and received a nice return e-mail thanking me for notifying them of my intentions and also giving me green light to photograph as much as I liked and that the military personnel were aware of my presence. This was true when I spoke to one Military police who asked me if I was Kelvin & what it was like in Manchester?
The weather was hazy and a local farmer was burning his last crop field, which when, combined with an airfield crosswind made for somewhat bright milky skies and difficult exposure compensation.
That said, its worth a visit, the legacy jets at the main gate are nicely positioned, plus I promised a mini report upon my return, so on with the images.....
Thanks for looking, C&C welcomed as always,