Battle of Britain Air Show, IWM Duxford, 23rd September 2018

15th October 2018
Written by: Rob Slusar

After a particularly cold and wet first day, I woke up to find the sky dark and the rain pouring down. For the first time in my life, I almost pulled the curtains and went back to bed. I felt too old to be stood out in the rain again and really had no motivation. In the end, I forced myself to go and again got there early.

The Show

It was still pouring when I arrived, so I headed to the member’s tent again. For the next three hours, a group of us watched the rain, drank tea and discussed photography. Rumour started to spread that the weather would improve and that the show had been pushed back to meet it.

As predicted, the blue skies began to appear in the distance, making their way towards us. As promised, the rain stopped and the sky cleared just as the planes began to roll out.

What started as a miserable day turned out to be a magnificent day for flying. The crowd was smaller due to the morning deluge and it was a calmer atmosphere.

The Pictures

The sky was great for photography. The sun was out but not bright, the clouds were there, but not grey and flat. It was ideal.

I pulled my camera from my bag and only then did it hit me. I had made a massive mistake.

Having gone from a cold day in the rain, to a warm house, back into the cold again my lens had formed a condensation fog. I should have checked, I didn’t. I should have bought my 70-300 as a backup, I didn’t. I was gutted.

Desperately I tried to clear the fog but to no avail. It eventually took a day in the airing cupboard to clear.

Once I dried my tears (metaphorical tears) I powered through and took some photos. Ironically, It allowed me to enjoy the show more, as at times I just didn’t bother. I was able to enjoy the last flight of the Tornado without looking through the lens which in truth was one of the reasons I went to the show.

As you would expect. A lot of the images I took were trash. However, with some clever editing (thanks Lightroom) some could be salvaged.

Here they are.

Final Thoughts

After some wonderful display flying, the weekend closed with a chorus of Spitfire’s tearing through the late summer evening air.

Despite my idiot mistake (which I have taken precautions for next time), I was able to enjoy the show to it’s fullest.

I got home with aching legs, ears filled with the sounds of Merlin engines and a brain that just had to sleep.

It was a fantastic weekend despite the weather and a great end to a successful air show season for me.

I have learnt a hell of a lot about shooting aviation this year. I am happier with my skills, happier with my camera knowledge and confident next year I will be even better.

That is probably the extent of my aviation content this year, So I hope you have enjoyed it. As always, thanks for looking.


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