Duxford Air Festival, IWM Duxford, 24th May 2019

19th June 2019
Written by: Rob Slusar

Let’s not beat around the bush. Winter sucks!

As you can see from my blog, I really haven’t done a lot of photography related stuff recently. However, Summer is on the way and that can only mean one thing. Air show season!

The Show

Duxford Air Festival was my first show of the season. As it turns out, it will be the first of many.

One thing I have started to do (when I can) attend airshow venues the day before the show. This might seem odd, but quite often this non-show day can be equally as rewarding. The crowds haven’t yet arrived so it’s quiet. The planes, however, have.

What I’ve learnt since starting aviation photography is that a lot of displays have to have their routines approved and practiced. This means, in the days prior to the air shows they are arriving at the venue and carrying out practice displays ready for the following days. This Friday was no different.

Leaving work at lunchtime, I set sail to Duxford. As it turned out, I made the right decision to go.

The weather was so so. It was dry, with some sun, some clouds, which ironically is ideal for shooting at Duxford.

As expected, some of the display aircraft had already arrived. The Breitling Jet Team were having a photoshoot, the army had arrived with 2 Apaches and a number of Duxford based planes were around and flying. I took my space and waited for others to come in. We ended up being treated to the Chinook arrival, the Miles Trio and my personal favourite the Gloster Meteor. Having never seen a Meteor fly before, this was a highlight of the weekend for me, especially given it was only to be static for the weekend.

The Photos

I’ve mentioned before (I think) the issue with events at Duxford. For a large part of the day, you are shooting into the sun, which ultimately leaves the subject backlit and it can be a struggle to get the exposures right. As this day had clouds breaking up the sun it was much easier to work with.

As this wasn’t a display day I used it mainly to get some practice. Sometimes it takes me some time to get my eye in at the beginning of the year so that was my goal for the afternoon.

I must have stayed for a few hours just firing some shots off and enjoying the planes. These weren’t game-changing shots, but there are a few nice ones. Here they are.

Final Thoughts

Even when I don’t take a lot of photos I just love being around planes. For me its the sounds, the smells, especially with old warbirds. It’s a satisfaction I don’t get elsewhere.

With my practice done I headed home ready for the first show day. The weekend turned out to be a game of two halves. Follow it here.