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The 2016 Royal International Air Tattoo was a classic, filled with fast jets galore including the UK debut for the F-35 Lightning II in both its F-35A and F-35B guises, along with the welcome return of the mighty F-22A Raptor.  However, one of my favourites was the still awesome MiG-29 Fulcrum, a Polish example seen here powering into its display.  More pics on my facebook page (details of where to find this below) - to keep up to date with my latest pics please like the page as I am often updating Facebook a lot quicker than I get round to putting full photo reports here!  As proof, the final report from 2015 is still due (the awesome Battle of Britain show at Duxford in September).  The 2016 queue now includes Shuttleworth, Yeovilton and RIAT! 




Welcome to aviationphoto.co.uk

Here you will find over 14 years of airshow photography by my good self, Andrew Critchell, covering events across the UK and even a couple of my forays into Europe.  I have been passionate about aviation and airshow photography for as long as I can remember, and have been an avid airshow attendee since 1983 and my first outing to a Great Warbirds Air Display at West Malling in the UK. It was another year before I was let loose with a camera, a Hanimex 110 slide action job, with which I plied my trade, always dreaming of taking pictures like the ones I saw in the annual Airshow magazine (sadly now no longer published) filled with images by master lensmen Duncan Cubitt and the late Steve Fletcher.

    Finally for Christmas 1988 I had my first SLR, hurray!!, a vivitar v335 with a 35-70mm zoom lens but of course I longed for a more powerful lens so I could take those all important images of aircraft doing their thing in the sky and after much longing was the proud owner of a 70-200mm which of course I found not powerful enough.. (the un-winnable equipment ‘arms race’ began early!!)

    So now here I am, older and wiser, yet still wishing for a new camera body and bigger lens ;) Has anything changed?!

    Well, I made some dreams come true!! I got published and spent several years covering airshows for Flypast magazine and other publications which was a great privilege. Additionally, through the openness and vision of Eric Coeckelberghs and the Belgian photocrew I took my first air to air pictures in May 2010 at the Air to Air Academy and was lucky enough to have 22 aircraft in 7 different sequences come in front of my lens on my first sortie - WOW!!

    I hope you enjoy some of the airshow photographs I have posted here - thanks for looking!

    Andrew Critchell, July 2016

What gear do I use?

    Nothing too fancy..! I upgraded my main body to a Nikon D300s in 2014, keeping one D200 as back up.  Both are a bit long in the tooth but a budget is a budget!  The D300s does have an impressive fps rate and the autofocus is a definite improvement over the D200 so I am happy.  In terms of optics I get the best results from my Sigma 300mm f2.8 coupled with a 1.4x teleconverter. I also have a Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 which is a very nice lens and this is used on a second body for formations or larger aircraft.  However, it is very heavy and it can be impractical to lug both lenses around a show if it is a large showground and a long way from the car!  I have found the 120-300mm less tolerant of teleconverters, the images from the prime 300mm being noticeably sharper.  I did try the Sigma x2 TC for the 2014 season and much of last year too but have since given up on this as the amount of sharp images dropped significantly and overall I was not happy with this set up.  This year I have been working with a Sigma 150-600mm C lens which is ideal in terms of weight and also benefits from the greater focal length, with displays now further away from the crowdline due to the revised display regulations put in place this year after the tragic accident at Shoreham.

    For air to air and most static shooting I use a Nikon 18-200mm f3.5/6.3 VRII lens. I have never found the need to use filters for aviation photography (but still use them for landscapes when required).

    In terms of digital work flow I shoot in RAW and use the latest version of Lightroom CC to do pretty much all the editing.  This is a big change in my workflow from last year, as previously everything except the initial 'developing' was completed in Photoshop.  Lightroom CC is simply awesome, with some great tools, and it is the biggest single improvement I have made to my airshow photography since buying my first autofocus camera!

This site was last updated: 31/07/2016