Welcome to aviationphoto.co.uk
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
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
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
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!
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