A first time visit to Royal Air Force,( RAF) Odiham was the order of the day, thanks to Timeline events for a afternoon, evening and night shoot organized in aid of the Jon Egging Trust, (JET).
RAF Odiham is situated south of the historic village of Odiham in Hampshire just off the M3 Motorway, junction 5 ,it is the home of the Royal Air Force’s heavy lift helicopter, the Chinook.
On arrival we were greeted by personnel who were going to take 75 of us to a briefing room and tell us the format of the day, and what we can and cannot do, photographically along with a safety talk. Once that was out of the way it was time to head out for a short walk to 27 Squadron area who were our host for this event. Once we arrived we were greeted by the boss of 27 Squadron who briefed us of what they had planned for us to make this a day to remember. One of the plans was to launch a couple of Chinooks earlier in the afternoon and on return later one of the Chinooks was going to give us a role demo, so it was a short walk to one of the demo pads and wait for its return, didn’t have to wait long.The Chinook in question showed the waiting photographers its capability in the hover position, its 360 degree turn before setting of to pick up a small armed vehicle and showing its lift capability.
The weather forecast for the day was heavy cloud and small breaks within, as it was late in the day ISO settings had to be in the 400 region so I can get a reasonable shutter speed of 200-250 as this will give me some blur movement in the rotor blades any slower you had to rely on your photographic skills to achieve the right result.
As for the static examples on the ramp we had 5 Chinooks ,more was added during the day, all rear on to us, so we had to use our longer range zoom lenses to get the results we wanted, never a problem for me as I bought along my 2.8 Sigma 70-200mm fast lens, glad I did. As this is an operational airfield with arrival and departing aircraft we were not able to get close and personal with the Chinook, that was fine, so we were limited on what angles we can take, so I had to work out what I wanted from the days shoot, as well as dealing with the fading light, as a photographer we learn to adapt to tricky lighting conditions.
Before the night time shoot started we were offered an evening meal, curry or lasagne, all part of the deal , thanks for that most enjoyable. It was out with the tripod and sort out the camera settings, as the lighting from the tall lamp standards was giving a orange glow to the images, so reset the white balance to compensate for the sodium effect to the shots, for me I rather do this at the taking stage, then the pre processing stage, time saving. One of the chinooks started up and was running for about 10 minutes, enough time to take a few shots at a slow shutter speed to get the sense of movement on the rotor blades.
Last but not least, the aim of this event was to raise funds and awareness for the Jon Egging Trust, details about the fund at www.joneggingtrust.org.uk. Many thanks go to all at RAF Odiham for their assistance in allowing us to participate at this event, and all at 27 Squadron who were great host and made us all welcome. Will I support another event like this, the answer is yes.