After visiting RAF Mildenhall it was a 40 mile trip to a former RAF base, Wattisham, for another Timeline event.
This time it was to photograph a Phantom, Hunter, Lightning cockpit and a few rotary’s that belong to the Wattisham Station Heritage Museum. On arrival we had to check in at the main gate and all of us were escorted to the north side of the airfield were the exhibits were, I must say it was a long way round. The north side part of the airfield once belonged to the famous 74 SQD Tigers, remember them well with their Phantom, F-4J model all of which were ex United States Navy.
The weather was cold but the lighting at that part of the day was bright, with glimpses of the evening sun making a appearance helped to make good images. After the safety brief it was left for us to chose which set up we wanted to do, we had two set ups,one with the the Phantom outside a Hardened Aircraft Shelter, (HAS) , and the second set up was a Hunter inside a HAS with a reenactor chucked in for good measure. both set ups worked out well.Regarding the Phantom set up, reenactor’s also played their part in recreating the past, all of which saw the pilots demonstrating there final checks on the aircraft, as well as climbing in and out of the aircraft.
For those of us who liked to photograph the other exhibits on show, the opportunities were good, especially the Lightning cockpit, with an added reenactor Rob who kindly sat inside the cockpit for those who wanted to take his picture, thanks Rob, for me I ran out of time as I was busy photographing the Rotary’s, I must say the desert painted Gazelle with D-Day stripes caught my eye. As the evening went on it was time for a change, the Hunter came out of the HAS which gave us an opportunity to photograph it against the light, with that faded sunset made good pictures. Then it was swap time the Phantom was moved to where the Hunter was parked and visa versa, again the faded light meant the blue hour was about to commence, so out with the tripods for the rest of the evening and into the night. All the concentration was now on the two exhibits, the Hunter with added lights gave the opportunity to take a silhouette with only the cockpit backlit, nice idea and it worked, the lighting on the Phantom worked extremely well outside the HAS with the reenactors playing there part . Now it was getting on into the night, it was time to put the Phantom inside the HAS for the grand finally, off with the lights and introduce smoke and a few lights, all of which is provided by Timeline to add a bit of drama to the scene and recreate a scene back in the seventy’s on a Quick Reaction Alert, (QRA) with that in mind and a couple of pilots at the ready this made a great photo opportunity, thank you for that, well worth the money in my opinion.
As the evening came to an end and a 2 hour journey home I had time to reflect on what a great days photography I had, I came away with images that I would not expect to get or achieve so thanks go to Neil and all at Timeline to achieve this, and lastly my thanks go to all at Wattisham Station Heritage Museum who gave up their time for us, especially as it was a late one on a Sunday.