Sunday, 19 August 2018

To hire or to buy?


For some photography is something they are happy to do with the barest of equipment, the compact/bridge camera bought for them as a present or the basic DSLR that may have come with two lenses. 

For others it is a hobby or more that grows as their skills and interest grows and this will always lead to one age old problem, cost. The big question is, to hire or to buy.  Lets look at hiring first; as with all things there are pro’s and cons to all options and this is no exception. Hiring allows you to have what you need for a specific shoot/assignment at a fraction of the cost of buying it. This becomes even more relevant  if you are never likely to want it again (a one off) or it might not be needed on a regular basis. It also means you don’t have to store it until you need it again (some items of photographic equipment can be very big and bulky!) Another consideration is if you are thinking about an expensive purchase why not if possible hire the item first? For a fraction of the price you get to “try before you buy” and if it turns out not to be as good or as useful as you thought then it goes back with no more hassle. There are many outlets from which you can hire equipment, a quick look round the magazines or Internet will turn up no shortage of outlets. Many big equipment dealers do a hire service and if you are lucky enough to have one within easy reach this can be the best option. Their staff should be helpful and approachable and should be ready and willing to offer help and advice. Is that bit of kit you want to hire the right item for the job? They may have a better idea. In an Internet driven world a face to face chat can still make all the difference. The best thing about hiring this way is when you go to collect the item from the store you can inspect it in front of an assistant before taking it away. Therefore no awkward arguments such as “it was fine when we put it on the courier!” The reverse of this is equally true. Enough about the pro’s though, what of the cons? In my experience you can insure with the equipment hire company against damage for a small fee, but not theft. If the item is wrecked but you still have it then its good bye deposit but theft can mean you just bought it! OUCH!! You can protect yourself with specific camera insurance (I feel another post coming!!) from this but you must bear in mind that  £10.000 lens is not yours and extra care must be taken if additional cost is to be avoided! Many hire companies are Internet based which is very handy but has its pitfalls. To elaborate on my last paragraph the hire company will be very careful how it packages the item but will always be at the mercy of the courier. To much rough handling means it arrives unusable and you are off to a bad start. The good hire companies will have contingencies for this but you MUST FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER! To state the obvious if the packaging is damaged reject delivery. If the packaging is OK remove the item and inspect/test it IMMEDIATELY. ANY PROBLEM contact the hire company STRAIGHT AWAY. They should have a system in place to recover the faulty equipment and replace it ASAP. Sending you a replacement lens three days later isn’t going to work if your sisters wedding is the day after tomorrow!!!! Remember you are paying for a service and they are bound once the money is taken to supply the required equipment in good order. And so we come to buying; This immediately gives us two options, new or used.  New is always nice and in many cases when items are inexpensive the obvious choice. But, when items are more expensive then the relevancy of the question becomes more important. That new lens or full frame DSLR can be eye wateringly expensive or simply out of financial reach all together and very often finance especially through the dealer makes the cost even higher so a used item becomes more attractive. But hang on, used... why has it been part exchanged? Whats wrong with it? Why does the previous owner want rid of it? These are the questions that put people off but providing you choose your supplier wisely you should not have cause to worry. A good second hand specialist should have inspected and tested the item prior to sale and it will usually be advertised with a grading from as new to rough but in working order. The sale price will vary accordingly. Read up on how the seller grades items for sale and what guarantee they offer. To state what I would hope is the obvious buying private is totally a case of buyer beware as if the item turns out to be miss sold, unserviceable or worse still stolen you are on your own! I have bought a number of items second hand that would have simply been way beyond my financial reach brand new and so far have not had reason to regret my decision. It seems some people simply MUST have the very latest version of the camera/lens of their choice and when the newest version comes out its goodbye to the older one. Why this is so I have no understanding but I am most grateful they think this way as it means those of us in search of a bargain get lucky and can get  our hands on pro equipment at greatly reduced prices!  To sum up the overwhelming fact is it pays to think seriously about what you want to do and how you want to do it. Hiring can be a simple and cheep option for the occasional user or as a try out before committing to a purchase. You don’t have items cluttering up your home that you only use occasionally BUT there can be down sides to consider. If you can afford it an outright purchase means you get a brand new shiny item all to your self but if it is high value the cost of specialist insurance can be cheep in comparison to a repair bill or worse still a total loss. Don’t be scared of the second hand market but shop with care. Big outlets won’t mess you about, it’s poor PR for no gain but be very wary of private sales. If you made it this far without falling asleep thank you for taking the time to read my post and I hope it helped.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Land Rover Discovery Sports working at RIAT2018

A key part of the successful operation of any RIAT is the safe movement of arriving and departing aircraft. 

The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is staged every year at RAF Fairford around the beginning of July. Aircraft and personnel from many air forces around the world come together for one of the biggest air shows in the world and this requires a massive co ordination of assets to ensure its smooth and safe running. At the heart of this is the safe and accurate movement of arriving and departing aircraft once on the ground. Many airports and military bases use “follow me” cars and at RIAT the vehicle of choice over the last few years has been the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The Discovery’s are controlled by air traffic control (ATC) who direct them around the base to where an ariving aircraft is waiting for them, the aircraft then follows the vehicle to their designated parking area either in the static display area or the live ramp where they will remain until ready for their flying display slot. The Discovery is ideal for this role as it is fast, agile and able to carry a decent amount of kit including the necessary radio equipment.

2 ship Dassault RafaleM French Airforce RIAT Fairford airshow air display
2X Dassault Rafale M are met at the end of the runway by the escort vehicle.

Polish Airforce C-130E transport heavy lift RIAT Fairford airshow air display
PolishAir Force C-130E
exits the runway to follow its escort vehicle.
Royal Jordanian Airforce C-130H Transport Heavy lift RIAT Fairford airshow air display
Royal Jordanian Airforce C-130H exits the runway
 and is met by the "follow me" Landrover.

Royal Jordanian Airforce C-130H Taxiing behind Land Rover Discovery.
Royal Jordanian Airforce C-130H.

French Airforce Mirage 2000D Couteau Delta display team airshow
The 2 ship Couteau Delta Mirage 2000D
form up behind the Landrover Discovery.

Brazilian Airforce Embraer KC-390 transport twin jet military airshow
Brazilian Airforce Embraer KC-390.

Pakistan Airforce C-130E Hercules transport heavy lift airshow
Pakistan Air Force

Turkish Airforce KC-135 and F-16C taxiing Land Rover Airshow Follow me
Solo Turk F-16C leads the Turkish Airforce KC-135
with the follow me Discovery in attendance.

Turkish Airforce Solo Turk F-16C Fighter jet airshow air display
Solo Turk F-16C.

Luftwaffe German PANAVIA Tornado fighter bomber fast jet taxiing
German Luftwaffe PANAVIA Tornado.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Old equipment

Old equipment; Like me do you have an old camera or two lying about that you used to use all the time? Long ago it was our "go to"bit of kit but since then we've upgraded and moved on to bigger and hopefully better things and our once loved camera finds its way to the back of the shelf. I spotted my old Fujifilm FinePix S9500 languishing in a cupboard the other day and decided to dig it out and try it out.

The S9500 is a digital bridge camera and in its day had a very nice lens on it, I bought mine as my first "serious" digital camera and found it very good in some ways and very frustrating in others! As I said it has a great lens, it will shoot down to ISO 80 which gives great landscape images but has a pitiful burst rate and most annoyingly a voracious appetite for batteries!
The object of the exercise was though to see how pictures from it would turn out. With this in mind I took it on a day out to Blists Hill Victorian town with my partner Tracey.
I hope you like my pictures.

Industrial Steam Locomotive Blists Hill
Industrial Steam Locomotive
Black + White image.

Industrial Steam Locomotive Blists Hill
Industrial Steam Locomotive.

Industrial branch line level crossing Blists Hill
Level crossing gates.

The old Doctors House Black+White Blists Hill
The Doctor's house
Blists Hill Victorian Town.

The front door of the Doctors house black+white Blists Hill
The front entrance to the Doctors House.

The ruined remains of the blast furnaces Blists Hill
The ruined remains of
The original blast furnaces.

Old belt driven metal turning lathe Blists Hill
Belt driven metal turning lathe.

Stationary steam engine speed regulator Victorian Blists Hill
Speed regulator on a stationary steam engine.

Old hand fly press in the iron works
Hand operated fly press.

Tool rack and work area Blacksmiths shop Victorian Blists Hill
Working area in the Blacksmiths shop.

Overall view of Blacksmiths shopVictorian Blists Hill
An overall view of the Blacksmiths workshop.

Old industrial building Victorian Blists Hill
Old industrial building.

Victorian bedroom Toll House Blists Hill
One of the bedrooms the
Toll house.

Victorian industrial building compressor house Blists Hill
Building containing the
vertical blowing engine.

Country lane gas lamps doctors house Blasts Hill
A view up the lane
to the Doctors house.

Decaying Coal Wagon Railway Victorian Blists Hill
Close up of a decaying
coal wagon.

Goods shed coal wagon decay Blists Hill
Decaying coal wagon.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Threshold Aero photoshoot at RAF Cosford.

The 8th of March 2018 was booked for the Threshold Aero photo shoot at RAF Cosford.
I was eagerly awaiting this one as it gave a chance to photograph McDonnell Douglas Phantom XV582 aka "Black Mike".

 Like many Cold War jet fans, I love the Phantom and with its distinctive black paintwork I was hoping for some striking images. Also available to photograph on the evening were a number of other airframes including Jaguars, Harriers, A Hawk mk1 and a Westland Wessex.
Though it was a chilly day the weather held fair and gave us a beautiful sunset and twilight sky.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 XV582 Cosford
Phantom FGR.1 Black Mike
stands ready at sunset.

SEPECAT Jaguar bomber ground attack
SEPECAT Jaguar XX837.

RAF BAC Hawk T mk1 XX335 Cosford
XX335 Hawk T mk1.

SEPECAT Jaguar Bomber ground attack XX837
SEPECAT Jaguar XX837
stands beside Black Mike.

RAF BAC Hawk T mk1 XX335 Trainer Cosford
XX335 Hawk T mk1.

SEPECAT Jaguar RAF bomber ground attach Qinetiq
SEPECAT Jaguar XX833 Qinetiq.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom Black Mike SEPECAT Jaguar Cosford
Black Mike stands with SEPECAT Jaguar XX837.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar XX837 Bomber ground attack Cosford
A black and white view of Jaguar XX837

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar Raspberry Ripple Cosford
"Raspberry Ripple" Jaguar ZB615.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar spotty Jag XX119 Ground attack bomber Cosford
Jaguar XX119
This jet has an amazing paint scheme.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 Black Mike Cosford
Black Mike in black and white.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 Black Mike Cosford
The same picture as above
but in colour.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom Black Mike SEPECAT Jaguar
Black Mike and Jaguar XX837
stand sentinel under a brooding sky.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 Black Mike Cosford
XV582 Black Mike.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 Black Mike Cosford
Black Mike FGR.1 Phantom.

SEPECAT Jaguar XX837 bomber ground attack BAE Hawk T mk1 XX335 Cosford
Black Jag XX837 and BAE Hawk T mk1 XX335
stand ready at dusk.

SEPECAT Jaguar XX837 bomber ground attack Cosford
Jaguar XX837
in black and white.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 XV582 Black Mike
Black Mike.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 SEPECAT Jaguar Cosford
Phantom XV582 and Jaguar XX837.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 Black Mike Cosford
XV582 Black Mike
in black and white.

Royal Navy British Aerospace Sea Harrier Cosford
Royal Navy Sea Harrier ZH796
inside the hangar.

RAF Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 Snowy VTOL Cosford
Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 XZ991
in winter camo.

RAF Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 winter camo Cosford
Harrier XZ991
against a darkening sky.

RAF Westland Wessex XR498 Rescue Cosford
Westland Wessex XR498
floodlit outside the hangar.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar XZ117 XX725 bomber ground attack Cosford
Jaguars XZ117 (grey) and XX725 (sand)
Stand together on the DOTA.

SEPECAT Jaguar XZ117 bomber ground attack Cosford
Jaguar XZ117
on the DOTA.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar XX725 bomber ground attack Cosford DOTA
Sandy Jaguar XX725
Stands on the DOTA (Deployed Operational Training Area).

RAF Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 Winter camo XZ991 Cosford
Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3.

RAF Fast Jets Hawk Jaguar Phantom Cold War Cosford
3 Black Cold War Warriors.

RAF Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 XZ991 winter camo Cosford
Harrier XZ991
in black and white.

RAF BAE Hawk T mk1 Trainer Cosford
Hawk XX335
under the flood lights.

RAF McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 Black Mike Cosford
Black Mike
floodlit after dark.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar XX837 ground attack bomber Cosford
Jaguar XX837.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar XX119 Bomber ground attack Cosford
Jaguar XX119
with the distinctive paint scheme floodlit after dark.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar XX119 bomber ground attack Cosford
Jaguar XX119
after Dark.

McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.1 Black Mike Cosford
Black Mike
silhouetted against the flood lights.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar XX119 bomber ground attack Cosford
Jaguar XX119
picked out by the flood lights.

RAF SEPECAT Jaguar XX119 ground attack bomber Cosford
Jaguar XX119
in black and white.