What could possibly top off bringing in the New Year watching the amazing fireworks display over Sydney Harbour, first-hand, for the first time? Well, this year my wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to witness the first sunrise of the year with a few members from Luskintyre on a “Dawn Patrol” over Newcastle and the lower Hunter Valley.It was still dark when we arrived, fresh from the drive up from Sydney but, by the time the aircraft had been brought out of the hangars and pre-flighted and a briefing held with all those involved, it was light enough to strap in and head off.
While it was more than light enough to see by on the initial leg across to Newcastle, the camera wasn’t happy and it took a few goes to find some settings that could work, ending up at 1000 iso but still only getting shutter speeds of 1/25 sec or so which, with the vibrations and slipstream, still meant a lot of failed shots. So I mostly contented myself with just enjoying the view of the mist in the valleys and low lying areas of rural farmland in the early morning light from the open cockpit of a Tigermoth.As we rounded Nobby’s Lighthouse on the coast at Newcastle, a band of cloud on the horizon meant that, while the sun was, technically, “up”, it was still hidden and so, relatively dim (in photo terms anyway), but, not to worry. As we headed south along the coastline, thanks to the leisurely pace of ye-olde Tigermoth, the sun eventually broke out from behind the cloud just before we turned inland for the next leg, and the light was glorious!
Like most photographers (I imagine) I enjoy getting shots in the low-angle light of early morning or late afternoon (most often, the afternoon 😉 ) but this was the first time I’d been lucky enough to get an opportunity for some air-to-air in such wonderful, early morning light. It’s just about impossible to take a bad photo in light like that and it was an absolute joy.
We tracked inland, past Luskintyre and further up the Hunter Valley a little way before circling back to the small, grass airstrip with me snapping away madly the whole time, trying to make the most of the light and the opportunity.
I know there may not be a great variety of angles and subjects given the number of shots I’ve shared here but I couldn’t miss trying to get the best I could in that beautiful light and, for me, it’s sometimes the different backgrounds that make a shot “work” just as much as the subject, with that glorious light working its magic on the fields and trees below as well. So I hope you don’t mind and that you’ll enjoy at least a few of them as much as I did taking them.
As always, it takes a lot of effort and the generosity of a lot of people to make opportunities like this happen and I would very much like to thank Niall, Vince, Dan, Keiran, Grant, Wendy and everyone else involved for making this possible.
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Thanks for reading.