Aviation Spotters Online

Aviation Spotters Online

The Dark Side of Avalon.

The focus during the daytime sessions at the Australian International Airshow was fast moving and loud. When the sun went down for the Friday night session, it was time for the ASO team to turn their cameras to a slower shutter speed and take on some low light photography.

Instead of shooting at 2000th/sec as we might for a fast jet, we slowed our shutter speeds down. Most of these shots would not be considered long exposure, but given that almost all of them were shot hand held at speeds down to a 10th/sec they were long enough to capture a previously unexplored part of Avalon.

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RAAF C-27J Spartan. Shot with a 14mm Nikkor lens at 1/10th, f/2.8 at 2000 ISO

Fellow Editor, Mark Jessop and I had another big day at Avalon on the Friday and stopped for a quick refreshment while the sun was starting to set. Wandering past the Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan the illumination of the head up display caught our eyes.

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RAAF C-27J HUD

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The next moment we were inside the aircraft chatting to the crew who were keen to help us with the cockpit lighting … the combination of the cockpit lighting and the colour in the sky through the windshield of the westerly facing aircraft just added a great glow to the cockpit.

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RAAF C-27J Spartan Cockpit – Nikon D600, 14-24mm, f3.2, 1/80 sec, ISO2800.

  We moved quickly from the Spartan to the row of RAAF fighters alongside it as the last of the daylight faded. The RAAF’s fast jet line up included everything from the F/A-18 Classic, the 1SQN Super Hornet and the new 6SQN F/A-18G Growler and the latest arrivals, the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning. It was an impressive collection and Mark and I were shooting them in the failing light with renewed enthusiasm.

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the distinctive yellow and black stripes and tiger head of the 2OCU Hornet A21-108. 1/10th, f/2.8, 2000ISO at 14mm
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The RAAF’s soon to be front line fighter … the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning’s Shot at 1/10 sec at f2.8 on a 24mm Nikon lens at 2000ISO
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1/10, f2.8 at 24mm ISO 2000
RAAF E/A-18G Growler. Nikon D800, ISO 5000 1/50th at f.4
RAAF E/A-18G Growler. Nikon D800, ISO 5000 1/50th at f.4

 

RAAF C-130J-30 Firing off the flares. Nikon D800 ISO 1600 1/125th f.4
RAAF C-130J-30 Firing off the flares. Nikon D800 ISO 1600 1/125th f.4

 

 

 … and then the fireworks began.

We were busy making the most of the low light conditions and hadn’t been even vaguely aware that the fireworks display that is part of the Friday night show was about to change the ambience in a sudden and loud way. We both looked up with the first burst and instantly chased different angles.  

RAAF F-35's shining bright. Nikon : D800 ISO 4000 1/50th f.4
RAAF F-35’s shining bright. Nikon : D800 ISO 4000 1/50th f.4

 

 

RAAF F-35 explode onto the Australian scene. Nikon D800 ISO 4000 1/50th f.4
RAAF F-35 explode onto the Australian scene. Nikon D800 ISO 4000 1/50th f.4
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Nikon D600 at 72mm focal length 1/13 sec at f/5 with ISO set at 2000.
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RAAF Fast Jets. Nikon D600, 28-300mm Nikon Lens at 48mm at f/4.2, 1/13 Sec, and 2000 ISO exposure program Manual, handheld.

When the fireworks died down we met each other with a wry smile and a casual “How’d ya go??” … the response “… yeah OK I think.”

Mark takes up the story from here …

‘We had thought by now that this would be it for the night, but then after a short walk back to our car it was very clear no one was going anywhere for a while. One of the good things about getting to a show early is you get to park very close to the gates and as luck would have we made the choice to keep going and grabbed the tripods and get some more low light shots. This whole Friday at Avalon will be one I remember for many years, the show from start to finish and even after it ended was more than I expected. We hope these photos from just the Friday evening and night really showcase just how good it can be.- Mark Jessop

USAF F-22 asleep. Nikon D800, ISO 100, 4seconds at f.4
USAF F-22 asleep. Nikon D800, ISO 100, 4seconds at f.4
USAF B-1B waiting to come out and play. Nikon D800, ISO 100 , 1/8th at f.4
USAF B-1B waiting to come out and play. Nikon D800, ISO 100 , 1/8th at f.4

 

4 comments

  1. Outstanding pictures very well received by me for starters.

    Always fun and challenging to use the camera under those conditions.

    You were obviously not disappointed.

  2. Holy cow what awesome shots. Would have loved to be there on the Friday night maybe next time if my ageing legs will get me there.
    Fantastic stuff guys.
    Rod.

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