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  #1  
Old 20th March 2012
catkins catkins is offline
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Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

It all seemed so promising if the weather forecast was to be believed, with cloud to clear being replaced by something called the sun. Even on arrival it looked promising for the five of us who had come to watch the action. But from there onwards, weatherwise it was all downhill with the low hazy cloud returning, a bitterly cold wind and the added 'extra' of only one Chinook flying mainly to the north west of our position. By 2PM, everyone else had left, leaving only one cold fool to watch the low dark hazy clouds scuttle across the bleak moor.
But, oh boy, was I in for a really pleasant afternoon of some brilliant low level action by the RNlAF Cougar and two Chinooks. It really was awful weather for photography, all colour was muted, foggy haze affected distant shots, and light levels were relatively low - excuses? You bet. By the end of this session, most of the images are better as B&W.

Just to give an idea of the conditions


The reason for standing in this spot - to see the helicopters using the gorge so that we can photograph them from above or to the side


This Cougar helicopter pilot was excellent - flying either side of me about 15 times to give me the chance to try out different settings and practice my panning (not good!!) - it doesn't get much better than this apart from the terrible lighting conditions. The weather was fairly dark so it was difficult to catch detail in the helicopters, but despite being gloomy, the cloud is a relatively bright background to a dark helicopter and colour is all but useless in these conditions, so not ideal.


Even the Chinook tried to help make up for the poor weather


The icing on the cake for me was this amazing very low level jinking, twisting, evasive run into 'enemy territory' by the Chinook - it like watching an HGV being taken around a race track, awe inspiring, and if you look carefully, you'll see chaff being emitted from the rear of the helicopter to confuse any 'enemy missiles'


Moral of the story - don't give up, enjoy the hobby and then even a bad weather day can turn into one of the best days! This will take some beating, even though my photos weren't brilliant, and I would happily have given those Dutch pilots a big kiss!!

BTW: This was an interesting debut for my new Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens, but it did all that I could hope of it. Let's hope for better light in its next test.

Regards
Chris
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  #2  
Old 20th March 2012
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Bikie John Bikie John is online now
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Re: Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

Great results given the conditions. And really good practice for next time in the sunshine!

Ciao ... John
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Old 20th March 2012
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

Chris it looks bleak!
Quote:
Originally Posted by catkins View Post
...BTW: This was an interesting debut for my new Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens, but it did all that I could hope of it.
So comparing it to the 50-250 (or what is the other lens you have that's bigger than the 40-150?) what's the main plus for the Sigma?
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Old 20th March 2012
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Re: Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

Love the mist and recession in the first image.
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Old 20th March 2012
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Re: Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

Thanks John - I have high hopes in the next day or two of a yellow thing being seen in the sky along with some blue bits and maybe a nice fluffy white thing or two!!

Hi Ulfric - well if only I had a 50-250mm but money hasn't started falling out of my pocket yet (!!) and my muscles aren't developed enough, so I'm still with the Oly 70-300mm f4-5.6.
But I've wanted to try the bigger glass and had hoped to one day buy an Oly 50-200mm SWD, but prices have rocketed. So checking out Ffordes led to the chance to get hold of the Sigma at about a third of the price of the Oly but with 'similar' specs, so I decided to take a chance as most reviews of the Sigma were pretty positive.
So far I've found it nicely balanced with the E-30 body, and for the helicopters I found it well laid out for quick zooming. It kept focus very well considering the conditions and I was only aware of a couple of times that it lost focus. But early days, and hopefully some better weather due in your part of the world would be good!

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Chris
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Old 20th March 2012
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Re: Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

Quote:
Originally Posted by benvendetta View Post
Love the mist and recession in the first image.
Yes, strangely and perhaps surprisingly considering how much I was on a high with all the action, it was one of my favourite shots of the day and one of the first taken too while the weather was a bit lighter. I even texted a far better photographer than me boasting of catching 'a lovely atmospheric shot'!

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Old 20th March 2012
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Re: Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

Hi Chris,
Nice shot given the weather conditions of the RNLAF choppers! Nice chaps these Dutch pilots, huh? Giving you a lot of photo ops. Actually They are used to spotters in low level areas in the Netherlands.
I live near Eindhoven Air base which is just a few kilometers from the low level area GLV-V (GLV-5) where the practice a lot. So, whenever there are spotters in the GLV-V they play a bit with us and give us plenty ops to take nice photos of then flying around. Especially the AH64D pilots do that often. Although the chinook and cougar crews are also pretty photo horny to now a days. This results often in requests of the photos taken for in the crew rooms at their base at Gilze-Rijen on our Forum EWAS.nl or they just come to us and asking for it to send it to them by email. At GLV-V we have a fixed spot were we are aloud to stand now a days and where we are not interfering with the exercises from the army and Air Forces Helicopter Group.
Still, I have to go there one of these days.
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Old 20th March 2012
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Re: Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

Excellent shots, I thought you must have been around the Otterburn area, but here in Morpeth the weather was fine!
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  #9  
Old 17th April 2012
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Re: Low flying Dutch helicopters upt north

Great set Chris,Love #1 very atmospheric, with the low lying mist in the trees,

Kindest regards
Mark
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