A little bit of info about me

A lot of this blog is the ramblings of a Royal Air Force Photographer, prior to my getting made redundant.  I left the RAF in December 2012, but will always be so proud to have served.  Now I am making my way in the outside world, as a self-employed photographer and videographer, based in the South West of the UK, so if you need anything, give me a shout!

About Me

Third child (of 4) of an RAF Mechanical Transport driver I was born into the RAF, and I suppose almost pre-destined to join up myself.  You’d think so, but there was a time when I was determined that I was never joining the military – but I’ll save that story for a blog post one day!  When I was born my family were based in Germany and we spent the first 15 years of my life moving between UK and Germany every time my dad was posted.  Looking back now I can see that I had a brilliant childhood because of it.  At the time, it wasn’t always such fun – having to change school and friends every 3 years at the whim of the RAF.  But here I am an (undisclosed) number of years later loving my life in a blue suit!

Career.

I joined the Royal Air Force as a Photographer in 1997, and, once I’d completed 9 weeks Basic Training at RAF Halton (yes, I know, Halton, where all the smallies do their basic training – not Swinderby, where the old and bold trained!) I found myself at the Joint School of Photography at RAF Cosford, learning one end of a lens from the other, and getting my head round hyper focal distance (one for the photographers there!) After 7 months training at Cosford my first posting was to RAF Kinloss, the then home of the Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft, a great first posting and I loved my 3 years there, even with a 4-month break in Kuwait, in support of air operations over Iraq.

From there I went to the No 1 Parachute Training School at RAF Brize Norton, where all Para training is conducted, and after that I moved across the runway at Brize Norton to the Joint Air Transport Evaluation Unit – basically that’s where all trials are carried out for flying things in, parachuting them out of, or hanging them under all forms of transport aircraft – chinooks, Hercules, C17’s that kind of thing.  Another great posting, which was followed by my busiest tour of all, as the Command Photographer for what was the RAF’s Personnel & Training Command, based at RAF Innsworth, near Gloucester.  Whilst there I travelled all over the world and photographed some amazing events and fantastic people.  Again, I intend to blog about this at some point – mainly because my life now isn’t anywhere near as interesting as that posting was!

After Innsworth, via another 4-months away – this time in the Falkland Islands, which was awesome,  I spent a number of years at RAF Cottesmore – the home of the Harrier “jumpjet”.  I loved watching that thing fly, the way it could hover like that always had me entranced – I miss it! Whilst at Cottesmore I also did a 4 month stint in Helmand Province, which was “interesting” to say the least, but I’ll save that for another day.

I then went full circle and found myself back at the Defence School of Photography at RAF Cosford instructing other military photographers in the art of videography.  I really enjoyed my job, especially convincing the die-hard “Stills” photographers that moving pictures are not magic and can be more fun that boring still photos*.  I always used to get a buzz when I could almost see the light bulb switching on above a students head!

So, as you can see, yes, they do have photographers in the RAF and at times they do get to fly – well, sit in the back of the aircraft and take photos whilst the pilot flies, and it doesn’t happen that often unfortunately. Most of an RAF photographers work in the UK involves taking photos of aircraft defects, VIP visits, “Grip & Grin” presentation photos (medal presentations etc…), police forensic photography, sports events, and pretty much anything else you can think of to photograph.

On Operations in Afghanistan military photogrpahers are there to document events and provide images and footage that can’t be captured by civilian media, to ensure that the stories can be hear back home in the UK, and across the globe.  The RAF (along with Army and Royal Navy photographers) generally provide a lot of the images and video footage that you see outside of the military.  If it’s got “Crown Copyright” or “MoD Footage” marked on it somewhere, chances are it has been taken by someone who has been trained by the Defence School of Photography.

Family life

Married to a wonderful man, Mr Photog, with two fantastic step-sons – one of whom will soon be following my footsteps into the RAF.  Finally after 4 years of living apart due to being based 120 miles apart, my husband and I are living together at last, settling down in his home county of Somerset.  Finally getting to experience proper married life that doesn’t involve driving up and down the M5 on a weekend!

Hobbies

I am also a crafting addict and love sewing handbags, making quilts, and have even dabbled in upholstery, so there may be the odd crafty blog post going on occasionally!

So that’s me then

Any questions, either about being an RAF Photographer, or photography in general, please feel free to ask!

*I do still love stills, I may talk the big video-geek, but I don’t forget my roots in capturing a single moment in time…..

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22 thoughts on “A little bit of info about me

  1. Hi

    Liked your blog about your rehab ! Made me laugh. Maybe a couple of weeks with your PTI’s could get me fit !

    We have a few thinngs in common – Im into photography did my C & G Landscape and still do lots, during the day I work for Edgar Brothers who you have probably heard off in millitary circles! Were a gun wholesaler and supply police and MOD with protection gear.

    My late parents were both RAF and one of my step brothers served many years ago on the Nimrods at Lossiemouth and Kinloss. I must have been the only person to join the RAF without actually joining if you know what I mean.

    Do you do any photographic exhibitions at Cosford? Saw some amazing photos in the Telegraph of RAF competition.

    I often get down that way and must visit the museum some time but I am always out fishing or shooting for my sins.

    Be nice to see more of your blogs and some photographs – especially the Falklands .

    Many thanks

    Jan
    Janet

    • Hi Jan,

      thanks for reading 🙂 glad you liked it, the rehab was tough but really enjoyable – I was shattered every night though!! They do sometimes have exhibitions over at the RAF Museum, it’s definitely worth a visit, especially with the Cold War exhibit they opened a few years ago, really interesting, and a stunning building. I’ve put a few of my Falklands ones up, once I’ve figured out how to use this blog properly, I’ll get some more up!

  2. I too am the child of a RAF MTD and trying to find info on Unit 314 in France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. His record of service indicates he was with the 2nd TAF. Do you have any info by chance? I live in Canada and I’m finding research difficult. Thanks! Chrissie
    p.s. u may email me

  3. A great read. I too am the child of a RAF MTD in WWII. I have received my late dad’s service records which leads me to a search of Unit 314 in France, Belgium,
    The Netherlands and Germany with the 2nd TAF. I’m finding research from Canada difficult as I can’t just pop into the Royal Archives to look up the unit’s diary/history. If you have any info on this topic, I would love to hear from you.

    Thanks!

    Christine

  4. Hey – good to hear that you are going over the wall. Your namesake was staying with me a couple of days ago and helping out on Tom’s exhibition. Love to see you there if you’re in town before 11 September.

    • Hi Nathan,

      I had a great time as an RAF Photographer, and would recommend it to anyone! With postings as a photographer, it’s the same as any other trade in the RAF, you get to give preferences, but they can only send you where there they need someone, so sometimes you may have to go somewhere that wasn’t exactly your first choice! Mind you, that can work out well – when I first joined I said I didn’t want to go to Scotland, and my first posting ended up being RAF Kinloss, near Inverness and I had a fantastic time there, one of the best bases I served on!

  5. Hi, I’ve applied to join the RAF as a photographer and I have my interview coming up soon. I’ve found your blog brilliant and I was wondering if you had any advice for my interview at all?? Thanks.

    • Hi Hannah, glad you like the blog, and hopefully some of it has been useful for you! My advice for the interview is to just be yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not, and don’t try to bluff it if you don’t know the answer to something! Just be honest and open, be polite and respectful, but don’t be afraid to show your sense of humour – carefully though!! Make sure you know about the trade of RAF Photographer – where you will do your training, the kind of work you could end up doing, where you could be based. Also make sure you know a bit about the current aircraft in the RAF and where the RAF are currently on Operations.

      Hope this has helped, if you need any more information then let me know.

      Good Luck!

      Heidi

      • hi love your blog by the way, would like to know more about the career cause am very interested in applying but don’t know if they recruiting this year 2014. Because the photography role ain’t recruiting at the moment.

      • Hi there, glad you like the blog, I loved being an RAF photographer so thoroughly recommend it as a career if you are passionate about photography and serving in the RAF. I dont know if they are recruiting or when the trade will open up next but if you visit the RAF Careers website you should be able to get all of the information you need on there. Good luck!

        Heidi

  6. Thanks for an entertaining read, and glad that you also had a varied and interesting career as an RAF Photographer. I joined up in 1962, completing my Photo II course at Wellesbourne Mountford in the cold winter of 1963, and then in 1969 converted to Air Camera Fitter. Also had a great time in the RAF, and I miss it to this day. Served on Javelins, Hunters, Shacks, Nimrods, Harriers and Phantoms, and was an instructor at JSOP too. Lucky boy!

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