Photos

Over the years I’ve taken one or two (gazillion) photos.  So you don’t get too bored with my words, here’s a few pretty pictures to look at!

A Few Randoms

I though it was time I added a few more photos to this page, and seeing as I’m on a bit of a blogging roll, not time better than the present!

RAFA Pens – special editions to raise funds for the charity

The underbelly of a Typhoon – Taken at Waddington Airshow

Typhoon in a little cloud of it’s own – taken at Waddington airshow

Hercules C130 refuelling from a VC10 over the Falkland Islands

Kings Own Scottish Borderer on exercise in South Georgia

Chinook taking off from Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province

Vulcan XH558 landing at Royal Air Force Cottesmore

Falkland Islands

A few years ago I had a 4 month deployment to Mount Pleasant Airfield in the Falkland Islands, and when not in work it was a photographers dream, with wildlife all over the place.  These are a few of my favourite photos of the wonderful animals there – mainly pengys!!

Copyright RAFPhotog

Elephant Seal, Sealion Island

This chap was called “Chomp”  I know that as some environmentalists studying these mahoosive elephant seals had written his mane on his side in hair dye!  Apparently they creep up on them whilst they sleep and quickly write it on – rather them than me!  These things are enormous and can move pretty quick for a big fella.  My favourite bit of this image is the little bird, looking like he’s falling over due to the power of the bellow of the elephant seal 🙂

Copyright RAF Photog

Striated Caracara

These are quite a rare bird of prey apparently – except on the Falklands where they are like seagulls – annoying vermin!!  they can hear the rustle of a packed lunch from miles away, and have no fear of humans so will quite happily try and steal your lunch – or anything else for that matter – from your hand!  I was sat down filming a couple who were trying to pick particles of food out of sleeping, snoring elephant seals mouths when one decided to take a fancy to my pale pink baseball cap!  He started out at my feet then aimed for my head!  All you can see with the video camera is it waving around and me shouting “Arrrghgerroutofityougit!!!!”

Copyright RAF Photog

Young Elephant Seal

I think this is a young elephant seal, it was part of a colony of them living on the beach that was about 200 metres from the lodge we were staying in on Sealion Island for our R & R, just over the dune from the Gentoo penguin colony!

Copyright RAFPhotog

Volunteer Point, Falkland Islands

It looks like a stunning beach in the Bahamas doesn’t it?  But look closely at that small figure towards the right of the photo – yup, that’s a penguin stood there.  And when I paddled in the sea, I could teal I was in the South Atlantic when my feet went numb in seconds!

Copyright RAF Photog

Pleasant Peak memorial

All over the Falklands there are many memorials to the men who lost their lives during the 1982 conflict.  the are all shiny steel crosses, and a lot of them are right at the top of a mountain or hill and take a bit of a walk to get to.  Beside each of the memorials is a military issued ammunition box containing metal poilish and polishing cloths, which is kept supplied by personnel at RAF Mount Pleasant.  The box is there so that when anyone takes a walk up to a memorial they can give it a quick polish, to keep it looking it’s best, in memory of the guys it commemorates.  This is one of my colleagues buffing up the one at the top of Pleasant Peak, just outside of Mount Pleasant.

Copyright RAFPhotog

Whalers Wreck, Grytviken

Grytviken is an old Norwegen whaling station, now abandoned, and only inhabited by British Antarctic survey personnel and a small museum/gift shop run for the Antarctica tourist cruise ships that dock every now and then.  The whalers station part of the town is quite spooky – lots of rusting hulks lying around, bug blubber pots all over the place, and whale bones littered around.

Copyright RAFPhotog

We had a day out to a King Penguin colony at a place called Volunteer Point one day, it involved a long drive off-road in a convoy of 4 x 4’s with a local guide driving the first vehicle to make sure we didn’t end up in ditches. We still ended up in ditches, but managed to get out again – even when bogged down to the bumper!  It was worht all the bogging and bumping around to get to Volunteer Point, it was stunning (the long panoramic image at the top of my blog is Volunteer Point) pure white sand, and hundreds of King Penguins.  There were even some older chicks around, some of which were taking their first tentative steps towards the water.

Copyright RAFphotog

Rockhoppers are possibly my favourite ever penguins – I once read an article about them, describing them as the bad boys of penguin-dom with their rebellious eyebrows and their red eyes looking like they’ve had one or two late nights.  However I do think that underneath that bad boy exterior, they’ve got a heart of gold.  Whilst on Sealion Island I went wandering and found a Rockhopper colony, whilst sat down videoing them three of them came hopping along towards me.  The leader of the little procession led his mates all the way up to my feet and pecked at my boot.  Obviously happy that the boot was nice and solid he proceeded to lead his men onwards, hopping on and over my foot!!  I was so stunned that unfortunately I failed to get decent footage of it!  Once they’d hopped on a little way a CaraCara (Big bird of prey – proper necky, not afraid of humans at all) turned up and headed towards me, looking for food to steal, and the little trio of Rockhoppers turned on the Caracara, squaking and flapping at it until it flew off.  I’m convinved they were protecting me.  Bless!!

Copyright RAFPhotog

King Penguins in South Georgia

I had the fantastic opportunity to travel to south Georgia in the Antarctic on the Royal Navy South Atlantic patrol ship that was based in the Falklands at the time, and whilst there we spent a few hours on one of the beaches with one of the largest King penguin colonies on it.  I was so entranced by them and got to sit on the beach for a ages whilst little groups of Kings strolled past me.  They were interesting to watch – a small group would waddle down the beach and then suddenly stop, and look out to sea.  a few moments later a penguin or two would leap out of the sea, wander up the beach and join the group that had stopped, and then they’d all start walking again!

Copyright RAFPhotog

Gentoo mum and chick

I was on my R & R (a few days off in the middle of the deployment) on Sealion Island, one of the smaller Falkland Islands.  The first day I was there, the Gentoo penguin colony literally on the doorstep of the small guesthouse I was staying in were all sitting on their eggs, and when we got up the following morning, they’d all hatched out, so I spent an hour or two down there with my camera snapping the little hours-old chicks – so cute!!

Copyright RAFPhotog

Ernest Shackletons Grave

On South Georgia, just outside the main “town” (a small dereclict, pretty much abandoned whalers community) of Grytviken is a small whalers cemetary, which is also where the explorer Ernest Shackleton is buried.

I will post some more later – enjoy 🙂

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17 thoughts on “Photos

    • Hi David,

      Nothing wrong with being a camera geek 🙂 I think these were taken on a Nikon D2X, we’re using D3X’s now . The RAF have used Nikon for many years, from back in the days of film, although there is a move towards Canon now. I’ve been working mostly in video for a while, so not played with a “works camera” for a while, but my own “compact” out of work camera is a Nikon D3000 – nice and lightweight!

      • I think they just fancied a change! Historically (well, since I joined up anyway) the RAF have used Nikon – we had Nikon film cameras and as we had all of the lenses and bits for Nikon it made sense to stay Nikon when we went digital. Even though the RAF are going Canon, I’ll always be a Nikon geek in my own time!

  1. FanTAStic pictures! And as always beautifully described and realized! Thanks so much for sharing-these blogs and pics really keep my spirits up. K xx

  2. Hiya, I am interested in joining the RAF as a Photographer, and was wondering if I could pick your brain about it! Would move it if you could reply back to me via my email.
    PS. The photos are insperational, and are making me want to join even more!

  3. Hi,
    I stumbled across your blog while doing research into becoming a photographer for the RAF, which I am extremely interested in applying for next year, when I finish sixth form. I was just wondering what the application process would be like, as the website gives general application information but not a lot specifically for the photography apprenticeship. It would be wonderful of you could please email me and let me know of your journey into the RAF and give me any pointers you may have.
    Love the blog and your pictures, really affirmed that this is where I want to go in life.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Amber, I’m glad you found my blog, and that it’s been useful – I’ve loved being an RAF Photographer, and sad to come to the end of my career, but I don’t regret a minute! In terms of the application process, there is no specific process for RAF Photographers – you don’t even have to have picked up a camera in your life to become one as all the training needed to do the job is given during the Basic Photographer training at the Defence School of Photography – I think you just need basic GCSE’s and to make sure you reach the required score on the aptitude test. That said, it’s always worth getting a bit of photographic familiarity before joining up as it will help you through the course if you are already comfortable with the basics such as shutters, apertures and basic composition.

      If you have a look back through some of my earlier blog posts I do give a bit of a background on my career – joining up and where I’ve been over the years.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, and I’ll be more than happy to help where I can!

      Heidi

  4. hi there, I was wondering about the role of RAF Photographer, myself….but was a tad put off when I read the made redundant bit above….ive been, myself…made redundant from a few jobs and the very thought of facing that again does put me off. However, the role still sounds good. Ive read about it online but not all of my questions are answered. For example, what happens during training for this role? I had visions of scrambling up nets – krypton factor style…..with loads of guys in berets. lol.
    please do enlighten me and be very honest.
    can i ask you why you were made redundant? lack of funding for a more ‘creative’ role? or?
    thanks for your time.
    Caroline

    • Hi Caroline, the redundancies had nothing to do with the nature of the trade but were because of the Armed Forces Redundancy program where the military as a whole needed to be reduced to save money. Lots of trades were hit, not just the photogs, and they are still recruiting, although only a couple a year are signed up. I wouldn’t let the redundancy put you off, it’s a fantastic job and I loved my time in, The training begins with attending RAF Halton for basic training, the same as all of the other trades, and the photographic training is carried out at the Defence School of Photography at RAF Cosford and covers all aspects of photo training, camera handling, lighting, photoshop, etc… and although it’s not quite as you imagine :-), there are still aspects tailored towards training the photographers to operate in a war environment.

      hope this helps!

      Heidi

  5. Hi i love your blog, great photos!

    Im looking into joining the RAF as a photographer myself, ive done quite a bit of research on the subject and is how i came across your blog when i was researching the life of an RAF Photographer, i do have a question about the education level of joining though, i have seen on many sites about joining that after training you will achieve an NVQ in photography from the RAF but i already have qualifications of greater value from my 2 years studying Photography, im curious as to whether this will be an advantage or whether they will see my as ‘over qualified’

    if you could get back to me as soon as with any information that will be helpful, i would very much appreciate it!

    Thank you,

    Kind regards,

    Brad.

    • Hi Brad,
      Thanks for visiting the blog, I’m glad its been of use. Im afraid that having previous qualifications won’t really be taken into account and you’ll still have to complete the full course like all other photogs – no short course I’m afraid!!! The good news is, you won’t be considered overqualified, but you may find that you need to adjust how you go about your photography, you may need to temporarily “forget” all you learned on your college course as military photography is more technical and less arty than a lot of college courses 🙂

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