Aviation Photography – Southport Airshow


Aviation Photography – Southport Air show

Time for something a bit different. I had always seen people going to air shows on my Facebook and never really took any notice as normally they are on weekends when I am away at a car show or I have a photo-shoot booked for that day. However with show season now over and Southport was holding ita annual air show quite late on in the year I decided to have a look over

Not knowing much about the show or what I would need I just packed the bag with my:

  • Nikon D7100
  • Sigam 18-70mm f2.8
  • Nikon 35mm f1.8
  • Nikon 80-210mm f2.8

I set off from Preston for the 20 mile trip to Southport at 11 am knowing its only a short drive thought I would have plenty of time to get there for the red arrows display at 12 pm how wrong was I when I hit the A59 I was met with a barrage of traffic meaning what was a 30 min drive turned into a 2 hour drive meaning I missed quite a bit of the show to start with. However from the traffic jam I did get to see the red arrows but did make me think that my 200mm lens would not be cut out for such distance.

Finally I got to the air show well close enough to capture some images. Due to half the day having gone by stuck in traffic I thought it would be best to just sit outside the air show rather than in it as the show was over the beach so easy enough to get the same images without paying an entrance fee.

The afternoon went on managing to catch shows from both planes and helicopters form different generations both military and stunt planes were putting on a show, with a lot of things I didn’t even think was possible for planes and helicopters alike.

Come 3 pm and the show stopper arrived the two remaining flying Lancaster bombers accompanied by 2 spitfires flew over making multiple passes over the beach thundering along with the massive quad engines quickly I snapped away to try and get different images of the pair as the flew overhead.

Next was the euro fighter and this thing was loud I like loud noises as I spend most of my days at race tracks but the noise made by the euro fighter far surpassed anything I had heard before when the afterburner’s kicked in and glowed red this was followed by a massive roar. I also noticed when the Eurofighter was flying in the clouds you could see the trail round the wings where it was braking through the air which was going to make for interesting pictures.

As the afternoon went on I tried different techniques to try and capture the right images. I normally promote myself on my panning skills as I feel I carry this off very well showing an essence of speed in my pictures while keeping images sharp. Well this became more difficult with planes as the props of the planes were spinning fast while moving so I wanted to catch them as a blur but keep the plane sharp but the plane wasn’t traveling fast enough to warrant a slow shutter speed as my lens wasn’t as close as I needed but I made do with what I had and soldered away as after all this was more of a day at trying my hand at a new type of photography and expanding the skills I already had.

So how did the day go? well I wouldn’t say it went to bad I learnt that if I am to do more of this type of photography I would need a bigger lenses or even a X2 tele convertor also that if I am going to go to another air show in Southport I should give myself more time to get there so I don’t miss as much of the show as I did. I feel from the day I got some good images for my first time carrying out aviation photography and my knowledge of panning and shutter speeds from my motorsport photography helped. I will no doubt have another stab at this photography in the future and expand on the techniques I tired as I found it a good challenge.


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