Biggin Hill – 18 August 2015 – ‘The Hardest Day’

When Biggin Hill announced it was convening 17 Spitfires and 5 Hurricanes, as a salute to ‘The Hardest Day’ of the Battle of Britain (September 15, 1940), there weren’t enough wild horses in the world to keep me away. This magnificent turnout was however fewer than the aircraft booked, although memory fails to recall how many Spits and Hurricanes were unable to show on the day.

The participants:

Spitfires

  1. Mk I – AR213
  2. Mk I – X4650
  3. Seafire III – PP972
  4. Mk V – EE602
  5. Mk V – BM597
  6. Mk V – EP120
  7. Mk IX – RR232
  8. Mk IX – MK356
  9. Mk IX – TA805
  10. Mk IX – MH434
  11. T IX – MJ627
  12. T IX SM520
  13. T IX – ML407
  14. Mk XI – PL965
  15. Mk XIV MV293
  16. Mk XVI RW382
  17. Mk XVI – TE184

 

Hurricanes

  1. Sea Hurricane I -Z7015
  2. Hurricane I/X – AE977
  3. Hurricane I – R4118
  4. Hurricane IIc – PZ865
  5. Hurricane XII – P3700/Z5140

 

Wildcard

  1. P-51D – G-SHWN

Wide Open Space

Wide Open Space.jpg

I’ve loved photography, from well before I could ever afford a camera of my own. I used to borrow the family Yashica and wander the local parks and wotnot, looking for things to photograph. Of course, having little idea of what I was doing, results were mixed.

My second pay salary, after I started out in full time work, was invested in a Praktica SLR and this simple but robust mechanical camera was the means by which full manual control was mastered. Later, I graduated on to a Canon A1 and a quad of Canon lenses before the photography bug itched so hard I had to scratch it with a City & Guilds in General Professional Photography, to satisfy a thirst for knowledge and understanding.

At the end of that three year course, it seemed daft not to put it to use, so I bought a Mamiya RB67 and Metz 45 and became an established wedding photographer. Over twenty years and more than 100,000 professional photographs later, I ‘retired’ from that part time occupation and now enjoy photography semi-professionally through Airfix Model World and ‘in my own time’, as it were.

One area of the hobby that I’ve explored increasingly is via my iPhone, currently a 6S. This shot was taken on a beach walk at low tide, from a point north of Bude in North Cornwall. It was a true ‘grab’ shot. My youngest boy, Josh was with us and I ‘saw’ the shot immediately. There was only time for two frames before the composition disappeared.

I love it for the overwhelming tranquility and because it is something of a metaphor for my own views of humanity in this world, the so called ‘industrialised’ peoples are busy wrecking – first the scale. Josh is ‘humanity in scale’ or at least as it should be. He moves across the landscape leaving only the most fleeting trace, which evaporates to nothing within moments. There is the sweeping horizon, denied to us in the concrete morass of our cities, the huge, arching canopy of the sky and the intense light of the sun that Josh is walking towards. His hands are open and empty. There are no tools, no ‘things’ in them; aside from his clothes, he is simply alive in a living landscape. Time is absent. No schedules. No expectations. Life, as it should be.

In truth, I don’t think I’ll ever take another photograph I could be happier with – not because it’s technically ‘perfect’ (it isn’t) but because to me, it is profoundly spiritual.