2013 Flights

Stratford Upon Avon from the air.

Early October saw the trees starting to change colour here in Nottinghamshire. I took the opportunity to get airborne to shoot some stock images locally.

I started off photographing a few local villages and then over towards Edwinstowe and Thoresby Colliery. I got some good shots of Thoresby Hall Hotel with the bright red foliage on the front of the main building. I then made my way over Gamston airport to Headon airfield where I stopped for a cup of tea and a chat. On my way back home there were several tractors working hard sowing seeds for next years crops, these made my next aerial photo subjects and can be found in the aerial art/patterns gallery.

The camera for this trip was my fantastic Canon EOS 6D and I used my trusty 70-200L F2.8 IS lens. I had the built-in GPS enabled to geotag all my photos.

Very strong winds are forcast for the rest of this week so I'll be grounded for a while editing and uploading!

After the severe weather of the last few days I finally got airborne yesterday to shoot some industrial buildings in Warwickshire.

Whilst I was transiting to Redditch I got the chance to add some new galleries to my site including: Kenilworth Castle and The Pleasance, which is an earthworks from a moated manor house that was built for King Henry V around 1414 near Kenilworth. On my return from Redditch  I took the opportunity to take some aerial photos of Stratford upon Avon, Warwick and Leamington Spa. I also took some aerial photos of Coventry Airport, Coventry Airpark industrial area and Heathcote Industrial Estate.

Now into the middle of November and the weather is poor more often than not so when I got the opportunity to fly on Sunday to shoot an air to air with a brand new P&M Quik GTR microlight, I jumped at it.

Accompanying us on the flight were two final year media students who were trying out aerial video for the first time. They both enjoyed the flight and will hopefully join us again in the near future.

We found it hard to maintain a good formation in the conditions but we did manage to get exactly the shot we wanted as discussed at the pre-flight brief.

Once the air to air shoot was complete I managed to shoot a few air to ground aerials as I always do. I even managed to add a new village, Cromwell to my Nottingham villages gallery. The late afternoon light was by now great and I took a few of Newark and Newark Castle on the way back to the airfield.

The equipment was my Canon EOS 6D and 70-200 f2.8 IS.

Sunday December 1st dawned clear, bright and a chilly 0C-2C. Once airborne I levelled off and began taking photos almost immediately as conditions were just about perfect for aerial photography. Heading West I was soon able to add yet another village to my Nottinghamshire villages gallery, this time it was Pleasley near Mansfield. I also shot more of Pleasley Colliery which is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and mining museum.

Within 5 minutes or so I was approaching Hardwick Hall which always looks fantastic from the air. The hall was built for Bess of Hardwick who was the richest woman in Britain aside from  Queen Elizabeth the First.

After passing the M1 motorway my GPS was soon telling to climb to avoid the terrain that is the start of the Derbyshire Peak District. After passing Chesterfield a few miles to my right I was soon approaching the Derwent Valley and another of Bess of Hardwick's former homes, Chatsworth House. I was expecting and hoping that there would be mist lying in the Valley but today Chatsworth was bathed in lovely early morning sunshine so I wasn't too disappointed. When planning this flight I had noticed that Haddon Hall was only about 3 miles from Chatsworth heading about 210 degrees. I soon found it tucked away in the River Wye Valley and was amazed that I'd never seen this beautiful Tudor style building before. It has origins back to the 11th century and the current building has parts built between the 13th and 17th century. 

From Haddon my plan was to go to Stoke on Trent about 25 miles further West. I could see a ridge of cloud in the distance  but carried on towards it as there was lots to see and photograph in the shape of the fields and dry-stone walls and the old disused Bell Pits. Some of these coal mines date back to medieval times and can be seen following the coal seam across the landscape. As I got within 7 miles of Stoke it became clear that the cloud ahead was down to the floor so I abandoned my search for the source of the Trent for another day and headed for Matlock instead.

Overlooking Matlock is Riber Castle which has yet more building work going on, this time in the grounds rather than the castle itself.

I was now benefiting from a slight tailwind but was also starting to feel the cold creeping through the flying suit. Passing once again over the M1 I added Sutton in Ashfield to my galleries and then the really colourful new Kings Mill Hospital. A few quick shots of Mansfield and it was time to land for a cup of tea and breakfast. After one and a half hours flying I'd taken 320 photos. A great way to start December.

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