Welcome to my new image gallery. This will replace my original Fotopic gallery which was lost when Fotopic closed down unexpectedly in early 2011 with the loss of all members photo galleries. The images were not lost, as they were all backed up on my own computer, but the layout, captioning and information all went along with Fotopic. With over 2000 images to replace, it will take many months to bring this gallery upto what I hope will be a similar standard as the previous one.

I live in the county of Suffolk in the UK and am fortunate to live within daily reach of quite a few military airfields, although even these are considerably less than what used to be here during the cold war. Wattisham, just a few miles outside of Stowmarket is my nearest, followed by the USAF bases at Mildenhall and Lakenheath at less than a hours drive away. Moving outside the county, but still within a few hours drive is the RAF fast jet bases at Marham and Coningsby. Very few of the photographs shown here will have been taken at the well known and large scale airshows that most are familiar with, as I dislike the manner in which they generally treat the aviation enthusiast and photographer nowadays. I find it much more rewarding to spend a day at the fence of a airfield on a normal, operational day.

A little information about the camera equipment used. I started my digital career with a Canon Eos 350D in late 2005, initally using my old 75-300mm USM carried over from my film camera. Although adequate, this lens was very limiting at longer range and with increased distances nowadays at airshows between aircraft and the crowdline it became apparent that something better was needed. I acquired the popular 100-400L IS in the summer of 2006, and that remains my primary long range lens. I added a Eos 400D body in 2007, enabling the use of a long and short range lens at the same time without swapping lenses in the field. With the sensitivty of digital bodies to dust spots, this was highly desirable. The Canon 28-135 IS became my standard short range lens in 2009. A new Eos 550D body was acquired in 2010, allowing the retirement of the older Eos 350D. Although I did not intend to change this line up for the foreseeable future, an unexpected opportunity in August 2011 meant that I acquired an Eos 7D as my new primary camera body, along with a fixed 300mm L 'prime'. The Eos 400D has been retired, and the Eos 550D is now my no2 camera body.

Although probably obvious to most visitors, a few words about aviation photography at military airfields might just be in order to avoid any misunderstandings, especially with the apparent gradual change in attitude towards general public photography in a increasingly restrictive and paranoid UK. All photographs have been taken from outside MoD property, or during public airshows and private visits when permission to photograph has been approved. There is nothing sensitive shown or written that is not already publicly sourced that I am aware of.

Any questions concerning aviation photography, the locations shown or just general enquries then please contact me via the 'contact' button on the menu or at the bottom of the page. I will always try and help somebody where possible. If starting out in aviation photography, two of the forums listed (UK Airshow Review and Fighter Control) in the 'links' menu on the lefthand side of the screen are quite helpful, as both contain dedicated photography subforums where help and advice can be sought and is freely given.

Gary Stedman

April 2011 (last updated June 2012)

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