Many potential visitors to the air museum assume that we are a summer time, seasonal attraction. In fact, we are open all year round. And while it is true that some of our more vulnerable exhibits must take cover from the Yorkshire winter, there’s still plenty to see and photograph here at the museum in winter time. Here’s a guide for photographers of all levels on some ideas to help you take pictures if you’re visiting us in winter time. Whether you’re an iPhone selfie shooter or a high end DSLR owner, we hope you find it useful.
Memory Space. An obvious one, but we often hear people saying that they have no more space for pictures. If you’re using your phone, take a moment to back up those images from Christmas to your computer and free up some space. You do back up those photos, don’t you…..? We recommend Dropbox as a great free way to back up images on the fly. If you’re using memory cards in your camera, be sure to bring plenty of them with you. Memory is cheap these days. And finally, of course, make sure you have plenty of battery life.
Make the best of quieter days. Sometimes in summer, it’s easy to become frustrated waiting for people to move out of the way for you to get that shot you wanted. In winter time, of course there are fewer people around so it will be far easier to spend some time composing that shot without having to dodge in and out.
For the experienced DSLR shooters, long lenses are a good way to go. If you’re shooting outside, you’ll see that the thinner crowds mean that you can get that low angle telephoto shot of Victor Lusty Lindy without waiting forever for a gap in the people. While inside, use your wide aperture and zoom in close on the details of Friday 13th, while throwing the background out of focus with that aperture. Modern digital DLR’s have amazing high ISO performance, meaning that you can sometimes shoot handheld, even inside the hangars. For those with more regular DSLR’s try bringing along a monopod, or even a tripod if you need to.
iPhone users, fire up your apps. The default iPhone camera is pretty good these days, but with the very low sunlight in winter time, it can’t always cope with shadows. Pro HDR is a great iPhone app that takes two images – one of the highlights and one of the shadows, then combines the two in your phone to deliver an optimised image that looks great. It takes a little practice and you need to stand still as it takes both shots, but it’s a great app.
Shoot the Details. As some of our aircraft will be parked very close together as they hibernate in the Canadian Hangar, you won’t always have an unobstructed view. So instead, take a look at some of the design details and try shooting them, Military aircraft are literally covered in warning signs, graphics and, of course, signs of victories, so try shooting some of those. Even our more hardy Cold War Jets living outside have either nose art or ominous warnings about the perils of ejector seats. we often see these shots on Instagram, Facebook and other places! Anyone can shoot great detail shots, why not have a try?
Our volunteer engineers are working behind the scenes to restore aircraft ready for the summer time so you will often see aircraft dismantled in ways that you perhaps never normally would. While you may not see a complete aircraft, you may well get to see aircraft such as our Dakota with the engine cowlings removed as we work on those big radials, something you may not see in summer time.
When you’re done, warm up slowly. Not you, your camera! If you feel like visiting the NAAFI for a warming cuppa, a hearty jacket potato or some lasagne, if it’s a really cold day, return your camera to the car boot to warm up gently. Non-professional cameras can sometimes suffer from condensation if you bring them suddenly into the warm, just like your glasses steaming up. In extreme cases, this can fog up the insides, so let them warm up bit by bit in the car.
Show us your pictures! We love to see the pictures that people take when they visit, so be sure to give us a shout out on Facebook on Instagram and Twitter. Spring time will soon be with us, but there’s still plenty to see in winter time, both inside the hangars and outside too.