Eye Eye Captain…

August 9, 2013 | Posted in 1080p, calcite, chesty, culvert, DSLR, EOS, GoPro Hero2, great northern railway, LED, rail, Railway, sync below, Tunnel, Underground, victorian | By

Been trying to find the perfect lighting rig for the GoPro Hero2 for months and never found anything I was happy with so this was a visit to a short but sweet local culvert to try something else out…

4 x 64 LED lights on a handheld frame running at a supposed 5500K (doesn’t look like 5500K if you ask me) and the GoPro was mounted on the Chesty harness.

This is a lot of light in a small space but the Hero2 still struggles to keep up so its reached the end of the line, he’s going on FleaBay very soon and I’ll drop some shekels on a Hero3 Black Edition 🙂

There’s a handful of stills at the bottom shot on the Canon on the way back through, check the pesky flies that quite artistically fooked the long exposure shots up :-p

Flies ignore long exposures…

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Bag Whore

August 2, 2013 | Posted in 5.11, bags, camera, Canon, collosus, DSLR, EOS, flipside, Gearslinger, GoPro Hero, lowe pro, Maxpedition, monsoon, rush 12, Sitka, Tripod | By

Exploring has made me into aself confessed bag whore and I’ve been on the search for the perfect exploring bag for years and years, the thing is there isn’t really any such thing. As long as what you’ve got gets your kit where you need to go without falling apart or damaging your stuff then it doesn’t matter.What is true though are certain bags are better in certain environments, for example in tight, flooded or really muddy spaces I prefer my Sitka Gearslinger as I can spin him round and access whatever I want without taking it off or let the bag touch the ground…..quite useful if you are in four feet of water :-)Every now and then I get an itch to try something new though but invariably they are on eBay within a few days as I’ve not done my homework properly or some ‘feature’ of the bag has annoyed me and I’ve fell out of love with it. My ‘daily driver’ up until recently has been my Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger as he can carry my Canon, various flashlights, Gas Detector, batteries, bits of climbing gear and a side mounted tripod. More importantly its f**ing Bomb Proof which I like in a bag. I’ve had it years but it’s probably not quite as big as it should be……I hate carrying big bags but should probably upgrade him to a Kodiak Gearslinger which is the exact same design just a touch larger…
The last few weeks I’ve been taking out a Lowe Pro Flipside 300 AW that was gifted to me. He’s great in some respects, light, totally customisable and padded inside so I can get my Canon, GoPro, lighting rig, flashlights etc. in plus it has a really neat tripod carrying solution….BUT….the shoulder straps feel VERY flimsy compared to the OTT build qualityoftheMaxpedition stuff and you have to take the damn thing off to access anything inside.

Lowe Pro Flipside 300 AW

The main two I keep going back to though are the Sitka Gearslinger if I’m somewhere out of sight or if I’m trying to blend in a bit the 5.11 Rush 12, he’s great as I can get the camera and tripod inside the bag so is much less conspicuous. For silly ass wet/flooded sites I take an Ortlieb heavyweight dry bag in an attempt to not kill another DSLR.

The new kid on the block is a Maxpedition Colossus which I’ve not taken out yet but like the fact I can drop the Canon/Tokina rig straight into him and access it quickly. I’m hoping it will be perfect for handheld only trips where the tripod stays at home but I reckon it will take a side mounted tripod quite easily if I needed to.

Maxpedition Collossus

 

Other’s that have come and gone are:

Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack – Too small

 



Maxpedition Monsoon Gearslinger – Nice in theory, annoying in practice.

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Bury Internalz

August 2, 2012 | Posted in airfield, Avionics, Bunker, Cold War, DSLR, EOS, F-111, HAAS, Lenser, Long Exposure, Nuclear, RAF, secret bunker, Spy plane, Strategic Air Command, USAAF, WW2 | By

Carrying on with the Mil Derp Cold War vibe from earlier posts…..enjoy

Bulk Fuel Storage (WW2)
Transmitter Building
Briefing Room (Badly lightpainted…)
Flora & Fauna 🙂

Building 25 – Decontamination Area

More rush lightpainting (soz about passing headtorches…)

Better this time…(shot in total darkness)

Building 25 Hard Area

Parachute Store (Building 51)

 

Photographic Processing and Interpretation Facility (Building 69)

 

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Nemesis & The Resurrection

February 21, 2012 | Posted in Canon, DSLR, EOS, flashlights, flooded, GEO E-540, Lenser, Thrunite, Tripod, Underground, wad0rs, waders | By

If you follow this blog you might be aware of an incident that caused me an amount of problems, sadly the upshot of that day has since had even worse fallout and has been the reason for radio silence on this blog…

The place is really my nemesis, we’ve been going there for a long time and it doesn’t reveal its secrets easily, hard work and an often dangerous environment are required to get any payoff. We have found really neat stuff in far flung corners that makes all the slog worth the effort. In fact certain things, that have become obsessional, still elude me and it was just this said ‘thing’ that was on the menu when karma dealt me a sucker punch.

Its true my wad0rs split and I dropped a few quids worth of Lensers into the murky depths but the damage was far far worse as I was to find out. The Thrunite is now working, although it took several days for it to dry out, the ‘sinking tripod’ issues turned out to be the column clamp failing on my Velbon E-540 of which I am waiting to get a spares/repair price for.

The icing on the cake was when my 40D stopped working….yep…d-e-a-d. All of the buttons apart from the shutter had stopped working, the display had gone and the camera just sat there with the autofocus chattering away to itself trying to focus on an invisible/imaginary subject in the distance….FUBAR!!

It was left to dry for a week or so but still refused to play so it got shipped off to the camera doctors while I started searching for a new Canon body (just in case). Two weeks later and several hundred pounds worse off it got couriered back to me having been totally stripped, lovingly rebuilt (with several new parts) and calibrated to Canon factory standards, oh and they cleaned all the mine gunk off it for me too 🙂

The repair slip said my camera had suffered ‘contamination and corrosion’ LOLZ

So, I’m nearly back in the game…stand by for updates in the coming weeks 🙂

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RAF/USAF Alconbury

December 20, 2011 | Posted in 17th Reconnaissance Wing, airfield, Alconbury, Area 51, Avionics, Building 210, Cold War, EOS, Lockheed, Magic Mountain, RAF, Spy plane, Tokina | By

I don’t profess to be any kind of expert on airfields, not even close, but they do interest me, especially Cold War airfields. The following is a ‘cut up’ of material from a variety of locations mingled in with some of my own words. Its certainly not a definitive history on Alconbury, more of an overview to accompany the pictures.

Thanks for looking 🙂

RAF Bomber Command use (1939-1941)
In September 1939, RAF Upwood squadrons were given operational training roles and Alconbury became RAF Wyton’s satellite under No. 2 Group, Squadron Nos. 12, 40 and 139. These squadrons were frequently deployed to Alconbury, No. 139 being the first to be actually stationed there. Squadrons 15 and 40 converted from Battles to Bristol Blenheim bombers. No. 15 Squadron took up residence on 14 April 1940, when additional requisitioned accommodation was available. It flew its first raid of the war on 10 May against a German occupied airfield near Rotterdam.

In May 1942, RAF Alconbury was allocated to the United States Army Air Force:

93d Bombardment Group, 7 September 1942 – 5 December 1942
92d Bombardment Group, 6 January – 15 September 1943
95th Bombardment Group, 15 April – 15 June 1943
482d Bombardment Group, 20 August 1943 – 21 May 1945
801st Bombardment Group (Provisional), January – 1 May 1944
94th Bombardment Wing, 12–18 June 1945
2d Bombardment Wing, 12 June – 26 August 1945
1st Bombardment Wing, 26 June – 26 August 1945
1st Air Division, 20 September – 31 October 1945
406th Bombardment Squadron, 11 November 1943 – 7 February 1944
857th Bombardment Squadron, 11 June – 6 August 1945
652d Bombardment Squadron, 13 July – 25 October 1945
36th Bombardment Squadron: Attached to 328th Service Group, assigned to RAF Watton, operated from Alconbury, 7 February-28

March 1944, Assigned to: 1st Bombardment Division, 28 February – 15 October 1945.

Postwar United States Air Force use:

7560th Air Base Squadron, 7 November 1954 – 25 March 1955 (Redesignated: 7560th Air Base Group, 25 March 1955 – 25 August 1959
86th Bombardment Squadron, 15 September 1955 – 5 August 1959
42d Troop Carrier Squadron, 31 May – 8 December 1957
53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 25 April – 9 August 1959
10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 25 August 1959 – 20 August 1987 (Redesignated: 10th Tactical Fighter Wing, 10 August 1987 – 31 March 1993, Redesignated: 10th Air Base Wing, 31 March 1993 – 1 October 1994)
527th Tactical Fighter Training Aggressor Squadron, 1 April 1976 – 14 July 1988
17th Reconnaissance Wing, 1 October 1982 – 30 June 1991 (Assigned to Strategic Air Command Eighth Air Force 7th Air Division)
39th Special Operations Wing, 1 December 1992 – 1 January 1993
352d Special Operations Group, 1 January 1993 – 17 February 1995
710th Air Base Wing, 1 October 1994 – 12 July 1995
423d Air Base Squadron, 12 July 1995 – 1 July 2005 (Based at RAF Molesworth) (Redesignated: 423d Air Base Group, 1 July 2005 – present)
501st Combat Support Wing, 1 May 2007–present

The Cold War, Spy Planes & Operation Desert Storm
In 1959 with the Cold War hotting up (lame humour..), the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing arrived at Alconbury and over the coming years flew many reconnaissance, electronic warfare and ‘Aggressor Support’ missions.

The Strategic Air Command arrived at Alconbury on 1 October 1982 when the 17th Reconnaissance Wing was activated, bringing with them the U2 and later the TR-1 Spy Plane. These assets required major remodelling of the airfield including Ready Sheds, 13 extra wide Hardened Aircraft Shelters, a Photographic Interpretation Centre and a Nuclear Hardened Command Post/Avionics Suite for the TR-1 spyplanes known only as Building 210 (later nicknamed Magic Mountain).
 
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the threat of the Cold War vanishing there were rumours that RAF Alconbury would be closed down but then in August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Some of the first aircraft to be sent into the Gulf were three TR-1A’s from Alconbury’s 17th Reconnaissance Wing and 23 A-10’s from the 10th Tactical Fighter Wing (511th Tactical Fighter Squadron) were deployed to Saudi Arabia for combat operations.

The 511th TFS A-10s flew no fewer than 1700 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm and played an important part in wreaking havoc on Iraqi tank forces, Scud missiles and other ground positions during the conflict.

In recent years things have wound down considerably and in 1995 the USAF returned the base to the MoD (but retaining the Base Support Area under USAF control). The USAF 423d Air Base Squadron and USAF 501st Combat Support Wing still operate from Alconbury.

Romney Sheds, WW2 Crew, Locker and Drying Rooms – Airfield & Technical Site.
Parachute Store (Building 51) – Airfield & Technical Site
Command Building – Airfield & Technical Site
Hercules Bomber artwork – Airfield & Technical Site
Photographic Processing and Interpretation Facility (Building 69) – Airfield & Technical Site.
WW2 Control Tower & Watch Office with Operations Room for Bomber Satellite Stations – Technical Site
Uni-Seco USAFE Control Tower – Airfield & Technical Site
Guard Tower – Weapons Storage Site
Awesome Warthog/30mm Cannon cartoon drawn by an airman
TR-1/U2 Hardened Aircraft Shelter (Building 4105) – Airfield & Technical Site
17th Reconnaissance Wing Squadron Headquarters – Hardened Area (flooded basement)
(Currently in use by Cambridgeshire Police for tactical training)
Hardened Aircraft Shelter / Tab-Vee ‘Oh Johnnie’ – Airfield & Technical Site
This was demolished by the SAS as a training exercise, took them 3 attempts to flatten it!!
The gratuitous ‘Oh Johnnie vent shot’ taken by everyone (yawn…)
‘Sally Ann’ Tab-Vee/HAS 
(most likely for A-10 Warthog or F5 Tiger…maybe even Phantom LOL!)
‘Sally Ann’ Tab-Vee/HAS Emergency Exit
 

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More new toys….

January 10, 2011 | Posted in Canon, DSLR, EOS, Leica, Lumix TZ6, Panasonic, Tokina | By

My trusty Panasonic Lumix TZ6 has produced every picture you can see on this blog, in fact i’ve taken over 10,000 shots with it, but it has limitations, in fact it has many pluses too such as its size and weight and the awesome Leica lens. However if I want to take better pictures then I need better toys so I dumped a bunch of stuff on eBay which paid for both of these guys. I’m still gonna keep the Lumix as its a great shooter but really want to start to sue these more.

Canon EOS 40D, bought in October last year from a friend and sat on a shelf gathering dust while I sold more stuff on eBay to pay for some quality glass. Two hours ago DHL showed up with the glass, an Ultra Wide Angle Tokina 11-16mm  F2.8, all the way from Germany. This is where the fun starts as I have to learn how to use these guys properly…..

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