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X-100 VS DP2 Merrill - Air Park

Mach II.  1958.  English Electric 'F1' Lightning.  
Sigma DP2 Merrill. 1/250 @ f8.0 ISO100

AeroPark Leicestershire -

A 'field trial' of the X-100 and the Sigma DP2 Merrill

I visited the local aircraft museum at Castle Donington on the border of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  It was quite surreal to see retired jet planes (and Helicopters ) from the early to mid years of the RAF and Royal Navy.   As a kid I'd built 'Airfix' models of The Buccaneer, The Phantom, The Hunter, The Meteor, The Vampire, The Harrier 'Jump' Jet The Vulcan and most iconic of all... the BAC Lightning.

Not art.  But hopefully an illustration of the capabilities fo the respective cameras. All of the X-100 Shots were at ISO 400.

I went to the Aeropark with the objective of maximising the benefit of some mid winter sunshine - but I was transported (sic) to another time and for once I just took pictures of some great aircraft.

The (English Electric)  - BAC Lightning.

This aircraft really was the stuff of boyhood dreams... So much so that when I saw it I climbed over the ropes to get closer and actually reached out to touch it.  Mad.   Unlike the rest of the military aircraft of the era, the Lightning was not painted.  Instead it was left as a shiny metal finish.  It still looks like its on a film set - waiting for Buck Rodgers.

The Lightning was built to be fast.  Conceived to combat an anticipated threat from Supersonic Bombers at high altitude coming from the East.  The threat never materialised, and so the Rocket engine (Seriously) was dropped from the specification.  The standard stacked jet configuration wasnt too shabby sans rocket though:  2 Rolls Royce Avon Engines took the F3 Version to Mach 2.  (Twice the speed of sound!)  Climb was astonishing and it was famous for being able to stand on it's tail and climb almost vertically.... Climbing at it's most efficient way it could reach 36,000 ft in under 3 minutes.  The Typhoon Eurofighter has a maximum speed - exactly the same.... Makes you think eh? 

Fuji X100

Good colour and great to have a bit of extra ISO to work with:  The majority of these shots were taken at ISO400.  

Sigma DP2 Merrill

Royal Navy Buccaneer XV350.

Section for the picture above at 100%

Vulcan Bomber XM 575 - Retired.

The Avro (Hawker Siddeley) Vulcan Bomber

The Vulcan was an icon of the 'Cold War'.  Part of the UK Nuclear Delivery system and it's rather sinister delta wing silhouette lives long in the memory.  It was powered by 4 Rolls Royce Olympus Engines - The same power system as Concord - the now defunct Supersonic Jet Airliner.   The Vulcan was not designed to be 'Supersonic' with a design speed of Mach 0.96 (645mph)  at 55,000 Feet.  The wikipedia entry for this aircraft is particularly good if you're interest" Read it here 

I love the texture of the underside of the wing.  We think of Jet engined aircraft as the hi-tech epitome of everything man-made and engineered.  

I was struck by just how like the carapace of a turtle or skin of an elephant it is.  The skin of the gladiator carries the marks of the life lived, the battles fought and the stresses faced.   I like the way it's almost become an organic thing.  The picture to me looks like a beach just as the tide is going out, and the DP2 has done a lovely job, this time focussed on tonal gradation rather than detail per-se.  

Under the Delta wing of a Vulcan Bomber. Skin.

Chris BamptonComment