Photography by Tom Lane
Unfortunately the original page, covering the Spitfire Flight disappeared from the server I use, and so this is a recreation using some of the original images. There was more detail in the original text, but this having been written almost a year on, I cannot remember some of the facts.
Basically, a very good friend of mine celebrated a special birthday in August 2021 by taking a Spitfire Flight from Biggin Hill Airport and asked me to come along and take some photographs. I had no idea of the photo opportunities but took along two Leica SL bodies, one fitted with a 24-90mm lens and the other a 90-280mm. On arrival at the airport it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get any good aerial shots as the runway was far from the small terminal. Fortunately, there was a GippsAero GA8 Airvan which could be chartered to act as a ‘chaser’ aircraft for the Spitfire Flight. From a photography point of view this seemed too good of an opportunity to miss.
The Spitfire pilot discussed his plan for the flight and we agreed that we would take off first and then the Spitfire would come from below and left, duck under to our right, back to the left (the best side for the light) and then peel away and back to the airfield.
I thought I would need the longer of the two lenses, but it soon became apparent that as we were flying so close together (at some points only 10 feet between wingtips) the shorter would be adequate, and in fact some of the images were taken at around 40mm focal length.
All in all it was a truly memorable day.
Getting Strapped In And Ready
At the end of the runway awaiting take-off clearance. Taken from the chaser aircraft.
Up and Away
Peeling off and heading back to Biggin Hill.
The smiles say it all
“PATROLLING THE CAPITAL”
With my love of Black & White photography I felt I could produce that ‘special’ print. I used a photograph I had taken a couple of years ago, with a Leica T camera, whilst circling over London on an Air India flight from Bombay and then superimposed one of the Spitfire images from Biggin Hill. I was really pleased with how the finished imaged turned out and it has been a very successful print for me.