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A look back at RIAT 2023.

So, RIAT is over for another year. Kit has been cleaned, checked and packed away ready for the next outing and all the images are safely stored in the server. Time at last to reflect on the event and how it went.
Unlike last year the weather this year pretty much threw everything at us, strong gusty winds sadly meant that the BBMF had to cancel a large part of the event and torrential downpours were stark contrast to last years heatwave. Of the six days I managed four of them, I skipped Friday due to the weather and by Monday I was done in!
In my pre RIAT blog I did say I was hoping to set up my gimbal to shoot some video. Unfortunately, due to the fact it meant to much kit to carry and get through the gate I cancelled the idea but I am still hoping to try it out at another event in the future (watch this space).
As I mentioned earlier the weather was not a team player this time around and I found myself at times shooting in heavy driving rain. This was a bit of a first for me but I have to say sometimes bad weather produces great pictures and aircraft trailing great clouds of rain water behind them on landing did create some good images. The important thing I must take away from this is you must not let the prevailing conditions stop you from chasing the dream! Or, put another way, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing”
Enough about the weather, what of the actual event. 2023 saw the first ever visit by a Messerschmitt Me262 replica to UK skies. The aircraft belongs to the Airbus Heritage Flight and arrived at Fairford escorted by the Rolls-Royce Heritage Flight. In service the Spitfire and Mustang would have been the types deadly enemy but for RIAT 2023 the three aircraft made a fantastic sight flying in formation. I’m a bit of a fan of cold war aircraft so the visiting Polish SU22 Fitter was most welcome for me. Also a cold war icon, the Greek F4 Phantom is always appreciated by the crowds. Sadly these aircraft are in their twilight now but I do hope we see them again at future air tattoo’s. The German Luftwaffe created an excellent display routine following the sky tanker theme showcasing how their A400 Atlas can refuel two Tornado’s at the same time. The display went on to show how a Tornado can “buddy” refuel another Tornado. Altogether an impressive sight.
RIAT always delivers the very best of military aviation, Both modern and historic and the 2023 event did not disappoint. I am already looking forward to hopefully attending next year’s event and fingers crossed it will be dry with little wind!
So, with the dust settled and the pictures safely filed what am I taking away from 2023?
The action happens irrespective of the weather so be ready for the worst but hope for the best! Sometimes we forget that good kit isn’t limited to photographic equipment, if we are not dry, warm and comfortable then we are not in a good place to get the best images. Clothing is kit!
Sometimes we carry way too much kit. Despite modern cameras being very reliable we still lean towards two bodies and at least two possibly three or even more lenses. This year my 5D did the heavy lifting and I backed it up with my M50. Regular readers will know I’m a staunch advocate of the M50 and I can honestly say it ALWAYS delivers great results! Instead of dragging the 400mm lens around this year I went with the 70-200mm and a 2X converter. Results are looking good so far and a lot less weight. Win win!
Always be ready for the unexpected, the tempo of RIAT is often high and things happen quickly and sometimes without warning. DON’T TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE ACTION!
For 2023 we were encouraged by the organisers to pack light due to the increased security. I found I could ditch a lot of kit I’ve dragged around in the past and still get the results. Try it, you might be amazed what a difference it makes.
So that’s it, RIAT 2023 is a wrap and the adventure continues with the next outing………..

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