Dave Brenchley Photography: Blog https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Dave Brenchley Photography photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) Sat, 19 Dec 2020 06:53:00 GMT Sat, 19 Dec 2020 06:53:00 GMT https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/img/s/v-12/u1070829686-o472991133-50.jpg Dave Brenchley Photography: Blog https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog 120 90 Saal Digital Premium Photobook Review https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2020/7/saal-digital-premium-photobook-review I recently had the chance to trial a new photobook service from Saal Digital. I have made photobooks before, but only using a mainstream (cheap-ish) provider. The Saal Professional Line Photobook I created is in a different class.

First up with any such service is the design application. As always with these, the Saal app has it's idiosyncracies. I didn't find it particularly intuitive and the auto-design function was basically useless. It takes a good chunk of time to learn the software and be able to work quickly and efficiently on page designs. This learning curve can be a real barrier when considering using a new or different service. Overall I wouldn't say it was better or worse than others, just different.

Having submitted the design there seemed to be a lengthy period of upload and image 'checking'. Not sure what was happening here, but it did provide confidence that the software wouldn't let you submit anything bad. Then it was just a case of sitting back and waiting for the delivery from Germany, which took around a week or so.

The finished product is very impressive. I made a 30x30cm lay flat book, with faux-leather cover and gloss paper stock. The book is weighty and the cover looks and feels luxurious. The binding is excellent, straight and solid, and the paper thick and heavy. Reproduction of the photographs is superb and unlike other services I've used, there's nothing in the book where I would question the brightness or colour balance of the print. Overall then, an excellent product.

My only reservation is that this is a premium and therefore very expensive item. The format I chose, with 74 pages, would come in at over £160 at full price. In this case it was an album of wedding photos, so for a once-in-a-lifetime event it's definitely worth it. I don't know that you would spend this much on an album of regular holiday snaps though. Having said that, Saal have a range of other products, at different price levels, which I would be keen to try in the future.

After this experience I will certainly look forward to using their service again.



photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2020/7/saal-digital-premium-photobook-review Sun, 05 Jul 2020 16:09:55 GMT
Duxford Showcase Day https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2019/8/duxford-showcase-day I visited Duxford on 4th August for the second of their 2019 'Showcase' Days. These are normal museum days but with a small scheduled flying display. It's a good opportunity to see some of the resident warbirds in a more relaxed, low key, setting than a full airshow.

On this occasion the flying display consisted of:
Supermarine Spitfire Vc    JG891 (G-LFVC)
Curtiss P-40F 41-19841 (G-CGZP)
Hawker Hurricane I V7497 (G-HRLI)
Supermarine Spitfire PRXI PL983    (G-PRXI)
Hispano HA-112 M1L Buchon C.4K-102 (G-AWHK)
Supermarine Spitfire Ia    N3200 (G-CFGJ)
Supermarine Spitfire FR XIV MV293 (G-SPIT)
North American TF51D Mustang 44-84847 (G-TFSI)

So, a better warbird lineup than many airshows! Other Duxford aircraft were also flying through the day including the 2-seat Spitfires and "The Shark" P-51.

The weather turned out to be very disappointing for photography with bright, white haze for most of the afternoon. Still, I have been able to recover a few decent shots.

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2019/8/duxford-showcase-day Wed, 21 Aug 2019 07:10:59 GMT
Happy 75th Birthday to MH434 https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/8/happy-75th-birthday-to-mh434 75 years ago today, on the 7th August 1943, Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb MH434 rolled off the Castle Bromwich production line. After flight testing by Alex Henshaw MH434 was delivered to No.222 (Natal) Squadron and flown regularly by Flt. Lt. Henry Lardner-Burke DFC, scoring seven and a half kills.

Post war MH434 served in both Dutch and Belgian air forces before returning to the UK in the early 1960s to become one of the very first civilian owned "warbirds". Unique in having remained airworthy for almost its entire existence, MH434 became a famous air display act through the 1970s and 80s particularly in the hands of the late, great, Ray Hanna who acquired the Spitfire for his fledgling Old Flying Machine Company in 1983.

Still based at Duxford today, in the ownership of OFMC and the Hanna family, and regularly displayed by some of the best pilots in the business, MH434 continues to hold a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts despite the ever growing numbers of restored Spitfires on the display scene.

Old Flying Machine Company
Flying Legends

Old Warden, July 2016. Pilot: Brian Smith



Biggin Hill, June 2009. Pilot: Nigel Lamb


Old Warden, May 2018. Pilot: Stu Goldspink


Duxford, May 2014.


Old Warden, May 2018. Pilot: Stu Goldspink

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/8/happy-75th-birthday-to-mh434 Tue, 07 Aug 2018 05:39:09 GMT
Hartwell Windmills https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/5/hartwell-windmills Inspired by the fields of endless yellow and the fantastic weather, I tried some local landscape photography a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure I've spent enough time and effort on landscapes over the years and often find myself in the right place with the right light, not quite knowing what to do. Practice is always good though and it was amazing how much I learnt about technique and my various lenses and equipment in just a few evenings in fields near home.


I never quite got the combination of scene and light that I was looking for, but here are a couple of the better efforts.

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/5/hartwell-windmills Tue, 29 May 2018 17:00:00 GMT
Dambusters https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/5/dambusters Tonight marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Chastise. In the evening of 16th May 1943, nineteen Avro Lancasters of the specially formed 617 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, took off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. Their target the hydro-electric dams of the German industrial Ruhr. Delivering Barnes Wallis’ “Upkeep” bouncing bomb from just 60ft over water, under heavy defensive fire, the Mohne and Eder dams were successfully breached and the Sorpe dam damaged. Eight of the nineteen Lancasters did not return from the operation.


Today just 2 of over 7000 Lancasters built remain in airworthy condition; PA474 with the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and FM213 with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. They fly in commemoration of those who served.


Lest we forget.


The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum



Lancasters PA474 & FM213Lancasters PA474 & FM213 Lancasters PA474 & FM213Lancasters PA474 & FM213 Lancasters PA474 & FM213Lancasters PA474 & FM213

Lancasters PA474 & FM213 at Shuttleworth Flying Proms, August 2014

The Mohne Dam, August 2010The Mohne Dam, August 2010 The Mohne Dam, August 2010The Mohne Dam, August 2010

The Mohne Dam, August 2010

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/5/dambusters Wed, 16 May 2018 06:28:48 GMT
ZSL Whipsnade, April 2018 https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/4/zsl-whipsnade-april-2018 Spent the day at Whipsnade last Sunday. I wasn't really feeling inspired photographically and we'd already passed by the Tiger enclosure twice during the day hoping, without luck, to see them out in the open and away from their concrete hut. Late in the day on the third visit we finally got lucky and found the Tigers getting active. The female sat out in the grass posing for the camera while the male padded around the enclosure, including taking a dip in the pool!

There are some odd effects in the photos as a result of shooting through the fence, but these pictures made the visit for me.

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/4/zsl-whipsnade-april-2018 Wed, 25 Apr 2018 15:08:55 GMT
The Fighter Collection - Grumman F8F Bearcat https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/4/the-fighter-collection---grumman-f8f-bearcat Since I began attending Duxford regularly around 2001, The Fighter Collection (TFC) has operated over 30 different warbirds which I have enjoyed  photographing at numerous airshows, particularly their own annual Flying Legends show. It has been a pleasure to observe the largest and most dynamic collection of historic aircraft in Europe constantly evolving as it restores, maintains and presents these 'planes to the public.


This is the first of a series of galleries in which I will document The Fighter Collection, with a gallery for each aeroplane. I'm intending these will be evolving galleries with about 10 pictures in each, which may change over time as I capture new images or uncover forgotten ones from the past.


First up is the Grumman F8F Bearcat, a founding and longest serving member of the collection. Brian Smith beats-up Old Warden in the Bearcat at the Shuttleworth Fly Navy Airshow in 2016

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/4/the-fighter-collection---grumman-f8f-bearcat Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:04:18 GMT
Thunder in the UK https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/2/thunder-in-the-uk Fantastic news in the warbird world this week with the return of a P-47 Thunderbolt to the UK. Previously a favourite with The Fighter Collection for 20 years or so, Republic P-47D "No Guts, No Glory" was sold the the US in 2006. It is now returning to the UK register, picking up it's old registration G-THUN.

The last time I saw this fighter was at Flying Legends 2006. The pictures here are from Sunday 9th July 2006. I'm really looking forward to seeing a P-47 here again - given the types service history in the European theatre, there really should be one flying in Europe.


photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/2/thunder-in-the-uk Wed, 28 Feb 2018 16:58:23 GMT
Shuttleworth Season Premiere 2017 https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/5/shuttleworth-season-premiere-2017 My airshow season got underway on Sunday 7th May with the first show this season at The Shuttleworth Collection. Amazingly the weather came good for the afternoon and other than being a little breezy was perfect for an air display. 


It was interesting to compare this show to the May premiere show last year when the Collection were still struggling with the new CAA regulations and display distances. I came away last year feeling distinctly glum, not only that much of Old Warden's unique character as a display venue had been lost, but also with a heavy sense of foreboding about what was to come at other displays. Thankfully since then the Collection has worked with the CAA to secure various dispensations and I can happily say that this display was a glorious return to form with beautiful, close, topside curving passes the order of the day. Clearly it is safer for everyone that the aeroplanes are displayed over the airfield, rather than high and far away over the woods...


All of which means there was good photographic opportunities afforded by the flying and the sunshine. As usual at the beginning of the season though it takes me a few airshow days to get back up to speed on panning and general steadiness so I didn't quite get the results I might have done otherwise. In any case there is a selection I'm happy with in the gallery here.

Hawker Hurricane IHawker Hurricane I

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/5/shuttleworth-season-premiere-2017 Wed, 17 May 2017 08:24:14 GMT
Brazilian Wildlife 2016 https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/4/brazilian-wildlife-2016 The gallery here is a selection of wildlife from our trip to Brazil in 2016. All wild, no zoos or captive animals...

Channel-billed Toucan, Jardim Botânico do Rio de JaneiroChannel-billed Toucan, Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/4/brazilian-wildlife-2016 Wed, 05 Apr 2017 15:38:37 GMT
Shuttleworth Collection Calendar 2018 https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/4/shuttleworth-collection-calendar-2018 I'm very pleased to report that one of my pictures has been selected for the 2018 Shuttleworth Collection Calendar. It's an old favourite of the Gloster Gladiator, taken at Duxford in 2010. One of those photos where I only realised years later that I'd captured a great shot... Gloster Gladiator G-AMRK (Shuttleworth Collection)Gloster Gladiator G-AMRK (Shuttleworth Collection)Gloster Gladiator G-AMRK (Shuttleworth Collection)
​At Duxford Flying Legends Airshow 2008

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/4/shuttleworth-collection-calendar-2018 Wed, 05 Apr 2017 14:22:09 GMT
Flying Legends 2016 https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/9/flying-legends-2016 Belated gallery posted here!

I'm pleased to report I thought Flying Legends 2016 was an absolute triumph. Given the challenges of the new regulations and the rather lacklustre interpretation at the Duxford May Airshow, The Fighter Collection did a magnificent job in thinking out of the box and adapting the airfield layout to improve the show. Yes, the tank bank was lost, but the topside passes around the jet pan and the close proximity of taxying aircraft made for a fantastic spectacle nonetheless. Numbers were somewhat down on the biggest Legends shows, not helped by a number of late cancellations, but quality over quantity definitely applied here. Outstanding display of the weekend goes to Richard Grace in the Hawker Fury but Nick Grey's late switch to EP120 for the Sunday Joker slot was magnificent too. Here's hoping we have many more years of Flying Legends shows to look forward too.

Grumman FM-2 WildcatGrumman FM-2 Wildcat

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/9/flying-legends-2016 Sat, 03 Sep 2016 18:25:01 GMT
Facebook Nature Challenge https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/7/facebook-nature-challenge Over the last week I have posted a photo each day for a Facebook nature challenge. It was fun. The pictures I chose are below. Some are already on this site, some are not.


photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/7/facebook-nature-challenge Mon, 25 Jul 2016 19:39:25 GMT
Flying Legends 2016 - Friday https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/7/flying-legends-2016---friday Finally feel like I'm getting the hang of this new Camera / Lens combo... A GREAT day at Duxford today. Too many pictures, not enough time, so here's just one for now...

UPDATE Thursday 14/7. It's taken a week, but here are a few more shots from Friday. Some good stuff still to come from the show days too, at which point there will be a proper gallery.

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/7/flying-legends-2016---friday Fri, 08 Jul 2016 21:14:55 GMT
Flying Legends 2016 - Thursday https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/7/flying-legends-2016---thursday A steady day of activity with mostly The Fighter Collection home team in action and very few visitors as yet. Highlights were displays by Nick Grey in the Spitfire V and Steve Hinton in the P-40C.

Expecting to see a lot more action and a lot of arrivals on Friday!

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/7/flying-legends-2016---thursday Fri, 08 Jul 2016 07:36:11 GMT
Flying Legends 2006 https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/7/flying-legends-2006 This week sees the run up to one of my favourite weekends of the year - Flying Legends Airshow at Duxford. I'll be at Duxford from Thursday for four days immersion in historic warbird aviation action.

One of the things I'm always trying to do with my photography is revisit previous years. Many times, thousands of photos will be left neglected until I find time much later to review and process them. Often there is lots of junk, pointlessly filling gigabytes of drive space. Sometimes though it is a pleasant surprise to find some real gems.

Flying Legends 2006 was my first with an SLR camera and a fairly primitive (compared to what I use now) Canon 75-300mm lens. Nevertheless the weather was good, with beautiful skies for airshow photography and I was able to get some reasonable pictures. Oh how I wish for conditions like this more often...

Posting galleries of old material is something I hope to do more often and I think the 10 year look back is a good one. In this case it is interesting to reflect on the turnover in the European warbird scene in 10 years. Many aeroplanes have been exported or grounded or lost in accidents - Tigercat, Hellcat, P-51 Princess Elizabeth, Spitfire XIV RN201, French B-17 Pink Lady, P-47, P-51 Big Beautiful Doll, Hurricane G-HURR. But on the other hand we have so much that is new - multiple early mark Spitfires, P-40C, P-36, Blenheim Mk.1 etc. Sheer numbers might be down on 10 or 15 years ago, but quality and variety assuredly is not.

I hope to have time to post a picture or two over this weekend of Flying Legends 2016, but if not enjoy 2006 in the meantime...

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/7/flying-legends-2006 Wed, 06 Jul 2016 07:51:19 GMT
Wing To Wing https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/6/wing-to-wing Today, I did this... more soon. :-)

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/6/wing-to-wing Sat, 18 Jun 2016 18:51:04 GMT
Shuttleworth Season Premiere 2016 https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/6/shuttleworth-season-premiere-2016 Tomorrow sees the Shuttleworth Fly Navy Airshow, which should be one of the highlights of the 2016 season, with an astounding line-up and hopefully some good weather.

In the meantime I have now posted some pictures from the Season Premiere Airshow on 8th May. This was a classic instance of feeling quite disappointed on the day and coming home feeling that I hadn't achieved any decent photographs. Looking back a few weeks later however, I'm often pleasantly surprised at what I've got, and that's certainly the case here. Despite the new CAA display regulations and a challenging on-crowd wind, the Collection and visiting pilots put on a great display, including an exemplary demonstration from John Romain in the Bristol Blenheim. 

Hope you enjoy the pictures. (Fingers crossed for tomorrows weather!)

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/6/shuttleworth-season-premiere-2016 Sat, 04 Jun 2016 14:07:29 GMT
Duxford May Airshows https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/duxford-may-airshows In preparation for this weekend's Duxford American Airshow, this is a selection of pictures from the last couple of year's May airshows at Duxford. Go to the gallery to see them all.


photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/duxford-may-airshows Fri, 27 May 2016 20:33:52 GMT
Going Live! https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/going-live If you've arrived here because I've shared this page on facebook this morning, then welcome...

I had hoped to add a few more galleries before publicising the site, but as ever "too many hands on my time"! I'm looking forward to adding some more stuff soon though and getting a bit more variety in the homepage and portfolio selections.

In the meantime, this weekend is the Duxford American Airshow. As ever, I'm excited about a Duxford show, but this time with not a little trepidation given the new post-Shoreham display rules. If the aeroplanes are high and distant then much of the impact and appeal is gone. Arguably the goal of being safer is compromised too, as the displays are moved away from the airfield and consensual crowd and over open land and non-participants. Anyway, let's hope for a good show and weather not too dull for photography.

It will also be my first outing with a new toy, having just got Canon's latest 80D SLR this week. :-)

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/going-live Fri, 27 May 2016 08:10:52 GMT
Duxford Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Airshow https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/duxford-battle-of-britain-75th-anniversary-airshow Continuing the posting of photographs from previous years I have now posted a gallery from the Duxford Battle of Britain Anniversary Airshow in 2015. This show unsurprisingly featured Spitfires and Hurricanes and was blessed with some gorgeous late summer light. I hope my pictures do some justice to a really memorable event.

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/duxford-battle-of-britain-75th-anniversary-airshow Thu, 12 May 2016 15:56:47 GMT
New Galleries - France 2015 & Whipsnade Zoo https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/new-galleries---france-2015-whipsnade-zoo I'll be adding a number of galleries over the next few days as I begin to populate my new website with some of my previous images. The first couple of these are:

France 2015 - a selection of pictures from our road trip in August/September 2015 which included a whistle-stop tour of the Hautes-Alpes via Annecy & Briancon followed by a week on the west coast of Normandy.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo - a selection of pictures from various visits to Whipsnade over the last few years. In 2014 we stayed overnight with the excellent Lookout Lodge experience.

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/new-galleries---france-2015-whipsnade-zoo Thu, 12 May 2016 10:07:49 GMT
World Endurance Championship - 6 hours of Silverstone https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/world-endurance-championship---6-hours-of-silverstone Had a fantastic day at Silverstone on 17th April for the opening round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship. You can see a selection of photographs from the day in this gallery.

photography@davebrenchley.co.uk (Dave Brenchley Photography) https://www.davebrenchleyphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/5/world-endurance-championship---6-hours-of-silverstone Tue, 10 May 2016 15:32:28 GMT