Karl Drage's 2012 blogGAR Entries

AUG 01 2012
blogGAR: Dove, Firefly and 27R Line-Up Shots at London-Heathrow Airport

22 May 2012 and another visit where a fair amount of inspiration had come from a series of posts on Facebook! The poster responsible this time is Phil Broad, and it was his shots of aircraft lining up on Runway 27R late in the day that had particularly caught my eye; images or aircraft taxying at Heathrow were not something I’d got in my collection prior to this point!

So, once again venturing out with Geoff, we planned to make the most of it. The emergence of BA’s ‘Dove’ and ‘Firebird’ Olympic liveries were enough to ensure of that.

Arriving at the garage on the Southern Perimeter Road about 0930, visibility wasn’t the best. While the sun was trying to break through, it was extremely hazy and, to be honest, it wouldn’t ever truly clear during the day. As such the images from the morning, particularly the early part, were somewhat lacking.

There was still some nice stuff to be had prior to the 1500 runway change, though. Aside from catching both of BA’s specials, the Virgin A330, Saudi Arabian 777-300, United’s ‘Star Alliance’ 767 and Delta’s pink ‘Force for Global Good’ and ‘SkyTeam’ jets were all new ones for me. I’d never shot an Air Canada A319 at Heathrow either – apparently operating a scheduled summer service!

After the runway switch took place, recoveries were to 27L, so we retreated to Myrtle Avenue for a while, where our paths finally crossed with Andy Simpson for the first time. Shooting predominantly with a long lens, it was the heavies that were particularly of interest (when isn’t it, I hear you ask!), though there was a lot of heat haze rising from the built up areas at certain points down the approach.

Come 1700 we headed northside, in search of those hitherto uncaptured taxi shots. Shooting through the fence and sitting on the floor, it wasn’t easy, but I think the ends justified the means. Mark Kwiatkowski and Andy Simpson also joined us.

The light just kept getting better and better, and if there’s one thing Heathrow’s not short of, it’s variety. I was particularly pleased to shoot my first South African – to my mind a very tasteful scheme – and the Aer Lingus retrojet.

With the light, and Geoff’s will, fading fast it was time to call it a day. I’d clearly enjoyed it a whole lot more than he had, confessing on the way home to having been ready to go late-afternoon. A clear sign that age is catching up with him!

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