In the second installment of his long-awaited trip to Japan, Paul Filmer shoots some fast jets, including F-15 Eagles.
After the long drive the previous day, it was finally time to shoot some Japanese military hardware.
Tsuiki Air Base in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture, home to the 8th Air Wing and 6 Squadron (F-2A/B) and 304 Squadron (F-15J/DJ) – the sky was overcast and the ground was wet, but at least it wasn’t actually raining!
We carefully followed the directions, via some farmers’ fields, and found the correct spot to park.
The shooting location was only a five minute walk from the car and this particular one was at the south-eastern side of the airfield, close to a harbour.
From here you can shoot the aircraft taxiing, at the last chance, and either departing or arriving, depending on the wind.
The first aircraft out was a T-4 on a weather sortie, which seemed to be a standard procedure and duplicated at each base we visited.
Unfortunately after he came back and landed, the very grey skies decided that then would be a good time to rain on us – so the T4 actually brought the weather back with it!
We sheltered under the nearby trees and it was here that we found the famous spiders. Almost all the reports we’d read about Tsuiki talked about huge spiders in the trees. Expecting something bigger than your hand, we were almost disappointed to find that they were only the size of half your palm. Still, they’re not for anyone who suffers from arachnophobia!
Some F-15Js launched while it was still raining, but luckily it petered out, although the grey skies stayed with us to the bitter end.
This isn’t the busiest of airfields,or at least it wasn’t on this most overcast of days, so I went for a few wanders around the harbour, shooting the scenery and wildlife.
Day one of real shooting completed, we just hoped the weather would improve for the days ahead. To be continued…