A sticky end

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Ever looked at a Spider’s web closely? I took a walk around my garden the other day and noticed this web stretched between two shrubs. Even though this is a small creatures home, it is also a sticky end for some unsuspecting insect. After studying it for a couple of minutes I decided to grab my camera and tripod so I could take a couple of shots of this intricate piece of natural art. To create more of an effect I sprayed water over the web and then took out the colour. Black and white works well with images like this, just to make the subject stand out better.

After downloading a few simple images into Lightroom I decided to use this one for this post. It’s my very first web photo and would be interested in shooting more in the future, so if anyone has any tips on where to find the best examples of shooting tips then I’m all ears.

The Port

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Support local Arts & Crafts in your area!

http://www.stevereesphotographyni.co.uk/

I had the pleasure of working with the partners of a very well known arts & crafts shop in a wee fishing village near where I live. My contact was Dympna Curran, who approached me and asked if I would create images for the shops new web site which was being developed.

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The shop itself is based in Portaferry, County Down, Northern Ireland and was set up by a group of local arts and crafts folk, who wanted an opportunity to promote and sell their products within their community. This wee shop attracts a lot of interest both from locals and tourists alike. There is a good variety of work ranging from local photography and paintings through to textile works and pottery.

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There are two floors to explore and plenty of interesting arts to view.

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The hand drawn image of a donkey caught my attention as I made my way around the shop.

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A bowl of apples and pears like you’ve never seen them before. These were carved by a local wood carver. Would look great in any kitchen or living area of your home.

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Local pottery for everyone’s taste is available, like these decorative mugs above.

Besides this shop there are also a good selection of facilities within Portaferry such as places to eat, boat trips and a wonderful Sea life center.

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If ever you are in this beautiful part of Ireland then a visit to this shop is a must, as you will be able to take home a reminder of this magical little village.

Canon or Nikon?

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http://www.stevereesphotographyni.co.uk

 

Before I got serious about photography I told my wife “If ever you decided to buy me a camera as a gift, please make sure it is either a Canon or a Nikon”

It was something that I was so  adamant about, simply because they had such a great range of bodies and lenses, but more importantly they are so dominant within the professional world. The one thing that baffled me was to see the amount of seriously harsh arguments with brutal words thrown back and forth in forums, about which one was best. Personally I just didn’t get it, as it is personal choice at the end of the day. I personally didn’t mind which one I had, as I knew I had a huge learning curve ahead of me anyway. My personal camera choice was down to my wife’s long and extensive research, asking many professional photographers which camera would be ideal for my needs.

For me personally there are flaws in both manufacturers models and it’s the case of getting the best out of each camera and dealing with these flaws the best way I can. To be honest, I have seen astoundingly good and bad images from both, which has shown me that it is simply down to the user on the day.

The reason for me writing this post is to ask Nikon/ Canon owners why they decided to buy their respective cameras.

Please feel free to leave your choice of camera and reasons why you decided to go for this choice.

 

Thank you!

Unknown Destination

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http://www.stevereesphotographyni.co.uk

Not really sure why I decided to write this post, but I guess it is something different to the norm for me and maybe that’s a good enough reason to do so.

Have you ever stopped to think about what is really waiting for you beyond this world, after you give your last breath? Try to imagine what it will be like when you are lying there on your deathbed, knowing that any moment now you could just slip away into an endless sleep. What kind of things do you think you will be experiencing? What sort of thoughts will be going through your mind? and will you be fearing the unknown or feeling calm knowing exactly where you are going?

I was out with the camera back last year and I came across a couple of old graveyards and derelict churches and decided to take a few shots. As I  walked around the graves I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of lives these people led, what they experienced at that transitional period between life and death and where they were at this moment in time.

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There has always been big debates on what happens to us when we pass away on our deathbed. Some believe we just simply end our life and that is that, with our bodies decaying back into the earth. Some believe in reincarnation, where our soul re-lives as someone or something else and others believe that we have an afterlife. Some believe in eternal damnation for the wicked in a place where peoples flesh will continuously burn and pain and misery will be with them for eternity. Others then believe in a Heavenly place of peace and joy for the ones who chose that path. There are many other beliefs that people take on but you get the picture. One things for sure, we all for some strange reason lose 21 grams in weight after we give our final breath and no explanation has been given to why.

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Lately I have been thinking about what will happen to me after I pass away more frequently than ever before. Maybe it’s because I am 3 years from half a century old. It would be interesting to know what people who don’t have a faith or don’t believe in any religion feel about the subject. And what would the thoughts of an atheist be on their own deathbed? And how does someone who believes in Jesus Christ actually feel at peace on their deathbed when the time comes? I know we will never know the thoughts of all who have passed away, yet there have been some who have shared their final moment  just before they leave their loved ones.

I lost my first wife to cancer at the age of 34 back in 2002 and moments before she slipped away she had a real peaceful look on her face, as if she knew where she was going to. About 18 months after that day something supernatural happened to me. This experience showed me a couple of things about our lives.

Firstly, not everything that happens in our lives is natural or physical and there are unseen forces at work, that neither man nor science can explain.

Secondly, if you have experienced anything supernatural then it is very personal to you and cannot be taken away from you by anyone, even if others don’t believe it.

Thirdly, I experienced an unearthly moment of my life that gave me a peace in my heart about where my first wife is and what she is experiencing Even though I can’t explain it fully, I know it was something very special and out of the ordinary, which was soothing result of an emotional and difficult night for me.

I would be grateful to anyone who would spend a moment to give some feedback on what their thoughts are on this subject, so feel free to write them in the comments box below and thank you for spending the time to read this post. 🙂

Interview with a photographer (July)

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http://www.stevereesphotographyni.co.uk

 

Each month I discuss with different photographers about what makes them tick in the world of photography, their influences and how they came about doing what they do.

 

This month I am talking to Joss – Josspeix Photo who is a very gifted photographer living in Paris, France.

 

About Me:

My name is Joss Peix, I am 42 years old and I live in Paris. My lovely wife and I are both of Portuguese origin. We unfortunately do not have children, my wife is suffering from an illness – endometriosis – which makes her infertile. This is the fight of our life:  overcome the disease and succeed in having a child, the more wonderful in this world.

Photography is a passion of mine, but it is not the only one. I also love music, especially rock, and I play a little guitar. I was also an actor in amateur theater group. I took a break, but I hope to back soon, because I miss the boards!

Today is the photo that takes up the most space in my activities. For a year, I decided to share them on social networks and via a website, just for the pleasure of sharing these emotions I feel when I capture the “decisive moment.”

 

My website : http://josspeix.jimdo.com/

Follow me on Twitter : @josspeix

Follow me on Flickr : Josspeix Photo

 

Q1. What or who inspired you to do photography in the first place?

  1.   I started photography a long time ago, in 1988, with my Minolta Dynax 5xi film camera. From an early age, I was inspired by humanist photographers of the 20th century, who immortalized Paris in unforgettable black and white photography: Izis, Willy Ronis, Sabine Weis, Brassaï, Robert Doisneau, René-Jacques, Jean-Claude Gautrand …

So I immediately liked the black and white street photography. In 1993, I went to see by chance a photography exhibition in Paris: Workers from Sebastiao Salgado. It was a biggest visual, emotional and artistic impact for me. Through these pictures, which showed the hard life of workers in the world, I realized the impact that could have a picture. I understood the human and economic messages that could have a photo. This gave me to travel, meet people and witness to the human condition through the picture. The pictures tell, without words, what our eyes see. It is a testimony and a memory of the world for the next generation. There is one thing that always comes to my mind when I take a photo: to take a photo is to love people and life!

Q2. What kind of gear do you use?

 

Camera body 

Nikon D7000 DSRL and a Fujifilm X20 compact expert

 

Lenses –

Tokina 11-17 F2.8

Tamrom 17-50 F2.8

Nikon 50 mn F1.8

Nikon 18-200 F3.5-5.6

Muse Lensbaby

Raynox Fisheye DCR-FE180PRO (conversion lens)

 

Tripod

Manfrotto compact MKC3-H01

 

Filters –

Hoya Pro 1 Neutral Density (8, 64, 400, 1000)

 

Flash –

A Nikon SB-800 iTTL and a Sigma EF-610 iTTL

Wireless studio trigger set (1 transmitter and 2 receivers) from Phottix

One white umbrella studio

 

Camera bag 

Mantona Rhodolit

 

Mention others, if any.

 

Q3.What inspires you generally when it comes to photography?

A3.  I like to learn about photography and my curiosity takes me in different domains.

Unlike many, landscape photography is not what I prefer. So I approach it differently, in terms of the long exposure or infrared photo, because it’s more technical approach. It should take your time, make the right adjustments and be patient. It soothes me. I also like the city and architecture photography. I like the geometry on this type of photo: finding the right angle, shapes and lines for leaks. I also tried a little HDR photo, but I’m not a fan. At the moment, I am not very inspired by wildlife photography. Probably because I live in Paris and it lacks ample space here. Nevertheless, I like macro photography although I do not practice it often. Finally, the area in which I’d like to practice, it is the portrait or fashion photography with deported flashs (strobist). In this type of photo, what I like is the creativity, the search for light planes, and staging.

 

Q4.What does photography mean to you?

A4. For me photography means to transmit emotions. But it means mainly to transmit a testimony and make it through the ages as a lasting memory. This is of course in the black and white street photography that I find this meaning. This is street photography I like to practice first. But beware, I do not like any street photography. I don’t like banal street photography which steals people’s lives. I only love the street photo that shows people’s lives through an event or through their condition of life. This must remain an universal message. With black and white, time is captured and it seems eternal.

 

 

Q5. Which is your favourite lens? Why?

  1.  I specifically chose my lens depending on the use that I made​​. I think that my best quality lens is the -Tokina 11-17 F2.8. It provides a great sharpness result. However, my favourite lens is the Tamron 17-50 F2.8 because of the largest focal range and its very good construction.

 

Q6.What is your biggest accomplishment in this field?

A6. I do not think I have done something great at this stage. I would like one day to make a photo reportage about a great cause. In the meantime, I hope my photos of Paris perpetuate a little tradition of the humanist photographers.

 

Q7. Whose work has influenced you most?

A7. I realized, after several years, that the photographer who gave me the greatest artistic influence is Jean Loup Sieff. The way he frames, he searchs perspective and creepage, I feel that I found a little in my way of composing a photo. In landscape photography, for example, I prefer to get 2/3 in the ground and leave one third of the sky. In photographing people, I like to seek the tight framing, while trying to find a gesture that suggests a direction, a path that should be followed. I am always looking to tell a story with my photos, and this is probably the work of Jean Loup Sieff that influenced me in the way I compose my photos.

 

Q8. Do you have a favourite time of year for photographing?

A8. No, this is the advantage in street photography. It can make gray, or even rain, it does not bother me and it can even be interesting. I generally find interesting cloudy skies. Otherwise, I like the autumn colors, I love the light made ​​during sunny days in winter. Summer is the time that I do not like, the sun is too strong and the light is too harsh.

 

Q9. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

A9. Love people and life, keep the feet on the ground and share emotions. I always work with my heart. People watching, waiting for the decisive moment, it is also to learn to love life and people. I often discuss, after taking my photo, with the person photographed. I love to share the pleasure and make delight. Street photography is not always easy, but unlike the landscape photo, the light is not the essential element. The essential element is your vision and generosity.

 

Q10. 35mm or Digital? And Why?

  1.  I am a camera film nostalgic. With camera film, we took the photo and the result was discovered long time after. But today’s digital photography is more accessible and opens more horizons.

 

Q11. Twitter or Facebook? Why?

  1.  I prefer Twitter, it is easy and user friendly. Otherwise, Flickr is very interesting, with one tera bytes of storage possible.

 

Q12. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why? (Please supply the photo in low resolution)

  1.  I love this one, it is a “decisive moment”. There are a lot of bums in Paris, they live on the streets and they are struggling to feed. The state ignores them. This bum comes to feed “his pigeons”. I love this parabole message because in this world, it is often the poorest who are most generous.

 

Making waves!

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There have been many people over the years who have inspired me to get up and do something, or they’ve just simply amazed me by their achievements and Clark Little has somehow managed to do both. When I first heard about wave photography I had to check it out and Clark Little’s work stood out for me. I hope you get as much out of his work as I do, so sit back and watch the video, then read an interview he had with Peta Pixel.

http://www.stevereesphotographyni.co.uk

 

Clark Little is a photographer based in North Shore, Hawai’i who specializes in shorebreak wave photography, or photographing waves as they crash onto shore.


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PetaPixel: Can you tell us about yourself and how you got started in photography?

Clark Little: In the late 80′s and early 90′s I was known in the surfing world for catching big hopeless shorebreak waves on my surfboard at a famous surf spot called Waimea Bay. Back in those days, Waimea Bay was the epicenter of the big wave surfing world. The surfing magazines published these shots since many were of wipeouts and situations where people would think that person got seriously injured.

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Then I got married, had two wonderful kids and got into a career. Surfing went to the background.

Then one day, the photography started when my wife wanted a picture of the ocean to hang on our bedroom wall. She actually went to a local gallery and bought a photo of a wave at Waimea Bay. I took a look at it and told her I could get something better and more interesting. I made her return the purchase. I went out and bought a cheap digital point and shoot camera and found a waterhousing for it on Amazon. I was playing with this on the weekends. The results were good and I saw the potential. My family and friends were complimenting the shots.

Within a few months, I upgraded to professional level equipment and have been fully addicted ever since.

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PP: How would you describe your photography to someone who has never seen it?

CL: My work is called “Shorebreak Photography”. I put myself and my camera into a critical section of a breaking shorebreak wave, and capture the view looking out or looking in from the “tube”. A tube is formed when the water from a wave throws itself over and creates a pocket of air before it collapses.

I love interesting lighting, colors, backdrops (palm trees, sunsets / sunrise, white sand beaches), water texture (or lack of texture) and lots of action and power. All of my shots contain some or all of these components.

I live and shoot on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii where some very large waves break in shallow water. It is an area very famous for surfing. I love it when the ocean conditions turn extreme, and I am out there capturing these views that most people will never be able to see up close.

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PP: What was your first camera, and what gear do you use these days?

CL: My first camera I shot waves with was a point and shoot Canon CD500.

The gear I use these days are Nikon D300, D3 and D4 Cameras; Nikkor Fisheye 10.5 and 16mm Lenses; Waterproof Housings by “Water Housings Hawaii”; Hurley wetsuits and rash guards; Ally Swin Fins. Some of the sunrise / sunset shots are taken with an additional strobe flash unit attached to the top. With the strobe, my rig is about 10 lbs – you don’t want to get hit in the head with this.

I can’t stress how much my survival depends the Ally Swin Fins. Without the fins, I would not be able to go out through the shorebreak and safely come back into the shore when the surf is huge. the fins also help me move quickly into position.

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PP: At what point did you realize that photography is what you wanted to do as a career?

CL: I was a manager at a botanical garden in Hawaii for 17 years. With a family including 2 kids, I never expected to veer off of my career path. But once I got into taking pictures, things started to slowly shift and within a year I resigned from my job to put all of my energy into photography.

Then just a few months after resigning, some photos that I gave to a press agency got passed to UK newspapers. It sparked. And next thing you know, all of the major papers in the UK were featuring them, and my phone starts ringing like crazy. Within a day or so I am flying out to Good Morning America in New York to appear live on their show. The Today Show and Inside Edition also featured the shots. My website sales were going through the roof.

During this crazy week, it became clear that I made the right decision to stop my job. I realized I had a chance at making a living with my photography. This was 6 years ago and it hasn’t slowed down.

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PP: Are you entirely self-taught in photography?

CL: I have only been shooting for 6 years and hadn’t taken any classes on photography before I started or after. When I started shooting, I already had 30 years of experience in the ocean, so that was the key. All of those years of surfing paid off with knowledge of how waves move, where to position oneself and how to survive in critical situations.

When I was upgrading to professional equipment, an established surf photographer named Brian Bielmann shared his thoughts on equipment and settings. That was a big help. After that I went through the school of hard knocks… litterally.

A funny side note is that my father was a professor of photography here in Hawaii for 22 years. I would play in the darkroom when I was a kid, but never got the bug until a few years after he retired. Maybe it is in our DNA?

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PP: What’s the most important thing about photography you’ve learned so far?

CL: You can’t predict when you might get a good shot. I often think I have a good idea what days are not good, but sometimes I will go out anyway and end up with a gem. The worst looking days, can switch on a dime and have a few seconds of magical lighting and conditions in them. You have to be prepared and be there for these moments. If you aren’t there your chances for getting a shot are nil.

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PP: What kind of risks have you faced in pursuit of your shots?

CL: When the waves are big, you might risk drowning or getting seriously hurt. There are tons of water coming down on or in front of you, sometimes in shallow water less than a feet deep. If your timing is off a bit, the consequences can be serious.

At the beaches on the North Shore where I shoot, every year a few people drown, break their neck, or get seriously hurt. I think the number of serious medical emergencies performed by the lifeguards on the North Shore is over 150 each year. Knowing the risks keeps me focused.

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PP: Have you had any risky close calls so far during your shoots? Can you give any examples?

CL: Luckily I have never had a serious injury (knock on wood). I have been whacked in the head with my housing a few times and separated my shoulder once when I got flung over by a wave into the dry sand. My shoulder took the hit and made a big “crack”. I think I was out of the water for a few weeks and still have a nice bump.

I have had close calls with drowning. One of the biggest days I went out was 2 years ago on the North Shore. A set of waves came in about 3 stories high. The wave train was about 6 waves. Each of these I had to swim under, get taken by the turbulence and rag dolled like I was in the washing machine. You are deep down and it is dark. Just when I was able to come up with air, the next one broke right on me. After the 5th wave, I was fading away and starting to think about my family and kids. Luckily, there were just one more wave and I was able to get through it. I got back to shore and sat there for a while. It was a close call. But also a wake up call. I saw my limit.

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PP: How do you make a living? Is it primarily by licensing your photos? Selling prints? Shooting for publications?

CL: There are several income streams. I have a gallery Clark Little Gallery on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii in a town called Haleiwa. My website also does very well.

The main part of my business is selling prints (limited and open edition) and products with my photographs on them (iPhone cases, t-shirts, calendars, cards). I also self-published a 180 page coffee table book four years ago which has almost sold out. Each year I do around 20 or so events and exhibitions. These events have taken me to Brazil, Japan, Canada, throughout the US and all of the main islands in Hawaii. My photography has become quite popular in Japan so I make one or two trips each year. I just had a solo show in the heart of Tokyo this last December. I also do assignment work and licensing with companies such as Nike, Apple, HP, Toyota, Crocs, Anheuser-Busch and others.

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PP: How much of your day do you spend shooting and editing photographs?

CL: On a good day I will be out shooting anywhere from 2-4 hours. If I go in twice, it could be even longer. During the winter when the waves are good and the conditions are right, I could be out 5 or more days a week.

Now, editing is another deal. It can be hours and hours just going through my shots and throwing away the ones I don’t like. I end up tossing 99% of my shots, so it takes just as long if not more, sitting in front of the computer and going through my files. It is a task that I dread, since I love to be active and in the water. But it is part of the package of being a photographer, so I do it and get into it.

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PP: How often do you deal with damaged or broken photo gear? What kind of insurance do you recommend?

CL: Surprisingly, very rare does anything get damaged. I have never had a housing leak thanks to the craftmanship of the water housings made by Tao Pascual. The Nikon cameras have taken countless hits and jolts and only had to send one into repair once. No insurance on my end.

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PP: What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

CL: Passion. Find the passions or let it find you. I really get into things that I love to do. I lose myself in it. Don’t ever underestimate the power of having fun with one of your obsessions.

Also, keep in mind if the surf is big, take the pictures from the safety of the beach with a tripod. If you aren’t extremely comfortable in the surf, don’t try it since you can get seriously hurt. Obviously, you need to be a very good swimmer. I surfed for 30 years in some very large waves before I took a camera out.

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PP: How long do you plan on doing the type of photography you’re doing now, and what do you see your career looking like afterward?

CL: As long as I can physically. I will do it until I don’t feel the passion for it. I am still super jazzed so I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. If there was something to come after shorebreak photography, it would need to have a few key components to it. A good work out. Extreme and filled with adrenaline. And close to my home on the North Shore.

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Interview courtesy of Peta Pixel

Newtownards Military Day

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http://www.stevereesphotographyni.co.uk

On Saturday the 21st of June 2014, Ards Borough Council helped organise a military show for the people of Newtownards and surrounding areas. Considering that this was a free event, it turned out to be a major success and very enjoyable. Here are a few photo’s of the show.

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The famous Bedford Green Godess fire engine looking as fantastic as ever and a row of army landrovers in various colour schemes to suit all situations.

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A genuine piece of American muscle, the GMC troop carrier truck, looking so impressive and above right a British army truck of the same era.

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This isn’t me after a few too many, but a medical manikin in the back of a military ambulance. Local children getting to grips with the army versions of radio controlled vehicles.

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Pilots of the Soko Kraguj and Jet Provost chill before they take to the air, but one seems a little too chilled. Jet Provost pilot waves to us as he taxis up the runway, just before take off.

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Jet Provost looking impressive taking off into the blue. This was and still is a fine trainer jet. Here it is landing after an elegant flight display.

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A Yak 52 in flight with smoke bellowing out, while to the right I caught it on camera as it landed with just the last of the smoke display.

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Extreme Evil preparing for take off with impressive orange and black markings. Note orange at the propeller tips. Right pic shows the Extreme Evil climbing rapidly with display smoke.

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Extreme Evil flying almost sideways and displaying smoke, in the blue sky. After an impressive display in the air, the Extreme Evil finally makes it’s landing.

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An ex 1942 Spanish Airforce Bucker Jungmann parked next to another aircraft, while an ex 1917 Royal Flying Corps SE5a biplane fighter does it’s aerial display in slow old timer fashion.

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A Catalina flying boat looking like a scorpion in attack mode preparing to take off on the runway. This was the highlight of the show for me personally and when in the air, looked so graceful and commanding.

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Black & white print of this magnificent patrol aircraft in the air. Just caught the Catalina landing while wheels touching down and smoking.

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RAF helicopter in the midst of the public, while family members checking out a field gun.

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These diggers were much larger than my old Tonka toys and gave a very impressive display, while two soldiers talk to themselves near a camouflaged tent.

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Old Austin car looking so sweet among the military machinery, while this Jeep stood out with its desert colours.

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Two girls chilling out on top of this Landrover with desert colours, while next is arguably the greatest 4 x 4 ever made, if not for its technology it is for its achievements. Lastly a couple of soldiers comparing hats and no prizes for guessing who won the competition for the largest!

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The day coming to a close, as people start to make their way out of the airfield. A selection of army vehicles in a line, which included a wee caravan that seemed to attract a lot of attention somehow.

Overall the day was a total success for me and Mr Canon, who was focused throughout the day on various bits of machinery. I have to give credit to Ards Council for helping to organise this show with no entry fee. Well done to all involved. 😉