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Andy Rouse, aviation ,what's that all about?
Some of you will have noticed, and have commented, about the aviation work on my website. Certainly this week my 1DX2 review featured a superb air to air shot of two Typhoons and I see aviation now as important in my life as wildlife photography. It's taken a long time for me to find aviation again. As a kid I went to every single airshow with my Dad, including the amazing USAF ones, and had Airfix models on my ceiling with books lining the walls. Then somehow we parted company, probably because I failed my RAF Selection test for having hayfever. Over the years I have loved seeing aircraft, but wildlife photography is so all encompassing that I just dedicated myself to that. Then, a couple of years ago, a fellow wildlife colleague of mine Nigel Blake (who I knew was one of the top aircraft photographers in the world) took me somewhere special......
I was hooked again and since then I have slowly started to work a little more in aviation and found that it is a real passion of mine. Up until that point I was drifting a little, deliberately pulling away from the world of wildlife photography and finding myself more at odds with it's direction (where getting the shot meant more than anything else).
Over the past 6 months I have built up quite a serious collection of aviation images, ranging from WW1 to modern day fighters, from atmospherics to air to air. I always think it's useful to look back and pick an image that really got you started, for me it's this one....
Taken airside at RIAT with my good friends Army Jamie and RAF Neil, plus great help from a guy who's name I never did get who took us over in his 4x4 and really helped us (if you are reading this please get in touch!). Flown by Ben, the special edition Typhoon had been a target of mine for a while and everything came together perfectly in one ear splitting pass. Since then I have been up close and personal to some Apache's....
Been Air to Air with a beautiful old girl (thanks Eric and nice to meet you Richard, Steve, Peter and Julio Iglesias)......
Worked with some stunning WW! aircraft, thanks to WAHT, Russell, Ant & Ed....
And had the honour of working with the Polish Air Force 23rd Mig 29 Squadron. Wonderful people, Maciej, Iceman, BigC. I took Nigel along too as a thanks for his inspiring me again in the first place. I think this project really brought the best out of me.....
And recently I've been proud to finally work with our brave pilots of the RAF using the the new 1DX 2, thanks to Phil, Dan, Tony and Gary for this help....
FotoBuzzers note I am going to publish the complete set of these recent air to airs over the next week so you will get a feast!
You will notice one thing about my images, they are not the expected "blue sky" images that dominate aviation photography. I set out from the start to take images with the same outlook as my wildlife photography. I want each image to stand up on it's own, to mean something and to tell it's own story. Therefore I want everything to have some feeling and atmosphere, some passion too. I'm never gonna be a blue sky photographer, which I am sure will hold back my career a lot. Give me rain, stormy skies or a sunset any day and I will be a happy photographer. So the moral of the story here is not to be pigeon holed, to decide what you enjoy photographing and concentrate on that and to find your own style and direction. Don't copy anyone else, find your own vision and stick to it. It will help you get noticed but more than that really improve your final output as you will not be competing with anyone other than yourself.
For me I feel much happier with my photography than I have for a while. When I take wildlife pictures my old mojo is back and the images I am now producing are as good as I ever did. I've also decided to stop entering competitions, I just don't need them in my life and don't need to be compared to anyone else. I'm happy with what I am taking and that is the way to be, as the the ultimate judge should be the photographer themselves.
The one thing I have enjoyed with aviation is working with people, no matter if they are pilots, CO's, pro photographers, all have been complimentary and supportive about my work. My friendship with Nigel has been a real bonus too. One thing I have really noticed in aviation is that there seems to be none of the nastiness that spoils wildlife photography for me. I've no idea where my aviation photography will go, in the coming months I have some great shoots planned and I know that it will proudly sit alongside my wildlife photography for as long as I'm able to do it.
I hope that you enjoyed this BLOG, as always I don't seek to show off my images, I seek to inspire and motivate.
Have a nice weekend and I will be back with some more 1DX II images and findings next week.