Getting out of your comfort zone

USAF F15 from RAF Lakenheath

As a photographer I tend to find that my creative side seems to go up and down, some days I'm full of ideas and other days everything seems to be overdone and there's nothing new and exciting to shoot.

USAF F15 fighter jet

So around a year ago or so I saw a video on Youtube of a pro stock photographer shooting a fast jet, tonnes of gear and a team of people behind him to produce one shot.

Fighter jet in flight

I thought that looks fun and I'm always looking to try new things, now I do not have a team of people or the equipment he used but I thought I would try my hand at capturing fighter jets flying at between 500mph and 650mph. There is a link in blue at the bottom of the post to see one of these jets in action :)

Fighter jet F15

Luckily I knew of a special location within a Snowdonia mountain range in Wales where our own RAF, American USAF as well as other military jets from around the world come to train and practice their low level flying skills throughout a circuit of valleys know as the Mach Loop or The Roundabout to the Americans.

F15 jet in flight

It's been a year of learning and finding locations to climb to, weather plays a big part so knowing where the sun will be plays a big part. Weather conditions can cause issues and create different effects. Like fishing you never really know what or if anything at all is going to turn up. You can spend hours waiting but when a jet does turn up and passes with feet of you the adrenalin buzz is something else. I'm still finding my feet with aviation photography and it may never be the greatest selling subject but it really can be an exciting thing to do.

Fighter jet Tornado

Now there is no perfect setup, it can vary on location, weather and type of traffic, a good shooting focal length is between 200mm and 400mm.

A good panning technique comes in handy and I'm still working on improving mine. Due to the changing light I favour TV mode on my Canon ( shutter priority on Nikon ), this way I can set my shooting speed and let the camera sort out the ISO and aperture. A fast lens helps, one that can shoot at F2.8 is a big help, good ISO capability is also a great help as you do not need to worry about this in poorer light.

Fighter Jet landscape

It's become a great hobby and even better it's free, just costs your time. Always chasing different jets and results, meeting lots of new people all with the same interests. There are only a handful of accessible places in the world where you can do this, Rainbow Canyon is a similar location in the USA.

Fighter jet military aircraft

I'm happy to answer any questions on this and as a treat I will share a friends video taken recently of an American USAF F15E, turn the HD on and your speakers up :) F15 Fighter Jets show of force

Fighter jet aircraft

Photo credits: Brett Critchley.

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January 29, 2015


wow! great pics!

January 11, 2015


How beautiful and great the pictures are! I like them very much.
I want do better in 2015 but I find can't write blog and uploading and editing. Till today, I have 1452 images online and 136 sales altogether. Among of it, I have finished 4 assignments and one picture was Editors' choiced.But since last November, I don't know what' the matter, the uploading and edit picture was too difficulty! Some pictures uploaded can't be sent in pending and new picture can't be uploaded. All this is really let me afflictive.

December 26, 2014


BC, I had a lot of opportunities to photograph while flying, but mixing it with performing aerial gunnery and in flight engineer duties, and vibrations from inside a helicopter was a bit challenging. I have quite a few photos of the U.S. Presidential VH-3D and CH-46E in my portfolio from my time at Marine One, if you want to check them out.

December 24, 2014


Awesome photos

December 23, 2014


Thanks both and Adeliepenguin you would be more than welcome :)

December 22, 2014


Amazing images!!!

December 22, 2014


I've always been a fan!! These images knock my socks off:) One day I just might pay a visit and walk up that mountain with you. And congrats on the second place award. Great news!!

December 17, 2014


Thank you both :)

December 15, 2014


woohoo..fantastic shots!

December 13, 2014


Good Work. Nice Photos.

December 04, 2014


Mon to Fri excl bank holidays, 8.30am to 4pm Winter, 8.30am to 9pm Summer.

Harsh this time of year, I was there Tuesday this week with 40mph -7 windchill in your face all day, not much fun.

Weather plays a big part, low cloud will normally stop anything dropping in to low level. If it was something someone wanted to try I would recommend a nice Summers day, Tue, Wed, Thurs tend to be busier but there's no guarantee of this. Be prepared to see nothing and anything that turns up is a bonus.

December 04, 2014


Fantastic photos with feel of speed and power.Is there any best time to come over there or just like lottery, anytime and hoping for action??

December 03, 2014


Just found out that I have had a second place win in this year's official Euro fighter international aviation photographer of the year 2014 awards, well happy :)

Thanks Lostarts and Geoffreygreen46, I love being in the mountains, been up today with sub zero wind chill factors to photograph a USAF C130 Combat Tallon II Special Operations Aircraft on their last sortie in the UK before they return to the USA. Such a great buzz, hard to do it justice in a blog :) Your jobs also sounds fab, did you get chance to photograph much whilst in that role?



December 01, 2014


BC, how much did you enjoy being in those mountains? I would have given my left arm to be there! Back when I was a Marine Crew Chief on CH-46E's we would practice defensive measures with fighter jets, both U.S. and foreign. We got pretty close while pretend dogfighting between a helicopter and a fighter, but the helicopters always had the best view of the action. Your pictures took me back to those days. Great work mate, great work!

December 01, 2014


Stunning! I was in the Air Force and can appreciate the rush of being near one of these beasts when it roars past.

November 30, 2014


Great photos! Congratulations!

November 30, 2014


Cheers :)

November 29, 2014



November 29, 2014


You made a very good job in photographing these jets. I specially like the first and the third ones of this set .

November 29, 2014


Great images. What a rush it must be to fly one of those fighter planes. What you captured really puts you right in the drivers seat. .... awesome !

November 28, 2014


Thanks for writing and sharing, Brett. Incredible images! Total rush to watch the video too!

November 28, 2014


awesome Brett! I watch your work with a lot of envy and admiration from afar!

November 28, 2014


awesome. thanks for sharing

November 28, 2014



November 28, 2014


Wow the video and the pictures are amazing!

November 28, 2014


Thanks guys, don't forget to hit the link to see on of the fighter jets in action, seriously awesome stuff IMHO :)

November 28, 2014


Wow! Really great!

November 28, 2014


Very good pictures, I have no opportunity to shoot them.

November 27, 2014


Really amazing!

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