Warning. This post contains pure aircraft porn. If you like this sort of thing, you can click on through and browse around the other images on my flickr stream. Otherwise, you might want to turn away and come back for the next post. It'll have real birds. Well, one anyway.
I am now a convert to the whole Warbirds over Wanaka thing. In previous years I might have thought of it as a waste of a perfectly good Easter break better spent on fly fishing or shooting pictures, but now I'm a believer. I attended last weekend's event with my family and business partner before embarking on a few days shooting for a big client. Being with others, I didn't really devote myself to capturing all the scenes, that would take a few days dedicated shooting, but I came away with a few keepers, and plenty of ideas for next time.
There's plenty to see and hear. For the pure armed conflict enthusiast, there are displays from various re-enactment groups, complete with the noisy firing of blanks from automatic weapons that slightly freaked Miss C(8). Then of course there's a contingent from the New Zealand Armed Forces. This year my nephew was there representing the navy in his Kaman Sea Sprite, an armoured vehicle accompanied by some army personnel, and my nephew's fiancee and her new air force helicopter. That's the Sea Sprite below. The nephew was pretty stoked to be plotting a low level scenic route from Queenstown all the way back to Taieri airfield the next day. He's got it good.
One treat was that we got to go inside the RNZAF C-130 Hercules, so I hopped into the cockpit, matched my flash to the ambient and got a nice little shot looking out across the valley.
And then there are the warbirds.
WWII is always well represented, this year by Yakolev Yaks, Supermarine Spitfires, Mustangs and Kitty Hawks among others. This is the Corsair, which I have a bit of a soft spot for because I had a model of one as a kid.
I actually liked the WWI aircraft more than the stuff from my Dad's era. Possibly because their slightly slower airspeed makes them easier to get a sharp picture of!
That's not to say that the newer machines weren't pretty cool too. The Vampire and Hawker Hunter were two early British jets that made an appearance, accompanied by Air New Zealand's new black Boeing 777.
Around 40,000 people attended this year, and in a couple of years time, there's a good chance I'll be among them again.