In 2018 the British Royal Air Force celebrated its 100th birthday. Amongst the celebrations marking the event was a fly last down the Thames in London on a typical London summer’s day.

As it happened on a weekday, and my office was right on the Thames, I brought my camera into work that day in order to get some photographs. Clearly, however, I wasn’t the only person with this sort of idea, because Waterloo Bridge was packed with people.

Given the aircraft came thick and fast, I just slapped on my 70-300mm telephoto lens to get a mixture of closeups and moderately wide shots.

Unfortunately, a flypast of mostly grey liveried military aircraft against an overcast grey London sky does not exactly make for images that ‘pop’. For the most part the most interesting splashes of colour are the odd warning label that’s visible, or the handful of planes that had a special RAF100 markings on their tail fins. You’d be forgiven for thinking most of these images have been processed into monochrome.

1/800sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

Luckily the flypast ended with the Red Arrows, so there was a decent splash of colour at the end – although even they only switched from white smoke to their iconic red, white and blue just as they flew past us.

1/1250sec, f/4.5, ISO 100, 105mm

There was quite an assortment of planes on display, but as this was now almost five years ago (which also somehow seems incomprehensible) and I have no idea what most of these planes are, and I didn’t exactly vary my technique between shots, the images are below as a gallery.


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