Ben Cadwallader – Photographer, Jouranlist, Designer, Marketer

Trip to 2011’s Avalon Air Show in Melbourne – Photographs

I made a trip with a few friends to visit the Avalon Air Show 2011, in Melbourne on Friday 4th of March. Sadly, upon waking up we all saw the dreaded grey clouds covering the entire sky. The forecast was terrible: rain, black clouds, general unpleasantness but we all manned up and soldiered on and drove the long drive to Western Melbourne to the Air Show…

Upon reflection, coming on the worst day of the week (weather wise) was a fantastic idea, as there was essentially no effort to get to the front of the run way to get a great view of the live air action. When we looked at other peoples photo’s from that weekend we were shocked to see how much more busy it was. If you’re going for the spectacle of the live air show and acrobatics then definitely go on the potentially wettest day of the week. Perhaps if you would have preferred spending your day browsing through the show tents and displays among the large show grounds, it might be more ideal for one of the nicer days. Either way, just remember to bring a jacket because it got so cold.

One of the disappointing things I noticed is sadly there was no time for exploring the exhibitions and show tents without missing out on the live air show. And it was very hard to look away from the spectacle. A few times we tried to get away, but suddenly a large jet engine would roar to life and we would quickly run back to the runway for a great view. The announcers kept plugging in to ‘come back tomorrow’ and you can see why, there is simply no way to experience everything in a single day. But for me, the majority of my time was spent watching the air show and briefly the motocross show.

The live air show was fantastic to watch, although I wish I brought a blanket and chair with me. 8 hours of standing still did take its toll. Forgive me for not remembering the names of these aircraft but there was everything from huge military carrier planes to jet fighters to the stunt plans all performing over the course of the day. There was one air carrier that literally looked like a sky scraper in the sky, it was fascinating to see in motion as it looked so unnatural.

If you plan on keeping your hearing for your entire life or if you bring children with you, I would highly suggest bringing or purchasing some ear plugs. When a Fighter Jet takes off it sounds amazing, but as soon as its over you check your ears to see if they’re bleeding. I noticed many children crying after each jet take off. But if you love a sound of a great engine then this is something to experience!

One of the highlights for me was a special event that occurred in the afternoon where the air show ran a battle simulation using the army and one of their helicopters. With a tremendous amount of luck the soldiers landed on the ground and ran out from the chopper and took cover just in front of the fence where the crowd was, or more importantly right in front of me!  This was great to be so close, the soldiers were firing blank rounds but it was definitely a treat for the ears to hear gun fire and watch as the bullet casings were ejected out from the weapon.

At one point during the show we suddenly heard a roaring engine in the distance, this was no plane. This was a monster truck. With haste we ran across the show grounds towards the noise and sadly discovered we had just missed out on the monster truck demonstration. But on the brighter side we found ourselves once again directly in the best spot to witness the motor cross events which saw 3 bikers perform some crazy air stunts. This was fun to watch and it was a nice play on the air show, as these were technically in the air.

As day turned into night, suddenly we were treated to an amazing fireworks and laser show as well as a simulated bombing run by a fighter jet. Sadly my camera ran out of batteries then so I wasn’t able to capture much of it. But it was one of the best fireworks displays I’ve seen for a very long time. The combination of lasers was something I’ve personally never seen before in person and it was a great new thing to experience. It was very cold when night settled in, next time I will be bringing a coat, jacket, blanket and enough money for an unlimited supply of hot jam donuts.

Overall the air show was a fantastic day, and was a joy to photograph. I primarily used my Canon L Series 70-300mm lens as I needed all the zoom I could get, and finally switched to my canon 10-22mm wide angle lens for the fireworks display.

Have a look through my gallery of photos I took from the day:

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