Spitfire Sunset

With the Washington trip coming up, a lot of loose ends need to be tied up at the hangar, especially since I was gone for six days last week. When all was said and done, I got more involved than I expected and was thus caught by surprise when I came out to find the setting sun peeking through the slightly open hanger doors, beautifully silhouetting our Spitfire.

The Spitfire has been a favorite plane of mine since 1969 when “The Battle of Britain” was released. I loved the story, but most of all I loved the Spitfires. Not surprisingly, when I started putting together models about that time as a teen, one of the first was a Spitfire.

Something about the scene tonight made me feel like I was back there at the Battle of Britain, seventy-five years ago. The blood red sun hanging on the horizon, the unique outline of the Spitfire and its prop, the panels pulled off to give the mechanics access to the huge engine.

One thing I couldn’t decide — which exposure did I like more?


The dark and moody picture, highlighting the huge five-blade prop and shark-like nose against the bright setting sun?


Or the bright and detailed picture, the setting sun overexposed but the aircraft now revealed in its deadly, mechanical glory?

Of course, the Universe had the last word. About the time I took these pictures, we were joined in the office by a bagpiper. Please understand that we don’t normally have a bagpiper lurking about the office. However, tonight the other hanger was being rented out for an event by some Navy squadron and they had hired the bagpiper for some ceremony. He needed the privacy of our office as a place to tune up.

Who knew that bagpipes need tuning? And how do you tell whether it’s in tune or out?

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

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