I never managed to get to Newark last winter as there was, funnily enough, too much snow and the east coast trains were running to daily emergency timetables. If they ran at all. I already had the 11th February pencilled in on my calendar for my first visit to Newark this year and then the snow arrived the week before. A bit of a thaw set in and I though I had missed my chance of photographing aeroplanes in the snow but then there was a fresh fall of snow over night Thursday into Friday. Train times for Saturday were printed out, museum access confirmed,subject to no more snow, and camera and equipment checked and packed.
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As I set out on Saturday morning, Friday night was confirmed as being the coldest recorded temperature of this winter so far reaching -12 in some parts of Lincolnshire. The digital thermometer in the bus was reading -7 in Cambridgeshire. Trains were running late out of London because of signal/points failure so at Peterborough it was forget the timetable and catch the next available train that stopped at Newark. I arrived at Newark Northgate 35 minutes earlier that I had planned for so a hot drink and a read of a newspaper in the waiting room until the museum opened. The thermometer in the taxi was reading -4 when it pulled up at the museum entrance and the staff were still trying to thaw out locks to open buildings and aircraft. With plenty of snow about, wall to wall blue sky and a subdued winter sun it was excellent conditions for taking photographs. I had the site virtually to my self for the best part of the morning as first I went around the exterior exhibits for some high up shots with my camera on the end of a monopod and then hand held. Many thanks to the museum staff who knew I was coming and made me very welcome, as always, and a very enjoyable if somewhat cold day out.
Although I had a battery keeping warm in my shirt pocket, the Sony SLT-A35 worked without a problem despite the very cold conditions. I was using the ‘AUTO+’ and Panorama modes. Unlike ‘AUTO’ which picks the shutter speed/F number/ISO automatically, ‘AUTO+’ picks one of the preset functions as in Landscape/Hand Held Twilight/Backlight/HDR etc. Most of the photos were taken in Landscape mode, apart from the panorama shots, but pointing towards the sun changed to Backlight or HDR.