Catching the sunset

Living in Farnborough like most small towns I am not exactly spoilt for architectural photography opportunities. There is however one landmark structure that keeps pulling me back more times than any other location in town. The Airship Hangar in Farnborough is an amazing thing,

Farnborough Portable Airship Hangar

Farnborough Portable Airship Hangar – SONY RX100 MKI

Having tried on numerous occasions to try and capture the structure I have collected a range of shots but ever since a stunning sunset lit up the sky over our house last year one particular image has caught my imagination. The image was at this stage in my mind, the last thing I expected was for it to take over a year to re-create it.

Along the way I have captured the hangar on 4 different cameras, during day and night. I’ve detoured my fitness routine to run past because a sunset looked “promising” as well as spent whole evenings perched on a wall lining up for that killer shot.

Farnborough Portable Airship Hangar

Farnborough Portable Airship Hangar – NIKON D500, SIGMA 18-35

I would guess in total I have taken approximately 200 images of the structure. Not an enormous number when you consider how many images I can rattle off on a wildlife shoot. However when you consider the majority of these images are long exposure tripod mounted landscape shots it still represents quite a time investment in one subject.
The framework of the hangar offers some interesting details, when the light is harsh I have found black and white is a good option.

Airship hangar abstract

Airship hangar abstract – SONY RX100 MKI

Black and white film is also a great option for architectural photography, I find it lends a real atmosphere and sense of history to buildings often creating something with timeless quality to it. The picture below was taken on an Polaroid SX-70 land camera with Impossible Project black and white film. The original image lacked a little contrast so I have boosted it a bit after scanning the photograph.


The business park the hangar is situated on is shared with a number of other interesting buildings. There are a selection of wind tunnels, both in service and disused, along with a number of historical buildings from Farnborough’s rich aviation history. One of my favourites has to be the original airport building with it’s control tower. Now tastefully converted into office space it still makes for a handsome shot. The combination of Sigma 18-35mm lens, Nikon D500 and ISO 50 make the image have an almost computer generated feel to it.

Farnborough Airport Terminal

Farnborough Airport Terminal – NIKON D500, SIGMA 18-35

 Finally it’s the image I originally visualised after the sunset at home. OK it’s not quite the image I originally hoped for, the sunset back then truly was a stunner the like of which I haven’t seen since, but this one was close enough.

Airship Hangar at sunset

Airship Hangar at Sunset – NIKON D500, SIGMA 18-35

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