Rich Cooper’s favourite five from 2015

CA’s special correspondant shares his best shots from the past year

Light is everything. Whether there’s none of it, streams of it, a pinpoint, the last rays or artificial swathes. When shooting military aircraft in action, there’s only so much you can control. The action unfolds very quickly and, more often than not, you have to get it right there and then – there’s no second sitting.

The five I’ve chosen for 2015 were hard. I love shooting military hardware in all conditions (sometimes the worse the better).

I settled on this set, showcasing a range of aerial assets from all walks of life in a cross-section of settings. Pictured here during incredible sunset air-to-air is a fully-armed MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ on NATO QRA over the Baltics. Sunset is something of a speciality of mine, and heading to RAF Fairford to catch the USAF B-2A Spirit on finals to the base one late summer’s night was surreal. Of course, when the sun completely disappears, the camera should not… This JAS39 Gripen on 24hr NATO QRA is shown being guarded by a Lithuanian AF Security Force member in the silent dead of night. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the delta eclipse caused by Vulcan XH558 during its final year in the air. Here, the aerospace icon is taking its tribute at RIAT in bright, summer skies. For all the impact that low, soft or midnight light can bring, sometimes the sheer clarity of the heavens provides all you need.

The MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’ left Bulgarian skies in 2015 and this shot, taken at 13,000ft from an open ramp in-between thunderstorms over Eastern Europe provided my final choice.

Rich Cooper

Special Correspondent, Combat Aircraft

More of Rich’s work can be found

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