In The Beginning...

In The Beginning...

Adrian Carver was at London Heathrow at the end of April for the first COAP Workshop as well as the first COAP Assignment to No 12(B) Squadron at RAF Marham in May.

Like a number of people, I saw the teasers that the Rich Cooper had had posted on Facebook about a new venture he was creating, entitled ‘The Centre Of Aviation Photography’.

Curious about this, I clicked ‘Like’ and awaited future updates. Soon after, details emerged on the format for COAP in the shape of ‘Workshops’, ‘Assignments’ and ‘Photo Shoots’ and I was immediately interested.


The first event to be hosted was a Workshop entitled Photography of Aviation, which was held in a hotel near Heathrow with great facilities and a relaxed environment. There were places for 10 photographers, all of whom were looking to add any hints, tips or tricks to their hobby. With this in mind, Rich was able to talk us through how to prepare for a shoot, right through from planning and packing the bag to the editing when you get home, and a number of points in between.

“I enjoyed the course, I learned from it, and it has made me want more. Both in terms of my photography but also the mechanics of it. The brief showing of LR opened my eyes!”

Throughout the day, many things were raised not only by Rich, but by all those in attendance, which meant we had a number of viewpoints and experiences from which to draw from. I came away from that day in the classroom with a new perspective, and a different approach that seems to have improved my photography, and my approach to it.

So less than a month later, I find myself on COAP’s first Assignment, this being a visit to RAF Marham. The night before was spent at a hotel not far from Marham, which started had a relaxed, sociable evening meal. What followed from that was a presentation two members of No 12(B) Squadron, those being Wg Cdr Nikki Thomas OC 12(B) and Flt Lt Stu Rottenbury DEXO 12(B). This took the form of an informal chat as well as Q&A about their roles, life in the RAF, the aircraft’s role and its mission and no question was dodged or unanswered. A truly excellent evening.

“I came out of that workshop buzzing.I learned that the photograph is the end product, but getting that end product takes a lot of learning, a lot of effort, and on my part, a different way of thinking. A very enjoyable, relaxed and well planned event attended by a varied selection of aviation photography enthusiasts that bodes well for the future of COAP”

The following morning saw breakfast and boarding our private coach to RAF Marham, where we spent the day as guests of No 12(B) Sqn. Our group was given virtually unhindered access - pretty much anything we asked for, we were given. After our briefings, we exited the No 12(B) Sqn building and were taken to the HAS areas where a static aircraft was positioned for us to shoot. Shortly after we had ground crews explaining to us what would be coming next and where we could stand for photographing the passing jets (mindful that this was a regular operational day).

With the morning being spent among the HAS areas, we then broke for lunch and some more time spent in the squadron building, before being taken to the runway caravan to enable us to photograph take-offs and departures.

All throughout the day, reminders of conversations held in the first Workshop were being brought to mind and, as with that Workshop, those assembled were passing on advice and experience. A truly excellent day and I came away with images I am truly happy with, none of which would have happened had I not seen that initial post on Facebook.

Much has changed with my photography, and in such a small space of time. This would not have happened without the people behind COAP, and those among it. A start of a small journey, to improve my hobby.

“Very happy with what I came away with from the Assignment. All fully operational, from the HAS areas to the side of the runway and the pans. Nothing false or contrived.” 

NAME: Adrian Carver
LOCATION: Mildenhall
KIT: Canon