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RAF photographic competition 2013

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Stunning imagery from this year's Royal Air Force photographic competition has been unveiled.

31 Squadron aircrew returning to the operations room
31 Squadron aircrew returning to the operations room [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Andy Masson, Crown copyright]

The Royal Air Force has celebrated the production of some of its finest operational, sporting and artistic imagery in its annual photographic competition. The event culminated in an awards ceremony at the historic Royal Air Force Club in London, where the winners were revealed.

The competition has run for 24 years, and serves to showcase the global work of the RAF and the skills and highly technical competence of Royal Air Force photographers, both service and civilian. The work of amateur, reservist and cadet photographers is also recognised.

Competition categories ranged from operational profiles and current military equipment to sport and the Air Cadets. From the impressive entry of over 1,000 images, winners were selected in 12 different categories.

The Royal Air Force Falcons Parachute Display Team
The Royal Air Force Falcons Parachute Display Team seconds before landing [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, presented the winners with their awards and prizes. He said:

The competition entries this year are once again of the highest quality and showcase not only the abilities of our Royal Air Force photographers but also the tremendous span of operations our people and equipment conduct. These dynamic images reflect the extensive breadth of Royal Air Force life, the critical contribution that our personnel are making to UK Defence and operations around the world.

Three independent judges, Martin Keene, Shruti Patel, and David Spurden, with in excess of 90 years pictorial experience between them, deliberated to agree on the winning images in the 12 categories for this year’s photographic competition.

Martin Keene said:

I am delighted to have been involved in this year’s competition. The quality of the submissions has been fantastic and it has been a real privilege to see the breadth of work carried out by the RAF through its photographers.

Top photographer

The 2013 RAF photographer of the year is Senior Aircraftman Graham Taylor from RAF Coningsby. His portfolio included stunning shots of the RAF’s Typhoon aircraft on Quick Reaction Alert at sunset and by starlight, showing the aircraft ready to launch in defence of the UK, 24 hours a day.

A 3 (Fighter) Squadron Typhoon
A 3 (Fighter) Squadron Typhoon sits under a star-lit sky in the Middle-East [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Graham Taylor, Crown copyright]

Senior Aircraftman Taylor said of his win:

It was a massive shock, but I’m very honoured to have won. I’m delighted to be recognised and to be able to showcase my work and the role of the Typhoon force and RAF Coningsby in defending the UK.

Photograph of the year

RAF Photograph of the Year: A Tornado flying over the Shard
RAF Photograph of the Year: A Tornado GR4 flying over the Shard building in London [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Andy Masson, Crown copyright]

The photograph of the year, entitled ‘Shard’, was taken by Senior Aircraftman Andy Masson from RAF Marham. The image shows a Tornado GR4 from RAF Marham over London during the Queen’s Birthday Flypast, with the iconic Shard building in the background. Tornado GR4 aircraft continue to provide precision close air support for British and coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The next generation

The work of the Air Cadets – the next generation – was also recognised. Cadet Sean Paterson from 18(F) Wimbledon Squadron won the cadet category with this stunning shot of the Red Arrows.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team
Red Arrows crossover winner of the Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force category

The judges were unanimous in their appreciation of the very high standard, quality and diversity of work produced by both service and civilian photographers. A gallery of this year’s competition winners and runners up will be shown online on the RAF website.

More winning entries

A fingerprint captured on a RAF lighter
A fingerprint revealed by a yellow-dye-based process in the RAF Police labs at Henlow [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Lee Matthews, Crown copyright]
31 Squadron pilot silhouetted
31 Squadron Tornado GR4 pilot silhouetted against the sun [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Andy Masson, Crown copyright]
An RAF airman relaxing
RAF personnel relax after a long day ferrying Ghanaian troops and equipment [Picture: Sergeant Ralph Merry ABIPP RAF, Crown copyright]
A RAF Regiment trainee
A RAF Regiment trainee practises checking for mines using the 'pat, poke and prod' technique [Picture: Aircraftman Phil Dye, Crown copyright]
The Royal Air Force Falcons parachute display team
Ariel Ballet winner of the Amateur Military Category
Spitfire TE311
Spitfire TE311 of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight performs a 'hot start' [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Graham Taylor, Crown copyright]
Published 22 October 2013