Concorde's Last Day
24th Oct 2003 – her last day
Watching 3 Concordes land
As the planes came over our heads my heart was beating as fast as it could, the adrenalin was pumping inside me, the crowds suddenly started to cheer, whilst and clap very very loudly, it was unreal…….. no other plane, no other event in my life was ever like this and it showed how much people loved the plane.
I expected the landings to be spectacular with fire works going off in distance for each landing, but the landings where nothing special, there where no fire works going off, the landing looked like the normal Concorde landings I'd seen and taken countless photos of from the same place in the past.
Only difference was after this time there would be no more Concorde landings........ these would be the last ones people would ever see at Heathrow (and that was something I had to keep in my mind while I took the photos).
I took as many photos as I could of each Concorde flying over me, On Fuji ASA/400 film I got photos of G-BOAE (The Concorde back from Scotland) and G-BOAF (The Concorde back from the Bay of Biscay) flying over head and landing.
When I got to frame 32 of the film I realised I didn't have enough film left to take photos of the last Concorde (BA002 from New York), so I sacrificed 4 frames, rewound the film and quickly put in a fresh role of ASA/400 24 exposure print film.
While I was doing this I saw the tiny triangle of BA002 in the distance slowly getting bigger and bigger, but I wasn't worried as soon the film was loaded the EOS 3 was ready for action I made sure I had all the settings I needed to get good photos of the last landing.
Overall I got all 3 Concorde’s (1 at a time) flying close to me (nose facing) and hitting the ground from the back......
The only regret I have was that I didn't have a zoom lens which covered the range of 28-400mm. I had an 80-400mm zoom range so I got good photos of Concorde in the distance but as she came close and flew low over my head……. I didn't have a wide enough angle in the lens to catch her whole body and then carry on taking photos at longer range as she got smaller in the distance before she landed.
I don't think camera makers make a 28-400mm zoom lens…… I did have a 28-105mm zoom lens in my camera bag but I didn't have time to change from 80-400mm lens down to 28-105mm lens take photos of her over my head and then change back up to a 80-400mm lens and take photos of getting smaller as she landed in the distance.
It would have taken me 60 seconds to change my lenses, but it took Concorde 5 seconds to go from some thing small-ish to some thing huge and then some thing small as she flew over my head and prepared to land, due to this I didn't have time to change my lenses.
Some photographers carry two cameras for these types of situations (one with a huge zoom lens and one with a wide angel lens), but switching from one to the next still would have taken time and again I would have missed the other photos I wanted to take.
So I did the best I could with what I had, but I still feel I could have done better .............. but not sure what I could have done better................
= Press film camera
= A lot of Police
= Police barriers
= Mrs Sparky
as pink figure
= Me as Blue figure
= Press Photographers
Blue helmet =
Purple line =
Grey figures =
Police lined up in these areas next to airport fence.
Heathrow Security lined up in these areas next to airport fence.
Huge crowds of people which filled all the roads around the end of the runway.
Map of where I was standing as 3 Concordes came in to land.
Watching 3 Concordes land
Below are some of the photos I took of the last landings.
The above are more videos of the actual landings taken from different places around Heathrow.
Click on each photo to see bigger version
Some press photographers standing behind Concorde landing had the advantage
of having “Airside“ access to get better photos than me.
While I was taking photos of Concordes landing, my friends around the Heathrow (including one who worked for Heathrow Airport and was inside Heathrow at time) where taking photos and videos of the same thing.
Below are the photos they took :-