In the Herald - Snapper lands fabulous shots

Date Published 
Wed 2 Jun 2021

Donnie Briggs

I recently joined Irvine Camera Club but I have been interested in photography for most of my life having taken up the hobby in my teens.   I bought my first camera, a 35mm roll film Zenith, when I was on a school cruise to Russia.  These eastern European cameras were relatively simple but were built like tanks, along the lines of “what isn’t there can’t go wrong”.  They sold very well in the UK as a more affordable alternative to the Japanese brands such as Pentax.

My early photography wasn’t very good, just the usual out-of-focus monochrome images.  I must have gotten the photography bug though because when I could afford it I moved up to the Olympus OM1 which was a much more sophisticated camera used by the likes of Patrick Litchfield and David Bailey.  I stayed with this camera for a long time but it wasn’t until after my family had grown up that I got back into photography seriously. 

Today I’m using a Nikon DSLR.  My interests are wide ranging but I do love shooting wildlife, mainly birds in flight or simply perched in a tree.   I have had various images used by the RSPB Scotland magazines which is always a thrill to see.   I also like to turn my camera on the environment and take landscapes and seascapes, which of course we are blessed with many here in Scotland.

Having regularly attended the Scottish Air Shows, I really developed an interest in photographing military aircraft.  Living close to Prestwick affords plenty of opportunity to see some very interesting and unusual aeroplanes.

You may have noticed a significant increase in military aircraft flying over Ayrshire in recent weeks.  This is because Exercise Joint Warrior has been happening.  This is the largest military exercise in Europe, bringing together the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the British Army, as well as forces from other nations.  Many of the manoeuvres have been happening in the Firth of Forth on the East Coast of Scotland, but Prestwick Airport had been used as holding base for the aircraft.  This has been fantastic for aviation geeks like me and I have been on regular trips to the vantage points around the airport to spot the planes and to catch them on camera.

I hope you enjoy this small collection of my images and that it might help you recognise some of the more unusual airplanes and helicopters you see flying over. 

If you would like to develop (excuse the pun!) your interest in photography, I can recommend joining local camera club where you will meet people that are happy to share their knowledge and experience.  Irvine Camera Club currently meets online every couple of weeks and throughout the summer we are meeting up for field trips.   You can find out all about the club at