The Photographers for Climb-out

Paul DrabotPaul Drabot started to have an interest from the word go in 1960 the year he was born. His father was Polish and flew Spitfires and Hurricanes as one our allies in the second world war. Pauls grandfather flew sea planes from Newhaven (Sussex) in the first world war (see the Henry Ross Alderson page) so you could say that aviation is in his blood.
Never having become a pilot himself he settled for "just watching" and is very pleased to do so.
The only shows he ever went to were at his local airfield Biggin Hill, but when in his teens he got his first car, that gave him the freedom to explore the world outside Biggin and went to his first ever Air Tattoo at Greenham common.He could not believe the amount of jets that were there.After that he went to practically every show that was near to him including the West Malling shows, the fighter meets at North weald, and even planned his annual Cornish holiday around the Saint Mawgen show.
Not really being into photography at the time he does not have much of a photographic record of those days.Around the middle 1970s he decided to get his first ever SLR camera in the shape of the old Pentax K1000 and has had a multitude of SLRs ever since, and went digital with a Canon 300 back in 2004.I have been lucky enough to have some of my images published in airshow programs and a coffee table book that came out a few years ago, proberly the most exclusive has been an image I had published in Air Combat magazine back in October proudest moment so far!
Mark Preston (who I am constructing this web site with) and I, met at Los Angeles airport back in 1997 where we had both taken the decision to go out to the Golden Anniversary show at Nellis AFB.Queuing to go through US immigration we got chatting and found that we lived quite near eachother and have been good friends and aviation buddys ever since, and both attend (when we can) most of the local shows with an occasional trip over seas.
The equipment I use is a Canon 20D (Spare) a Canon 40D with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, a Canon EF 300mm f/4l IS USM and a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, loads of batterys and Sandisk CF cards and a 20gig flashtrax storage hardrive.

Mark Preston Mark Preston was bitten by the aviation bug during the first ten years of his life and has suffered the effects ever since! Growing up during the 1970's, his parents house in Sevenoaks, Kent was regularly over flown by aircraft which were holding prior to displaying at the nearby Biggin Hill Airshow.
He has vivid memories of running outside at the sound of an aircraft (something he is still known to do today actually!) during those happy childhood summers and clearly remembers looking up open-mouthed at sights such as an RAF Hercules in its original sand/brown camouflage, a four-ship of Starfighters and the Red Arrows Gnats. Like Paul, a visit to Biggin Hill Airshow gave Mark his first taste of such events, but he was also fortunate that his Mum's Aunt lived in a fantastic house just to the East of what was then RAF Kemble. Several summer holidays in the mid/late 70's were spent at this idyllic Cotswold location and the thrill of watching the Red Arrows practicing their routine as if just for him, will stay with him forever. (Later this same location would offer him a perfect base from which to attend the first and several subsequent Air Tattoos held at RAF Fairford. Before the joys of camping next to the airfield became a possibility!)
Photography had also always been of interest to Mark, but his early efforts at Airshows had always been frustrated by the lack of a decent camera!
Then came that special day when his Dad let him use his Nikon F SLR and fixed 200mm Nikkor was a revelation!  He realised that he could actually produce some acceptable results, even with manual focus and no motor drive!  The Great Warbird Displays at West Malling gave Mark his first chance to combine his two passions and he has never looked back! 
The freedom that resulted from passing his driving test in the late 80's meant that he could venture further afield. Fairford, Mildenhall and Duxford all became regular haunts and his hard earned money went towards his first modern autofocus camera/lens combo in the form of a Nikon F70 and Tamron 200-400mm zoom!  This kit served him well, producing many memorable images, including one which appeared in a coffee table book. In 1997 Mark could not resist the draw of the Golden Air Tattoo due to be held at Nellis AFB, Nevada and travelled solo as part of a George Pick tour, Paul had also taken the same decision and the rest, as they say, is now history! 
 Several trips abroad have now been enjoyed and hopefully more will be made, time, money and family commitments permitting!
Paul's move to digital and the superb results that he was getting convinced Mark to take the plunge too and in 2004 a Nikon D70 was purchased ahead of a trip to Sweden to 'shoot' the last of the Viggens.  He currently still uses this trusty camera in conjunction with Sigma 50-500mm and Nikkor 18-70mm lenses and continues to search for that elusive 'perfect shot'! "