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The Amateur Military Category: Smoke In The Sun – Category winner: Mr Mark Thompson

This year’s RAF photographic competition has produced some really interesting images. It has to be said that the pictures that might immediately come to mind in a “typical” air-force photo competition would be fast jets or historic flights, but the RAF have set up a number of categories to encourage some quite specialised photography. That is not to say that Spitfires and Lancaster do not feature! (They are of course represented and some of the pictures are very original and beautiful.)

The only problem we had in selecting pictures for this short piece was how to fathom out what some of the categories actually mean – or how they differ. For example, there is one category titled “The Judges Choice RAF image of the Year”; how does that compare with ” RAF Photographer of the Year”? One might assume that the top photographers managed to get at least one image into the “Image of the year” rankings – but seem not to have done so. A topic for another article perhaps – and a lesson to take on board when TMT runs its own competition (anyone out there want to take this on ?).

But – let’s not get distracted from the fact that the entries were of the very highest standard and covered a wide range of interesting topics. So here are a few to give you a flavour of what was submitted. More photographs are on the RAF website at:

The Judges’ Choice RAF Image of the Year

Category winner: Parallels By SAC Hannah Smoker, RAFAT RAF Scampton


Second place: Selfie By Cpl Tim Laurence, Photo ACSSU RAF Halton


Third place: Perfection By Sgt Paul Oldfield, RAF Cosford


RAF100 Feature


Cpl Tim Laurence, Photo ACSSU RAF Halton
Category winner Cpl Tim Laurence, Photo ACSSU RAF Halton

Current RAF Equipment


Purple Vortex
Highly commended: Purple Vortex By Cpl Sally Raimondo, 77th Brigade


Technical/Engineering Photography


Tunnel Vision
Third place:  Tunnel Vision  By SAC Phil Dye, RAF Akrotiri Image shows RAF engineer Sergeant Danny Wass, inspecting an engine on a Tornado GR4, from IX Squadron in support. RAF Tornados are currently deployed on Operation SHADER.



RAF Photographer of the Year

Category winner:  A/Sgt Rob Travis, BFSAI Falklands


A/Sgt Rob Travis, BFSAI Falklands
In order to fly you have to trust what you can’t see


Defender of the Galaxy
Defender of the Galaxy


Second place:  SAC Chris Thompson-Watts, Photo ACSSU, RAF Halton


SAC Chris Thompson-Watts, Photo ACSSU, RAF Halton
Last of the Titans


Third place:  Cpl Graham Taylor, Photo ACSSU, RAF Halton


Wings Overhead
Wings Overhead


Some great photos – and much kudos for the “Defender of the Galaxy” – a great title!  We hope you enjoy this taster. There are more categories and photographs posted on the RAF’s website:

Also – you can vote for the “People’s Choice: Image of the Year 2018”  as long as you go to the RAF website and click on the image of your choice. The result will be announced on 2oth September.

And finally one of those shots we all love:


Days Gone By
“Days Gone By”   Photographed by SAC Thompson-Watts, Photo ACSSU RAF Halton





All photos are Crown copyright.




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