Hawker Harrier – Full Resto

Not the usual four wheels this one but 5… and not on an automobile. Was contemplating I should put this blog on my editorial website, but thought as its Octane Magazine its on here. 🙂

The day before this shoot the sky was a deep winters blue but came the day of the shoot it was a flat damp January sky…

At around -1 it was a tad cold and pleased I had some thermals on 🙂

A harrier is not a small vehicle you can just manoeuvre easily… so we had to get it into position and stick with it. All in all I think we only moved it once throughout the shoot.

Not only because of the weather but just because of the size we had to light it. Tripod out and wireless trigger and flash head at the ready.

The image above is the RAW file, untouched, flat straight from the camera. The image below is the finished image once all the various elements have been combined and levels adjusted. Think I took over 30 images for this image and used about 15-20 in the one below.

I repeated this process 6 times to give the best options for the final layout with this one above being a DPS.

Image above was never used but just as a talking point here it is. I thought I took a quick photon my phone to show how the camera was mounted on some really tall steps. Really old steps about 15 foot high and coupled with an uneven floor took a few ups and downs of the steps to get into a good position for the set up.

I had the tripod on the standing platform and with some rope strapped it as best and securely as possible to the steps. Once I started shooting frames I knew I couldn’t check the preview screen because if I moved the steps too much then the photoshopping would be all the more laborious. Again firing about 30 frames until  I had a good idea the plane was lit enough.

To get these few images direct nose on we spun the harrier a little so the background wasn’t cluttered with other aircraft and related paraphernalia.

Again while in the same position a few more angles and those un-even steps 🙂

Once the full aircraft was shot I took a few more images with flash in the same way.


Two images combined to make the image above of the iconic jets.

Took three images of the cockpit all with the camera mounted on top of the seat. This one above had to have a small button pressed in order for some of the cockpit lights to be illuminated.

Even with a 17mm it was a tight squeeze to fit everything in so this one above to get some of the canopy in.

The shot used in the final article which the harness was better dressed that the other two.

Another cockpit from a different angle.

For me the cockpit was just too much to take in… too many buttons that wanted me to become acquainted with them 🙂

I must say I was waiting for this moment for me to get in that pilot seat and start taking some details… However my 6’3″ frame was never meant to be put in a Harrier cockpit. When I did eventually get sat in the seat my knees were wedged and I quickly realised that there was no way my head would fit in that canopy even without a helmet!

Anyway I had then had to prise myself back out of the seat and then crack on with the details.

Labels, dials, anything that looks good, fire buttons, chaffs and flares…. all good to shoot 🙂

My ‘Sure-Shot’ wasn’t this sophisticated but it reminded me so much of playing some Commodore 64 games. Bet it didn’t have four suction cups to keep it in place!

600 Knots sounds fast….. nuff said.

Don’t ask me…. its bright yellow, looks important and dangerous…


Final Layout and all in all even it if was minus degrees, the weather wasn’t all that good this was a good change and great subject.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any behind the scene stuff but I was just trying to keep going to keep warm.

Below is a video of this Harriers engines being started up for the first time in 25 years.

Also this Harrier is up for sale… so grab yourself a running Harrier 🙂

Another video of it below.


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