ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS: Blog http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) Sun, 13 Sep 2015 19:25:00 GMT Sun, 13 Sep 2015 19:25:00 GMT http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/img/s12/v177/u820693098-o805271061-50.jpg ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS: Blog http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog 80 120 ONE YEAR (AND ONE MONTH) LATER... http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/9/one-year-and-one-month-later Howdy Pardners!,

 well, it must be stated that there has been a very slight lack of action in this Blog, so I have decided to take a quick stroll along it's tumbleweed littered main street. Dodging the myriad rolling clumps to the accompaniment of... whoow!, that was a big one!... a plaintive wail from a lone banjo being played on the stoop, I can, however, state that there has been a fair bit going on elsewhere! I'll just edge around these tightly meshed bundles, to state that there are now officially one hundred, yes one hundred, galleries and... ow, that's prickly... five thousand photos now on display at icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com !!



 P.S Does anyone actually know what a "stoop" is and a) whether banjos are played anywhere else, and b) if any other musical instruments can legally be played on the stoop??.

icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/9/one-year-and-one-month-later Sun, 13 Sep 2015 13:40:29 GMT
GREENHAM COMMON!! http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/greenham-common  Hi,

     ....and welcome to some scribings about a gallery with a bit of an old school flavour, or should that be Old Skool Flava, i'm not entirely sure.. These photos of Greenham Common airbase were all taken on film (mainly Ilford Delta 400 and HP5 400) and have been treated to some pretty unsubtle contrast alteration in the old 'grades' style, but I think it suits them. To carry this a bit further, I decided to do the research for this blog using books (remember them?), pen, and paper, which was quite refreshing in a way.

 There is a plethora of information available about Greenham Common. In summary, it was a former World War II airfield that was taken over by the U.S.A.F in 1951, receiving its first aircraft two years later. It evolved to feature two 9000 feet runways, 3 hangars and accomodation for 1500 personnel. Later it became famous (or infamous) as the U.K base for the American G.L.C.M's (Ground Launched Cruise Missiles), which were first delivered in 1983, with a total of 96 being present by 1986. These attracted the well known protest activities of C.N.D (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), the Peace Camp and Cruise Watch. At the end of the Cold War, the U.S forces departed and Greenham Common closed as an air base in 1991.

 I really didn't expect that you'd be able to get anywhere near this place, or, if you could, that there would be anything left to see. Instead, amazingly, we seemed to be able to wander around at will, and, though there are quite a few companies using the remaining buildings, hardly saw a soul, despite the fact it was a weekday! In some of the photos you can see that the road layout is based on the American system of driving on the right, there were also U.S style fire hydrants dotted around the place! Strangely, or at least I thought it was, the sign on the preserved area of the missile shelters states that they are protected under the "Scheduled Ancient Monuments Act". I've never heard of this, and there was no mention of English Heritage/ National Trust etc. so it made me wonder whether this area is technically U.S soil? Then again, I might be completely wrong, but, as it's highly unlikely that anyone will  ever read this, I'm going to stick with this idea.

 The photos show quite a variety of things, including the missile shelters, the control tower, runway area, Commissary (identical apparently to contemporary American malls of the time), the Command Centre (which also housed the decontamination units) and some of the hangars. I was determined to spare you the rigours of facts for most of this diatribe, but have just found out that, by royal decree, there must be at least a 1:15 fact to text ratio. So, grudgingly, "Stop...Hangar Time", (now that's old school!!). These 3 "Luria" hangars are 320 feet wide and 160 feet long, steel framed and steel clad, with enough space to accommodate the B-47 Stratojet or the KC-97 refuelling tanker. "But!", I hear, "one of them is concrete, you incompetent fool!", among other shouts of outrage. Well, this is because this one was rebuilt in 1958, after a B-47 jettisoned its fuel drop tanks on take off. One of the magnesium tanks hit another parked B-47 and one landed on this hangar. Ever since there has been speculation, which has never completely been denied, that the aircraft was also carrying nuclear warheads, which did not explode but did leak radioactive material. The hangar burned for two days, which is made even more worrying by the fact that there were also eight, 1,000,000 gallon(!) underground fuel tanks at the base.

 Anyway, I think that makes the quota just over 1;15, so, back to the photos! On pages 9 and 13, you can observe rare evidence of a generally unknown and short lived chapter of the Greenham Common story. While the histories of the "Peace Convoy" and C.N.D were well documented, little media attention was given to another group active at the same time, the "Pease Protesters". This ramshackle collective was fiercely opposed to the import into the U.K of American "junk food". It adopted the name and logo of the iconic yellow split pea based pudding to spearhead it's campaign, believing these would evoke a unique type of English traditionalism. Why were they active at Greenham??, simply because the Commissary ("village store") at the base was, at the time, the largest retailer of U.S origin processed food in the U.K, importing, according to the group's pamphlets, over 4250 tonnes of saturated fat per day. The "Pease Protesters" made it their mission to halt this influx by blockading the building, an action that began early in the summer of 1985.

 However, in a misguided attempt to adhere to correct "Englishness", the group refused to conform to the American road layout at Greenham Common and set up their barricades and brazier on the LEFT hand side of the road facing the Commissary. As well as causing several dangerous incidents in which the anarchists only barely escaped injury, this short sighted policy rendered the entire roadblock ineffectual. Trucks approaching the drop off point simply passed on the opposite side of the road, while those departing did so to the rear of the protesters, their drivers often crawling silently up to the blockade, before either belching, loudly sounding their horns, farting, or emitting a "Rebel Yell", any one of which ensured that the road was immediately cleared. 

 The shambolic campaign attempted by the "Pease Protesters" was doomed from the start, and the end finally came after a farcical incident that occurred on the 23rd of June 1985. Over a period of several hours, two off duty U.S servicemen, Lance Corporal Thaddeus P. Weinberger and Master Sergeant Washington "Hank" Dwight VII, surreptitiously crept up behind the unsuspecting militants and deposited 5 Big Macs, 3 Quarterpounders (with extra cheese), several large portions of Fries, and a "Forty" of Root Beer into the protesters' haversacks and clothing. On the discovery of this substantial stash of fast food, the group's credibility was destroyed and the "Pease Protesters" disbanded on the spot, amidst howls of ridicule from passers by.

 Today, (or at least several years ago anyway), Greenham Common Airfield is a surpringly quiet and peaceful place to walk around, with large areas of the site devoted to a nature reserve, including strolling cows and ponds full of waterfowl. When I visited, I was astonished at the amount of buildings and equipment that remained, not least the fire drill 'plane' and the practice bomb! There was a also a varied and bizarrely relevant collection of vehicles lying around, including a London "Routemaster" bus, and, my personal favourite, American "Winnebago" type leisure vehicles stored next to a truck lettered for "Wild Rose, featuring the Russian Ice Stars". There's a symbolic message in there somewhere....



P.S The well known C.N.D arrow symbol can be interpreted in two ways. The first is as the semaphore signs for the letters "N" and "D". The second is as a broken cross, representing the death of mankind, and an unbroken circle, symbolizing an unborn child. The first C.N.D badges were ceramic, this material being selected as it would survive as archaeological evidence of a death after the body had 'disappeared'. This is chilling stuff, which sent a shiver down my spine when I read it,  especially when you think that all this was happening less than 30 years ago...

icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/greenham-common Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:42:36 GMT
THE SUPER GUPPY!! http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/the-super-guppy

 On arriving at Bruntingthorpe Airfield to view the Cold War Jets Collection (highly recommended and to be featured on here at some point), I enquired about whereabouts on the site I would find it. The guy on the gate asked, in a friendly manner, "Do you know what a Super Guppy is?", "Yes!", I replied as confidently as I could  to avoid sounding ignorant, at the same time thinking "Do I?". I must have pulled it off, as the answer was "Well ,head for that and you can park there". Something in the depths of my brain told me that the Super Guppy was a large aircraft, but nothing prepared me for this behemoth!. The thing was immense, in fact I wouldn't be too surprised if it could be seen from Space. It turns out this was probably the most concise and straightforward set of parking directions that I will ever hear, as there was no way that this beast was ever going to leave your sight as you headed towards it.

This massive and cool aircraft is actually a Super Guppy Turbine, a turbo-prop plane built by Aero-Spacelines and bearing some impressive vital statistics. It's 143 feet long, 48 feet high, and has a wingspan of 156 feet. It weighs 46 tonnes and can carry approx. 25 tonnes of cargo. The cargo compartment is 111 feet x 25 feet x 25 feet, apparently large enough to hold the Olympic pole vault event.

There were only five of these magnificent giants built, four are preserved and one still works for N.A.S.A, carrying parts for the International Space Station. This one, F-BTGV, serial number 0001 (!), and the first of the Super Guppy Turbines, first flew on the 24th August 1970, and from 1971-1995 was used by Airbus Industries to carry parts for the Concorde and Airbus production programmes and, as you might guess, we're not talking window frames and seat covers, more like wing components and actual fuselages.

To get these in and out the whole of the front of the plane actually semi-detaches, swivels to the side and the cargo compartment is completely open, normally revealing some slightly bewildered and shaken Olympic pole vaulters.

It's a pretty serious aircraft and the only one in the U.K, have a look at the pictures with the light plane in, if this thing got peckish it wouldn't stand a chance. Standing near it, it's very impressive in it's size and scale, and on that note i'm afraid it's time for some more statistics, so here we go!. It is powered by four turbo-prop engines with a range of 1986 miles and a top speed of 288 m.p.h, and has a maximum cruising height of 25,000 feet and a crew of four. Though it has a sort of benevolent appearance and looks like the kind of plane the Michelin Man would bounce happily across clouds to wave hello to, it is based on the C-97J Stratocruiser, which can trace it's lineage back to the B-29 Superfortress, the type of aircraft that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even without knowing about it's distant cousins, I still would't have messed with the Super Guppy..

There is a wealth of information about the Super Guppy on the Internet meaning that the next person who comes up to me in the street and asks me if I know what a Super Guppy is (admittedly this doesn't happen that often) will probably regret it when I hit them with a barrage of facts. For these ones, I only had to go to www.allaboutguppys.com, and www.superguppy.co.uk, this last one is about the plane in the pictures and has a wicked aerial view of it.

I think that's about enough Super Guppy related stuff for now...



P.S Just one more, the Super Guppy was not the only aircraft in the Guppy series, there was also the Mini Guppy and the Pregnant Guppy!

icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/the-super-guppy Wed, 03 Sep 2014 16:53:48 GMT
THE OWLS!! http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/the-owls WHITE FACED SCOPS OWL.WHITE FACED SCOPS OWL. Firstly, many thanks to the folk at Corio Raptor Care and Rehabilitation for allowing me to take all the photos in this gallery. They are a charity based near Lancaster who do sterling work helping sick, injured and mistreated birds of prey. They can be found at www.raptor.co.uk or on Facebook (CORIO-RAPTOR-CARE). They also carry out regular shows around Lancashire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire, as well as educational visits to schools etc.

The species of Owl (and the odd Kestrel) featured are Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Little Owl, American Kestrel, Asian Brown Wood Owl, and my personal favourite "Otis", the White Faced Scops Owl. Thanks also go to all of these birds for being consummate professionals and not being at all fazed by having a telephoto lens stuck inches in front of their faces. They are beautiful and fascinating creatures and it was a pleasure to photograph them!


P.S The photos were taken at the Corio Raptor Care show at the Aughton Pudding Festival, an event that only occurs every 21 years. It involves the baking of a gigantic plum pudding, which in 1992 weighed 3.82 tonnes and was a World Record Holder. Last year's was slightly smaller, but still required mixing in a tin bath and transporting by a quad bike. That's some cake!...


icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/the-owls Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:34:45 GMT
ICONIC LITTLE CHEF!! http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/iconic-little-chef How cool a Little Chef can you get?? This is one that it seems I was meant to find. After missing a turn off for an R.O.C post, I was flying along the A1 when I noticed this fantastic building on the left, it was blocked off from the carriageway and no way to stop so I thought that was that. Anyway, looking at the maps later on to see roughly where it was, it turned out to be right on the other side of the road from the Travelodge i'd booked for two nights time! On my return I found a way to it around the back of a huge roadhouse type pub that showed that this must have been quite a busy stopping place in times past, indeed enough to merit what I later found out to have been "Britain's only architecturally important Little Chef", according to The Guardian.

It was designed by the Modernist architect Hugo Segar "Sam" Scorer, and built in 1960-1, originally as a filling station(!), with the distinctive "hyper-parabaloid" (now that's a word to crowbar floorboards up with)  roof on four concrete stanchions presumably covering the pumps. It cost £4500 in old money to build and survived as a petrol station until 1989, when it was converted to a Little Chef, which stayed open until summer 2012. In March 2012, while still open as a Chef, it was given Grade 2 listing, but only for the roof. They didn't seem to think much of the rest as the listing states "the canopy and four structural supports remain intact and uncompromised by the inserted building beneath...the restaurant building does not have special interest and is excluded from the listing".

The next morning I had breakfast at the new and 'rebranded' Little Chef across the road, which was very nice, but I couldn't help thinking what it would have been like to be in this great building. Then I carried on to that R.O.C post...


P.S Little Chef itself is now an endangered species- from a peak total of approx. 439 around the year 2000, there are now only 74 left open in the U.K.

icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/iconic-little-chef Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:34:51 GMT
GETTING THERE!! http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/getting-there "URBANIZER 10""URBANIZER 10"VC10 ENGINE, DUMFRIES So, three weeks in and it's starting to come together I think! a bit of a selection so far, some curious and derelict buildings, owls, stock cars, music, strange aircraft, and a selection of bunkers, oh and some landscapes too. 650 photos so far, had to take a bit of a break for a week as I had exceeded my internet allowance which surely is a good sign..

And the grand total of 3 visitors, admittedly 2 (possibly 3) of those were me on different machines, but at least one person was crazy/bored enough to look at it!

I've got more prepared already, i'm also going to add some info/tales about some of the places, in a kind of "if you'd like to find out more about..." way, because i'm old fashioned like that, so let's start with breakfast at the...

icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/getting-there Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:01:56 GMT
INTO ACTION!! http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/into-action Hi,

Here we go!, some action has occurred, first galleries up featuring a bit of a selection.Some bunkers as promised, a cool transporter bridge and a seriously cool Little Chef!, some island tranquility and the Urbanizer series halfway through for your delectation!




icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/into-action Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:56:07 GMT
ICARUSIMAGESYSTEMS.ZENFOLIO.COM EXISTS!! http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/icarusimagesystems-zenfolio-com-exists "URBANIZER 1""URBANIZER 1"PARK HILL FLATS, SHEFFIELD Hello folks!,

 Well, here it is at long last! After many years of meaning to, I finally decided on my birthday recently that at last it was overdue, and here is the result. Icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com lives! Expect to see a varied selection of photos featuring Cold War bunkers, dereliction, places of no interest, the curious to the outright bizarre, and the odd tranquil landscape.

Welcome to my humble domain...



icarusimagesystems@gmail.com (ICARUS IMAGE SYSTEMS) http://icarusimagesystems.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/icarusimagesystems-zenfolio-com-exists Sat, 16 Aug 2014 18:24:46 GMT