There's a Jet in My Photo!

Looking out at the water and mountains from Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland

The view from a terrace at Eilean Donan Castle

The Jets at Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle was the first castle my parents and I toured on our Scotland trip. It was quite magical, and we spent a long time there.

The docents were so knowledgeable and it was fun talking with them. 

As we made our way around the castle, at one point we stepped outside on a rooftop terrace area. I had my camera to my eye and was focusing on the hills, the bridge, the water below it, and the pretty grassy area alongside the castle. 

Suddenly, my ears were assaulted and I instinctively ducked as I was snapping my shot.

Yikes! As I looked up, two jets blew past the castle, unnervingly low and loud.

The kilted man standing next to me said matter of factly, "Don't mind them. It's the Royal Air Force practicing their below-radar flying."


I felt like the dude in Top Gun when Maverick buzzes the tower and he spills his coffee all over himself. Thankfully, I wasn't holding any coffee, and I didn't drop my camera or pee my pants. 

The jets were spectacular and they weren't done.

As the air around us boomed, I looked but couldn't see them. I knew they were coming back by the sound.

Capturing Moving Targets

I did my best to get some photos of the jets, but it was nearly impossible. They were moving so fast and I had no idea what direction they'd come from next. 

I did notice that in the cover shot for this post, I captured one of the planes as it was coming into view - before I knew where it was. When I magnified the photo, I realized that the plane was near the far right edge below the dark cloud and above the hill. 

I normally would have taken that out of the photo as an unwanted spot but I realized it was the plane, so I left it. Can you see it?

I was trying like crazy to follow the plane in my viewfinder and get focus, and I did manage to capture this too:

A jet flying straight up from the ground into the clouds.

A jet flying up into the clouds

It was so awesome to have that short little show. 

It was so frustrating not to be able to capture the planes closer. I don't know if you've ever tried to get photos of flying birds or planes but it's a funny thing. When you zoom in close, it's super hard finding where you are in the sky. 

Does that make sense? I had to zoom out to see where the planes were and then zoom back in to get a close-up. By the time I zoomed back in, the planes were already so far away. 

I've said this before and I'll say it again - mad props to all those nature photographers who capture flying birds and get them in focus! 

One thing I would have done differently had I known the planes were coming, is set my auto-focus on tracking. Since I shoot landscapes and still objects, I have it set to one-spot focusing. 

Set Your Focus to Tracking or Continuous Focus

If you're going to shoot birds, planes, or other moving subjects, set your auto-focus to tracking or continuous focus (another word for tracking). You'll get better results. 

We enjoyed our little show from the castle, and I'm glad I got a couple of shots to remember it by. I wish they were closer up, but that's the way it goes.

Some you get, some you miss. 

Have a great rest of your week...

And, see you between the raindrops!


You can see one of my photos of Eilean Donan in my Scotland Gallery here