RSAF Exercise Torrent VII 2016

The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) Exercise Torrent is back after 8 long years since the last one! It involves the conversion of the 6-lane wide Lim Chu Kang road into an alternate runway.

This also means the removal of 153 lamp posts, road signages and bus stops. The clearance work involves something like 1,000 manpower, and during peace-time exercises, contractors are engaged to help with the removal work.

You can also view the work done, in RSAF’s video here.

Some of you may ask, where can contractors be found during war-time? The short answer is, the RSAF can depend on its own manpower to get the alternate runway ready within 48 hours.

Anyway, I decided to try something different… Use a (relatively) slow shutter speed to capture and show the sheer speed of these jets as they zoomed (roared?) past us, just 3 lanes away. Used Shutter Priority at 1/30th second at first, but I didn’t have any keepers from there. Which is why I don’t have photos of the first plane (an F-15SG), as they were too blur.

Tested 1/100th second seemed to work better, so I stuck with that. I also tried using Aperture Priority, which gave me some very fast shutter times and froze the planes. But I felt that this didn’t give me the feeling of sheer speed and power that I wanted. I must say that my 5D Mark III’s auto-focus system helped me quite a lot, though!

I used my favourite Canon EF 70-300mm F4-5.6L lens, which almost proved too tight, as we were really close to the planes, and the planes themselves were also huge. Found myself having to step back a few metres to try and get the whole plane in the frame.

Some tips for if you’re also going to shoot the next event:

  • Bring a bagpack which includes a hydration bag, like those from Camelbak and Osprey. This will help you to stay well-hydrated under the hot sun.
  • Bring a cap along to shield your eyes and face.
  • Bring and apply sunblock.
  • If you’re using a full-frame camera, 70-300mm works well enough. Any longer and it might be too “tight”.

This is something from my cycling hobby… But I wore my Q36.5 Base Layer 1 to help manage my body heat. Being snug, it wick-ed away my perspiration and somehow helped me to regulate body temp under the hot sun. It’s a bit counter-intuitive I suppose… Since we think that something like that will only make us feel warmer. While it’s true that I felt warm at first, but once the base layer is damp, it doesn’t feel warm any more.

As always, keep yourself hydrated properly!



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