Plane Spotting

What Is Plane Spotting?

At a popular viewing location of a busy airport, you might see many people watching planes in a wide variety of ways. But which ones are really plane spotting and which ones are just watching? Ask 100 aviation enthusiasts and you will probably get 100 different responses. For me, plane spotting is a serious hobby which is distinguished from just plain watching.

Who Is Plane Spotting?

No doubt, especially in Europe, you could run into people sporting a pair of binoculars in one hand and a journal in the other. They are usually quite knowledgeable and often travel the world just to spot new and exotic liveries or military markings. For them, spotting is a very serious hobby and it is essential to maintain meticulous records of aircraft seen. I call these true plane spotters. But there are also the photographers, both amateur and professional, with their advanced cameras, giant lenses, tripods or even the occasional video camcorder. I would call these plane spotters too. They just use a different manner of recording what they've seen. And what about my favorites, the scanner bearing, air traffic control eavesdroppers? If you want to know what's coming, a friendly conversation with one of these guys is always fun. If they aren't spotters, they sure can be a spotter's best friend. It's a shame that scanners are illegal in many places. I'm sure that having your equipment confiscated and being in trouble with the local authorities can't be fun. But that's the risk they take. The things we do for our hobbies!

Naturally, there are many plane spotters who use a combination of the above activities and there are also many others who don't take pictures and don't keep records in any way. Plane spotting is a very individual hobby, but those who do it are distinguished by their enthusiasm, knowledge and the time they devote to it.

Who Is Just Plain Watching?

Well, there can be any number of casual plane watchers. Some people find plane watching a calming lunch time activity. For others, it's a way to spend a nice day with the kids. The ooh's and ah's can be heard as the big jets roar across the sky. And every now and then you see someone watching the flight of a loved one take off, a combination of sadness and relief in their eyes as the flight ascends to the heavens. For the most part, these individuals are just plain watching. They may be less knowledgeable, less enthusiastic and do it only on an occasional basis.

All in Fun

The important thing to remember is whether you are plane spotting or just plain watching, it's all fun! Enjoy it your own way!  


Aviation photography


Aviation photography is the act of capturing images of aircraft, either in flight, or on the ground. Like other specialties in photography, aviation photography requires knowledge of special techniques and of the aircraft to be done properly. There are different types of aviation photography, including air-to-air, ground-to-air, ground-static, and remote photography. Military aviation photography, especially air to air, requires additional skills, as the photo and target aircraft often fly at velocities from 500 to 1000 knots, while under moderate to high G. The photographer also must wear a flight suit, flight boots, G-suit, flight helmet with communications system, oxygen mask and visor.


Air-to-air photography

Air-to-air photography is when images are shot with the photographer in the lead aircraft of a formation (at least two aircraft flying together). The subject aircraft is photographed while both aircraft are in flight. This allows the photographer to position the subject in specific locations and angles to get the most desirable shot. Some things that must be considered to achieve best results are lighting and background. Proper lighting is achieved through correct placement of the aircraft relative to the sun, and is accomplished flying only at certain times of the day and/or by flying at a heading that lines the sun up on the subject aircraft properly. The background can highlight or distract from the subject and must be carefully considered when taking shots. Air-to-air photography can be used for a variety of purposes, including commercial use and advertising.


Ground-to-air photography

In ground-to-air photography, photos of aircraft in flight are taken with the photographer stationary on the ground. This type of photography is common at airshows or airports where there is a lot of aircraft activity. The same concepts of air-to-air photography, such as lighting and background, apply to ground-to-air photography as well. Generally, a longer focal-length lens is necessary due to the greater distance between the photographer and the target aircraft. Along with ground-static photography, this is the most popular form of aviation photography.


Ground-static photography

In ground-static photography, photos of stationary aircraft are taken by photographers on the ground. This type of photography gives the most flexibility and freedom in terms of composing one's shot. Photos can be of aircraft exteriors, interiors, and aircraft details. The photographer has full control over lighting, aircraft placement, camera angles, and background. Involving other subjects such as the pilot or other aircraft is much easier to accomplish in ground-static photography than in other forms of aerial photography.


Remote photography

Remote photography is a variation on aerial air-to-air photography, whereby the camera is mounted onto the external aircraft structure away from the photographer and is triggered remotely using a mechanical or electrical shutter release. The image has to be composed when the aircraft is on the ground, because the photographer has no access to the camera while the aircraft is in flight. Much brainstorming and planning must be done while setting up the camera to get the desired shot. Remote photography is the least common type of aviation photography.




Copyright © | Proudly Developed by Ipcoweb | webseosocial | All Rights Reserved.