Here it is! My annual, end of year topic. I do one of these every December to look back and reflect on the spotting experiences from the past year. This year, I had the pleasure of visiting 7 airports, 5 of which I had never spotted at before (bringing the running total to 21). Needless to say, it was an exciting and memorable year. Without further ado, let’s get into the photos.
I started off the year close to home, driving the hour to Buffalo to catch the Patriots’ two planes (although only this one was in livery at the time). Originally, I thought the snow was going to ruin it, but it added a really nice depth effect towards the bottom of the frame.
My biggest spotting trip of the year, a couple of us (@Altaria55, @Cameron_Stone, @Guxk, @robert_xing, @Speedyyy, and I) met up at LAX for an entire day of spotting. Choosing one photo from this day was incredibly difficult but I ended up going with this shot from the helicopter.
I stopped by again the morning of my flight home (without anyone else) to see if I could get any additional shots. It was a pretty uneventful morning but I was able to get some quality shots like this pan.
Right after I wrapped up my spring semester, I stopped by Newark on my way home. It was cloudy all day and a lot of the shots were unusable as I wasn’t used to panning over this distance nor with such a short timeframe (go to Terminal A deck, you’ll see what I’m talking about), but I managed this shot.
I returned a month later, more prepared this time. The session started the same but after dinner the sun came out for a beautiful golden hour. This was probably the most impressive set of pans I’ve ever put together.
July in Anchorage means 19 hours of sunlight and an 11:30 PM sunset, so it makes a breeze to spot at on a family vacation since you can go after all of the day’s activities and still get like. Also, probably the most chill airport cops of any airport in America, it’s like they encourage spotting here. I’ve already gone into this in my full topic, but Runway 15 operations suck.
I returned the next day because the winds were showing a possible switch to Runway 33, but that evidently never happened. The lighting in the morning is still top notch though, and the endless stream of 747s is always appreciated.
Right next to Anchorage International is the busiest seaplane base. Since there isn’t an official arrivals list on FR24, I assumed this meant something similar to saying that this is the world’s fastest snail - but I was wrong. Arrivals come in waves of 5-10 with very minimal delay - it’s just carefully choreographed chaos. It also comes with a 10/10 backdrop.
Before heading back to school for the fall, I decided to visit my friends in Toronto again. Literally nothing happened on this trip and the lightning was pretty bad for 95% of the day (what’s new?), but I was at least to get this A340-300 in the sunlight.
Ending off the year (ish) with a trip to the midwest. The weather was once again pretty bad (running theme) but the sun did peek through the clouds for a couple aircraft of which this was one. Cool to visit a new airport regardless.
I’m now in my fifth year of aviation photography (hard to believe it’s been that long) and I don’t intend on stopping any time soon. I got my current hobbyist camera (a D7500) more than four years ago and I’ve loved it, but I think it’s time to move on to something a little more professional. This past Black Friday I did an entire system change over to Sony and I bought myself a (used) a7iii, 100-400 GM OSS, and 28-75 f/2.8 G2 (Tamron E-Mount). It’s a professional-ish level camera, so this is my commitment to keep developing my skills in the art as to not be that guy with the fantastic setup that has subpar photos. I’m going to hold on to the D7500 for a little while longer, but here marks the conclusion of my time spotting with it.