IFCI Answer Thread with @AndrewWu
Hello and Welcome to the Answer Thread for @AndrewWu ! We’ve picked out 19 of the best questions you asked us to ask our interviewee.
-The IFCI team
#Q1. @snoman asked; When did you go spotting for the first time, and what sparked your passion for it?
My first time spotting was in December 2018. We were driving from Miami Beach to our hotel, and the airport happened to be just a five minute detour. The “photography” part of it didn’t cross my mind until much, much later (August 2019). My passion for spotting mainly stemmed from the fact that the airport was a place I could go and be surrounded with people who shared the same interest as me, and also see some incredible pieces of machinery. My passion for combining spotting with photography came about because at the time, I followed one aviation photographer on Instagram, Alvin @onemoreweektogo, and he would release weekly wallpapers that always caught my eye, and essentially I wanted to be able to make my own eye-catching wallpapers.
I have a lot of “favorites” that I could choose from, but if I had to pick one, it would have to be this shot of HB-JNH:
To me, this shot represents my style of aviation photography: taking an average image, and accenting the most prominent feature (in this case, the clouds), to make something that is eye-catching. This image was also the first time I really learned how to use selective editing to my advantage.
If you were expecting some sort of insane moment like a lightning strike or a compressor stall, sorry to disappoint you. In terms of aircraft, at PAE I remember seeing some sort of strange small, propeller-driven aircraft. I deleted the image so I can’t look up the registration, but imagine a Piaggio Avanti, except just a single propeller on the nose, forward facing. Air Drake (private 767-200ER) was also quite a unique plane AND livery. In terms of experience, watching and listen to a 727 start up from 200 feet away was pretty crazy.
#Q4. @Infinite_Flight_Sims asked; What is your favorite aircraft to spot?
What do you find the hardest about editing your shots?
Lightroom Classic or new Lightroom?
Favorite aircraft to spot would definitely be the 787. Looks good, strong wingflex, very prominent fanblades. Hardest part of editing is undoubtedly using the path tool to trace the plane so I can selectively edit. Lightroom Classic all the way.
#Q5. @Altaria55 asked; Favorite airport you’ve spotted at and why?
Sydney (YSSY) for sure. It has some really cool spots that allow for some creative angles, and a diverse range of traffic as well. Other strong contenders are Vancouver (CYVR) and Zurich (LSZH), but I did not have much time to spot at those airports, and thus did not experience all they have to offer.
#Q6. @Rilej_aviation asked; What place do you want to go to most, and why?
I would say Japan, but flights for that have been booked already so I’ll pick another. Probably central Europe, especially the Innsbruck area and Prague. I find that area to be incredibly picturesque and Innsbruck offers great spotting.
It was a Panasonic Lumix FZ70, a bridge camera. Not anything fancy but it was enough to help me learn the basics. I have only ever owned two cameras, that FZ70 and my D7500. Considering that one is a bridge and one a enthusiast DSLR, I think you can figure out which one is my favorite.
My favorite aircraft is the A350-900. It’s not my favorite to take photos of since its wings seem rather stiff and its fanblades are not readily visible, but it is incredibly good looking and very comfortable to fly on as well.
#Q9. @Butter_Boi asked; What would you do if you were to stop spotting?
I would probably pursue other types of photography, like wildlife or landscape, but I hope I never have to or will stop spotting. I would also probably turn to my other childhood passion which was roller coasters and theme parks.
#Q10. @Transport_Hub asked; In your opinion, what is the biggest accomplishment you’ve reached within the world of IF and why? What has been your inspiration to pursue goals in Infinite Flight or the world of real aviation? And finally, when is our next meetup? ;)
My biggest accomplishment in the world of Infinite Flight would probably be becoming an IFATC Controller. It’s something I’ve considered from the beginning but until recently, I haven’t been able to put down the time to make it happen. Becoming an IFATC requires responsibility, maturity, and discipline, which are important to me. My inspiration to pursue goals is the community we have here. There are hundreds if not thousands of people who share the same interests alongside me, who are there to support me if I need it. Our next meetup, realistically speaking, will be UN Week 2021 ;).
#Q11. @Dylan_M asked; Do you think your pictures are good or bad?
Short answer: good
Long answer: This is something I’ve struggled with throughout my road of spotting. When I first started, I kept comparing myself to other spotters, seeing that they were better than me, and then berating myself for not being able to perform on their level. This caused me to develop a “my photos are bad” attitude, but the issue with that is it totally misses the point and improvement isn’t possible with that attitude. I switched to a “what can I improve in this photo?” attitude, which allowed me to make serious strides forward and now, I can say, without lying to myself, that I think I am producing at least some good photos.
#Q12. @anon28254084 asked; As a Asian, how did you acquire the beautiful accent of yours? Also, how did you end up in the US/Canada when both of your parents are Asian?
I would say my accent is a pretty average American one, but to each his own. My parents immigrated to America before graduate school because of the job opportunities for their children here.
Studies will always come first for me. Generally, I complete the work I need to be doing first, but during that time I may take short breaks to edit photos or go on IFC. It’s really important to be able to both prioritize but also strike a balance. I am undecided on a major, but I plan to pursue some STEM field on a pre-med track (maybe bio statistics).
Grouping these together since they are similar. The Singapore Virtual staff team voted on a new CEO following @Transport_Hub’s resignation, and I was chosen. Simple as that. Being the CEO is really great, I love seeing the pilots interact with each other and watching the community inside the Singapore Virtual slack grow closer each day.
#Q15. @DrNoir asked; What countries have you been to? What is it like to live in Upstate New York (as an Asian)?
I have been to the United States (obviously), Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, as well as the territories of Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, and the US Virgin Islands. Living in Upstate NY is quite boring. There’s not a whole lot to do here. I don’t think being Asian has made it any different, I have experienced very few ‘incidents’ due to my race, even during COVID.
#Q16. @TransportForLife asked; When was the first time you flown on a plane?
It was either 2008 or 2009, on a family trip to Disney. At that time, Delta was bringing a 737-800 to Rochester, so I flew that down to Atlanta and then got on a 757-200 bound for Orlando. Hooked on aviation ever since.
#Q17. @KGJT-9149 asked; What is the worst weather you’ve been spotting in?
What is the most common aircraft that you see?
Worst weather I’ve spotted in is 100% the snowstorm that blew through Toronto on March 31st, 2019. It gave me some pretty cool shots though. The most common aircraft is definitely WestJet 737s of all sub-types.
#Q18. @anon41771314 asked; Best spot to go spotting in Toronto?
My favorite spot is the Wendy’s on Airport Road, because it offers the close-front angle that I love. The fence on Convair Drive by 06L is also a great spot for the same reason.
#Q19. @Madison asked; Can you show the worst shot that you’ve made?
I don’t keep my spotting fails, because they take up too much storage. However, of all the shots I kept, this one stands out to me as the worst out-of-camera photo:
However, even awful photos like these can still be transformed into pieces of art if you know what you’re doing while editing.
Thanks for checking it out! Be sure to tune in on Monday for the next Question Thread. Bye!