West Coast, Best Coast | Spotting at KLAX | March 6th, 2022

Hello Community!

This past week, the boys @Altaria55, @Cameron_Stone, @Guxk, @robert_xing, @Speedyyy (+1 other not on IFC), and I took a trip out to Los Angeles to do some spotting.

Some things that I’ve found out through this trip:

  1. LAX is far and away the best airport I’ve ever spotted at. I’m hereby demoting ZRH and JFK to A-Tier spotting airports. SYD is still S-Tier but LAX is better. If you are a LAX based spotter and you complain about LAX I’m revoking your rights.

  2. Denver only has four Southwest deicing pads and that is unacceptable for a city with so much Southwest action.

  3. If someone’s camera gear has IBIS, you are allowed to call them pay to win regardless of if they’re just better than you.

I took 3092 photos on this trip, which I narrowed down to 519 on initial review. I then picked about 25 to share here, so this will be a multi part series assuming I don’t get too busy with schoolwork. Without further ado, let’s go take a look at the first batch of photos.

The mountains near LAX seem to gather a dense fog in the mornings that dissipates rather quickly. I’m glad I forced myself awake at 4 am after an hour of sleep (thanks Southwest) to make it to the airport by sunrise and catch this MD-10.

LAX has so much traffic you’re free to attempt ridiculous shots you’d never try at another airport, because if you mess up you just get the next aircraft in 30 seconds. Here’s the product of one of those, a 1/40 daylight pan of this MAX 9.

What you’re seeing here is a 747 taking approximately the same amount of runway to depart as the 737 in the photo above. Cargo airlines at LAX are nice because their ramp location almost guarantees a south side departure.

This spot (H Hotel) is one of the reasons why LAX is better to spot at than SYD, which also has a skyline spot. There’s just more substance to the skyline here along with the mountains than you get at SYD. Here’s an Emirates A380 wearing the 50th anniversary sticker.

This is the point where I get to make excuses for my lack of panning skills by calling people who can actually hit these 1/20 shots pay to win. I guess I’ll just have to settle for Topaz Sharpen AI, the official software of “yeah I can probably hit that”.

A spotting trip to LAX wouldn’t be complete without going up with Star Helicopters to get aerial shots. While quite expensive, I’d recommend it in a heartbeat for anyone interested in spotting and with mildly competent camera control. Here’s a Delta 767 smoking up 24R.

While I would normally recommend against shooting backlit, sometimes you don’t get that option in the helicopter. I’m still learning the recovery but I try my best. Here’s a 777 and a 747…making a 797 or something. Leave them alone.

I feel like at least one More To Love aircraft is in Los Angeles every day. While we missed the arrival by a couple minutes, it parked up at a pretty convenient gate to shoot. I will not be taking any arguments about gummy worms.

Last but certainly not least is a spot I’ve wanted to try out ever since I saw shots from there on Instagram. This is Vista Del Mar park, which sits just beyond the threshold of the northern runways and is essentially just a collection of palm trees. Due to the positioning of the sun during golden hour, you can get some pretty aesthetic shots here, like this ANA 777.

I’ve never done a thirteen hour spotting day before, but it felt like it went by in thirteen minutes. If you want to see more photos from this day, go follow the boys:

@Altaria55 | dfwjets
@AndrewWu | atis.alpha
@Cameron_Stone | klaxspotting
@Guxk | zny.aviation
@robert_xing | overcloudsunderstars
@Speedyyy | dfw.aviationn




they be having some fun… maybe a little too much 😏

these pictures are really amazing by the way! awesome as always


Then there’s me:

Charging my camera batteries at the hotel and driving out 50 minutes to LAX to realize the camera had been on 4K recording the whole time draining the battery to 0%.

I wish I had time to join you guys lol


did you take all the photos yourself?

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Yep! I would never post anyone else’s photo without credit lol


so you took them all your self

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Yes I did do you need proof or what haha


never mind


pfft, i think he took onemoreweektogos photos 👀


Ay if I’m getting compared to Alvin that’s a compliment of the highest degree


you literally are the alvin of the east coast and now you’ve decided to invade the west coast.

come to vegas one day, you’ll enjoy spotting 150 southwest 737’s in one day


Wow those shots are amazing!


Is it a comparison if that is what the photos are… 👀👀👀👀


These are hot. Making me feel sweaty. 🥵


WOW stunning! The addition of motion blur in the background is quite amazing and I love how much depth it adds to the shot. Nice work!


despite the hit to my JFK pride I will have to concur

nice shots mr wu


He actually got it right! Lovely shots Andrew!


the wu did the thing

excellent shots, kinda unfortunate I went to LAX about 2 weeks before you and the lads but maybe next time


Very cool photos!