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E-mail Questions About My Recent LHR Pics Answered  
User currently offlineBen2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3768 times:

Hi All,

I promised that when I left I wouldn't be back, but anyway, I have been receiving a lot of messages about the shots I recently uploaded here, so I thought I'd come back briefly to answer all the questions at once.

I've been asked a lot about this 'secret' place I know, so here are all the details.

As many of the pictures were rejected (I'm not here to complain about it) and some are still in the queue, here they are so you know what I'm talking about. Click to enlarge - each one opens in a new window. Some may be quite big, up to 800 KB, sorry.









The place I took them from is shown here:



Aircraft only come over when they are flying a "Compton 4 Kilo" or "Compton 5 Juliet" standard departure (SID), as illustrated on that map. The red dot is the position I'm talking about.

It's only useful when Heathrow is using runways 09R or L, and when you have a nice clear blue sky. I guess it only works on about 20 days per year, normally those weather conditions happen when there is a fresh high pressure system in the North Sea area.

Even when the conditions are right, very few of the departures fly a Compton SID.

That basically limits the possibilities to transatlantic wide-bodies, which is why you don't see a big variation of types and airlines. Normally it's just British Airways, Air India, Virgin, Air Canada, etc.. but very few United and AA (I don't understand why, maybe just wrong time of the day). I was surprised to see the Thai and Saudi 747s/777s!

The few narrow-bodies flying Compton SIDs tend to do a sharper turn so are closer to the overhead position as they come past. You don't get the 'top' view but some good shots are still possible, such as:





I use a Canon EOS 10D and EF100-400L lens. That's probably the smallest lens size you could get away with. At 400mm, 747s fill the frame, but if you have a longer focal length you might even get some nice pictures of aircraft flying other SIDs, such as the A310 below. It was a bit far away for the 400mm to cope with.



The best time to go there is between about 1pm and 6pm.

If you look here: http://www.heavens-above.com/sun.asp?lat=51.449&lng=-0.410&alt=26&loc=Feltham&TZ=GMT

...at this time of year the sun sets at about 270 degrees. If you compare that to the SID chart above, at any time later than about 5:30pm the aircraft will be heading too close into the sun and you wont get very good lighting.

That site (Heavens Above) is also good for looking up the moon position if you want to be very serious and 'calculate' a Garfinkel-style shot  Wink/being sarcastic


The actual location is exactly where the tip of the arrow is pointing:



Or you can get the full interactive map with this link: http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=510467&Y=173478&A=Y&Z=1

To get there: From Feltham station, on the side that trains go away from London, walk across the bus stops (this is where you take the bus to LHR), and to the other side of the road.

There is an entrance to a narrow alley that has some overgrown hedges on either side. Follow the path for about 50 metres. It goes along beside a small river, then you will come to the entrance to the field. You can see the path on the map as the dotted line beside the blue line.

It's very secluded and hardly anyone knows about it, so no worries about being bothered or moved on.

You can sit there for most of the day and only get 20-25 picture opportunities, but in my humble opinion, it's better than getting 300+ 'perfect' landing shots, just like every other photographer has.

Have fun...

Ben

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePilot kaz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3718 times:

HE HAS RETURNED! ALL BOW! Ah he has gone again! rhaa...

heneway...

The following photo was done the same was as explained above. I was with Ben on that day so no e-mails on how I did it please.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Karis Weller



thanks

kaz x


User currently offlineWorldspotterPL From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 128 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3707 times:

thanks Ben for showing, I was one of the e-mailers  Smile I take my pics from some other secret place, not too far away  Smile


Paul Langfermann @ Worldspotters.Net - The Art of Flying Photos!
User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3705 times:

The best thing about that spot is that it is only half a mile from my house Smile/happy/getting dizzy

I think you would have had better results if you had just walked a further 200 yards, that is where I was standing that afternoon and 744s were literally full frame (100-400mm), the only drawback is that you are at a different angle so getting the portside wing in the picture isn't so easy.

Compton departures are heading to Ireland or East Coast USA/Canada, Dover departures also provide oppurtunities but they are more limited because they dont make such a sharp turn, airlines involved are EK/SV/AI/PK/VS/BA/LY/IR and sometimes the Asians (SQ/MH/TG/QF).

It is a good spot but winter light gives the best results.



Matt

[Edited 2004-09-16 23:01:16]


you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineLGW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3635 times:

Ben2,

Can you please e-mail me (via profile)

Cheers

Ben Pritchard


User currently offlineJkw777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3620 times:

He returns, not for long though!  Sad

Nice shots Ben and Kaz. Will have to head there, or at least attempt to, next time I'm up Le Row and 09's are in action.

Looking forward to seeing you both at AMS.

Regards,

Justin Big grin


User currently offlineUTA_flyingHIGH From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 6495 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3609 times:

 Big thumbs up Many thanks for the spotting directions Ben. I shall (les eaux) be sure to check this spot out next time I will be in LHR (w/ 20D !)

Regards,

Will (who found a new job btw)

Edit to say Kazzie's pic rocks  Smile


[Edited 2004-09-17 09:21:50]


Fly to live, live to fly - Air France/KLM Flying Blue Platinum, BMI Diamond Club Gold, Emirates Skywards
User currently offlineTin67 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 268 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3542 times:

There are numerous places around Feltham when the 9's are in use. I prefer to be a little nearer line of 9R than the location above as you can get the nice climb out shots as well long right hand turns.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Martin Aves
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Martin Aves



I was questioned by the plain clothed Police a few months back in Feltham and while they were perfectly happy for me to carry on, they warned be to be careful standing around with load of decent camera kit  Sad

Regards
Martin



User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 732 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3527 times:

they warned be to be careful standing around with load of decent camera kit

This is a very good point - some of my favorite locations around LHR (and elsewhere) can be a little isolated. The problem we photographers have is that when concentrating on a subject, we can loose "situational awareness" - and may not spot trouble approaching until its too late.

Last year I was down near Stanwell Moor, no one else around, happily shooting away when a bunch of local youths came towards me - they weren't aggressive, but a bit boisterous, possibly a little drunk. I moved off the pathway and let them by - no problems, just some jokey comments. However I did feel distinctly vulnerable (I was once mugged many years ago - it doesn't take much to trigger the memory of that!) and have since given some thought to my personal safety.

I'm not going to let this stop me shooting alone, but some precautions I take -

a) I like to keep a clear field of view around me - I don't want to be taken by surprise

b) I try and avoid straying too far from the car

c) I keep my kit to a minimum, and stowed so I'm ready to move in a hurry (a photojournalist told me many years ago "never carry more than you can run with")

d) I've got a rape alarm in the camera bag - I'd picked some up from the University Student Union shop for my wife & daughter for about £1 each. I'm not sure how much good it will do, but these things are painfully loud - it may startle and scare off an attacker, or may attract help

e) My kit is insured - if it comes down to it, I'm not going to risk physical injury for something that can easily be replaced.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineTin67 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 268 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3517 times:

Wise indeed words Colin.

I am very cautious and try to stay to areas there other people are around, but as you say to get some good positions you can be a little isolated.

Regards
Martin



User currently offlineDehowie From Australia, joined Feb 2004, 1057 posts, RR: 33
Reply 10, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3512 times:

Hi Colin
That 500F4 would do a bit of damage when pointed in the right direction i'd imagine!!
Be a bit like hitting someone with a eight thousand dollar baseball bat!!
Always good to keep the eyes open.
Darren



2EOS1DX,EF14.2.8LII,17TS,85/1.2,16-35L,24-70LII,24L,70-200F2.8LII,100-400,300/400/500/800L
User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 732 posts, RR: 16
Reply 11, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3509 times:

That 500F4 would do a bit of damage when pointed in the right direction i'd imagine!!

Too right! However the rental shop may have a view on that  Smile

Also it certainly falls well outside the "never carry more than you can run with" rule!

I wouldn't want anyone to be put off by the risks when shooting alone, but don't be niaive either ... most hit and run thieves rely on the victim being distracted and unprepared - they don't want to get into a fight either. Don't make yourself an easier target than you absolutely have to.

Cheers,

Colin




Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineChris78cpr From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2819 posts, RR: 51
Reply 12, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3482 times:

Cheers for the info Ben! Might check it out soon!

Colin, so this camera gear is insured huh..... Hehe, i'll pay the excess if you let me "mugg" the mk2 and a 500mm!!! LOL Only kidding mate! You seem very well prepared! I hope no one has to go through anything like that!

Anyway,

AMS - 7DAYS!!!!

Chris



5D2/7D/1D2(soon to be a 1Dx) 17-40L/24-105L/70-200F2.8L/100-400L/24F1.4LII/50F1.2L/85F1.2LII
User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3412 times:

From the point of view of a resident of Feltham I can only advise everyone to be very careful when using these spots, Feltham is a very deprived area and subsequently has all the problems that deprivation brings.



Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineAGD From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 204 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3394 times:

Thanks a lot for the info Ben.

As I'll be in London in a few days on a spotting purpose, I'll try to get to this location to see what it's all about. Seems very nice to me. Thanks again.

Cheers from Montreal,

Alex



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