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Spotting At SAN  
User currently offlineIRelayer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1105 posts, RR: 2
Posted (10 years 7 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3738 times:

First of all I know this topic has been brought up before and I searched through the previous threads and they did not answer my question. Anyway...

I was out and about today and decided to take a drive down 1st avenue and noticed some really good spots for just watching the approaches. I finally stopped and parked at the corner of Juniper and Albatross (take a left on Juniper off of First Ave.) I had a slightly angled view of the entire runway and stood there for a good 30 minutes just watching the various arrivals and departures. Definately exciting at SAN b/c they come in so low and they are so close. Anyway according to the previous threads on this the designated "legal" spotting area is Laurel and Harbor...but I was wondering if there were any problems with standing around where I described (on the other side of the freeway) and catching them as they go by? I admit I new at spotting so I need to learn what the best angles are etc...but my main concern is whether I will be hassled or not b/c it is essentially a residential area.


9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineGOCAPS16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4410 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (10 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3726 times:

I do not see what the problem is watching the planes fly over in a residential area.


User currently offlineScooter From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 884 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3695 times:

The only problem I could see with that area that you describe is that someone (resident, passer by, etc) may try to be a "hero" and call the police on you (because you look suspicious to them).

There is nothing illegal about that spot, but be ready to move on if asked.

User currently offlineMongorat From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 165 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3688 times:

I was very near the spot you described about a month ago, I didn't take any pictures because it was a real gloomy morning. This might indeed be a good spot for some pictures, what concerned me more than the local police (more on that later) were all the power lines. I think that might be your biggest challenge, I'm not saying it can't be done, you'll just have to find a gap in the wires to shoot through. Many places up on this "hill" offer some nice views of approaches and good airport overviews. I've shot pictures from 6th avenue across from Balboa Park, Pacific Highway and Laurel (Solar Turbines building), and most recently, along North Harbor Drive near the Spanish Landing area with no problems or visits from either San Diego Police or the Harbor Police. And yes, at each spot, more than one police car drove by and looked my way, but nobody ever paid me a visit. As far as that "legal" spotting area at Laurel and Harbor, I've been contacted there on two occasions by the Harbor Police. On both occasions I was standing atop the rails on my truck and looking over the perimeter fence for a better vantage. Both times the Harbor Police paid me a visit they were extremely nice, and just made sure I was taking pictures and no more. I told the officer I was there almost every weekend and his reply was, "When we get a call that someone is standing up on his truck taking pictures, we're going to drive by and check it out. Once we see it's just a matter of taking pictures we'll take off." I have read that other thread that mentioned Laurel and Harbor as being the only "legal" place to spot...I don't want to speak on behalf of that photographer (maybe he did have a bad experience with someone in a badge) but I've never been treated unfairly or been told to move on or quit taking pictures. Remember, it's not illegal to take pictures or just enjoy watching planes, you very well might get paid a visit by the local authorities but it's my opinion that once that officer determines you're just taking pictures he'll go on his/her way.


User currently offlineNicksair From United States of America, joined Aug 2002, 484 posts, RR: 35
Reply 4, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3682 times:

As a long time spotter (since i was born into this world really) in San Diego, Laurel and Harbor is the only public spot to watch planes on the field. I've been told this by the port district (when they were still running the airport), Harbor PD, and the Regional Airport Authority. Now if you wanted to spot somewhere else than that... that would be at your own risk. Hope this helps.  Smile

Nicholas William Reed KSAN/KLAX/KSFO
User currently offlineOneshot From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 8 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days ago) and read 3650 times:

Sorry to hijack the thread but I am interested in this info as I am visiting San Diego from the UK at the end of October. I have found the spot mentioned here using google earth and was interested if there is any accepted viewing areas at North Island and Miramar.

Thanks for any advice

Gary Moseley

User currently offlineMongorat From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 165 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (10 years 7 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3646 times:

Hi Gary,

Can't help you out as far as Mirimar and North Island are concerned. Seems like most (or all) of the photos from Mirimar are from the annual airshow; in mid October this year. There are some photos from North Island on the DB, my thought would be to drop an e-mail to the photogs who have shot these photos and ask for some info. Hope that helps a little...


User currently offlineIRelayer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1105 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (10 years 7 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3629 times:

Thanks for the all the helpful information guys, it seems like it wouldn't be a problem going there to take pictures and yes I've thought about how to deal with the powerline issue...can't be sure until I get my camera and start shooting though.

Gary...the only two places that I know for sure you can actually see planes from Miramar are the Miramar dump, which offers a clear view of the whole base (I saw Air Force One there, for example) and anywhere around inland La Jolla/Sorrento Valley...you can see F/A 18's on a regular basis at work. Other than that I have no information.


User currently offlineOneshot From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 8 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 7 months 2 days ago) and read 3595 times:

Thanks for the info guys, I have had some great feedback from the photographers after sending them an email - great to see people are happy to share their local knowledge.

IR - I will have to get the mapbook out and have a look to see if I can find the locations you mention.


User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 15264 posts, RR: 45
Reply 9, posted (10 years 7 months 2 days ago) and read 3596 times:
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Well of course you are in the USA, so if anyone doesn't like the look of you, they'll probably just shoot you. Oh sorry, SAN isn't in Texas.  duck 

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
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