SmithAir747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1751 posts, RR: 26 Posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5389 times:
This is now my 2nd year living in London as an American student--and on the same token, my 2nd year of spotting (photographing actually) at LHR. Last year (2004-2005), I used to go out to LHR almost every Saturday (sometimes on a Sunday!). However, this year (2005-2006), I notice I have gone out to LHR only a dozen or so times! I have noticed a depressing downward trend in my frequency of LHR spotting--is it due to the decrease in variety of plane types/airlines/etc. there?
To give you an idea of what I mean:
My first year in London (2004-2005): LHR was totally new to me, so I went out there almost every Saturday (and occasionally a Sunday). There seemed to be so much activity and so many types and airlines I had never seen before (since I am from the farm state of Indiana in the USA, where I see very little variety at FWA). What I loved most were the old Russian/Soviet types (IL-96s and Tu-154s of Aeroflot, Pulkovo, and the odd Eastern European VIP flight). Another favourite type of mine, the 747SP, used to come quite often (usually Syrian Air, sometimes the UAE, Bahraini, or other odd Middle Eastern VIP flight). Other visitors I used to see a lot were one-off visits like the Vietnam 777, the Russian AF IL-76, and other rare visitors). I also enjoyed VS' silver birds and the AA 777s, especially on sunny days. However, I did get bored rapidly with Boring Airways (BA) planes!
I burned through so many rolls of film it isn't funny! I have, on MyAviation.net, about 400-500 photos from last year alone (LHR and my two trips to MAN).
This year (2005-2006), however, has seen a drastic drop in my frequency of weekend outings to LHR (and thus my paucity of photos this year). This year, LHR doesn't seem so "exotic" or exciting anymore. There is not as much variety as I saw last year (or seemed to see, anyway).
I have noticed the Russian planes don't come anymore (Aeroflot and Pulkovo use 767s and 737s now, respectively), and equally rare are the 747SPs. (Those only come on days when I'm in class!). Even Syrian Air is dropping those. On the few Saturdays that I do bother to visit LHR, either the sky's too grey or the variety's not there. Thus, I have barely 100 photos from this year at LHR. Without the Russian planes and the other rare visitors, LHR has not been as thrilling as it was last year. Yesterday I went, and there was hardly anything special.
Now I mainly go out to LHR when the Yahoo! LHR list informs me of some rare visitor of some kind or another (eg. the Polish AF Tu-154M, UAE 747SP, Russian IL-76, and the Wedge Aviation 727 N721MF, for example), and I plan to see the A380 in April there.
Is it the lack of variety now, or is LHR getting too predictable now for me? I just wanted to know why I'm getting "bored" with LHR photography now.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
Dullesguy From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 247 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5366 times:
I just don't see how LHR can get boring. Maybee its just because I'm in luv with aviation in general..i could watch Southwest 737s all day and snap pics of them if thats all I had..I love the ATC and photography aspects of it which makes a perfect combo..and with all those heavies there at LHR..ohh man i'd be in heaven. You're from Indiana..I'm at Purdue University..now THIS is some "boring" spotting in my opinion.. but I still catch myself outthere trying to get a good pic or just watching the action..so be greatful you got LHR rather than LAF! lol
One suggestion I could make is..if you can try to get out there on a weekday like Wed. or thursday..just for some variety in the days you visit.
"..the joy of the Lord is your strength" Nehemiah 8:10
The usual places--Myrtle Avenue (for 27L), the roundabout at the end of 27R when 27R is in use for landings, and sometimes, the field off the end of 09L when it's in use for landings. It depends on what direction the wind is blowing and what runway is in use for landings.
Responding to Dullesguy (reply 2):
I love LHR--but I don't see the variety I used to see last year. Plus, the weather seems to be cloudy more often.
I love to see variety--not just BA. I look for rare visitors, like Russian planes, VIP airliner types (747SPs, Tu-154s, and others like the USAF 757-200 I saw Oct. 15 this year). The IL-96s and Tu-154s I used to see at LHR are gone now--replaced with more quotidian types now used by Aeroflot and Pulkovo.
I love AA's silver 777s, VS's new livery (especially the 21st birthday livery on G-VFAB), and others that are exciting, instead of the common, boring all-white liveries used by BA (Boring Airways) and other European and many Asian/Middle East carriers. I love the special liveries (LH's retro livery on D-AIRX, MH's Hibiscus livery, AC's new livery, the AC 767 with the green goose on it, QF's Wunala Dreaming, and other special, colourful schemes).
It all boils down to this: The more variety, the better. The more colourful a plane is, the better. If I see a 747SP, a Russian type, or something rare, it's really worth it! (Sadly, the Russian types are just about gone, and so are the 747SPs of Syrian Air).
I love aviation too--I love it in variety, not quantity!
I wonder if this is a "slump" that is commonly experienced by aviation photographers/spotters? Am I experiencing such a phenomenon? Could it be due to the current rash of gloomy London weather that is a bit too cold and gloomy for photography? Or is it just a decrease in variety at LHR?
Has anyone else gone through this slump?
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
SmithAir747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1751 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5279 times:
Lest you think I'm totally giving up on LHR, I'm not--I just want more variety in it (besides those ubiquitous BA & BD arrivals)!
What I should be asking is...
How can I revive my interest--how can I "spice it up"? For example, better spots, better days of the week, better seasons for shooting?
Could my photography slump be due to the awful weather this winter (it has been mostly cloudy and grey and cold this winter, more so than last winter)?
Would spring/summer be a better time?
Are there better days for shooting than Saturdays? Is there more variety on other days? I'm on campus 4 days a week--M,T,W,F. Wait, there's a break from classes from the end of March-the end of April; would that be a better, warmer, clearer time for LHR spotting?
By no means am I giving up on LHR photography--I love planes too much. But I need to spice it up and I need to know where/how I can find more variety in my shooting.
My large collection of LHR photos can be seen at MyAviation.net (if you use Advanced Search using my name under Photographer and LHR under Airport), if you so desire.
PS: I can hardly wait to see the A380 at LHR this April!
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
Jran225 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 308 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5274 times:
don't worry about getting bored when you're out there.....this happens to almost all of us at some point in time, trust me. Fortunately, there are quite a number of things to do that will help get you back into the swing of things. As Tim suggested, you can try out the other local airports - LCY, LGW, STN - as there is some good stuff to be seen there aswell (plus the variety you're looking for - especially at Gatwick). You might just want to go out one day without your camera - maybe when they're landing on 27L and the weather's nice. Just sit yourself down in the park, bring something to eat and spend the afternoon just marvelling at those gigantic metal birds soaring above your head. If the thought of parting with the camera for one afternoon sounds to scary for you (it did to me - what if something special comes in?!) then you can try going for more "artistic" stuff. These kinds of shots are hard to get, but are very rewarding and highly praised here on A.net. Just look at the fantastic shots by Mark Ralph, one of your fellow LHR photogs. The aircraft in his shots aren't anything extraordinary and yet I spend minutes just staring at his photos....more like works of art really. Why don't you do a search on him and see what I mean and whatever you decide to do, have fun!
P.S.: This probably also has something to do with it being winter - the cold certainly doesn't help while shooting (and neither do the cloudy days that you mention). Wait for days of good weather to go out....certainly does make the experience more enjoyable.
[Edited 2006-02-19 22:17:39]
Never tell your girlfriend about all the 'action' you're getting at the airport - only photogs understand that.
Manc From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 344 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5266 times:
Can you suggest any good spots to go at LCY, airport or outside airport thought I saw some shots taken from over water? I'm thinking of going there sometime soon for my 1st visit now the DLR goes straight there.
As for LHR Smithy lad, I'm fairly new to LHR spotting(1 year in big smoke) as yes of course at times its BA after BA then BMI. I am trying to make friends with people who go there so at least theres someone to talk to during the BA times! However I've yet to meet or talk to anyone in person at LHR who is a regular.
Scbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 15361 posts, RR: 45
Reply 12, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5238 times:
I think any airport in the World can get boring if you go there enough.
My preference is for variety. I recently managed to get to PHX for the first time a couple of weeks ago. However, even after just a day and a half, I've had my fill of America West! I have been to IAH several times in the last few months - it really wouldn't bother me if I never saw another Continental EJR in my life!
Variety is what keeps life interesting.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
G-CIVP From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1555 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5222 times:
I think the word 'patience' and the phrase 'diminishing returns' springs to mind! You don't seem to realise that alot of aviation photography is a waiting game.
Moreover, long before e-mail groups an awful lot was pot luck, word of mouth and monitoring timetables. I recall you did manage to wind-up a number of hard-core contributors on the LHR group with your request regarding ACARS and movement listings so I wouldn't complain too much!
Paulinbna From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 1114 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5190 times:
You think LHR is boring, there are many people in cities (BNA) and others in this country that will kill to have a one sixth of your traffic. Try sitting at the airport (BNA again) for 1 hour and seeing four aircraft two CRJ-200 1 WN 733 and a AA MD-80. They are other airports that are a lot worse then this one for traffic. Just ask Bruce who lives in GRB. Consider your self lucky you do not live here.
Canon 50D user; 100-400 MM L IS 10-22 MM, 60MM Macro
INNflight From Switzerland, joined Apr 2004, 3783 posts, RR: 56
Reply 17, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5117 times:
Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 3): I love AA's silver 777s, VS's new livery (especially the 21st birthday livery on G-VFAB), and others that are exciting, instead of the common, boring all-white liveries used by BA (Boring Airways) and other European and many Asian/Middle East carriers. I love the special liveries (LH's retro livery on D-AIRX, MH's Hibiscus livery, AC's new livery, the AC 767 with the green goose on it, QF's Wunala Dreaming, and other special, colourful schemes).
Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 3): Russian planes, VIP airliner types (747SPs, Tu-154s, and others like the USAF 757-200 I saw Oct. 15 this year). The IL-96s and Tu-154s
No offence, but do you actually realize what you're complaining about?
You don't get more variety than at LHR!!! There are other airports with less BA / BD movements, but the number of international airlines with so many beautiful color schemes is almost unique at Heathrow.
I didn't even see half of the liveries you mentioned above in person.
Tin67 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 268 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5116 times:
To a certain extent I agree with Francis, but likewise I can emphathise with those who do not have an international or large airport on their doorstep. I would hate having just a small airport or airfield and it may even be that I wouldn't be doing this hobby if it were not for my location. I guess I am pretty lucky.
I live about 15 miles from LHR, but work and family mean I can't get there as often as I would like. I now find that I am getting up there at the same time of day on regular occasions and am getting bored with seeing the same aircraft over and over. This combined with BA, BD and other Euro mini buses one after the other, oh man is that frustrating (but probably not for visitors).
While I may be getting a little bored with LHR, I now try to find different places to photograph from. Most around the perimter have been explored and I simply can't be bothered with Myrtle Ave anymore. I have found a few off airport sites which can bring some great results and in the summer months on my bicycle I'll be looking for some new ones.
It's very true what is said about venturing elsewhere. I visited Stansted last year and while the weather wasn't great it was nice to see some Cargo heavies, some smaller turboprops and even Ryanair and EasyJet.
Sulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 28
Reply 19, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5113 times:
Familiarity breeds contempt. You can get bored with anything if you're subjected to it enough. I've not been to Southampton (small regional airport) since August, and I doubt I'll be going there til the ERJ195 arrives later this year. I used to go very regularly. That's because the winter schedule is pretty flat, and I've got most of the Flybe and BA Connect regulars already - it's got boring.
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
Dendrobatid From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1732 posts, RR: 54
Reply 20, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5089 times:
What you are going through is perfectly normal. I used to feel the same about the constant stream of Tridents, and there was a lot more variety of types in those days.
If you are living in London, take a drive up to Stansted and you will find the true meaning of boredom. Or go to Luton for some real biz-jet variety.
If you like the smaller stuff, Elstree is a very friendly stop-off on the way to or from Luton, but try to go on a weekday as they are too busy at a weekend.
DC10Tim From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 1406 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5077 times:
Quoting Manc (Reply 10): Can you suggest any good spots to go at LCY, airport or outside airport thought I saw some shots taken from over water? I'm thinking of going there sometime soon for my 1st visit now the DLR goes straight there.
If you get the DLR straight to the terminal at LCY, you can get along the quayside for several hundred yards past the terminal. Here you can see the whole length of the runway and with a 200mm lens will be able to get everything.
Alternatively, for more spectacular shots, take a Beckton bound DLR train from Canning Town and get of at a stop called Galleons Reach. From here, walk up onto a bridge nearby that crosses the (Prince Albert?) dock. You can't miss it anyway.
Spencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1642 posts, RR: 15
Reply 24, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 4985 times:
Like someone mentioned above, it was probably due to the 'Row being new to you the first year there. I know boredom can set in, but to blame it on the lack of variety/traffic/movements is a bit off. Plus, the 3 spots you have done aren't that great really, there's plenty of others if you just take the time to ask/investigate! Definitely try another day in the week depending on your studies. Thursdays and Fridays were always quite surprising last time I did them. And I can say without a doubt, you definitely haven't made all the traffic that Heathrow sees, that's for sure! LHR-Yahoo is a great source of info, but I promise you it doesn't cover all the bases; perhaps someone who normally posts there is away and so if you rely on that person for your heads' up, you'll be missing out if something does go in!! What also surprises me is that after only 2 years you're slagging BAW off something chronic yet you openly admit you love the AAL T7s! You're American right?! I know BAW can get on your wick, but LHR is more than BAW! Anyway, try other airports in the London area, have a change of scenery.
EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
: good stuff tim, I'll defo give that a go. have to check the timetables see whats due. I've got 70-300 sol from what you say I should be OK. Have to ar
: Hi there Not really on topic, but can anyone pls. advise of the current security-situation at LHR, and if there are any problems experienced while spo
: I've been in London for 6 months now and I still haven't been to LHR for spotting. Unfortunately I rarely have time and none of my friends would be in