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Denver Trip Advice  
User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1725 posts, RR: 2
Posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3602 times:

I'll be in Denver tomorrow with several hours in the afternoon for photography. This is uncharted territory for me. A forum search shows that most Denver photography advice requests point people in the direction of the Rocky Mountain Aviation Photos site, which unfortunately seems to have gone off the air. It's also apparent that there's a dirt lot next to Conoco that's a good spot but that you're asking for trouble if you park your car there.

All I want really is some workable shots taken at Denver - doesn't have to be anything too fancy or artistic, overhead side-ons work just fine for this trip. I would like to get some heavies if possible, though. I will have a rental car, which if the Conoco site is still OK would allow me to park my car without difficulty at the rental facility. The weather tomorrow is looking clear with a south-southwest wind 4-7 mph becoming calm.

So what's my best bet? I'm not really into a close encounter with the authorities tomorrow, but I'm not above stopping quickly for a photo then moving along immediately. Based on the wind conditions I listed above, will Conoco work or are there better spots? Sounds like a lot of people stand on their cars for these shots, is that necessary or will I be OK on foot?



5 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineBrick From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1700 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3569 times:


The Concoco lot is still iffy right now. Anything along the rental car road is definately asking for trouble. About the best you can do is approach shots. If the aircraft are landing to the south (which the forecast for tomorrow supports), make your way up to 120th street that runs north of the airport. You can get approach shots in the morning or afternoon and you shouldn't be bothered up there. If you drop one street south (which is 114th St) the shots are better as the aircraft are lower, but there is a no stopping/no parking zone on 114th St near the runway centerlines that is stricly enforced.

If the aircraft are landing to the north, you're only bet is to shoot from Valley Head St near the Mt Elbert overflow parking lot (this is an afternoon spot). I usually park in the northern most unused driveway of the Mt Elbert lot and keep a low profile. I've never been bothered at this spot, but others report they have.

All of this is subject to change based and the whims of whatever police officer you happen to catch their attention. Photography isn't much fun as it used to be at Denver Int'l Airport which is why you don't see a whole lot of new photos from outside the terminal any more.

Good luck!

A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1725 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3560 times:

Thank you very much, Brick! I've printed out some maps based on your directions. Taking a glance at Google Earth, it looks like no-man's land out on 120th Ave. I'll keep an eye out for snakes as it will be warm tomorrow!

Can you give any tips regarding traffic patterns? For instance, I assume the 120th/114th directions you gave me are for 16R/16L approaches. Is one runway typically used for takeoffs and the other landings? And are 17R/17L used for landings - looks like maybe not since the approach path crosses over Runway 8/26? How about the Valley Head location - looks best for Runway 35L, but how is the traffic split up between 35L and 35R? Finally, what patterns can I expect for 7/25 should I choose to catch a quick shot there?

Too many runways at this airport! You guys must go mad if you're trying to catch a specific flight. I have trouble enough at my home airport of BDL with only 2 runways.

Thanks again - I'm looking forward to my trip.


User currently offlineBrick From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1700 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3552 times:

When traffic is landing to the south...runways 16L/R are for arrivals and 17L/R are for departures. Generally speaking, flights from the north and west arrive on runway 16L and flights from the south and east land on runway 16R.

When traffic is landing to the north, runways 34R/L are for departures and 35R/L are for arrivals. Generally speaking, runway 35L sees about 70% of the landings. Cargo and private operators will always land on the east side of the airport regardless of wind direction. In both landing configurations, most aircraft request the inner runway if traffic allows it to reduce the taxi time to the terminal.

Runways 8/26 and 7/25 are hard to predict unless there is a strong westerly or easterly wind. Doesn't matter really anyway as those runways do not have any safe photography areas.

Don't forget to go up on the bridge between the main terminal and Concourse A to get the famous Frontier Airlines tails shot!

A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1725 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3527 times:

Good stuff - thanks again. Sounds like the runway usage works out as good as possible with the available vantage points.

User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1725 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3482 times:

I'm sitting here on the side of 128th Ave, just about to wrap up my day of photography. The skies were clear, but there's a bank of clouds over the mountains the sun is dipping behind as it begins to set, so the light is gone. I got out here right at 3, just in time to get the Lufthansa A346. Traffic patterns were as you said, although most arrivals were coming in on 16L. Speedbird pulled a bit of a nasty surprise by coming in on 16R; I got the shot but I wasn't in a great position as it was my first 16R shot of the day.

I also tried a few shots on 114th Ave - the angle is better as you noted but I was much more tense there with the no parking signs. No police trouble at all, though - one drove by me on 128th and didn't stop.

I had a good time today. Thanks much for the tips.


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