JakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7 Posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6083 times:
Seeing as Paul Markman and his forum-bolstering threads seem to have (temporarily?) vanished I thought I'd start something a little entertaining and light-hearted.
Reading through a few threads recently it dawned on me that many photographers refer to themselves as 'spotters'. I frequently see posts asking things like, "Will this camera be good for spotting?" or, "Where are the best places to spot at such-and-such an airport?". I must admit it does sometimes confuse me and I wondered what others' stances were with regard to this - are you a photog or a spotter?
I must be honest and say that I dislike being called a spotter as I consider myself a photographer. As far as I'm concerned spotters are 'number-crunchers' who collect registrations. Photographers tend to pay little attention to registrations and solely pursue images, although I know many who like to include the reg. in their pictures or aim for a photo of every individual frame in the fleet. So basically there are 'hybrids' - people who do a bit of both. Then of course there are those who are casual photographers or 'snappers' - who simply like to keep a pictorial record of what they've seen.
I think perhaps the best general term for what any of us do is 'enthusiast', and I have no objection as it loosely describes anyone whose interest is aviation. But I have often seem tension between spotters and photographers, who apparently at times get under each others' feet (?). It has been said that both parties aren't true enthusiasts - photographers are artists who just happen to choose aircraft as subjects and spotters are just looking for something to collect; whether it be aeroplanes, trains, buses or supermarket trollies!
JohnKrist From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1381 posts, RR: 6 Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 6042 times:
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I am a photographer, but also a spotter. Or I count myself as such at least. But I do not collect regs, so per your definition I am not a spotter.
Thing is, I have always called myself a spotter. And to call myself photographer before spotter would suggest that I consider myself to be a pro and have it as my job and primary source of income. Which it is not. I'd say that spotting led me into photography in the first place, and it's also what has driven me to get better and better gear. If not I would still have had my Canon Snappy...
So, I guess I am an enthusiast, which also reflects in my choice of domain www.aviationenthusia.st (do not click, there's nothing there...yet)
5D Mark III, 7D, 17-40 F4 L, 70-200 F2.8 L IS, EF 1.4x II, EF 2x III, Metz 58-AF1
hotplane From UK - England, joined Jul 2006, 1016 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 6031 times:
Glad you brought this up Karl, as it's a subject that drives me mad!
In the UK, for as long as I can remember, 'spotting' has only ever involved reading off registrations with binoculars or a telescope and writing them down. So, It really annoys me when someone posts a message like 'Where to spot at LHR', when in actual fact they only want to take photos. Please can people start using the corrcect terms. Rant over!
Silver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4655 posts, RR: 27 Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5999 times:
My friends prefer to call me an aviation geek or nerd. lol I don't follow regs, just rare or special visits. I like to document the scene at the local airport. I like to get the rarer shots and lately I have become picky of the light. I guess over time I have evolved from aviation enthusiast to aviation photographer.
How someone uses the word spotter doesn't bother me. There's a lot of incorrect terminology used by the aviation enthusiasts. Don't get me started on "finals"...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
NicolasRubio From Argentina, joined Sep 2005, 583 posts, RR: 3 Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 6000 times:
I consider myself a photographer. I don't care about having pictures of every plane I see, I only want good pictures.
For example, I may get back home from "a day" at the airport with less than 10 pictures in my CF card. I got back from FIDAE with 135 pictures after deleting some. For those reasons, I don't consider myself a spotter, but a photographer.
ThierryD From Luxembourg, joined Dec 2005, 2054 posts, RR: 52 Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5977 times:
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2 of my passions, namely aviation and photography, have brought me to photographing airplanes.
Whether people call me photographer or spotter isn't really important to me though I always like to clarify that I'm not a reg collector.
2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 61 Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5940 times:
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Quoting JakTrax (Thread starter): I must be honest and say that I dislike being called a spotter as I consider myself a photographer.
When I'm doing what I enjoy most, the most accurate term would be 'airplane hunter'. In my opinion, there's nothing better than roaming around a sleepy, out of the way airport, finding a rare or unusual specimen hiding in a forgotten corner, capturing it in a photo, and documenting it for researchers around the world.
NIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5932 times:
Quoting JakTrax (Thread starter): I must be honest and say that I dislike being called a spotter as I consider myself a photographer. As far as I'm concerned spotters are 'number-crunchers' who collect registrations. Photographers tend to pay little attention to registrations and solely pursue images, although I know many who like to include the reg. in their pictures or aim for a photo of every individual frame in the fleet. So basically there are 'hybrids' - people who do a bit of both. Then of course there are those who are casual photographers or 'snappers' - who simply like to keep a pictorial record of what they've seen.
That depends...do you accelerate uncontrollably...then brake only for airports?...
Been chasing planes with a camera since I was 14...forty years later it is a full time job. While on days off I still sit around the local fields with my cameras, however the term "spotting" is not part of my vocabulary. I'm to understand that spotters exist that don't even photo document the aircraft, they just record the movements of them with a monoscope, scanners and all kinds of stuff. To each his own but that I just don't get that...Photospotters I guess are basically just collectors of images that like to swap images, some fun with the camera etc and the comraderie,...wouldn't discredit them as photographers or not. I see A/net as a spotters site more than a photographers site but by a slim margin as the creative aspect in image acceptance has improved. Either way...spotters or not...their are some incredible images on Anet and very talented..."whatever" you call yourselves...g
JakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7 Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5885 times:
So it appears we have sub-categories under both 'spotter' and 'photographer'. And we also have a mixture of both. This is gonna get confusing!
At my local I must admit some of the 'spotters' are very strange indeed. I'm not applying this to all spotters but I get the feeling that a good portion simply 'collect' things and aircraft at some stage simply took their fancy. It could just as easily have been speed-boats, buses, stamps or whatever else. What I mean is that I've met many for whom the whole aviation experience seems uninteresting. A example - I once was chatting to an English fella on the old deck at ZRH when an almighty racket started. It just kept going on and on and on and I suspected some sort of old Soviet jet. The thing screamed the place down for what seemed an eternity until it finally poked its nose out from behind pier A. Instantly realising that he didn't need it as a 'frame' (it was an Il-76), the guy packed up promptly and left, saying it wasn't of interest to him. Uh? It was obviously going to pass right by us on its way to cargo and we were talking an Il-76 here - how can any 'enthusiast' fail to find this beast crawling past at close quarters amazing?
For some there's a passion but for others it's just something to tick off or underline in the book; if you see where I'm coming from. Not knocking anyone's methods and indeed each to their own but I think there are varying levels of enthusiasm and various aspects of the hobby which capture people's imaginations.
Going back to those at my local, some of the 'spotting' fraternity seem to have a positive dislike for photographers (they seem to have their own little photographer-free haunts and hiss like snakes if invaded!) and don't consider such people as true enthusiasts. On the flip side some might say exactly the same about them. I always remember a guy at SZG telling me about his dislike for photographers - especially those from MAN. Probably not the best thing to say around three big MAN guys with cameras but we didn't say.....
notnam From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2009, 57 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5852 times:
I have been fascinated with commercial aviation since childhood and would have loved to get my ATPL after leaving school.
Alas, that never happened and, at the age of 42 have only recently taken up photographing aircraft, my job involves design & technology and I'd like to think that I can (eventually) bring an imaginative & creative element into my photos.
The thing is, and I don't wish to offend anyone, but I cringe at the thought of being called a "spotter". I find myself keeping quite about what I do and even try to keep a low profile around the airports. Don't get me wrong, I haven't got a major complex about it but as far as I'm concerned I am most definitely a "Photographer"
JohnKrist From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1381 posts, RR: 6 Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5822 times:
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Doesn't matter if you collect regs, photograph or shoot vids, we are considered to be nuts anyway by the general public anyway. So why frown upon peoples activities in the aviation enthusiast group? Some people just don't like freighters, some don't like military birds and some think commercial aircraft are flying coaches, but we are all fascinated by aviation!
So call yourself whatever you want, and don't get upset when someone calls you a spotter when you are out on a photo shoot. Your llife is good if that's your worst problem!
5D Mark III, 7D, 17-40 F4 L, 70-200 F2.8 L IS, EF 1.4x II, EF 2x III, Metz 58-AF1
unattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2281 posts, RR: 2 Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5818 times:
Quoting JakTrax (Thread starter): Reading through a few threads recently it dawned on me that many photographers refer to themselves as 'spotters'. I frequently see posts asking things like, "Will this camera be good for spotting?" or,
I consider that ignorance. There is a difference between a "spotter" and a "photographer". If someone introduced themselves to me as an aircraft spotter, I wouldn't think of them carrying around a $3,000 camera and enough glass to see the space shuttle. I would expect to see a notebook and a pencil.
It's odd that the ones that get perturbed about this are the photographers. When someone says, "which camera is best for spotting?", it isn't the spotters that jump to the front of the line to correct, it's the photographers that quickly let him know that he is using the wrong terminology. why? So far, not one response has been from a true spotter. Are there any around here that frequent the "photography forum"? Maybe a new "spotters forum" is needed. Is there interest?
Quoting JakTrax (Reply 13): the guy packed up promptly and left, saying it wasn't of interest to him. Uh? It was obviously going to pass right by us on its way to cargo and we were talking an Il-76 here - how can any 'enthusiast' fail to find this beast crawling past at close quarters amazing?
The same way we in the States can turn our head to a Delta MD-88 or a Southwest 737. Or you could walk away from a Ryan 737 (?). It isn't about the rarity of the aircraft for them, it's whether or not they have seen that particular aircraft or not.
spencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1631 posts, RR: 18 Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5788 times:
Whether you're a photographer or a number cruncher, the hobby has always been called spotting! Thanks to sites like this we've all decided we're photographers and ditched the whole spotting moniker. A bit like a high jumper saying they're a high jumper, and not an athlete. Just accept photography is part of spotting. Personally I photograph, film and collect anything to do with aviation, including registrations. It's a logging system that I can look back on and it helps with my photography filing. I'm a spotter that loves photography.
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
JakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7 Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5776 times:
Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 16): The same way we in the States can turn our head to a Delta MD-88 or a Southwest 737. Or you could walk away from a Ryan 737 (?). It isn't about the rarity of the aircraft for them, it's whether or not they have seen that particular aircraft or not.
Yes, but the guy was English - and I guarantee you we don't see too many Il-76s here! Even in Russia they've been rare for a number of years now at commercial airports.
I don't get offended by being called a spotter but underneath I know that's not what I am. As for keeping it under wraps, I can't see why anyone would do that. All my life my friends, acquaintances and people I've met have known about my aviation activities because I've been quite proud to tell them. Some people joke about it being a bit weird but most actually find it fascinating and several people have accompanied me on visits to the airport, often enjoying the afternoon out. It's a pretty broad hobby these days and the numbers doing it are increasing daily. I think attitudes towards it have changed (many people comment on how great the travelling aspect must be) but I also think the photographers want to distance themselves from the 'spotting' side of it as they see this as the original nerdy bit. I must admit, I have come across quite a few 'special' spotters in my time; many of whom I wouldn't like to be seen up town with on a night out!
I think maybe the hobby of 'number-crunching' does attract a few who give others a bad name. We've all met 'em I dare say - 'Mr. 1970s' with his old duffel coat, He-Man lunchbox, ancient scope and about as much conversational skill as a goldfish.....
Then again, I'd be interested to know what 'Mr. 1970s' has to say about photographers.....
Does our hobby still have the ultra-nerdy reputation it used to? I personally don't think so. I think most people secretly are fascinated by flight.
legoguy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 3303 posts, RR: 42 Reply 20, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5669 times:
It depends who I'm talking to. With with family or other aviation enthusiast's, I'd consider myself as a spotter who goes plane spotting.
However when talking to someone not into aviation, I'll refer to myself as a photographer who goes on photography trips around Europe. To someone not interested in aviation, a spotter, or going aircraft spotting, sounds quite geeky where as a photographer on a aircraft photographing trip doesn't sound bad at all. Despite this, all my friends and work colleagues refer to me as a spotter.
On trips, I do like to take a photo of every aircraft I see, and I would recognise aircraft with interesting registrations, so I guess I could be consider a 'Hybrid' or and spotting photographer.
Either way I'm not fussed what I'm called, as long as people realise I don't sit around at airports with a small log book and binoculars.
Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?
raedervision From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 62 posts, RR: 12 Reply 21, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 5609 times:
My definition of spotting are those who document aircraft. When it applies to photography it is only the photograph of the aircraft that is important. Little if any weight is given to foregrounds, backgrounds or other elements in the picture. Aviation photography is about the aircraft and the environment it is in which includes foregrounds, backgrounds, composition and many times telling a story with the aircraft. In the forum not long ago I asked if Anet was a spotting site, a photography site or both. Many including some screeners said it was both but it is not. Anet is a spotting site were some photographs fit inside or are let in the spotting rules. If it were a photography site screeners would use photography rules not spotting rules to screen with. Some spotting rules like centering are very destructive to the art of photography. A lot of people come to Anet for a lot of different reasons but in my opinion they only get part of what they came for. I'd like to see Anet truly become both a spotting and photography site but the only way it could happen is if the screeners use a yard stick instead of a micrometer when it comes to the spotting rules. I think documentation could actually be improved with relaxed spotting rules. Personally I would have just one rule, make sure it's a bloody good photograph. Please don't anyone get me wrong. I think spotting is a good and very positive thing. 50 or 100 years from now these photos will be worth a lot but as most probably already now I'm a photographer or try to be. This is just one guys opinion so no one needs to get all worked up about it. Whatever it is you like to do, keep doing it. Jim
You hit it on the head pretty much but I do believe the site with its improved acceptablility of "creative" imaging has accepted the "artform" we as aviation photographers see. Personally I like to capture the Architecture of the airframe under unusual lighting...purely an artistic perspective. This concept violates all spotting parameters as I understand them. I once showed some close up photo studies of airliner features to an owner of a hobby store as he told me he too collected airliner photos. When he saw my work, he poopood it an discarded it as rubbish. When I saw his work all I saw was mid day full fuselage booring profiles, one after the next, after the next and again. No care given to the environment, the ugly ramp, etc. It was as that point I learned the difference between the mechanical image of a spotter and the creative image of an aviation photographer...A difference clearly exists...
mclaudio From Portugal, joined Jan 2005, 170 posts, RR: 0 Reply 23, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5526 times:
For me things are quite simple.
I'm a spotter who likes to take photos. I'm happy when they are "clean", but sometimes that isn't possible.
It wouldn't make sense to say I'm a photographer because:
First: I don't make money with my photos, contrary to a real photographer that makes money and lives on that.
Second: I don't have ramp access therefore I can't choose the angle that I would like to have, contrary to real photographers who have assigned jobs and can choose the best angles and arrange some nice chicks to pose with the aircraft.
Third: this is hobbie, though it might sound strange to someone where is the fun in collecting airplanes, one can always say the same about someone that collects stamps or empty beer cans.
Proudly one of the 6 million Portuguese that support SL Benfica!! Champions 2009-2010!
ptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3878 posts, RR: 19 Reply 24, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5503 times:
Writing down regs of aircraft you've seen has always struck me as a strange activity. Although this is rather subjective, photographing them seems slightly saner to me, and is certainly easier to explain. So like Karl, I don't like to be called a spotter and prefer to be called a photographer (photo hobbyist that is, no suggestion of professionalism).
Karl, I hope you had a good time spotting, er, photographing, in AMS
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
25 hotplane: This thread seems to have veered of the main issue - the fact that some photographers annoyingly call themselves spotters when they don't even read of
26 2H4: Well, the flipside of that argument is the thinking that some spotters annoyingly call themselves photographers when they only ever shoot side-ons of
27 ptrjong: I remember photographing/hanging around at Utrecht - Soesterberg (UTC / EHSB) (closed), then used by the USAF, one afternoon a long time ago. Bored, I
28 hotplane: At least it's taking a photo of something. You can't call that spotting, that's what I'm getting at.
29 a330fanatic: Hi there, I've started photography in 1987 and it's been very recently that I began taking pictures of airplanes in 2007. Anyway, the term of "spotter
30 dacman: I shoot and spot, always have. Cheers Dacman www.aeropacific.blogspot.com
31 JakTrax: Paul, You probably met one of the 'funny' MAN reggie-chasers, who do have a reputation of being a bit strange! I've often seen (British) guys abroad a
32 ptrjong: Exactly. Even when you see a plane landing from two miles away, you ask a fellow spotter which one it was and there you go... another one can be tick
33 JakTrax: I've seen it go mad with the advent of ACARS, SBS, etc. When can one underline it in a book? At what point does the 'sighting' become inlvalid? I know
34 KPDX: I pretty much disagree with everything said. I don't think a spotter has to write down registrations, etc. They can also spot airplanes in and around
35 FedexL1011: I am a photographer/ spotter every chance i get to spot i bring a camera i just got my own "website" so here it is http://www.flickr.com/photos/boeing
36 Silver1SWA: No, that is your agenda. Karl asked for opinions from everyone. This thread is about what people view themselves as...spotters, photographers, enthus
37 raedervision: Spotting photography, artistic aviation photography and creative photography are all very different kinds of photography. There are many very good ex
38 spencer: Karl, you don't necessarily need to read the reg off to make it. Back in the day, before the advent of SBS, you could tie up any sightings the followi
39 JohnKrist: To Spot: verb, If you spot something or someone, you notice them. Does it matter if it's through binoculars or camera or even with your bare eyes? I'm
40 spencer: Pre DSLR (when no one thought as themselves as "pros"..;-P ), I don't think I ever heard anyone bring this debate up! I can understand times change an
41 a330fanatic: Karl, Yes I forgot to mention that the guy was from MAN. BTW, I like the term of "reggie-chasers" I totally agree with what you said Karl. The real sa
42 Viv: This is the epitome of (the madness of) spotting. I was once in the company of a group of spotters at an airport where a number of vintage aircraft w
43 spencer: @Paul. The tying up of callsign, reg, type and time isn't actually strange at all within the spotting world. In fact go to LHR on any given day and, b
44 JakTrax: I must admit I did the same and stopped at a very similar age (16). I think one is easily influenced at that age. Spence, I understand what you're sa
45 hotplane: Ha Ha. Nice one Karl. Message to short blah blah....
46 spencer: No Karl you can't as you have to physically see the ac. Whether there's others that would log from a video seems also strange to me. For me it was alw
47 JakTrax: Spence, surely you have to see the registration to put it in a book or whatever? ACARS, etc. I believe can be wrong and there's nothing to say that wh
48 spencer: Karl, I personally have never had any problems with the SBS or ACARS. As to never visiting an airport, I'd agree with you on that. But I don't know an
49 PlaneHunter: I can only wonder about some guys' ignorance. Why don't some individuals just enjoy taking pictures instead of wondering about those who write down re
50 a330fanatic: Spencer, When I started this hobby back in 2007. I wasn't even aware of that particular activity of writing down reg-numbers. In reality, I'd never se
51 walter2222: Same here. I do respect the registration collectors, certainly since I have used a lot of their info (e.g. from Scramble contributors) to trace back
52 spencer: PlaneHunter, I see you collect types and airlines flown too, which is something I also do. I wonder how many photographers do the same? Be honest now.
53 JohnKrist: Spencer, I do and I am very happy to have a few odd ones in my rooster, like the aforementioned IL-76. I do regret that I have not collected the regs
54 66chargerfan: i think alot of us do both, but im not saying that as part of someone else...i just know there are spottertographers (new word i just created) that fo
55 lennymuir: Hi Karl, I understand what you are saying but your message doesn't translate beyond the shores of the British Isles. There's also a real age problem a