JohnJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3696 times:
I plan to do a photography expedition to BFI on Monday afternoon, my first serious foray into that airport. I've read the various spotters guides available, including the "dos and don'ts guide" - all very informative and I appreciate the effort that went into them. A few questions remain, though:
- A common thread in the spotter's locations seems to be that ladders are a requirement, either that or poking your lens through the fence. I get hassled a lot at airports just for being there with a camera, much less putting up a ladder near a fence. Is it really OK to put up a ladder if I stick to the areas listed in the spotter's guides? The midfield parking lot near the tower is the area that sounds most interesting to me.
- I've shot through fences before, but I don't like to and only do it as a last resort. A ladder sounds better but is problematic, as I'll be flying in and will have a rental car. I thought about buying a cheap ladder at Home Depot or Lowes, but with the tiny cars Hertz has been giving me lately I doubt it would fit in the car. How tall does a ladder have to be to be of use?
- Are there any other BFI spots that don't require a ladder? The observation tower at the museum was one area listed; this would require shooting through window glass to my understanding. Can I expect decent results there? Better, are there any outside spots that don't require a ladder? While a nice smoky touchdown shot of a 748 would be great, I'm not opposed to an overhead shot if that's the best I can do. I just want to get my first shots of a 788 and 748.
- The weather at this point calls for light and variable winds on Monday. In such conditions, does the airport tend to favor one runway directions vs. the other (i.e., the 13s vs. the 31s)? I guess I'll find out when I get there but it would help to have an idea of what to expect.
- Will my 100-400 lens be overkill for BFI? Most reports seem to indicate 70-200mm lenses are best, but the 100-400 is my only L glass and I'd like to use it if possible.
alevik From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3676 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW HEAD SCREENER
In general, using a ladder at KBFI is not a problem given you use general common sense.
The spot south of the tower in the parking lot is easily accessible and does require a ladder. A short three step ladder for about $30 (which you can return after your use for a refund - I do that on all my trips to KBFI) is all you need. There is a gray steel frame 3-step ladder with black plastic steps at Home Depot that fits fine in my rental cars. There is a Home Depot in Tukwila that is only a short detour between Seatac and KBFI. I swear they are starting to notice my ladder purchase/return routine there. For aircraft taxiing close by the 100-400 will be too much; that lens will be fine for aircraft on the runway, but could be tight for aircraft on runway right in front of you depending on the crop factor of your body. Here are images from that spot south of the tower:
JohnJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3520 times:
Thanks for the info, alevik, and the ladder offer, clickhappy. How would the logistics work on your lending me a ladder? Turns out the Home Depot in Tukwila alevik mentioned is on the same street as my hotel, so going that route wouldn't be too much of an issue. However, if you're around BFI that would be even easier...
With regards to ladder etiquette, I assume I should stow the ladder between flights I want to photograph vs. leaving it stand out all day? Also, how close can I get to the fence with it without making the authorities uneasy?
clickhappy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3487 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW PHOTO SCREENER
You would have to come to Kirkland for the ladder. No need to stow between shots, just keep it next to your car. Just use common sense, the police at BFI are quite knowledgeable about spotters. Park your car 5'-10' feet away from the fence, and for god's sake, don't be one of those guys who stands on the roof of his car.
JohnJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3421 times:
Thanks again for the offer, but I'll probably just do the Home Depot side trip. I don't think Hertz would appreciate me standing on the roof of whatever jalopy they give me, so no worries there. Looking forward to tomorrow, and the weather doesn't look terrible!
JohnJ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3320 times:
Despite some rather gloomy clouds, I had a good time at BFI today. I bought a ladder at the Tukwila Home Depot and it worked perfectly. I camped out at the Midfield Park most of the afternoon with no hassle. I wish all airports were like this, but I'll enjoy this while it lasts.
The Home Depot wasn't too far out of the way, but I noticed there's a Lowes off Southcenter Parkway that's probably a little more convenient for someone going between SEA and BFI.