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Spotting Areas At LAX, IAH, DFW, And SEA  
User currently offlineArospcAirAvitin From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 12 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 8 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 6315 times:

Hey all! Im goin on a cross-country summer trip with some friends who spot, and we were thinking of stopping by LAX, IAH, DFW, and SEA Airport! For any of you that have been to these airports, can you please tell me a good place to spot?!

Thanks!


Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Qatar, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, or
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10048 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 6292 times:
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LAX:
Imperial Hill
In n Out on Sepulveda and Lincoln
Dockweiler Beach
Westchester Pkwy bridge over Lincoln Blvd



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineNPeterman From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 179 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 6291 times:

I can (for the most part) address DFW, and direct you to a good resource for Houston.

DFW: Summer usually means South Flow. The beauty of South flow, and the afternoon, is Founder's Plaza. It is the designated viewing area, and while that usually means the views suck, at DFW it's a great location. You are right at the threshold of the primary runway for heavies (namely 777 and up + cargo as I've missed many a 767 landing on the far runways). Founder's is great with a 100-400 or 70-200. Once the light swings around in the early/mid afternoon you are good light-wise until sunset (the SQ shot below was about 3 PM, the AA was at sunset).

Examples of Founder's Plaza ( shameless self plug    )


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Photo © Nicholas Peterman
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Photo © Nicholas Peterman




In the Morning, you can shoot aircraft landing on that same runway from the Remote North Parking lot (I've never had any issues here, although that doesn't guarantee that you wont have any issues here- be sensible like spotting anywhere)


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Photo © Nicholas Peterman




There are locations on the other side of the airport (a Whataburger parking lot I believe) to catch arrivals on the other side, which includes most of the non-AA traffic (US, DL, UA, F9, etc.) in addition to the AA MD-80 lovefest.

If they happen to be in North Flow, you have to be a little more creative. There are still plenty good landing shots to be had on 36L. I did a little scouting, and found a great little place to pull off for shots. I am going to go out on a limb and say you should be fine here, as we had 11 cop cars pull past us to use the shooting range down the street and they all smiled and waved. There are two places to pull off of W. Airfield Drive between Midcities BLVD and Glade RD, both on the left. Either will suffice. If you reach a small business park or a firefighter training facility (with a nice FedEx 727) you have gone too far. Pull in, turn around, and pull off to the side. Get ready to enjoy some nice DFW action! Just remember to pack water as it gets hot as heck out there!

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7142/6523681071_b159eff568_b.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7012/6523681795_f6fd6872cb_b.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7026/6523681627_0e52dc48d5_b.jpg




As far as Houston is concerned, check out the Houston spotters website. They have great guides to all the local airports. IAH is a great spot for night shots, so grab the tripod if that's your thing.


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Photo © Nicholas Peterman





I hope this helped, and sorry for the long winded reply. I had these very questions myself a few months back, and didn't find a super helpful answer in the archived posts.


Nick


User currently offlinesan747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 4943 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6200 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 1):

Dockweiler Beach
Westchester Pkwy bridge over Lincoln Blvd

I know Imperial Hill and In N Out, but tell me more about these two please. I am aware of the Westchester Pkwy bridge in that I've seen shots from there and am aware that's where they are shot from, but how does one access it? From what I understand, you just have to park by In N Out and walk right? And what about Dockweiler Beach?

Thanks!



Scotty doesn't know...
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10048 posts, RR: 26
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6196 times:
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Quoting san747 (Reply 3):

I know Imperial Hill and In N Out, but tell me more about these two please. I am aware of the Westchester Pkwy bridge in that I've seen shots from there and am aware that's where they are shot from, but how does one access it?

I think you do just have to park and walk. Apparently you can park on La Tijera, which is a bit closer than the In'n'Out.

Quoting san747 (Reply 3):
And what about Dockweiler Beach?

I just go park on Vista Del Mar (there is beach parking along most of the road west of LAX). And then shoot from down on the beach, or from Vista Del Mar Park. These were taken from the beach - the first was taking off from the 24s, and the second from the 25s (sorry for the self-plug):


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Photo © Vik S
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Photo © Vik S




"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlinechuck9941 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 194 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6149 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 4):
I just go park on Vista Del Mar (there is beach parking along most of the road west of LAX). And then shoot from down on the beach, or from Vista Del Mar Park. These were taken from the beach

How long of a lense were you using? How is it with the smaller stuff?



Oh, it's a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a big Tylenol.
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10048 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6147 times:
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Quoting chuck9941 (Reply 5):
How long of a lense were you using? How is it with the smaller stuff?

Canon EF 70-300, which I only use out to 260mm or so.

Smaller stuff is OK from there, though not frame-filling. About the same crop as is necessary from Imperial Hill for me:


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Photo © Vik S



Doesn't help that the smaller stuff tends to be higher up already....



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineCargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1274 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6143 times:

SEA is very dependent on the flow of traffic. There are no good spots for morning arrivals if the traffic is flowing north, or at least none that I've ever really cared for. But if the traffic is flowing south and it's before 11:30 am, the water tower is the place to go.

From the water tower:


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Photo © A. Kwanten



Most of the morning heavies will arrive on 16L so if the traffic direction is right and it's sunny, you'll have great opportunities. You can also catch 16R arrivals from a nearby baseball diamond, provided it isn't in use. See the map link above. Narrow body traffic will trend towards 16R but you'll also get them on 16C and 16L.

Because SEA is a very north-south orientation, the locations are very split between morning (eastern side) and afternoon/evening (western side).

In the afternoon there are good spots for arriving traffic that correspond to the water tower but aren't quite as perfect on the north side of the airport.

On the south side, there is south 188th street, which is a busy street and is below the level of the airport, so you can't tell what's coming at you unless you're listening to the ATC.

Good for southerly departures, however:


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Photo © A. Kwanten



The morning isn't great for traffic landing on the 34s, but the afternoon is much better, and there are several locations along South 188th street and in the area for arrivals in the afternoon:


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Photo © A. Kwanten
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Photo © A. Kwanten



These aircraft arrived on different runways.

The only problem with SEA is that it is very hard to get a shot of an aircraft on the tarmac without being airside or having some special access (i.e. you work there) to the airport. SEA is basically a giant island with a big moat of roads, interdiction zones, airport buildings, and forests, and either you bring mega lenses and hope for no heat haze or you must be content with planes on a blue sky. The entire airport is, literally, on a plateau above the surrounding area.

If you come here, you should try BFI and PAE, as they both yield much closer action. The downside being that traffic is infrequent at both airports and so you have to be there at the right time and in the right place. PAE can be especially frustrating as there are usually less than ten movements a day of anything other than small props. BFI at least has a very active cargo ramp. One of BFI's prime spots is also currently closed, but may re-open sometime this year.


User currently offlinechuck9941 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 194 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6115 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Canon EF 70-300, which I only use out to 260mm or so.

Smaller stuff is OK from there, though not frame-filling. About the same crop as is necessary from Imperial Hill for me:

I'll have to check it out sometime as a little change from the hill and I-n-O.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Doesn't help that the smaller stuff tends to be higher up already....

that's why I was curious on the length. Altitude seems like it'd be a challenge. Especially departing 25.



Oh, it's a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a big Tylenol.
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10048 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6107 times:
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Quoting chuck9941 (Reply 8):
I'll have to check it out sometime as a little change from the hill and I-n-O.

That's exactly why I first went over there. Plus it seemed like no one was trying out shots from there.

Quoting chuck9941 (Reply 8):
that's why I was curious on the length. Altitude seems like it'd be a challenge. Especially departing 25.

Yep, and I've shot many more departures from the 24s there than the 25s. It's a tradeoff with Imperial Hill - at the hill, you're about 1000 feet horizontally away (plus up to a few hundred vertically), while at the beach, you can be up to probably 1000 feet vertically away, and anywhere from directly under to however-far-you-want-to-walk horizontally. Of course, many people don't like shots from partially underneath, but I actually like them.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
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