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Shooting Vs. Spotting  
User currently offlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2323 posts, RR: 2
Posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6047 times:

Is there a difference anymore? After reading through the forums, it appears more and more that "spotting" is starting to mean shooting (with a camera and a lens and a few memory cards and batteries).

Are there any true spotters (pen/pencil and paper) out there that don't carry a camera and would like to speak up?


Slower traffic, keep right
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinejohnkrist From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1399 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6016 times:
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I met a bunch in Hong kong, MAN spotters all of them.
I call it spotting when I go out on a photo session, however I don't give a toss about what regs they have, nor do I collect them. I do "collect" aircraft models and variations though...
It does happen that I take down the camera and think to myself that I have spent 8 hours watching aircraft through a 10by15mm hole!

Maybe I should get a reg book and start spotting the proper way



5D Mark III, 7D, 17-40 F4 L, 70-200 F2.8 L IS, EF 1.4x II, EF 2x III, Metz 58-AF1
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9695 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5999 times:
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Quoting unattendedbag (Thread starter):
Are there any true spotters (pen/pencil and paper) out there that don't carry a camera and would like to speak up?

A related question: does spotting automatically equal writing down regs and such? What do you call it if you just go watch planes (as I used to do prior to shooting them....I never was interested in the regs)?

Quoting johnkrist (Reply 1):
I call it spotting when I go out on a photo session, however I don't give a toss about what regs they have, nor do I collect them.

Yep, same here.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlinemegatop412 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 309 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5972 times:

I just say spotting and all I do is take photos. I don't bother writing down registrations and have no interest in doing so, as looking at photos of planes is much more pleasing to my eye than looking at numbers.

But that's just me


User currently offlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2323 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5969 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 2):
What do you call it if you just go watch planes

I would call that "plane watching". There is a term for someone who watches airplanes and makes a note of the type or registration or airline and that is "spotter".

I think of it like a sniper with a gun. The terms are similar for the jobs that are involved.

There is a shooter (the guy/girl with the gun),

a spotter (someone who watches the bullet/target and makes notes as to where it hits)

a spectator (a person who observes the activity without need to take a historical record of the events).



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2323 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5956 times:

Quoting johnkrist (Reply 1):
however I don't give a toss about what regs they have,
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 2):
I never was interested in the regs)
Quoting megatop412 (Reply 3):
I don't bother writing down registrations and have no interest in doing so,

So this is a new demographic? Very interesting. Calling what you do "spotting" with the specific disinterest in collecting the registrations. I think the term "spotting" is taking on a whole new meaning within this community.

In the future, what will we call those that do collect registrations?



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5950 times:

I always thought of it this way:

Spotters: interested in the specific aircraft, whether it be to photograph the type or record the registration. If a camera is used, I tend to think of it as 'reference photography' ie. the image is intended to be used as a record of the subject

Photographers: interested in the image, and the specific aircraft doesn't matter

And of course, its a sliding scale - someone may start at one end of the scale and move towards the other, or switch from one to the other depending on location, mood etc.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9695 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5950 times:
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Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 5):

So this is a new demographic?

I wouldn't say it's new. I've been watching planes for the last 26 years or so, and I started out doing it with my uncle, who also didn't collect regs.

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 5):
Calling what you do "spotting" with the specific disinterest in collecting the registrations. I think the term "spotting" is taking on a whole new meaning within this community.

In the future, what will we call those that do collect registrations?

To be fair, I wasn't even familiar with the term "planespotting" or "spotting" until I found A.net. I'd just say I was watching planes.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5925 times:

If you ever visit MAN you'll soon find out the difference! Spotters are the guys with notebooks and pens, and photographers are the guys wtih the cameras. I've personally no interest in collecting registrations as I don't see the point, but different strokes for different folks......

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
Spotters: interested in the specific aircraft, whether it be to photograph the type or record the registration. If a camera is used, I tend to think of it as 'reference photography' ie. the image is intended to be used as a record of the subject

Photographers: interested in the image, and the specific aircraft doesn't matter

Interesting analysis. I'm bothered more about my subject but if the light's crap I tend not to take the picture. I'd much rather have a common Ryanair aircraft with a stunning backdrop than an Il-76 in clag! I guess therefore that my hobby is a combination of record keeping (i.e. the urge to try and photograph as many different types and liveries as possible) and 'true' photography.

Karl


User currently offlinedarreno1 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 224 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5915 times:

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
Spotters: interested in the specific aircraft, whether it be to photograph the type or record the registration. If a camera is used, I tend to think of it as 'reference photography' ie. the image is intended to be used as a record of the subject

Photographers: interested in the image, and the specific aircraft doesn't matter

And of course, its a sliding scale

Agreed. I consider myself more of a photographer and do like variety with regards to colors, aircraft and paint schemes. I will, however, go out of my way to shoot something that's rare.



Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
User currently offlinemegatop412 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 309 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5895 times:

When I think of the term 'planespotting' I don't split hairs over whether I should be taking pictures or writing down numbers. That may be the traditional distinction but I see little practical use for it. As far as I am concerned I am a planespotter, and so is the person taking down the regs, because we are both engaged in the act of 'spotting' aircraft.

In March at PHL the cops drove up and asked what I was doing(despite the big camera in my hands). When I said "planespotting", that seemed to satisfy them and they drove off. They certainly didn't ask me why I wasn't writing down numbers.

Not to throw things way off base here, but do any of you think there was such a thing a "ship spotting" hundreds of years ago? Maybe people back then didn't have time for such carefree endeavors when they were trying to avoid things like cholera and the plague and trying to feed their families, but I was curious anyway.


User currently offlinedstc47 From Ireland, joined Sep 1999, 1460 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 5832 times:

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 10):
Not to throw things way off base here, but do any of you think there was such a thing a "ship spotting" hundreds of years ago?

Not sure about that, but the UK had a very strong train spotting culture until relatively recently, there may be a few left.

More correctly these were "engine spotters" recording the numbers of motive units. Perhaps some may have been interested in passenger and freight wagons also but probably very few. A much smaller number of "bus spotters" also.

It might be hard to credit in an era of camera phones and cheap digital cameras, but many spotters could not afford cameras, or particularly film, when young and while they might have wished for a photo they had to be satisfied with a paper record.


User currently offlinepackman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 88 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 5790 times:

Quoting unattendedbag (Thread starter):
Are there any true spotters (pen/pencil and paper) out there that don't carry a camera and would like to speak up?

There are, but they are unlikely to be reading this photography forum!

A lot of people however are spotters and photographers as well.


User currently offlineRimantas From Lithuania, joined Dec 2007, 12 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 5780 times:

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 10):
Not to throw things way off base here, but do any of you think there was such a thing a "ship spotting" hundreds of years ago?

I am am not sure if anyone spent time spotting ships some centuries ago but ship spotting is popular nowadays.
Spotted ship photos from various regions of the world, technical data etc. are available here: http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/.


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 5772 times:

Quoting dstc47 (Reply 11):
Not sure about that, but the UK had a very strong train spotting culture until relatively recently, there may be a few left.

Not only the UK - I remember a few years back seeing a small group with pens and notebooks carefully noting down the numbers of the trains on the Dublin Dart line   Must have had a very high boredom threshold!

I must admit, I've never really understood spotting - at least in its fully committed form - books and books of carefully noted registrations ... why? It seems to be a very 'pure' activity - almost no possibility of gain or benefit. Of course I do engage in a number of other equally un-productive activities.

I guess its part of human nature and our natural instinct to organise and classify. As such, it seems reasonable to suppose that there were indeed 18th century ship spotters ... and perhaps even pre-historic woolly mammoth spotters. Though it occurs to me that mammoth spotters may not count, as there could be a practical survival benefit.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 5763 times:

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 10):
because we are both engaged in the act of 'spotting' aircraft

I disagree. When I'm at the airport I'm engaged in photographing aircraft. Why would I term it 'spotting' when I can describe it in a more accurate and understood form? I don't see fashion photographers calling themselves 'model spotters'.

Here in the UK at least, spotters are those collecting registrations; and photographers are those taking pictures - whether it be for record purposes or to try and win the next Daily Mail photography competition.

Like Colin I don't really understand the kick in collecting numbers, and I find many (but of course not all) people who do this to be slightly obsessive; perhaps not truly interested in aviation.

Karl


User currently offlinemegatop412 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 309 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 5733 times:

I suppose there will always be disagreement about the actual terms being used, but 'planespotting', for whatever reason, at least here, seems to have the greatest potential to orient others as to what I'm doing in the shortest amount of time which is unfortunately the way I have to deal with today's realities. It sounds more benign than "photographing airplanes", less suspicious if you will. More like the harmless hobby it actually is, as opposed to something that sounds more like surveillance. I'm in it to win it, as they say, so the less problems I have(or cause myself) the better.

In my heart, I am an aviation photographer, and I know it. And in this circle, we are all (more or less) friends and acquaintances, titles be damned.


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 5729 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
Like Colin I don't really understand the kick in collecting numbers, and I find many (but of course not all) people who do this to be slightly obsessive; perhaps not truly interested in aviation.

Afraid I can't fully agree with that last bit - obsessive, maybe (though perhaps no more than I am with camera gear  )

Not truly interested? - well all I can say is that the spotters in my part of the world are an absolute mine of information about all aspects of aviation. And because I can be arsed to do all the checking, its thanks to the spotters that I've been given advanced warning of interesting subjects, events etc. - not to mention helping out when my recognition skills fail me.

I think we in the UK, as a national characteristic, tend toward the obsessive in whatever we do - be it football, cars, spotting or photography.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 18, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 5720 times:

Colin,

I did say...

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
but of course not all

Still, just because someone knows how many previous registrations a particular aircraft has had, and where it started life, doesn't mean they have a genuine interest in aviation. Judith Keppel probably stores such information in her head but that doesn't mean she has a real interest in aeroplanes.

If one is obsessed with collecting registrations, one will learn pretty fast information about a particular aircraft. I have seen many spotters turn up at airports, simply read off aircraft with a scope in a couple of minutes and then go again; without once stopping to look at, listen to or appreciate the magnificence of these amazing machines.

A few years ago a British guy at ZRH took one look at an Il-76 from a distance, exclaimed that it was one he had already and exited the terrace. How can anyone have a true interest when he/she is not prepared to wait a few seconds while an Il-76 pass a few metres from them?

Cheers,

Karl


User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3901 posts, RR: 19
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 5695 times:

Good post, Karl  

When it was still unknown what the B-2 even looked like, a Dutch military spotter at Soesterberg once told me he wouldn't be excited at all if it landed there. 'The serial won't be readable anyway.'  

I know that many spotters do have a genuine interest in aviation. But I've never understood the concept of collecting observations, without even requiring photographical evidence. Seeing a remote black dot, and being told later by a fellow spotter that it must have been 9V-SQE, is apparently enough. You could as well stay behind your comptuter these days. Some apparently do. Not that it matters one bit whether you've actually eyeballed that one or not, of course. It's so utterly pointless, at least in my opinion.

Aviation photography as a hobby is a bit easier to understand I think, and therefore I don't like to be called a spotter.

Peter Smile

[Edited 2012-05-04 11:50:45]


The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlinederekf From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 890 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 5685 times:

I've been taking photos since 1979. I've also noted serials and regs since 1980 and have records since 1970. The photography and "spotting" are two parts of the same hobby as far as I'm concerned.
For every photographer wondering what the point of taking numbers is, there are spotters wondering why the sun has to be shining in order to take a photo.
Each to their own I say.



Whatever.......
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9695 posts, RR: 27
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 5674 times:
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Quoting derekf (Reply 20):
Each to their own I say.

Exactly!

I do still wonder though, what am I considered when I go watch airplanes without taking photos or taking down regs?

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
Like Colin I don't really understand the kick in collecting numbers, and I find many (but of course not all) people who do this to be slightly obsessive; perhaps not truly interested in aviation.

One could say the same about photographers.....



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 5668 times:

One could same the same about anything Vik. I do however think that photographers seem to in general appreciate the beauty and magnificence of aircraft more. Many 'spotters' seem far too preoccupied in jotting down what's on the ramp to really take any notice of what's actually going on.

Sometimes it's just nice to sit there without a camera and watch what happens out on the airfield; all those little 'processes' necessary to see an airliner on its way to wherever.

Naturally each to their own but surely we can all agree that it's much better to see a photo of, say, Alitalia retro than to look at its registration scribbled in a notebook?

On a final note, I know quite a few dedicated photographers who like to collect the registrations of what they've potographed, and I think this is much more understandable. Ultimately if one is satisfied that one's hobby is fulfilling that's all that matters.

Karl


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 23, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 5662 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 22):

On a final note, I know quite a few dedicated photographers who like to collect the registrations of what they've potographed, and I think this is much more understandable.

Oh yes, I'm guilty of that   - while I couldn't care less what aircraft I've seen (or boat, car etc. when it comes to that), I am quite obsessive about recording details of my pics (location, subject). I must confess to spending a more than healthy amount of time on the 'net trying to work out what it was I took a picture of!

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineAirimage From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 122 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 5624 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 22):
I do still wonder though, what am I considered when I go watch airplanes without taking photos or taking down regs?

I am in that category and used to love driving to Heathrow in the early 90's to do just that. ie WATCH.
I can't do it now because of the parking restrictions and the suspicion it raises (and that I'm more slf conscious of people wondering what I'm doing watching planes)

It's a real shame that. I wish more people could be as fascinated about planes as they are about football.


25 ptrjong : It's horrible if you feel you can't watch planes for that reason. I guess the terrorists have won.
26 JakTrax : As long as I'm not breaking the law I couldn't give two hoots what people 'think' I'm doing. It's MY hobby and I'm minding MY own business, so if peo
27 Psych : I agree with the distinction made above that 'spotters' are specifically motivated to record registrations/serials - their 'raison d'etre' is to 'acqu
28 n314as : There is a difference. Spotting was actually derived from the early days of train/aviation registration number listings....or what we call "reggie bas
29 ckw : That's a good one - perhaps spotting has become a substitute for our primeval hunter/gatherer instincts ... there are quite a few similarities, so ma
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