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In Flight/Window View Photography - Help Needed  
User currently offlineThomasWarloe From Norway, joined Jul 2008, 265 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 9490 times:

Hello everyone!

I’m going on a trip in a few weeks, and of course, plan to do some aviation photography as well. In about a month I’ll be flying BA 268 (LAX-LHR) and BA 768 (LHR-OSL), and then a couple of weeks later, BA 761 (OSL-LHR) and BA 283 (LHR-LAX). BA 268 and 283 will be on 744s, and BA 768 should be an A319, with BA 761 being an A320.

I’d like to get some nice window shots on these flights. Preferably, I’d like to have some of the wing in the shot, yet I don’t want to be too close to the wing either. I’ve tried looking up window views from certain seats on the BA aircraft in question, but I haven’t found many pics. Also, I’d want to have a view that’s not backlit. This was where I was wondering if any of you had any experience and might be able to help me.

On BA 268, I’ve been looking at seats 40A-42A. Hopefully, this should at least get me a non-backlit view, perhaps of Greenland if it’s not cloudy. Does anyone have any pictures of the window view out of these seats, or any suggestions? As for BA 768, I only know that I'd like a seat on the right hand side, as well as with BA 761, as to not have a backlit view. I don't know what seats would be good on these flights. As for BA 283, I've looked at the same rows as BA 268, but on the right hand side to perhaps see Greenland - but will the view be too backlit? Furthermore, is there a way to know whether the window and the seat are lined up? I've had "fake" window seats before (not a pleasant experience) and I've had "misaligned" window seats. I'd like to avoid those if possible. Honestly, I'm looking for ANY sort of input, pictures, or help choosing seats. I know that you can't select seats on BA more than 24 hrs in advance unless you pay, so I want to be ready when the time comes.

Also, has anyone tried night photography from the Tom Bradley terminals at LAX? As it'll be dusk or dark by the time I'm airside for BA 268, I'd like to give it a try. Have any of you tried this before? Are there good, unobstructed window views of the parked aircraft at the gates? I'd really like one of my plane.

Whew. That was long. I'd really appreciate any sort of advice you guys might be able to provide, especially on the seat selection. Hopefully I'll be able to get some a.net worth shots out of this trip!


8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinewaketurbulence From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1331 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 9470 times:

Seat guru has always given me good information. They will say which windows are not aligned and what seats have av boxes that limit storage. As for specific seats I can't help for a BA 747 but the seats you describe should be ok.

For lighting I look at the photographers ephemeris which shows sun times and angles as well as other calculations. For any type of photography I find the computer program and app to be second to none.

User currently offlineThomasWarloe From Norway, joined Jul 2008, 265 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9263 times:

As for sun position, I use a similar website (suncalc.net) which does the job rather nicely; I only asked about lighting because I was not sure what angle I'd be flying at most of the flight.

I did check seatguru, but none of the windows list as misaligned - does that mean that truly all of them are lined up nicely with the seat?

Unfortunately, seat guru doesn't tell me what the window view will look like, so if anyone has ANY information on that subject about the flights/types specified in the first post, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks for the help Matt!

User currently offlineTonyholt777 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2010, 186 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 9215 times:


Sounds like a great trip. I fly BA quite a bit and just came back from GIG. I will try to help with some of your questions. For aircraft type and info you might find this link useful: http://www.thebasource.com/b747mid-jseatmap.html I've looked up BA268 but I'm sure you will easily navigate to the other flights etc...

If you are a BA frequent flyer you can register your seat preference (free) at their entry card level and in my experience if you put window it generally happens. Yeah unless you hold their silver/gold cards you have to pay to select a seat pre OLCI. Unless your thinking of upgrading to to first!

Are you thinking of rear wing views (40a)? because they are more likely in world traveller class> BA Long Haul aircraft have higher classes forward of the wing (generally) You might get lucky on your european sectors with the smaller airbus types. Again a lot depends on loads because BA can and do change their Club Europe section subject load and you can be moved further back down the cabin i.e. booked 5f but moved at check in to 23f (my last A320 7/6/12). I tend to try for a couple of rows in front or behind the wing _ again you can see these for yourself in the above link.

As for photography I agree with the above advice + bring some wipes the state of some of the windows is dire. I took this one from 5f approaching Berlin (TXL) last year on a A320


[Edited 2012-06-25 05:24:37]

[Edited 2012-06-25 06:23:45]

User currently offlineThomasWarloe From Norway, joined Jul 2008, 265 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 9191 times:

I looked at the link provided; I've used thebasource.com before but I didn't know that they had seat maps available.

I am flying world traveler class (economy), and as such, on BA 268/283, I was looking for behind the wing shots. But on BA 768/761, I was going to try and see if I could get a seat in front of the wing, preferably one where I can see the engine fan blades - that, however, might be unlikely. You had a very nice shot though of 5F, and that's the kind of picture I want to get.

I was also interested in getting a picture like the one below on BA 268/283:

View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © Jason Wood

Now, I am sitting in world traveler class, yet my understanding is that one can get a view in front of the wing by the main cabin door. Is it possible to walk up to there in flight, or will the sections be curtained off? I wouldn't be staying, just hopefully a minute or two to snap a picture?

Thanks for all the help so far!

(for some reason, the bottom of my post has turned into a hyperlink - not sure why?)

[Edited 2012-06-25 08:23:23]

User currently offlineTonyholt777 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2010, 186 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 9180 times:

Yes you can get shots from the cabin door. I see BA are using different configured (mid & high J) 747's on your flights, if the premium cabin loads are light they may let you take shots from those forward positions too.

Sorry, club europe passengers tend to get the seats your after and theres not much room. Keep an eye on seats at the front end via MMB.

Best bet is a friendly smile and chat with a responsive crew member - the curtains will be drawn from belts off. I normally have a chat with crew anyway.

Its also an easy way to move through the cabin on long haul and concentrate on getting some of the shots you want.

I always wait until after the main service is out the way and passengers are settled in. Clearly a lot depends on the view out the window at the time .

I have never had any probs on BA and I hope you get the shots your after.

User currently offlineEGCC777LR From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 9125 times:

Quoting ThomasWarloe (Reply 4):
I was also interested in getting a picture like the one below on BA 268/283:

Thanks for the compliment! Glad you like it  

But be aware, you need a lot of luck on your side to get this shot. I have tried a number of times since but to no avail. I have managed to get lots of nice window shots, but the one you linked may never be bettered by me. For reference, I was sitting in World Traveller Plus in the second to back row when I grabbed this one.

Things you need to go your way;

1. A clean window
2. An unscratched window
3. The window to be either level to you or just behind you (As this one was)
4. The window not to ice up on the outside whilst in flight
5. Good weather when you pass Greenland and or Northern Canada. I had my head out of the window for hours (cue neck ache) and we only had clear skies for less than an hour, luckily just at the right time, but you have to be prepared for a lot of boredom in between the good bits. Of the short time we without clouds, I maybe took 40-50 images, only 3-4 of them are like this, the others are very bland, I could so easily have missed it.
6. Your plane to be on the right NAT (North Atlantic Track) Many of them are too far south
7. Good camera and good wide angle lens, no good all of the above been in your favour and then the edges of your lens been soft.
8. Good technique, assuming everything above has worked out for you, you better know how to dial the correct exposure in, the above scene lasted only a few minutes!

Hope this has helped, I always have the camera on my knee when we fly, some of the images you can get are amazing, I wouldn't have beived this kind of shot was possible unitl I saw this one

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Michael Mantoudis

I was so inspired that I had to try and re create it for myself. I got close, but I still think this 777 shot just has the edge, to this day it is Michael's biggest hitter as mine is for me, but he has nearly 10x the views mine has  Wow! !



Flown On B704,722,732/3/4/7/8/9,744,752,762/3/4,772,77W,A319,A320,A321,A330,A388,L1011,F-50,BAE146,CRJ100, Dash-8. Left
User currently offlineThomasWarloe From Norway, joined Jul 2008, 265 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 9022 times:

Quoting Tonyholt777 (Reply 5):
Keep an eye on seats at the front end via MMB.

What is the "MMB"?

As for the curtains being drawn, that's great. I'll wait until a few hours into the flight when the sun is actually out (and hopefully I have a nice view below) to go forward and attempt a few pictures.

Quoting EGCC777LR (Reply 6):
assuming everything above has worked out for you, you better know how to dial the correct exposure in, the above scene lasted only a few minutes!

What do you mean by dial the correct exposure? Is there one in particular that is best for window shots? I normally use Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority on my camera.

Thanks for all the help so far, it's been really useful!


User currently offlineTonyholt777 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2010, 186 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 8808 times:

Hi Thomas

MMB = Manage My Booking

Exposure - white needs to be white etc...remember your camera metering will try for 18% grey so exposure comp required in a tight window of opportunity. Golden hours and the time limits after/before and so forth... + on a plane its damm tricky the shots provided above are great - Jason did a great job. I wish you all the best with yours and look forward to them.


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