Scooter From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 848 posts, RR: 2 Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2138 times:
I used to live 20 miles from SBN. It was frustrating, because there isn't anything interesting to shoot!
But seriously, they have a really nice observation area in the main terminal (upstairs) with big windows and live ATC broadcast over a loudspeaker. From that vantage point you, are literally right above the DL connection gates, with UA Express and USAirways Express to your left. Beyond that is a decent view of runway 27/9...but for photography, you'll need at least 300mm to get any action shots from it.
Outside, there are a few dirt lots at the west side of the airport (at the end of 27 / threshold of 9). If the winds are right and they take off to the east, aircraft will taxi right in front of these dirt lots. The terrain is slightly hilly at this location, which means that if you move around a bit you can find a hill that will give you a clear view above the fence.
Right after 9/11, I contacted them about photography rules, and they said it was fine just as long as you contact security first to tell them what you're doing. I never did that though, and I never had any probelms.
Anyway, I like shooting big stuff, and there is very little of it at SBN. UPS flies a daily 757 in there, but I'm not sure what time it comes and goes. Knowing UPS, probably under the cover of darkness! FedEx brings in a 727, and Airborne Express brings in a DC-9. There are occasionally 737 charters (for Notre Dame football games), but other than that, everything else is props and RJ's.