Posts: 264
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 11:36 am

Right To Left Or Left To Right

Wed Mar 28, 2001 11:25 am

Having looked at hundreds of pictures on this site I began to notice that the vast majority of aircraft were facing to the left rather than the right. I was wondering if this had anything to do with the fact that like myself most people are right handed as I certainly find that the pictures showing the aircaft facing to the left sort of look 'right'. It may also have something to do with left usually meaning forward and right backward. Buy the way this is not a criticism but an observation as I am all for variety. But I can tell you it sure caused me problems when I was looking for some wallpaper.
Posts: 273
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 1:01 pm

RE: Right To Left Or Left To Right

Wed Mar 28, 2001 11:36 am

That's actually an EXCELLENT question! I find it easier to pan right-to-left myself, and like you pointed out, I AM right-handed. Come to think of it, I can't remember too many situations where I have actually panned left-to-right.

Strange that 90% of the time the aircraft are moving right-to-left. However, I have noticed that many right-to-left shooters have a right-side-up horizon (including myself). I think this is due to depressing the shutter with the right hand, which has a tendency to lower the right side of the camera, with influence from the dominant right hand.

Interesting topic!
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 12:21 pm

RE: Right To Left Or Left To Right

Wed Mar 28, 2001 12:50 pm

I, too, find it strange if, as you say, most of the shots here are right to left. Last night I was reading in a National Geographic photo tips book called "Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures" in a section about composition, and they mention that because in Western cultures people read from left to right, subjects should be placed "closer to the left side of the frame," and also you should "leave space for a moving subject to travel into...". This seems to suggest, according to the National Geographic people, airplanes "should" be shot moving from left to right. That is what they think. What I think is take what you can get! Maybe they weren't writing specifically about airliners, but rather just a general piece of advice. Anyway, as for me, I am lucky to get a good spotting position, much less be picky about whether I want to shoot a left or right-going airplane. Oh, well... I guess that is one more thing I'll have to worry about when I get to be super good!
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 6:02 pm

RE: Right To Left Or Left To Right

Wed Mar 28, 2001 4:16 pm

That's true - the same picture of movement will not be recieved by european and japanese as equal. We actually "read" the picture, not watching. I used to experiment with this, shooting moving cars, people and y'know....aircrafts - and realised that my pictures started to "breath and move" when I let my eye follow the movement as I usually read. And some free space in front of the object, of course.
Concerning the horizon thing - I think we're just trying to pan the plane for as long as we's vertical movement is too fast to keep it in the viewfinder, so we're compensate it a little. Just my point of view.

Faerberg Leonid
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2000 7:03 pm

RE: Right To Left Or Left To Right

Wed Mar 28, 2001 5:50 pm

Well, on smaller planes (first ones that come to my mind are the Tu-154 and the Tu-134) the passenger doors are only on the left side. On the right side there are only service doors. So the left side is kind of the "official" side of the aircraft, whereas the right side is more of the "behind the stage" side. Maybe that's why the left side of the plane is preferred and therefore the aircraft moving through the picture from right to left. That's my theory.

 Smile/happy/getting dizzy christian
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Right To Left Or Left To Right

Wed Mar 28, 2001 6:45 pm

Intriguing given that much of the time we don't get much in the way of options on for, example, approach and takeoff shots. Perhaps this is due to a more general factors about airports ... eg. Heathrow is effectively aligned east-west and I will if possible prefer to shoot facing North (sun at my back) - prevailing winds favour landing on 27R or 27L, hence the majority of approach shots will be right to left.

Looking at a global weather map, the general weather pattern movement is west to east (hence associated prevailing winds). Given this and the fact that a huge number of shots are approaches to northern hemisphere airports, my guess is that circumstances for the optimum shot at any given airport is going to dictate a right to left shot more than 50% of the time.

Perhaps someone with more time than sense would like to try an airport by airpost analysis and see if the theory applies!


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
Posts: 3612
Joined: Mon May 31, 1999 4:44 am

RE: Right To Left Or Left To Right

Wed Mar 28, 2001 10:24 pm

I'm with Christian on this one. The left side of planes is what most passengers see so any stickers or publicity is placed in the left side near the doors. I prefer to shot the complete livery including small stickers or publicity so when shoting static planes I always choose the left side.
However this is not what first comes to mind, this first think is "catch that plane no matter how"


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