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Seattle Area Spotters

Sun Aug 18, 2002 10:47 am

I am making my first journey to the pacific northwest area next week - and among other things I'll be participating in a Digital Photography Workshop! Now that I've seen what this D30 can do with my uploads so far I want to learn how to make the most of it!

I plan on doing some spotting and shooting while there, and at Vancouver (YVR). There's several airports in the Seattle area - SEA, BFI, Everett, and even Bellingham. Can anyone give me some tips on where the best places to spot are, and what kind of traffic to expect?

Also, if there are any Seattle spotters maybe we could meet up!

I'm also visiting the Museum, and plan on the Boeing Tour (bummer, all those 747s and no cameras!). Is the "original" 747 open for tours? Where were those pics taken of the 747-400ER - in a public place?

I am flying thru Atlanta to get there. I only have an hour or so, but it would be cool if I could stop by and say hi to any of you Atlanta folks! I'm there next Wednesday before 8am, and the following Thursday late afternoon.

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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RE: Seattle Area Spotters

Sun Aug 18, 2002 12:04 pm

There are some previous threads on this topic, here or in the general discussion group.

In general, if inside the terminal at Sea-Tac, the Delta or American gates provide good vantage points for all traffic taxiing by, depending on which way the runways are going. I haven't done any shooting there since 9/11 so don't know the situation, but those spots were also good for photos in the morning/early afternoon as they face west. The airport has an underground transit system that used to provide access to nearly all gates once through security, but construction has changed that. Check out the airport website for details. For photos outside the terminal, the Tyee Valley golf course to the south is good in the afternoon for operations to the north. A variety of airlines, but loads of Alaska and Horizon Air.

The museum at BFI has an elevated viewing area, and the view from the parking lot is good, too, as the fence isn't too high. It faces east. Traffic varies...might see nothing, might see the 747-400ER or a Turkish 737. There's a pilot's/enthusiast shop on the east side of the airport.
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RE: Seattle Area Spotters

Sun Aug 18, 2002 6:29 pm


I'm from across the pond but had a go shooting at SEA earlier last month.

When landing from the north I found a spot at Seattle Utilities water tower at the junction of South 146th St. and 24th Avenue S

Its on the hillside so the planes are fairly level on approach. Sun best in mornings.

Had no problem from the golf club car park - do people actually try and photograph from the course???!!

Notables when I was there with ACTUAL times rather than scheduled times
11.34 NW 74F arrives
11.41 Asian 772 arrives
12.03 Vanguard MD80 arrives (daily) - well, it did then!!
12.14 China AL 74F arrives
12.23 Aeroflot 777 arrives
12.53 Allegiant MD80 arrives (not regular?)
08.48 Evergreen DC9F arrives
08.50 Tradewinds A300F arrives
09.04 Hawaiian 767 departs - can be got from golf club
10.01 Hawaiian 767 departs - can be got from golf club
10.12 Frontier 732 arrives (daily, often 733)
10.17 America West 752 arrives
10.48 World MD11 arrives
11.26 ATA 738 arrives (was 10.38 Thurs.)
11.42 Vanguard MD80 arrives
Thursday (seen from Delta departure lounge)
10.20 Omni DC10 arrives
10.36 Sun Country 738 departs
similar time a China Eastern MD11F arrived, later departed

Afternoons - not aware of a good spot for the sun .

I've also tried Renton, BFI and Everett, and you just have to make the best of these places. BFI has a number of cargo movements between 17.30 and 20.00,not only the big jets but 'cargo commuters' too. Try the museum car park for these.

Near the SW corner of Renton there is a small roadside parking lot where you can oversee the field to see whats there. After that try the inner airport perimeter road (dead end) and then go further round on the public road "following your nose" - another dead end! At the NE corner by the lake (access near a railway and some new apartments) you may see a couple of newly finished 737s but these would not be photographable. Indeed, its difficult for pictures here generally, but you may be OK, but always watch out for security at any Boeing airport - have you seen the photos by Royal S King?

At Everett, there is the Museum of Flight store which is usually accessible- the United 727 and Comet are outside with others. The Bo247 is hangared here. Lots of interesting stuff. They make replica Me262's at this field too. Didn't have much time at Everett, but it seems some photos are possible, at Goodrich at least.

I don't know how far your interest extends, but there are other things to see away from airliners. Auburn (not far from SeaTac) has some AN-2's. Arlington has a Dakota. Also,Kenmore Harbor for the Otters and Beavers - Kenmore Air have one or two other bases around here where they fly schedules.


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RE: Seattle Area Spotters

Sun Aug 18, 2002 11:17 pm

Watch out for a snapperhead driving around BFI in a JAG.

(see ExitRow's Post)
What's another word for thesaurus?
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RE: Seattle Area Spotters

Mon Aug 19, 2002 2:08 am

At the golf course, I've shot from the road leading gives a view of one of two approaches. The other is directly overhead.

There used to be an empty school a bit further west of the golf course that provided a view of both approaches, with some trees here and there. Both are afternoon spots.

From inside the terminals, the only good afternoon locations would be from the north and south satellites, looking back towards the other gates.
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RE: Seattle Area Spotters

Mon Aug 19, 2002 12:35 pm

I have been finding some new spots to shoot from at SEA, I will be out there next Saturday, in the am, say 8-10 am.

The original 747 is not open for tours.
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RE: Seattle Area Spotters

Wed Aug 21, 2002 6:05 am

Not only is the original 747 not open for tours, its been moved over by the Boeing hangars. It used to rest mid-runway, surrounded by a small chain link fence, where you could drive right up and take pictures. Now it is hidden from the main road (on the west) by the buildings. If you drive around to the east, you have to strain to see it from across the runway.

The 747-400ER sits roughly in the same place. However, it was not there on Friday, which was an initially disappointment. As I drove south on I-5 past Boeing field through Tukwila, the plane suddenly appeared in the sky, flying low on its final approach to BFI. Very impressive! Too bad I was driving and had no camera!

As Cschleic said, the end of the American/Delta concourse is good. The North Satellite (United) is great as well if planes are approaching from the north and taking off to the south. I got some nice shots of a BA 744 and an Eva Air 744. Of course, a ticket is needed. If you have no ticket, there is no where in the terminal itself where you can see a plane, which is too bad.


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