Topic Author
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2000 12:27 pm

Spotting At Or Near DCA

Sun Sep 01, 2002 4:41 am

I will be in DC in a couple of weeks and will have a day off while there. I was wondering if, with a 300mm zoom, you can get any good DCA approach shots from the Jefferson Memorial area? Or would I really have to head out to the airport to get good shots. Also, if I do go to the airport, is there anywhere within walking distance than I can get some shots of?

Finally, has anyone been spotting at DCA recently? If so, were you hastled at all by anyone? As I still see DCA shots getting uploaded onto the database.


Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2000 12:17 pm

RE: Spotting At Or Near DCA

Sat Sep 07, 2002 1:26 am

Hi Dave, I was in DCA back in May and had no problems there.Theres a park at the north end of the rwy and they go right over you.
Jason Whitebird
Posts: 267
Joined: Thu May 25, 2000 9:18 am

RE: Spotting At Or Near DCA

Sat Sep 07, 2002 8:07 am


I was there in June. The Jefferson memorial should be just fine. They were working on this cool museum at the airport, so you may want to go check that out. Just ask where the museum is. There is also a big room, the old terminal I think, right next to the museum where I sat and ate lunch and watched the planes out a big bank of windows. I would reccommend taking the Metro to the airport. It goes strait from downtown accross the Patomac and pulls up right next to the stationg. The only problem was that when I was there it was about 105 degrees!

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Joined: Wed May 19, 1999 10:42 pm

RE: Spotting At Or Near DCA

Sat Sep 07, 2002 8:16 am

Hi Dave,

Jefferson Memorial is way too far, and on second hand you would face sun all the time from 11am till night. The best way is to take Metro (Yellow or Blue Line) from any place in downtown and take it to Ronald Regan National Airport station. From there is 5-10 minute walk north or south. It depends from which direction they are landing. If the wind is from South you will go to the Gravely Point for great photo sesion  Smile From there the longest lens you need is probably 180mm for commuter aircrafts but everything in size of 737 or A319 you can get with even smaller lens. If they are landing from South you might want to go to Marina place which is 30min walk or you can go to the employee parking lot but first you should call airport OPS and tell them that you are planing to stay there for some time and take pictures.
You shouldnt have any problems at DCA. You can always shoot from the terminal or from the balcony at the both ends of main terminal.

Have fun,
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
Posts: 4138
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 9:14 am

RE: Spotting At Or Near DCA

Sat Sep 07, 2002 9:29 am

The best place to shoot at DCA is at Gravelly Point if the winds are from the south. I used to live several miles from DCA in VA and you can take pictures of the jets landing with a 300mm from my house. Also, the employee lot for north ops used to be a great spot until they fenced the area but I'm not to certain if we are allowed to go without getting hassled. Just call ops and ask them. Mainly for that spot, all you need is 80mm-100mm for approach shots.

Have fun!

Kevin/Pensacola, FL
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2001 11:44 pm

RE: Spotting At Or Near DCA

Sat Sep 07, 2002 9:37 am

Got to this site to get info on places to spot in the Washington/Baltimore areas:


Have fun!!

Educate your children before others mis-educate them!!!
Topic Author
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2000 12:27 pm

RE: Spotting At Or Near DCA

Sun Sep 08, 2002 8:15 am

Thanks for all of the replies. I will probably head out to the Air and Space museum in the morning (I know it takes a while to go through, but I've been before, so a couple of hours should be enough) and then head out to the airport for the afternoon. Hopefully the winds will be from the South as I've heard of Gravely Point in the past as being a good place.

Thanks again,


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