FedexL1011
Topic Author
Posts: 185
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:23 pm

Spotting Locations @ SEA?

Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:55 pm

Hi all,

I live in the Sea-Tac area and have found a decent spot but I would like to try a new one ,and i found that Royal has a spot but I dont know where it is and if the general public could spot there,

Here's an example:
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Delta...d=0a8e2bd341644e5e2f2d6c332c226b5a

Regards
J.R. In SEA
722,732,733,735,737,738,739,744,752,753,763,772,319,320,321,DH8,CRJ2,CRJ7,CRJ9,E175,E145
 
cargolex
Posts: 1202
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:20 pm

Spotting Locations @ SEA?

Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:27 pm

I cannot speak for anybody but myself, but I'm 99% sure that particular spot is not open to the general public.

There are not too many areas at SEA where you can get a really good shot of something other than a plane on a blue sky without having some sort of special access (i.e. you work there, are there in some other sort of professional capacity, or are air side as a passenger). A really big lens could help with this from certain locations but in many of them you'll face heat haze at all times of year. But if you don't object to shooting a plane on a blue sky, which I personally don't, then there's several places you can go.

Where are you spotting now?

I'm sure you already know about the water tower, which is by far the most pleasant spot at SEA. But it's only good for morning arrivals on 16L and 16C. Less common though, is that In the afternoon there are also spots like this for 16R and 16C arrivals, mostly along Des Moines way S./Des Moines Memorial Dr. You can go up and down this street depending on where you want to be, and you won't be hassled by anybody for being there. There's absolutely nothing there - few business, no houses, mostly just vacant lots.

16C arrival:


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Photo © A. Kwanten



16R arrival:


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Photo © A. Kwanten



For 16C you should be north of rt. 518, for 16R you have to be south of it. A bunch of trees have been planted in that 16R location since that photo was taken, but they don't interfere with the view ... yet.

There's another spot in the area for 16L afternoon arrivals but the planes are very high up as it is further away from the airport. I haven't had much luck with that other spot (Sunset park/tub lake). There's also the baseball fields not far from the water tower, good for 16C late in the day but there are power lines and trees.

Northward departures are very hard to capture from any spot without at least 400mm because aside from a few heavily loaded cargo planes, they're pretty high by the time they cross the end of the runway. Southward departures can be caught from anywhere on S. 188th street in the afternoon. Some aircraft, particularly Dash-8s, will be very high by the time they come into your field of view, and everything will be very high if there is a strong wind.

There's also the question of what times are you going out spotting? Right now you're not going to get much from say, 10am to 4pm because of the angle of the sun. But later in the year when the days get shorter, these become better hours. You can see the difference in how the time of year effects things right here:


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Photo © A. Kwanten
View Large View Medium
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Photo © A. Kwanten



Same departure, same location, same time, but in December it gets dark alot quicker. Right now the LH flight leaves at a time when the sun would be almost directly above the aircraft. I think the second photo was taken just a couple of days before the winter solstice. Low angle sun at 2:30 in the afternoon. Fun time.

These were both taken along S.188th street. For anything coming from the south, S. 188th and certain spots along it/adjacent to it are also where to go. Most of this is public space and easy to get to - but you may be asked to present ID to the authorities if they drop by, particularly the spot associated with 16L/34R. They're usually friendly and in most cases know that Seattle is full of airplane spotters and photographers. The late afternoon is much better for a northerly flow of traffic and for using S. 188th. As usual, it's important to be respectful of people's property and the law when you're in any of these places.

[Edited 2011-08-04 11:30:28]
 
FedexL1011
Topic Author
Posts: 185
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:23 pm

Spotting Locations @ SEA?

Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:52 pm

Quoting CargoLex (Reply 1):
Where are you spotting now?

I usually spot at the Parking Garage, ant it usually is around 1:30-3:00. Is the heat haze bad then?

Quoting CargoLex (Reply 1):
I'm sure you already know about the water tower, which is by far the most pleasant spot at SEA.

I know about it but I haven't tried it
.

Quoting CargoLex (Reply 1):
But if you don't object to shooting a plane on a blue sky, which I personally don't, then there's several places you can go.

I do not mind it actually would be nice to try.

Quoting CargoLex (Reply 1):
mostly along Des Moines way S./Des Moines Memorial Dr.

Could you please map that?

And also I noticed that you have good photos at BFI do you spot at the Museum of Flight?

Regards
J.R. In SEA
722,732,733,735,737,738,739,744,752,753,763,772,319,320,321,DH8,CRJ2,CRJ7,CRJ9,E175,E145
 
cargolex
Posts: 1202
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:20 pm

Spotting Locations @ SEA?

Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:18 pm

Quoting FedexL1011 (Reply 2):
I usually spot at the Parking Garage, ant it usually is around 1:30-3:00. Is the heat haze bad then?

Definitely. That's the hottest part of the day and you're very far away from the action other than comings-and-goings at D and N gates. Plus from the parking garage you're facing west, so the planes will be backlit. Okay for spotting or shooting for yourself, but unlikely to get accepted into the DB here.

Quoting FedexL1011 (Reply 2):
I know about it but I haven't tried it

Definitely try that, early in the morning if you can. And by early I really mean early - in the summer the sun is too high by almost 10 am.

The big round thing on the map is the water tower, and it's a public park. No $$ for parking, no hassles, and a much closer view of things.


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Photo © A. Kwanten



You only need about 70mm for a photo like this, and you can even walk there from the terminal or the light rail station, though it isn't a short walk by any means. UA, DL, and Ryan International (sometimes North American operated by Ryan) have heavy arrivals early in the morning that are catchable right now from this location when traffic is flowing southward.

One of the things I like most about going out and shooting in a place like this is how relaxing it is despite being at a major airport. S. 188th street is not nearly so nice because it has heavy traffic and lots of noise.

Quoting FedexL1011 (Reply 2):
Could you please map that?
Sure.

Quoting FedexL1011 (Reply 2):

And also I noticed that you have good photos at BFI do you spot at the Museum of Flight?

It's one of the places I go, but I tend to go to the mid-field area south of the tower more often.
 
Kellertooonn1
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:47 pm

Spotting Locations @ SEA?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:08 am

Very cool photos I must say.. thanks for posting them.
 
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dlednicer
Crew
Posts: 514
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 9:35 am

Spotting Locations @ SEA?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:50 pm

Quoting FedexL1011 (Reply 2):
And also I noticed that you have good photos at BFI do you spot at the Museum of Flight?

At BFI, you can either sit on the patio outside of the cafe or go to the midfield park. Both are afternoon locations. The MoF location is best for southbound departures, but I have gotten some southbound arrivals on on their roll-out there. You can also get northbound departures at the beginning of their take-off runs. Trying to get northbound arrivals landing is difficult. The mid-field park location requires a ladder.

These were taken from the patio:

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Photo © David Lednicer
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Photo © David Lednicer



These were taken from mid-field park:

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Photo © David Lednicer
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Photo © David Lednicer

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