Topic Author
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:31 pm

Spotting At JFK In August

Thu May 03, 2012 7:33 am

Hello everyone and hope you're all great!

In August this year im going to NYC for the second time, i Will be there August 30 - September 3'rd. Thursday to Monday and i have two questions.

Im planing to go to JFK o couple of hours one of the days, which Day do you recomend ( in ammount of traffic and so on)?

Where is the best spottinglocation, im not a new yorker and I have just been for JFK onces before (im booth gonna land and takeoff at JFK this time). Most i want take offs and landings, My objective is a 75-300 mm.

Thanks, have a great Day!

Photo equipment: Canon EOS 60D | Canon 70-200 F4L USM | Canon 18-55 3:5-5:6 |
Posts: 543
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2002 6:32 am

RE: Spotting At JFK In August

Thu May 03, 2012 11:51 am


I would suggest you go to the airport either Sat. or Sun. They are the days with the most traffic both international and local. You did not mention if you will have a car or not. JFK is not easy to spot without a car. You won't be able to get into the terminals unless you have a ticket so that limits your shooting to outside the terminals. The configuration of the runways makes that difficult. JFK has four runways and most often they use two of them. For example you can have inbound on 31R and 31L with departures on 31L. Or you can have mixed ops. Departures on 13R. Inbound on 13L and 22L. No matter what location you are at in August there will probably be a tremendous amount of heat haze eminating from the concrete between you and the aircraft. I'm not saying you can't get pics, it's just not easy. Hit and miss. And if you are near a terminal or in a parking garage it's been my experience that the authorities ask you to leave as soon as they see you.

Most of us locals shoot at parks around the area and not on the airport property. This means choosing a location and being restricted to that single operation. The shots you get will be in the air and won't really show anything of the airport. There are a few places where you can get the airport structures in the backgound, but they are long shots. JFK is also known for changing ops frequently. So a car is a necessity to move from one location to another. It's almost impossible to switch locations without a car.

Take a look at my website page for the spotting locations around JFK. The address is ...

There is a link for both JFK and LGA. The pages show locations and typical MMs needed to get shots from that location.

Good luck.

Topic Author
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:31 pm

RE: Spotting At JFK In August

Thu May 03, 2012 4:20 pm

Hi and thank you for your good answer.

No i wont have any car, maybe Newark is better without car than JFK, but on Newark there is less traffic, right?

Photo equipment: Canon EOS 60D | Canon 70-200 F4L USM | Canon 18-55 3:5-5:6 |
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RE: Spotting At JFK In August

Thu May 03, 2012 5:55 pm

EWR isn't a very friendly airport for spotters, and I'd say is virtually impossible without a car, as it is located in a very tight area between a highway and two industrial zones.

If you're going without a car, LGA is much easier than either of the big airports, but you'll have to be content with only narrowbody, regional jet, and prop traffic as there is essentially no widebody activity at LGA.

However, you can get to LGA by subway and/or bus and there are a couple of good locations where nobody is going to bother you.

The problem with JFK is the sheer distances between spotting locations. If the pattern chances from the 31s to the 22s, you'll have to walk for forty minutes to an hour to get to a new location, longer if you are watching 31L (where the A380 lands).
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:40 am

RE: Spotting At JFK In August

Thu May 03, 2012 9:57 pm

I strongly advise against spotting at EWR, the authorities there have made it practically impossible to enjoy the airport.

Art is correct, JFK changes their patterns frequently and you would need some wheels to get around the area. Some of us may be out that weekend and you may be able to catch a ride from myself or someone else(I live near PHL now so I'm not sure if I'll be up there that weekend as it is a major holiday in the States)

My recommendation is, get yourself over to the Panera Bread location, you can see 31L(although backlit) and 31R approaches and eat a nice meal and relax if that's the approach in use.

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