unattendedbag
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Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 7:32 pm

Is there a difference anymore? After reading through the forums, it appears more and more that "spotting" is starting to mean shooting (with a camera and a lens and a few memory cards and batteries).

Are there any true spotters (pen/pencil and paper) out there that don't carry a camera and would like to speak up?
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JohnKrist
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 8:00 pm

I met a bunch in Hong kong, MAN spotters all of them.
I call it spotting when I go out on a photo session, however I don't give a toss about what regs they have, nor do I collect them. I do "collect" aircraft models and variations though...
It does happen that I take down the camera and think to myself that I have spent 8 hours watching aircraft through a 10by15mm hole!

Maybe I should get a reg book and start spotting the proper way
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vikkyvik
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 8:39 pm

Quoting unattendedbag (Thread starter):
Are there any true spotters (pen/pencil and paper) out there that don't carry a camera and would like to speak up?

A related question: does spotting automatically equal writing down regs and such? What do you call it if you just go watch planes (as I used to do prior to shooting them....I never was interested in the regs)?

Quoting johnkrist (Reply 1):
I call it spotting when I go out on a photo session, however I don't give a toss about what regs they have, nor do I collect them.

Yep, same here.
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megatop412
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 10:00 pm

I just say spotting and all I do is take photos. I don't bother writing down registrations and have no interest in doing so, as looking at photos of planes is much more pleasing to my eye than looking at numbers.

But that's just me
 
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 10:12 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 2):
What do you call it if you just go watch planes

I would call that "plane watching". There is a term for someone who watches airplanes and makes a note of the type or registration or airline and that is "spotter".

I think of it like a sniper with a gun. The terms are similar for the jobs that are involved.

There is a shooter (the guy/girl with the gun),

a spotter (someone who watches the bullet/target and makes notes as to where it hits)

a spectator (a person who observes the activity without need to take a historical record of the events).
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 10:25 pm

Quoting johnkrist (Reply 1):
however I don't give a toss about what regs they have,
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 2):
I never was interested in the regs)
Quoting megatop412 (Reply 3):
I don't bother writing down registrations and have no interest in doing so,

So this is a new demographic? Very interesting. Calling what you do "spotting" with the specific disinterest in collecting the registrations. I think the term "spotting" is taking on a whole new meaning within this community.

In the future, what will we call those that do collect registrations?
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ckw
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 10:44 pm

I always thought of it this way:

Spotters: interested in the specific aircraft, whether it be to photograph the type or record the registration. If a camera is used, I tend to think of it as 'reference photography' ie. the image is intended to be used as a record of the subject

Photographers: interested in the image, and the specific aircraft doesn't matter

And of course, its a sliding scale - someone may start at one end of the scale and move towards the other, or switch from one to the other depending on location, mood etc.

Cheers,

Colin
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vikkyvik
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 10:46 pm

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 5):

So this is a new demographic?

I wouldn't say it's new. I've been watching planes for the last 26 years or so, and I started out doing it with my uncle, who also didn't collect regs.

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 5):
Calling what you do "spotting" with the specific disinterest in collecting the registrations. I think the term "spotting" is taking on a whole new meaning within this community.

In the future, what will we call those that do collect registrations?

To be fair, I wasn't even familiar with the term "planespotting" or "spotting" until I found A.net. I'd just say I was watching planes.
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JakTrax
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Thu May 03, 2012 11:32 pm

If you ever visit MAN you'll soon find out the difference! Spotters are the guys with notebooks and pens, and photographers are the guys wtih the cameras. I've personally no interest in collecting registrations as I don't see the point, but different strokes for different folks......

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
Spotters: interested in the specific aircraft, whether it be to photograph the type or record the registration. If a camera is used, I tend to think of it as 'reference photography' ie. the image is intended to be used as a record of the subject

Photographers: interested in the image, and the specific aircraft doesn't matter

Interesting analysis. I'm bothered more about my subject but if the light's crap I tend not to take the picture. I'd much rather have a common Ryanair aircraft with a stunning backdrop than an Il-76 in clag! I guess therefore that my hobby is a combination of record keeping (i.e. the urge to try and photograph as many different types and liveries as possible) and 'true' photography.

Karl
 
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 12:08 am

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
Spotters: interested in the specific aircraft, whether it be to photograph the type or record the registration. If a camera is used, I tend to think of it as 'reference photography' ie. the image is intended to be used as a record of the subject

Photographers: interested in the image, and the specific aircraft doesn't matter

And of course, its a sliding scale

Agreed. I consider myself more of a photographer and do like variety with regards to colors, aircraft and paint schemes. I will, however, go out of my way to shoot something that's rare.
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megatop412
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 2:45 am

When I think of the term 'planespotting' I don't split hairs over whether I should be taking pictures or writing down numbers. That may be the traditional distinction but I see little practical use for it. As far as I am concerned I am a planespotter, and so is the person taking down the regs, because we are both engaged in the act of 'spotting' aircraft.

In March at PHL the cops drove up and asked what I was doing(despite the big camera in my hands). When I said "planespotting", that seemed to satisfy them and they drove off. They certainly didn't ask me why I wasn't writing down numbers.

Not to throw things way off base here, but do any of you think there was such a thing a "ship spotting" hundreds of years ago? Maybe people back then didn't have time for such carefree endeavors when they were trying to avoid things like cholera and the plague and trying to feed their families, but I was curious anyway.
 
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 7:45 am

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 10):
Not to throw things way off base here, but do any of you think there was such a thing a "ship spotting" hundreds of years ago?

Not sure about that, but the UK had a very strong train spotting culture until relatively recently, there may be a few left.

More correctly these were "engine spotters" recording the numbers of motive units. Perhaps some may have been interested in passenger and freight wagons also but probably very few. A much smaller number of "bus spotters" also.

It might be hard to credit in an era of camera phones and cheap digital cameras, but many spotters could not afford cameras, or particularly film, when young and while they might have wished for a photo they had to be satisfied with a paper record.
 
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 10:51 am

Quoting unattendedbag (Thread starter):
Are there any true spotters (pen/pencil and paper) out there that don't carry a camera and would like to speak up?

There are, but they are unlikely to be reading this photography forum!

A lot of people however are spotters and photographers as well.
 
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 11:26 am

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 10):
Not to throw things way off base here, but do any of you think there was such a thing a "ship spotting" hundreds of years ago?

I am am not sure if anyone spent time spotting ships some centuries ago but ship spotting is popular nowadays.
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 12:17 pm

Quoting dstc47 (Reply 11):
Not sure about that, but the UK had a very strong train spotting culture until relatively recently, there may be a few left.

Not only the UK - I remember a few years back seeing a small group with pens and notebooks carefully noting down the numbers of the trains on the Dublin Dart line   Must have had a very high boredom threshold!

I must admit, I've never really understood spotting - at least in its fully committed form - books and books of carefully noted registrations ... why? It seems to be a very 'pure' activity - almost no possibility of gain or benefit. Of course I do engage in a number of other equally un-productive activities.

I guess its part of human nature and our natural instinct to organise and classify. As such, it seems reasonable to suppose that there were indeed 18th century ship spotters ... and perhaps even pre-historic woolly mammoth spotters. Though it occurs to me that mammoth spotters may not count, as there could be a practical survival benefit.

Cheers,

Colin
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 1:13 pm

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 10):
because we are both engaged in the act of 'spotting' aircraft

I disagree. When I'm at the airport I'm engaged in photographing aircraft. Why would I term it 'spotting' when I can describe it in a more accurate and understood form? I don't see fashion photographers calling themselves 'model spotters'.

Here in the UK at least, spotters are those collecting registrations; and photographers are those taking pictures - whether it be for record purposes or to try and win the next Daily Mail photography competition.

Like Colin I don't really understand the kick in collecting numbers, and I find many (but of course not all) people who do this to be slightly obsessive; perhaps not truly interested in aviation.

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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 3:51 pm

I suppose there will always be disagreement about the actual terms being used, but 'planespotting', for whatever reason, at least here, seems to have the greatest potential to orient others as to what I'm doing in the shortest amount of time which is unfortunately the way I have to deal with today's realities. It sounds more benign than "photographing airplanes", less suspicious if you will. More like the harmless hobby it actually is, as opposed to something that sounds more like surveillance. I'm in it to win it, as they say, so the less problems I have(or cause myself) the better.

In my heart, I am an aviation photographer, and I know it. And in this circle, we are all (more or less) friends and acquaintances, titles be damned.
 
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 4:13 pm

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
Like Colin I don't really understand the kick in collecting numbers, and I find many (but of course not all) people who do this to be slightly obsessive; perhaps not truly interested in aviation.

Afraid I can't fully agree with that last bit - obsessive, maybe (though perhaps no more than I am with camera gear  )

Not truly interested? - well all I can say is that the spotters in my part of the world are an absolute mine of information about all aspects of aviation. And because I can be arsed to do all the checking, its thanks to the spotters that I've been given advanced warning of interesting subjects, events etc. - not to mention helping out when my recognition skills fail me.

I think we in the UK, as a national characteristic, tend toward the obsessive in whatever we do - be it football, cars, spotting or photography.

Cheers,

Colin
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 4:45 pm

Colin,

I did say...

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
but of course not all

Still, just because someone knows how many previous registrations a particular aircraft has had, and where it started life, doesn't mean they have a genuine interest in aviation. Judith Keppel probably stores such information in her head but that doesn't mean she has a real interest in aeroplanes.

If one is obsessed with collecting registrations, one will learn pretty fast information about a particular aircraft. I have seen many spotters turn up at airports, simply read off aircraft with a scope in a couple of minutes and then go again; without once stopping to look at, listen to or appreciate the magnificence of these amazing machines.

A few years ago a British guy at ZRH took one look at an Il-76 from a distance, exclaimed that it was one he had already and exited the terrace. How can anyone have a true interest when he/she is not prepared to wait a few seconds while an Il-76 pass a few metres from them?

Cheers,

Karl
 
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ptrjong
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 6:40 pm

Good post, Karl  

When it was still unknown what the B-2 even looked like, a Dutch military spotter at Soesterberg once told me he wouldn't be excited at all if it landed there. 'The serial won't be readable anyway.'  

I know that many spotters do have a genuine interest in aviation. But I've never understood the concept of collecting observations, without even requiring photographical evidence. Seeing a remote black dot, and being told later by a fellow spotter that it must have been 9V-SQE, is apparently enough. You could as well stay behind your comptuter these days. Some apparently do. Not that it matters one bit whether you've actually eyeballed that one or not, of course. It's so utterly pointless, at least in my opinion.

Aviation photography as a hobby is a bit easier to understand I think, and therefore I don't like to be called a spotter.

Peter Smile

[Edited 2012-05-04 11:50:45]
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derekf
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 7:12 pm

I've been taking photos since 1979. I've also noted serials and regs since 1980 and have records since 1970. The photography and "spotting" are two parts of the same hobby as far as I'm concerned.
For every photographer wondering what the point of taking numbers is, there are spotters wondering why the sun has to be shining in order to take a photo.
Each to their own I say.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 7:43 pm

Quoting derekf (Reply 20):
Each to their own I say.

Exactly!

I do still wonder though, what am I considered when I go watch airplanes without taking photos or taking down regs?

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
Like Colin I don't really understand the kick in collecting numbers, and I find many (but of course not all) people who do this to be slightly obsessive; perhaps not truly interested in aviation.

One could say the same about photographers.....
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JakTrax
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 7:59 pm

One could same the same about anything Vik. I do however think that photographers seem to in general appreciate the beauty and magnificence of aircraft more. Many 'spotters' seem far too preoccupied in jotting down what's on the ramp to really take any notice of what's actually going on.

Sometimes it's just nice to sit there without a camera and watch what happens out on the airfield; all those little 'processes' necessary to see an airliner on its way to wherever.

Naturally each to their own but surely we can all agree that it's much better to see a photo of, say, Alitalia retro than to look at its registration scribbled in a notebook?

On a final note, I know quite a few dedicated photographers who like to collect the registrations of what they've potographed, and I think this is much more understandable. Ultimately if one is satisfied that one's hobby is fulfilling that's all that matters.

Karl
 
ckw
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 8:32 pm

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 22):

On a final note, I know quite a few dedicated photographers who like to collect the registrations of what they've potographed, and I think this is much more understandable.

Oh yes, I'm guilty of that   - while I couldn't care less what aircraft I've seen (or boat, car etc. when it comes to that), I am quite obsessive about recording details of my pics (location, subject). I must confess to spending a more than healthy amount of time on the 'net trying to work out what it was I took a picture of!

Cheers,

Colin
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Fri May 04, 2012 11:06 pm

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 22):
I do still wonder though, what am I considered when I go watch airplanes without taking photos or taking down regs?

I am in that category and used to love driving to Heathrow in the early 90's to do just that. ie WATCH.
I can't do it now because of the parking restrictions and the suspicion it raises (and that I'm more slf conscious of people wondering what I'm doing watching planes)

It's a real shame that. I wish more people could be as fascinated about planes as they are about football.
 
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ptrjong
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Sat May 05, 2012 10:18 pm

Quoting Airimage (Reply 24):
and the suspicion it raises

It's horrible if you feel you can't watch planes for that reason. I guess the terrorists have won.
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JakTrax
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Sat May 05, 2012 11:10 pm

Quoting Airimage (Reply 24):
and that I'm more slf conscious of people wondering what I'm doing watching planes

As long as I'm not breaking the law I couldn't give two hoots what people 'think' I'm doing. It's MY hobby and I'm minding MY own business, so if people with nothing better to do want to poke their unwelcome noses into my affairs they needn't expect my full co-operation (unless they explain to my satisfaction exactly why they feel the NEED to know my business).

Don't let them win! This is a bona-fide, respectable hobby which is quickly growing, and no-one's gonna stop me from doing it!

Karl
 
Psych
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Sun May 06, 2012 7:01 am

I agree with the distinction made above that 'spotters' are specifically motivated to record registrations/serials - their 'raison d'etre' is to 'acquire' a registration to add to their collection. I think photographers may care slightly less about which particular airframe in a fleet it is they are photographing. Though the hobby that includes submission to places like this does require a decent knowledge of airframes and what you have previously 'got'.

Here's a question to add to the debate - how many female photographers do you know/have you seen versus how many female spotters have you ever come across with binoculars/scope and notebook? Maybe brain wiring is one factor in this debate?

Maybe with the above distinction in mind - I definitely photograph; I don't spot.

Paul
 
n314as
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Sun May 06, 2012 7:16 am

There is a difference.

Spotting was actually derived from the early days of train/aviation registration number listings....or what we call "reggie bashers". These were not photographers but loved listing the planes at airports.

A photographer is a photographer period. There are different kinds. Most are casual. Some are spotter/photographers who shoot record shots of the planes with their registrations. Other go a little farther in not caring more on registrations as opposed to trying to shoot a professional-level photo.
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ckw
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RE: Shooting Vs. Spotting

Sun May 06, 2012 8:30 am

Quoting Psych (Reply 27):
how many female photographers do you know/have you seen versus how many female spotters have you ever come across with binoculars/scope and notebook? Maybe brain wiring is one factor in this debate?

That's a good one - perhaps spotting has become a substitute for our primeval hunter/gatherer instincts ... there are quite a few similarities, so maybe it is appealing to an underused area of the brain - same could apply to many types of photography.

Cheers,

Colin
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