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ptrjong
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SFO Area Trip

Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:01 am

Hi all,

After my US holiday, I'll tack on five days dedicated to aviation photography from Sept 27-Oct 1 in the SFO area only (in a change from an earlier plan). I'll sort out the most interesting museums myself, but, being a carnivore, I could use some help in chosing the best shows, airports, military airfields, and interesting GA airfields (classics, warbirds, water bombers, seaplanes). Obviously I'll have a car.

Shows: Yes, I know I'll miss Fleet Week. On Sept 27-28 there are minor airshows in Salinas and, rather far away, Redding. There's also a seaplane fly-in at Clear Lake. Does anyone know if the Salinas and Redding events are any good for photography?

Airliners: Except for the parallel landing shots, SFO itself doesn't seem to be that appealing if intercontinental traffic is not a priority. It seems to me that the most photographer friendly big airport in the Bay area is SJC. Correct?

Military: Photography looks good at Rwy 3L at Travis AFB. Is traffic good here?
[photoid:1900930]
I don't suppose a random drive to Beale AFB makes sense. Is there anything else in the area I'm missing, USCG facilities for example?

GA: I'll check the seaplane pier in Saualito, and Frazier Lake Airpark in Hollister if I'm nearby. Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance

Peter 
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
mjgbtv
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:07 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Thread starter):
Except for the parallel landing shots, SFO itself doesn't seem to be that appealing if intercontinental traffic is not a priority.

What would your priority be? It appears that there are a few good spots around depending on the runways in use.

Quoting ptrjong (Thread starter):
Is there anything else in the area I'm missing

Moffett?
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:53 pm

Thanks for dropping in.

Quoting mjgbtv (Reply 1):
It appears that there are a few good spots around depending on the runways in use.

Hm, okay. So far I mostly saw this and I'm not crazy about these long-range side-ons.

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Photo © Vivek Manvi
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Photo © Francisco Muro



Rwy 28 departures are rather nicer, but where was this taken from? Parking Garage G?

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Photo © Gail Richard Snyder, III

Quoting mjgbtv (Reply 1):
Moffett?

Certainly interesting, thanks. I didn't know that it still had some active military units.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
mjgbtv
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:53 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 2):
Rwy 28 departures are rather nicer, but where was this taken from? Parking Garage G?

I do not know SFO well, but there is (or was) supposed to be a good spotting location on at least one of the airtrain platforms. If you search this forum for 'airtrain' it should turn up two or more threads. Maybe other spots were discussed as well.
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:46 pm

http://nycaviation.com/forum/threads/46895-SFO-and-IAH-Spotting-Tips

From this forum thread, post 9, it seems that the spot is a staircase at the West Field Road station. Can someone confirm this? It could be very nice for my depature day.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
altbg
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:48 am

The United 757 picture must have been taken from the tower. If you look at the photographer's other shots they are all from the same spot and judging by the angle, it is higher up and further to the south of the Airtrain station at Terminal 2 - it is definitely not the West Field area. But you can take similar shots from the Airtrain station, except now that all runways are back in use you will mostly see heavies departing that way. Almost everything that is smaller than a 767 will take off on the 1s.
 
Murcielago4me
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:41 am

FYI, the far end air train station is a great spot to get rotations and arrivals. One can get shots like this almost all day. Heat haze, however, can be an issue in summer.


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Photo © Nishant Deshpande
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Photo © Nishant Deshpande



The multi-storey car park can fetch you views like this:


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Photo © Nishant Deshpande
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Photo © Nishant Deshpande



Coyote Point, which is located near Bayfront Park can get you views like this:


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Photo © Nishant Deshpande



[Edited 2014-08-26 00:57:04]
"Caution, Wake Turbulence"
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:10 am

Thank you very much, altbg and murcielago4me.

So you're referring to Terminal 2 train station, Parking Garage G, and Rental Car Centre train station, right?
http://www.flysfo.com/services-amenities/getting-around-sfo

Are these spots behind glass or not?

Peter 
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
Murcielago4me
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:02 pm

Peter,

None of the above are locations are through glass. Only problem with Air Train Station 2 is, you are photographing in a narrow passage with a window. In most cases you will not see the aircraft coming and quickly rotating off 28R/L infront of you. So be ready with your camera and ears open / scanner on. Walking to other end of this same passage, you can get shots of aircraft taxing and taking off 1R/L and also in far distance are aircraft touching down on 28L/R.

Hope this helps. All the best.
"Caution, Wake Turbulence"
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:38 pm

Thank you. What does security think of photograpy at the Airtrain stations?
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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stevemchey
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:47 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 9):
What does security think of photograpy at the Airtrain stations?

I have never been asked to leave when shooting from the AirTrain station at Terminal 2.

That being said, I have been asked to leave when shooting from the AirTrain Station at Terminal G (overlooking the International Terminal), which is just a couple of stops over. I don't know what the difference is - maybe because BART is located at the same station, maybe because it is the International Terminal... who knows.
 
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Bruce
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:14 am

San Jose (SJC) has a great spot. Also I think the small San Carlos (?) airport has an area where you can pull over and shoot GA aircraft.

Is anyone else going to be around the bay area next weekend? I'm visiting mainly for the air show but also plan on tasting plane shots from all the airports & writing them up adding to my planespotting guide. So I've been doing a lot of early research on where to go. SJC is a must-visit.

I have been trying to scour the maps and find a spot that would give a good afternoon view of landing at OAK - there's only 1 plane there that I really want in the afternoon and that is the Norwegian 787. Its going to be challenging since OAK is mainly a morning shooting airport. Any ideas? I am thinking along the roadway heading toward the San Mateo bridge.....

What good spots are there around Moffett and how's the traffic there?
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
Murcielago4me
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:28 am

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 9):
What does security think of photograpy at the Airtrain stations?

I have never been bothered even once at Air Train Station 2, even though several times, security has passed by us. Although like Stevemchey, it was a different story on the other side where international terminals are visible. The security is tighter and personnel have come and inquired us about our doings. We were never asked to leave though.

Quoting Bruce (Reply 11):
What good spots are there around Moffett and how's the traffic there?

Sunnyvale golf course is a good location for aircraft on final for 32L/R, but I am not sure if non-members are allowed to be there. Also, there is a road (Manila Drive) that goes parallel to Bayshore Freeway (101), that can get you similar shots. But stopping there is not allowed.

Traffic wise it can be either very boring or superb. Some regular and not so regular visitors include AN124, Sofia 747, C130s, flighter jets, classic ward birds and so on...
"Caution, Wake Turbulence"
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:13 am

Thanks again for your information, murcielago4me.

I think I'll spend more time at SJC though - this spot looks very inviting:

https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Oakland+International+Airport/@37.351048,-121.921034,3a,81.3y,9.55h,89.04t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sIxPfRgHn8YZsmRpkqjwVdw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xb0630c0f03017460
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altbg
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:08 am

I have spotted at that exact location at SJC and you do get the bizjets rolling through right in front of you. It's easy to shoot over the fence without a ladder as well. And the parking lot is usually empty.  
 
Murcielago4me
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:53 am

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 13):
I think I'll spend more time at SJC though - this spot looks very inviting:

Not to bore you to death, but the one you mentioned is a great spot.

You can also try these places:

Short Term Parking / Muti-storey Parking for early morning time only. This one is on the terminal side and you go to the roof and park. Security may sometimes come and move you. You can get some lovely angles like this:


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Photo © Nishant Deshpande
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Photo © Nishant Deshpande



The long-term parking lot might be closed now, I am not so sure. But it was a great location to get evening departures:


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Photo © Nishant Deshpande
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Photo © Nishant Deshpande



Have a good trip.
"Caution, Wake Turbulence"
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:09 pm

Not bored at all, thanks for the additional info.
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stevemchey
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:54 pm

Quoting murcielago4me (Reply 15):
The long-term parking lot might be closed now, I am not so sure. But it was a great location to get evening departures:

Correct, long-term parking is closed and no longer accessible.  

So, for SJC, the best two options are:

1) Former SJSU parking lot at Coleman and Airport Blvd. (after approx. 11am)
2) Top floor of short term parking garage (morning only)

In addition, I like the south-east end of the airport (where the Guadalupe River Trail meets Airport Blvd). There is a little monument/seating area from where you can get some taxiing aircraft and arrivals on the 30R. It is really only worth in the early mornings, but interesting nevertheless. FYI: You can't park anywhere close to this spot, so you need to walk there from the terminal or other further parking spot.
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:26 pm

Thanks Steve.

Quoting Stevemchey (Reply 17):
It is really only worth in the early mornings, but interesting nevertheless. FYI: You can't park anywhere close to this spot, so you need to walk there from the terminal or other further parking spot.

No problem, it seems I'm a bit less lazy than the average spotter  
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:26 pm

Quoting Stevemchey (Reply 17):
here is a little monument/seating area from where you can get some taxiing aircraft and arrivals on the 30R.

That would be somewhere around here?

https://www.google.nl/maps/@37.353879,-121.911273,3a,48.5y,284.07h,85.51t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sqXoBBbbQIt4Dn79EIS3_0Q!2e0
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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stevemchey
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:05 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 19):
That would be somewhere around here?

From your streetview link, it would be to the right of the red and white power line towers. Here is a link looking right at it - I guess this streetview was taken before the monument went up and you only see a dirt patch:

https://www.google.nl/maps/@37.35433,-121.912917,3a,75y,40.12h,90.8t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1slI2XVErYP44I0px5B8665w!2e0

This is how it looks today: http://www.americantrails.org/NRTDatabase/trailPhotos/3630_IMG_5685.jpg
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:50 pm

Thanks very much Steve, that looks like another fine, relaxed spot. Maybe I'll base myself near SJC for a couple of days, and visit the museums at Oakland for example in the midday hours.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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Bruce
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:14 pm

OK..related question: which is better for interesting shots in the morning - the SJC parking garage or the marina just off the approach path for OAK? I obviously can't be at both at the same time. Which one would get more interesting plane traffic?
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:38 pm

I understand that OAK is dominated by Southwest 737s. Are there many FedEx flights?

I woould think that the marina and Oyster Bay park are too far out for good shots. Certainly, nobody has been uploading from there to a.net in recent years.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
SFO2SVO
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:08 am

San Bruno overpass https://www.google.com/maps/place/San+Francisco+International+Airport/@37.6307967,-122.3990593,896m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x808f778c55555555:0xa4f25c571acded3f (look for bridge over 101) will get you nice view of the airport - but runways are too far and heat-hazed. You may get shots like

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Photo © Sergey R



Also, this garage https://www.google.com/maps/@37.6390086,-122.3968759,18z is ok in the morning:

View Large View Medium
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Photo © Sergey R



but Airtrain Terminal 2 station still takes the cake
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Bruce
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:35 pm

ptrjong,

Yes it is mostly Southwest. But there is another marina just south of Oyster Bay, the San Leandro Marina & Faro Point which according to the map appears to be very close to the flight path - similar to Coyote Point by SFO. There's lots of Alaska Air too but I guess no one likes to go out and shoot in the early morning hours! There are few pics. The one I'm most interested in getting is the Norwegian 787.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
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ptrjong
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:35 pm

Bruce,

Yes, I've seen the marina on the map. It may be a nice spot if aircraft are turning in from the east at that point. If so, where are the pictures to prove it.

Peter 
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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Bruce
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:01 am

Peter,

just wait till next week. I'm going to be there  

Here's an app called Sun Calc which shows you the sun angle all day. This is the map for OAK. I have the time bar set to 11am (orange line). The bright yellow line is sunrise. So that area shows the sun between sunrise and 11am. You can slide along the timebar at the top to see all day.

http://suncalc.net/#/37.6955,-122.1935,13/2014.08.31/11:03

Let me also add that you can change the date on that app and see what happens to the light at different times of the year. At OAK, it appears that high summer and high winter are both bad. In December the morning light is almost from the rear of the plane on approach. In June/July its well lit only for a short time in the very early morning. Thus, it would seem that the best times for shooting there are March/April and September.

[Edited 2014-08-31 18:09:27]
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
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Bruce
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RE: SFO Area Trip

Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:36 am

Oakland was not very good. The marine layer made it cloudy all morning each morning so they come out dark, especially the darker color planes like Southwest. The lighter colored FedEx 757 might work with some photoshop but OAK is definitely a tough place to shoot.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens

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