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taakid
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Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed May 27, 2015 1:37 am

I have started uploading pictures of light aircraft taken quarter of a century ago or more. I am the first to admit they are not as exciting or interesting as airliners and military aircraft. But they got me thinking. Light aircraft photography does have qualities that are special, if not unique.

1. Light aircraft allow you to pose the subject. You can walk around the plane or helicopter and choose the angle that shows the subject and its markings in the best light. There is time to wait for the sun to come out. In the olden days, when I started out, the posed picture was actually preferred to the action shot (ever tried to pan with a Brownie Box?).

2. Light aircraft give you better backdrops. Big airports look much the same all over the world but get out into the countryside and airports take on a geographical character. Eucalypt trees say my country Australia. A stately manor home is Britain. Pine forests, lakes, jungles, cottages, windmills, snow-covered mountains give pictures a sense of place. Combine that with the ability to chose your angle and your pictures tell a bigger story. And clouds. Light aircraft are best photographed with a standard lens which opens up the sky as part of the backdrop. Clouds are as important to a light aircraft photographer as they are to a landscape painter. Not always there but take advantage of them when they are.

3. The chances of the plane being new to the a.net database are vastly improved. There are multitudes of light aircraft out there parked on tiny airports that will also be new to the database.

Cheers
David A. Carter
 
29erUSA187
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed May 27, 2015 2:30 am

They're also easier to get a good shot of. You can take as many as you like while they're parked. Gotta love the redo!
 
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Moose135
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed May 27, 2015 3:50 am

And sometimes you get interesting paint schemes...

http://www.moose135photography.com/Airplanes/Airliners-and-Airport-Spotting/Republic-Airport/i-cHxpSxK/2/XL/JM_2008_01_20_N4422N_002-XL.jpg
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notaxonrotax
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed May 27, 2015 5:50 am

Quoting taakid (Thread starter):
There are multitudes of light aircraft out there parked on tiny airports that will also be new to the database.

Exactly!
Let's get every registration in the world in the D.B, shall we?
I am doing my bit, at least! Aircraft and airfields.


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Every little aircraft deserves at least 1 pic on here!


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taakid
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed May 27, 2015 7:21 am

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 2):
And sometimes you get interesting paint schemes...

And that is a beauty.  
 
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ptrjong
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed May 27, 2015 10:18 am

A nice light aircraft is much more interesting than the average CRJ... Otherwise, I completely agree.

Plus, photographing them can sometimes result in great free rides  
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I am somewhat picky, however. I prefer older stuff and I can't really stand modern, plasticky very light planes with mower engines that I can never learn to recognize, and that sound and look like they can't make it outside the airfield perimeter, and usually don't. Do you guys make similar restrictions?

Last week I saw, to my horror, a motor glider towing gliders. Come on, where are we going if that doesn't require a real aircraft anymore?  

Quoting notaxonrotax (Reply 3):
Every little aircraft deserves at least 1 pic on here!

Since I've seen a couple of big GA airfields in California, I'm a bit sceptic of that goal  

Peter 
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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notaxonrotax
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed May 27, 2015 7:12 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 5):
Since I've seen a couple of big GA airfields in California, I'm a bit sceptic of that goal  

I hear ya!!

I do my best in my country though!

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 5):
Plus, photographing them can sometimes result in great free rides  

Come whenever you want.....


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Beers are on you, afterwards!

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Chukcha
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed May 27, 2015 9:12 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 5):
Do you guys make similar restrictions?

No way. In fact, those are preferred  
 
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GuitrThree
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Thu May 28, 2015 4:36 am

Quoting taakid (Thread starter):
3. The chances of the plane being new to the a.net database are vastly improved. There are multitudes of light aircraft out there parked on tiny airports that will also be new to the database.

Or something very rare... like a find like this.. Originally delivered as a Rockwell S2R-600 Thrush Commander and later fitted with a turbine engine. Now a crop sprayer....


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As Seen On FlightRadar24! Radar ==> F-KBNA5
 
Chukcha
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Thu May 28, 2015 4:36 am

Quoting taakid (Thread starter):
Light aircraft photography does have qualities that are special, if not unique.

You've said it all.

Over nine years back I started uploading on Airliners.net, and in the beginning it was almost exclusively photos of GA aircraft and ultralights. I believed they were under-represented. They are still in the majority of my photos. And I also believe that every kind of aircraft deserves to be in the DB.

Since then I have photographed and uploaded all sorts of aircraft, but GA and ultralights are my favourite.
 
dendrobatid
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Thu May 28, 2015 1:11 pm

If you photograph light aircraft it is also far more likely that you will get known to the pilots and you known to them than at the big airports. Once you get known, you can often get access where others will not. It is strange, but I have been going to Heathrow and many other large airports since the late 1960s but not once has anyone invited me for a flight, yet it does happen quite often at the small airfields. Spend some time, drink some tea or coffee and show them what you are doing and you will reap the rewards and undoubtedly make some friends. We are enthusiast about aircraft, but so are the pilots!

I photograph them all as it is to my regret that, whilst I did take plenty, I did not take enough years ago. Then we had the cost of the film and the time or cost of processing it, but what can the reason be to not take them these days. As to the lawn mowers to which Peter refers, not many people do photograph them but I still will.

The only place that any real variety remains in aviation is in GA. After well over forty years as an enthusiast I can still get caught out not recognising aircraft types but after a year, a few months even, who could say that if they only photgraphed airliners ?

Mick Bajcar
 
taakid
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Thu May 28, 2015 10:35 pm

Quoting dendrobatid (Reply 10):
I have been going to Heathrow and many other large airports since the late 1960s but not once has anyone invited me for a flight, yet it does happen quite often at the small airfields

Very true. I was taken on countless flights from Sydney's Bankstown airport but only twice from Kingsford-Smith, both times pilots from Bankstown who recognised me and flew me over there. Pilots were always looking for some extra weight to throw in the back when doing an endorsement on a new type. All good fun except when dropped from a great height in a Grumman AA-5 by a pilot who overdid the flare. Tough undercarriage.

Cheers
David A Carter
 
topgun3
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Fri May 29, 2015 5:29 pm

GA aviation photography is great. All points mentioned are valid ones. The only obstacle to having more complete photographic record of all the GA aircraft are the screeners on A.net. Some tend to apply same criteria to GA close-up shots as they do for bigger aircraft. There is absolutely no consideration given to the circumstance under which the photos were taken. Just as we allow photos of new registrations to have canopy covers, we should also allow more liberal screening rejections for brand new registrations, since we might never get a chance to photograph that GA aircraft again.
I'd rather be flying.
 
Chukcha
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sat May 30, 2015 12:49 am

Quoting topgun3 (Reply 12):
... since we might never get a chance to photograph that GA aircraft again.

A very good point, actually. Just as an example, at one of the recent events I had noticed an unfamiliar registraton on a GA aircraft. Asked the owner, why I had never seen it before. He said that it was sitting in the hangar for years, and that it is now sold overseas, and is soon getting repainted, too. So it was the only chance to photogrph it with the australian registration and in the old paint scheme.

Speaking of the hangars, it often pays to take a peek into any open hangar at the airfield, with the owners permission, naturally. You never know what you may find there. I was lucky to find some really unique aircraft hidden for years behind the hangar doors.
 
Chukcha
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sat May 30, 2015 1:09 am

Quoting dendrobatid (Reply 10):
If you photograph light aircraft it is also far more likely that you will get known to the pilots and you known to them than at the big airports.

Agree, after a while it is amazing how many GA pilots and aircraft owners recognise you and know your name. Doesn't happen much to those who shoot only airliners or military aircraft.

Quoting dendrobatid (Reply 10):
Once you get known, you can often get access where others will not.

  
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 6:04 am

Quoting topgun3 (Reply 12):
we should also allow more liberal screening rejections for brand new registrations

If I read what you're saying correctly, then A.net screeners DO allow more leeway for new or rare registrations.

Quoting topgun3 (Reply 12):
There is absolutely no consideration given to the circumstance under which the photos were taken.

How are they supposed to know? Pretty soon you'll have everyone saying how difficult it was to take their shots.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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bombayduck
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 7:35 am

If they allowed more leeway on new or rare registrations then the screeners will be inundated with more rejection appeals. The pictures should be uploaded to the database if the photo's meet all of the criteria. Just because the registration is rare or, of a rare aircraft so long as it meets all the criteria then okay upload the picture.
 
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bombayduck
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 8:13 am

Forgot to add after screeners inundated with rejection appeals "why was my photo rejected and Photo by qwerty uploaded just because it was of a cessna from Mongolia"
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 8:30 am

Quoting bombayduck (Reply 16):
If they allowed more leeway on new or rare registrations then the screeners will be inundated with more rejection appeals.

Don't know what to tell you. Unless things have changed, they do allow some more leeway on new/rare shots. It's not a huge amount of leeway, but it's there.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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scbriml
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 9:47 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 18):
Don't know what to tell you. Unless things have changed, they do allow some more leeway on new/rare shots. It's not a huge amount of leeway, but it's there.

IMHO, that's how it should be. I'd rather see a less than perfect scan of a slide from the 1970s than not see it at all.
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bombayduck
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 11:28 am

Granted there is some leeway with older pictures from scanned old slides and negatives where they can be seen by others,rather than being lost forever. But, with digital photos should the same leeway be given to digital images.?
 
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ptrjong
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 11:41 am

Quoting bombayduck (Reply 20):

There's always a bit of leeway with airframes not yet in the database.

Topgun3 says there should be more for GA aircraft, since they're sometimes not likely to be photographed again. It makes some snese, but on the other hand, as has been said earlier, they're often easier to photograph.

Peter 
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
taakid
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 12:34 pm

Quoting scbriml (Reply 19):
I'd rather see a less than perfect scan of a slide from the 1970s than not see it at all.

Based on the first 50 scans I have done of Australian light aircraft from the 70s and 80s, half cannot be photographed today. Registrations changed, crashes, exports, scrapped. But another point is that I knew just two or three people in my era (1965-90) who set out to photograph the entire Australian register. Most enthusiasts ignored the hundreds of 172s and Cherokees and their ilk. It is strange to think that the odds of sourcing a picture of a particular 1930s light plane are much better than finding a particular one from the 1970s.

Cheers
david
 
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notaxonrotax
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 1:50 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 21):
they're often easier to photograph.

Yes and no.
While in the air, some are pretty darn small and I struggle to get decent shots of those while the run of the mill B737 and A320 are easily taken that same day.....just to give you an example.

Our type of photography is all about access! Well, mine is anyway.
Yes, a sh«t-hot photographer will always get better results than the average punter (such as me!!) and good light plus a modern camera & glass all help.
But.....I learned it is all about access, at the end of the day.

If you browse through my (small) collection on A-net, you will find that most shots are stationary aircraft, taken from close range. Technically easy? Sure, most of them were; I guess.
But....for other images in the DB I had to fight tooth & nail to be able to shoot what you will probably judge as an average shot of a box standard aircraft. 1 example:


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Again, maybe not the most challenging image in the world, photography wise.....but it took me hours of driving, searching, and asking around to get to this private little property. Then, upon arrival at the tiny airfield; I faced nasty and belligerent private security guards in a fail to understand mode. I have a few tricks to obtain permission, but it really was not easy that day.
Screeners have no way of knowing this, but it is very satisfying when you receive the odd E-mail via this website from people that appreciate the effort.

So yes, sometimes G.A metal is found at more challenging places.
Barns, private farms or secluded warehouses......you name it, I have been there.
And more trips to come.....

1 more example:
Try to get onto the police ramp to shoot this confiscated plane.....I dare you:


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Yes, this plane I probably would have been able to shoot from outside the perimeter if it were a B727 or an A310.
I only got it thanks to knowing somebody who knows someone.....and that someone happens to sleep with someone that pulls strings.

This one was interesting too!


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And to shoot smaller airfields you could face major challenges too.......for instance you will battle to get permission to shoot this, never mind finding the airfield:


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Or this:


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So, to summarise my humble opinion on this:
Yes, access to smaller aircraft is often easier thanks to small and laid-back flying clubs etc, but at times it can become quite a challenge to get a clear shot of some of the smaller girls in the world.
And to catch them in the air.....it´s really not easy to get a crisp image of a C172 when you are, say; at a typical spotting point for commercial traffic. You need quite a lot of zoom!


Cheers!

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[Edited 2015-05-31 06:52:25]
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acontador
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun May 31, 2015 6:07 pm

Just in case you forgot, we have and Upload Guide, and at the very beginning the first two points are as follows:

"1.Images taken before the digital era (pre 2002 as a rough guideline) will be screened with more leniency because of their historical value and rarity, and to expand our database. The older they are the more lenient we are. For example Images taken in 1960 will be screened with more leniency than images taken in 1990. The implication of this policy is that you will see many old images in the database where quality is not as high as images taken today.
2.Rare aircraft and new registrations will also be screened with more leniency. We understand that the term rare is subjective. By rare we mean individual aircraft (new registrations). We do not mean the first visit of an aircraft to an airport, for example the first A380 visit to Amsterdam."

Hope it helps   !

Cheers,
Andrés

[Edited 2015-05-31 11:41:10]
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notaxonrotax
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:48 am

Quoting acontador (Reply 24):
Just in case you forgot,

Thanks!

Unfortunately I don't have any old shots....so I'm afraid I will get judged by the highest standards, which unfortunately reflects in my acceptance ratio!


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taakid
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:10 am

Quoting notaxonrotax (Reply 25):
Unfortunately I don't have any old shots.

That is all I have, nothing later than 1990. If it wasn't for leniency, they would never make the grade. It is not just the loss of quality with a scan that is the problem, it is the deterioration of film over time. Until I started uploading in January I had not looked by my slides and films for 25 years. In the worst cases, colour negative films from 1975 have turned solid magenta (yellow in positive). They were processed by Sydney's first discount film lab and I suspect they were never properly "fixed", with the chemical process continuing for 40 years. Older Kodak processed films have retained their colour but are suffering emulsion breakdown. 40 year old slides have faded, 30 year old ones have got darker. Black and white negs stored in proper acid-free paper in total darkness have started to silver where there is contact with the air. Other, older negs require hours of work in Photoshop to bring out an image.

The other problem for us old folk is we started out with cameras that were awful by today's standards. The cheapest point and shoot pocket camera today is better than the best 35mm in 1965. I look at pictures on a.net taken in the 1950s and early 60s and wonder how many were using Brownie Box cameras (1/35th to 1/50th shutter speed). I started in 1964 with a Brownie Baby (even cruder than a Box) but got a Werra 35mm fixed lens camera in 1965. In other than bright sunshine it was hopeless.
 
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hrtsfldhomeboy
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:31 pm

If there was ever a moment of pure bliss in this hobby, it's hanging out along the fence line at Lake Hood snapping GA float planes on an autumn afternoon.


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ptrjong
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:03 pm

Quoting notaxonrotax (Reply 6):
Come whenever you want.....

Beers are on you, afterwards!

Hey, that;s quite an invitation. Despite the topic, is photographing bigger civil and military aircraft feasible in Ecuador?

Peter 
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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notaxonrotax
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:25 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 28):
Hey, that;s quite an invitation. Despite the topic, is photographing bigger civil and military aircraft feasible in Ecuador?

Peter 

Extremely feasible.
Please check the DB, plus I have some contacts to get you into military bases too!
Ecuador is a great country for aviation!


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ptrjong
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:55 pm

Quoting notaxonrotax (Reply 29):

That sounds cool. I just sent you a Private Message. In Dutch, I guess you can read that  
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
taakid
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:00 am

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 30):
Ecuador is a great country for aviation!

My spotter and photography interest goes back 50 years. There has been no time in that period that aviation photography has been permitted across so much of the globe. But even 50 years ago Ecuador was a great place to take pictures of aircraft if the spotter mags I bought were any guide.
 
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ThierryD
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RE: Three Reasons To Photograph GA Aircraft

Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:33 am

Quoting notaxonrotax (Reply 29):
Quoting ptrjong (Reply 28):
Hey, that;s quite an invitation. Despite the topic, is photographing bigger civil and military aircraft feasible in Ecuador?

Peter 

Extremely feasible.

I can only second that. Having been there a couple of times and visiting a museum on a military base I can say that the people in Ecuador have always been very friendly and supportive of me taking photos.  

Cheers,

Thierry
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