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jhud922
Topic Author
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:15 am

Spotting at LAX - a few questions

Thu Sep 16, 2021 3:34 pm

Hi, I am planning a spotting trip to LAX in a few weeks. This is really my first trip ever dedicated exclusively to spotting, so I have a few questions:

- I am planning to stay at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Los Angeles International Airport South. I have a room that in theory should provide me with a view of the airport, which I plan on using sort of as a backup.
- I am planning to do probably the majority of my spotting on Imperial Highway, I believe there are some "classic" locations? My goal is to get good takeoff views mostly,
- I will be using a Canon 6D and a Sigma 150-600mm lens primarily. I may take a Canon 100-400 as a backup.
- I have a small tripod that I can use if I get tired of handholding.
- Plan on packing a small chair as well maybe, as well as of course sunscreen, hat, etc.

What else should I consider for a day of spotting?
Any concerns about my gear or location plans?
Is the location along Imperial Highway well known? Meaning, will I get any hassle from police, passerbys, etc?

The next day I will be at the Pacific Air show, so realistically I will get probably 1.5 days of spotting/photographing in.
 
Newark727
Posts: 3131
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:42 pm

Re: Spotting at LAX - a few questions

Thu Sep 16, 2021 3:56 pm

The Imperial Hill park (with the flagpole) is fully understood to be a photography hot spot, so you shouldn't be hassled by the police. There have once in a while been reports of people getting their gear stolen there, though, so try to keep all your stuff where you can see it. The one problem I can think of using the Sigma is that the very largest freighters, taking off on 25L (not guaranteed, but it happens) will require a lens that can zoom wider than 150mm.
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 12752
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

Re: Spotting at LAX - a few questions

Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:54 pm

jhud922 wrote:
What else should I consider for a day of spotting?


In general at this time of year, through the winter and early spring, you want to be shooting facing north.

Locations:
Imperial Hill (located on Imperial Ave, just south of Imperial Highway) - south side takeoffs and rollouts. Light will be good most of the day, but heat haze is bad in the middle of the day.
In'n'Out area - north side approaches. If you walk south of the approaches you can get decent light. Or you can shoot sunset silhouettes.
Westchester Parkway bridge over Lincoln Boulevard - great views of north side landings/rollouts, but light won't be good this time of year.
Dockweiler Beach or Vista Del Mar Park - can get takeoffs from the north side there. Light should be best in the mid-to-late afternoon.
Proud Bird - south side approaches. Light will be good through most of the day.

As for police - you will have no problem at Imperial Hill, In'n'Out, and Proud Bird. At Westchester Parkway, they may stop and "say hi". Only once did they stop and actually ask me questions (which I thought was hilarious), but they've never actually asked me to leave. Not sure about Dockweiler / Vista Del Mar Park.
 
jhud922
Topic Author
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:15 am

Re: Spotting at LAX - a few questions

Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:48 pm

vikkyvik wrote:
jhud922 wrote:
What else should I consider for a day of spotting?


In general at this time of year, through the winter and early spring, you want to be shooting facing north.

Locations:
Imperial Hill (located on Imperial Ave, just south of Imperial Highway) - south side takeoffs and rollouts. Light will be good most of the day, but heat haze is bad in the middle of the day.
In'n'Out area - north side approaches. If you walk south of the approaches you can get decent light. Or you can shoot sunset silhouettes.
Westchester Parkway bridge over Lincoln Boulevard - great views of north side landings/rollouts, but light won't be good this time of year.
Dockweiler Beach or Vista Del Mar Park - can get takeoffs from the north side there. Light should be best in the mid-to-late afternoon.
Proud Bird - south side approaches. Light will be good through most of the day.

As for police - you will have no problem at Imperial Hill, In'n'Out, and Proud Bird. At Westchester Parkway, they may stop and "say hi". Only once did they stop and actually ask me questions (which I thought was hilarious), but they've never actually asked me to leave. Not sure about Dockweiler / Vista Del Mar Park.


Yep, I should be good shooting north from imperial highway (hill). Speaking of Imperial Hill, can anyone pinpoint it for me? What is Proud Bird?
 
Newark727
Posts: 3131
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:42 pm

Re: Spotting at LAX - a few questions

Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:56 pm

jhud922 wrote:
Yep, I should be good shooting north from imperial highway (hill). Speaking of Imperial Hill, can anyone pinpoint it for me? What is Proud Bird?


From Imperial Highway (the major road that marks the south boundary of the airport, and feeds into Interstate 105,) either turn left on California St. (if coming from the freeway) or right on Main St. (if coming from the beach.) Almost immediately you'll reach an intersection with Imperial Avenue (not highway.) Take a right (from California St.) or a left (from Main St.) and follow Imperial Avenue up to the top of the flagpole at the top of the hill - that's your spot. It's labeled as "Clutter's Park" on Google Maps.

The Proud Bird is a restaurant complex on the corner of 111th St. and Aviation Boulevard, right underneath the 25L approach. Its parking lot, and the open area with airplane displays outside the building, used to be a good spotting location, but post-pandemic, it has usually been closed. For the last few years, when I've needed shots of airplanes landing on 25L, I've set up off La Cienaga Boulevard instead.
 
LifelinerOne
Posts: 1708
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 10:30 pm

Re: Spotting at LAX - a few questions

Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:29 am

Have a look at this website, they did a good job in creating a guide for LAX (and many other airport):

https://www.spotterguide.net/planespott ... -lax-klax/

Cheers! :wave:
 
jhud922
Topic Author
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:15 am

Re: Spotting at LAX - a few questions

Fri Oct 01, 2021 2:32 pm

at the end of the runway before the beach can you spot there?
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 12752
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

Re: Spotting at LAX - a few questions

Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:44 pm

jhud922 wrote:
at the end of the runway before the beach can you spot there?


See:

vikkyvik wrote:
Dockweiler Beach or Vista Del Mar Park - can get takeoffs from the north side there. Light should be best in the mid-to-late afternoon.


Is that what you're talking about?

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