I do a fair amount of general photography outside of planespotting, so I was in need of a standard zoom lens to replace the crappy kit lens that I was using (which came from my old Rebel SL1). I eventually settled with the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD, which many refer to simply as the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. Tamron makes two versions of the 17-50mm f/2.8, one with VC (Vibration Control, another name for Image Stabilization) and another one without (which is the one I’m reviewing). I was able to pick up this lens second hand for just over $200 USD, which is not too bad as it normally retails for $500, but is quite old. According to this test done by the-digital-picture.com, the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is supposed to have image quality on par with the much more expensive Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM, which is regarded by many as a fantastic lens.
The “SkyDeck” in terminal 2 of HKIA is the only “designated” viewing location at HKG, meaning that it’s probably where the airport authority would prefer that we spot from (especially considering you need to pay to get in). However, that doesn’t mean that you can or should only spot here, as the airport authority can’t and won’t stop you from spotting elsewhere. That being said, this is where I always go when the 25 runways are in use, as it’s perfect for 25R arrivals and very convenient. You don’t need to mess around switching between the Tung Chung line and various buses to get there, as SkyDeck is located in the main passenger terminal, meaning you can easily take the Airport Express or a taxi to and from. There are also restaurants, bathrooms, and even a movie theater, whereas most of the other locations are in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
Spotting Location 3 – Terminal 2 SkyDeck full post
(405 words, 1 image, estimated 1:37 mins reading time)
Recently I decided that I’ve been planespotting for long enough that I should upgrade to some new gear, so I went out and got myself the Canon 100-400mm Mark I, also known as “the planespotter’s lens” due to how popular it is among spotters. Now I wasn’t ready to go and dish out a bunch of cash, so I opted for a second-hand copy which I picked up for less than half of how much a brand new Mark II version of the lens retails for. The lens was quite old, having been made in 1999, but I found it to be in mint condition. Considering the lens cost me a fair price of $850 USD, I’m not sure who got the better end of the deal here – me or the shopkeeper.
So apparently in the same way that we have plane-spotting, train-spotting also exists. I guess the concept is essentially the same; you have different manufacturers, models, operators, and registrations, although apparently train registrations are called reporting marks and aren’t exactly the same as aircraft registrations. I mean it’s interesting that train-spotting exists, but not so surprising. If we’re so obsessed with planes, why can’t others feel the same about trains? On that note, I wonder if boat-spotting exists. I’ll save that for another post.
Train-spotting? What is that? full post
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The name of this location is quite misleading as you’re not actually supposed to be spotting from outside the GFS headquarters. You’re welcome to try doing so, but most of the time you’ll be catching the butt of planes departing from 25L. I mean the APU exhaust and rear fuselage are quite sexy, but I’d rather catch the front. To get the right angle, you should be approximately halfway between the threshold of 07R and the GFS headquarters. This spot is really only good for 25L departures and 07R arrivals (which come at best once every hour). 07R departures are visible, however you won’t be able to get any shots due to the fence.
Spotting Location 2 – GFS Headquarters full post
(296 words, 1 image, estimated 1:11 mins reading time)
So although this may be a deviation from the usual aviation-related posts, I’ve been seeing so much hate and praise for Canon’s 18-55mm kit lens that I thought I might as well share my own opinion.
As you may know, most Canon entry-level DSLR’s are sold in bundles with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM “kit , mainly the XXXD (or Rebel in the United States) models. Opinions on this lens are quite varied considering it’s only a simple budget-friendly piece of glass for those who are only starting out with photography. Most people hate it because of its unimpressive image quality, cheap plastic build, and crap aperture. I mean if you were to ask a pro-tog to describe the overall quality of this lens in one word, that word would either be cheap or crap.
This location is really the only place where you can catch 07L arrivals, which occur frequently during the winter time, usually in the morning. I really don’t like this location as it’s quite far from the approach path of RWY07L, but unless you have a sweet yacht to go out in, this is the best option available.
From here, 07R arrivals (which come around once every hour and are usually cargo) will be approximately the same distance from you as 07L arrivals. The recommended focal length here is ~250mm for APS-C cameras, and ~400mm for you rich bastards with full-frames.
Spotting Location 1 – HAECO maintenance area full post
(459 words, 1 image, estimated 1:50 mins reading time)
Yesterday the weather was particularly nice and the sky was blue, so I decided to go plane spotting. When I got to my spotting location for the day however, the sky changed dramatically. There was heavy pollution, and no longer was the sky blue. However, I was lucky in that the lighting was at least half-decent, so I was able to get usable shots. However, due to the pollution, contrast suffered severely and there is no background to my shots, other than a hazy sky. On the other hand, sharpness was virtually unaffected. I’m not sure if this is because of my quality L lens or the fact that I was shooting at f/8. I was expecting extremely soft images due to the pollution, but even the unedited files turned out razor-sharp.
Spotting on an polluted day? full post
(273 words, 2 images, estimated 1:06 mins reading time)
Back in November of 2015, Cathay Pacific unveiled their new livery, first painted on the 777-300ER B-KPM. It features a larger and “freed” brush stroke on the tail with the “Cathay green” covering the entire horizontal stabilizer as opposed to a small square in the middle. Moving forwards the aft-fuselage remains the same, while the front looks quite different. To begin with, the words “Cathay Pacific” are now written above the windows in a bigger and more elegant font. Further forwards, ahead of the forward-most door and behind the cockpit windows is another smaller brush stroke, again in the “Cathay green”. The awkward green strip on the nose is gone, and instead the faint blue ribbon that runs along the fuselage continues across the nose, very modern and simplistic.
Cathay’s new livery full post
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