Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

Category: Beginner guides (page 1 of 2)

5 tips for Airliners.net photo acceptance

Most beginning plane spotters and aviation photographers struggle to get their first photo accepted on to online aviation photography databases such as Airliners.net or JetPhotos.net. This is no surprise at all as these websites are very strict when it comes to image quality and reject the majority of images that pass through the screening and selection process. Therefore you shouldn’t feel discouraged when your first couple of uploads are rejected. It took me nearly a dozen attempts before I was able to get my first photo accepted on the Airliners.net. With some persistence and practice, eventually the right photo will come along. Here are my five tips to help you improve your aviation photography and increase your Airliners.net photo acceptance rate.

Difference Between the Boeing 767 and 777

boeing 767 condor oliver holzbauer

Condor Boeing 767-300ER. Photo by Oliver Holzbauer CC 2.0

Back in the day when I first started looking at planes I had the hardest time distinguishing between the Boeing 767 and 777 because they just looked so similar to me. When people try plane spotting for the first time, they typically have to rely on very concrete and noticeable features of each aircraft to distinguish them from others (for example the number of engines or doors present) before they are able get a feel for each aircraft and recognize them based off

Tips for dealing with police whilst spotting

 

A nasty confrontation with police is every spotter’s worst nightmare. This usually isn’t a problem for us spotters especially if we’re spotting from a designated location such as the airport observation deck. But with increasing levels of security at airports, such a confrontation is probably going to happen sooner or later, especially in areas of the world where the hobby is still developing and largely unrecognized. But here are

Sharper images: 5 tips for improving sharpness

An issue a lot of beginning aviation photographers face is coming home after a day of spotting to find that their images from the day are alarmingly soft and perhaps low in contrast. What can you do to save them? The answer is not much really; the Smart Sharpen tool in Photoshop can only do so much before it starts to ruin the image with noise. Sometimes images that are shot too poorly simply cannot be saved, as poor quality going into Photoshop means poor quality coming out. The only solution is to start shooting better, and my quick tips

How to determine spotting conditions at the airport before leaving home

Before leaving my home to go out spotting, I will always check to make sure that conditions are suitable for spotting. As you may know, “suitable” conditions for spotting is much more than just the absence of rain. The light coming from the sun must be bright and coming from the right direction. The visibility must be good, and it would be most preferable if the sky is blue.

A breakdown of Canon’s telephoto lenses

Other than a decent camera body of course, a quality telephoto lens is an aviation photographer’s best friend. While not everyone is able to afford a top-of-the-line Canon L lens, any plane spotter worth his salt should know the importance of glass in determining image quality, as opposed to just the camera body, and be able to pick out a lens suitable for his needs and his budget. In this guide I will be breaking the down characteristics of several telephoto lenses for Canon DSLR’s popular among plane spotters so that you will hopefully be able to make a better decisions as to which one is most suitable for you. Note that I only own some and not all of the lenses mentioned in this review, however I will derive information from reputable sources on all of these lenses so rest assured that what I’m presenting to you is indeed factually correct. Also note that I do not have any affiliation with Canon or any other company that may be mentioned. All opinions seen here are completely unbiased and come from either me or one of the several reputable sources that I have listed. For a more detailed review and image tests of lenses that I do own, please visit the links provided. Enjoy!

How do I choose the right spotting location?

With most airports (usually unofficially) offering at least half a dozen different locations for spotting, it’s hard to choose which one to go to. Unless you want to spend valuable spotting moving around between locations, it’s advised that you visit no more than two locations in a day. At least for most of us, it takes long enough already just to get to the airport. To then move between locations is, at least in my opinion, a waste of time. But if something out of our control happens that makes the location unusable, for example rain, change of active runways, or change of lighting, then of course we have to make an exception.

Spotting Location 2 – GFS Headquarters

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.

Canon’s 18-55mm kit lens – my opinion

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.

Spotting Location 1 – HAECO maintenance area

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.

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