" /> Stay In One Place, Or Roam Around?
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  Stay In One Place, Or Roam Around? 
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Joined: 08 Jun 2009
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:48 pm    Post subject: Stay In One Place, Or Roam Around? Reply with quote

I've noticed two distinct types of aircraft photographers on A-D: Those who visit a great number of airports, such as Steve Nation, and those who tend who hang around a single airport, such as Doug Robertson and Torsten Hoff.

Just wondering which type you'd consider yourself to be.

As for me, I have visited a few So Cal airports where I saw there weren't very many photographs taken, but I tend to like to hang around Fullerton Airport. My philosophy is "let 'em come to me." Perhaps I won't amass as many photographs as some, but neither will I log as many miles on my rather tired vehicle.

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Doug Robertson

Joined: 01 Nov 2005
Posts: 1751
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Even though I learned to fly in Minnesota years ago, I consider Santa Paula my "Home Field" as I have been there since 1967 and have invested a lot in it. It is not too far a pleasant mainly freeway drive on America's most scenic freeway. SZP was considered one of America's greatest Small Airports by Smithsonian Air & Space magazine a few years ago with a wonderful writeup. AOPA Pilot just did a great photo writeup in March 2011 issue on the unique Dickenson-Howard DGA-21 600 Hp speedster created there over nine years build time. The Aviation Legends annual 16 month calendar is produced by a commercial photographer/pilot based there.

Many of America's pioneer aviation legends have flown there, including Lindbergh, Earhart and Yeager. My point is: SZP attracts unusual aircraft and noted flyers still today and is a great photo op, attracting foreign visitors from across the pond. Our lowest price 100LL in the county doesn't hurt business, either. A Bonanza from Torrance fills up there, and is back to TOA in less than 20 minutes.

Clay Lacy's Douglas DC-3C Mainliner O'Connor lands there. Many reversible pitch bizjet turboprops land there. Unusual helicopters visit there. Warbirds are based there, both recip and jet. I'm long retired and spend a lot of time there, both walking, talking, flying and shooting. My camera is always with me, on land or airborne. A usual day has me stopping also at CMA and OXR on the way home.

SZP is an aircraft magnet-attracting the rare, unusual and new. Many Experimentals and one-offs are built there. Lance Neibauer's Lancair was founded there as was War Aircraft Replicas.

SZP is the home of at least two aerobatic Master CFIs, Judy Phelps and Rich Stowell with its own Aerobatic Practice Area nearby, attracting CFIs for advanced training. It is also the home of Klaus Savier's Lightspeed Engineering who has captured many FAI records, the West Coast's Bellanca expert A&P Dan Torrey and Dan Gray's Aviation FX are based at SZP. A&P Al Ball is the Warner and Menasco radial engine go-to guy, long based at SZP, before my time there.

I fly around the country and take many photos-2,000 at OSH one year and points in between, including the Eclipse Jet plant in Albuquerque, nearly 500 photos in last Alaska trip. Many in my trip last September to the Midwest. I have photos of a lot of airports in many states. I just prefer to take a lot of photos and share them and their stories here. Am I a salesman for SZP? You bet I am!

Link to my photos- http://airport-data.com/photographers/Doug+Robertson:84/

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Joined: 28 Sep 2008
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to spend time visiting other airports but I live not far from the Santa Monica airport, and it is one of the most accessible GA airports around. While visitors have limited access, at least there are no fences in between you and the runway, and most of the activity happens close by due to the consistent onshore wind patterns.

So I often grab a bagel and some coffee for breakfast on the weekend and head to the airport to watch the activity. Having said that, I have met Doug in person at Camarillo. One of these days I'll have to go to Santa Paula as well.

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Glenn E. Chatfield

Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 867
Location: North Liberty, IA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, a lot of my photos are at airports where I worked or went to air shows at. Nowadays when I travel if my route takes me past an airport I will take a quick look around for anything of interest. Last week I took a trip over to the Chicago area and took the back road to Dixon to shoot the F-105 they've added at the Veteran's memorial since my last stop in 2006. That road also took me by the airport so I shot a few birds there; the one I stopped for was an old C210 - I needed a good digital photo to replace an old 35mm from 30 years ago for my recognition course. So I shot two other birds there.

That's how I usually do my thing. Although, I now have a Andy Marden's book which tells me where all the inactive military birds are displayed, so I did take a trip recently to a town almost 2hrs south so as to shoot the F-84 displayed at their airport (and get a couple of 1-room school photos while I was at it). I may do more of that stuff on trips now.

Recently I had a car repair near the Iowa City Airport and had some time to fool around so I went there to see what I could find and found their L.29 out and that led to shooting other birds on the ramp. But the airport where I worked until retirement, Cedar Rapids, is not a place to go looking for planes - it is difficult to get a place to photograph. If I know something I want is coming in, I will drive the 12 miles and sit at the approach end, and I can also usually wrangle my way onto the ramp with an escort, but it is a lot of time and energy. Not like going to an airport where you can just sit around and walk around having fun.

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Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 348
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Living in Melbourne Victoria, my main GA airport is Moorabbin and my iternational RPT airport is Tullamarine. I live about 25 km from Moorabbin and 50 km from Tullamarine. I probably only get to visit them a couple of times a year.

I also try to get to the International Air Show at Avalon, about 100 km away, which is held in March every two years. Many foriegn manufacturers and other visitors attend this airshow, including USAF, RAF, RNZAF, Russian airforce and manufacturers.

I have started visting local regional airstrips in Victoria, places with one or two grass strips, and half a dozen or so GA aircraft. Often there is little or no activity when you visit. Unfortunately, I don't get much opportunity to travel interstate.

Any main airport with lots of activity usually has 7 ft high chainlink fencing around the movement area, and aircraft are more often than not parked behind a hangar or other obstruction. Not conducive to photography.



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Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 654
Location: DFW - GKY

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am fortunate to live in a area with many airports and abundant activity at most of them.
We have DFW a large commercial airport with too much American Airlines traffic so the variety is a bit low there. DAL, Love Field, with many corporate aircraft and too many Southwest flights... (tongue planted in cheek @ the too many comment Wink )

We have, NFW, NASJRB Fort Worth with Lockheed Martin F-16 and F-35 plant attached so the military is almost always around.

AFW, a FedEx, Bell Helicopter hub with a good amount of corporate and military transit traffic.

GKY, a medium sized airport 4 miles from the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Ranger's stadium with Bell Helicopter flight test attached.

GPM, a smaller airport with American Eurocopter plant attached.

LNC with a CAF wing and the Cold War Air Museum on field.

JWY with an interesting client and T-28 team on field.

etc etc.... So I roam about my area quite a bit but I do not have the opportunity to travel across the country very often at all so I am limited in that sense.

I don't worry about it much because of the great variety at home...woot!


There I was at 20,000 ft, upside down and out of ammunition.

Last edited by Ztex on Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:40 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 348
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


My last post was done in a bit of a hurry, and I left out one of the major airports in my area - Essendon.

This airport has a lot of corporate and commercial movements and is a major helicopter base for police, air ambulance and TV news services. It is also home base for many GA aircraft.


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Chris Hall

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 1126

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

defiantly like to roam around, just done a three day trip covering 650 miles and visited 15 airports/airfields
My Photo's on Airport-Data

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Joined: 04 May 2011
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in Luxembourg, in other words in the middle of Europe. To Frankfurt/Main i have 150 km ( 100 miles) also for Brussels.
Frankfurt-Hahn is closer ( 80 miles) but there are to much Ryan Air's and nearly nothing else.
Dusseldorf and Cologne are some 170 km away. The american airbases Spangdahlem and Ramstein i can reach in 90 minutes.
So i love to roam around and visit bigger airports then ELLX/LUX.
My longest trip i made in 2009.
18th and 19th july Zurich Unique with heavy rain
20th july Basle/Mulhouse with very high temperatures
21th july at home in Luxembourg
22th july Cologne with a main runway closed
23th july Dusseldorf with the heaviest rain ever seen
24th to 26th incl. Amsterdam and return home on the evening of the 26th.
At the end i made: 5 international airports, i drove 3000 km (2000 miles), 5500 photos of a bit more then 1600 different airplanes.
The next trip is planned for summer 2012 with Stuttgart, Munich,Salzburg and Innsbruck + maybe Vienna on the list.

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Joined: 12 Jul 2011
Posts: 3
Location: Sacramento CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sacramento area - Beale AFB, Travis AFB and old Mather and McClellan that have some interesting birds time-to-time. Sacramento Intl is accessible, especially east rwy but my best work is at SFO - I ride the tram upstairs and several spots give decent access - nobody seems to bother spotters.
tbpera- 40 years of airphoto exp.

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Nick Dean

Joined: 21 Aug 2008
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,

Roam around absolutely, aircraft shot in 29 countries and 30 plus states, a 3 day trip around Texas and Oklahoma produced new frames at 32 fields over Memorial day weekend, some countries such as South Africa are very photo friendly and fields such as Lanseria between Jo'Burg and Pretoria are a treasure trove of country prefixes as many aircraft from a lot of Sub-Saharan Africa go to NAC or Turbo Aircraft Maint. for service, check out airport FALA it is amazing.


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Florida Metal

Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me its a matter of $$$ and time.

I regret not being as much into aircraft photography until the Digital SLRs came out. I went all sorts of places and think about all the aircraft I could have gotten. I did an outwest trip in the 1990s and could have gotten great stuff from LAS, DEN, LAX, SFO, PHX, DFW as well as the Tucson Air Museum and all the civilian and military boneyards. I been to JFK, EWR, IAD, DCA with no pictures to show. In the early 90s I went through AMS on my way to Catania Sicily, but I wasn't taking pictures in those days. I been to OSH twice and maybe 4 pictures to show for it, as I did taping back then.

My home airport is Orlando International and Orlando Executive - so most of my shots are from there. I work operations at Orlando but I work inside the airport assigning gates, counters etc to the common use and international carriers. I don't see planes at work except on camera. I don't have too many ramp shots at Orlando because I don't work airfield, but my goal is to work Airfield one of these days. I was lucky to find a friend on airfield Ops the other day to get me on the ramp for the Lufthansa A380 diversion from MIA. I don't do much spotting in Florida in the summer - those of you that live here you know why - its too hot for one, second it clouds up every day after noon and thunderstorms. In the fall on my days off when I visit friends in Clearwater, while they are at work I go spotting at PIE or TPA. Once in a while I take a weekend trip to MIA to get an airport with variety.

Other than that you see a lot of pictures from DTW by me. My parents live in Detroit so if I am up there for a week or so I spend half a day at DTW shooting Delta after Delta after Delta. In the summer I attend Thunder Over Michigan every year and occassionally Dayton Airshow if they fall on the same weekend. I got the AFM in Dayton and the Selfridge Museum near Detroit while I was up there as well as some planes on poles.

One thing I do luck out with living in Florida is we have A LOT of airshows within a 2 hour drive and in two seasons: Winter/early spring: Titusville Warbird Airshow, Valkaria (small local type show), Sun N Fun (Oshkosh's little brother), Punta Gorda, and Mac Dill AFB (although this year it is in fall). In the fall we usually have Jacksonville NAS, Stuart, Cocoa Beach with the occassional Daytona Beach show.

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Joined: 08 Jun 2009
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which is why you're the "Big Kahuna" of Airport-Data! :D

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Florida Metal

Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

davidhcrocker wrote:
Which is why you're the "Big Kahuna" of Airport-Data! Very Happy

Chris Hall is on his way to taking the title soon. I swear he came out of nowhere and the next thing I know Doug isn't right below me anymore.

Even if it is just Southwest 737 after Southwest 737 at MCO with that occassional Virgin Atlantic 747. I swear I probably have every Southwest 737 and Air Tran 717 at least 3 different times - oddly I don't have Florida One from Southwest and Orlando Magic from Air Tran.

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