Home Miscellaneous Spotting In praise of winter spotting

In praise of winter spotting

by Matt Falcus

Spotting in the sun or on the beach is a bit obvious and easy, don’t you think? One of the greatest challenges for spotters is making the most of winter conditions at airports, such as low light and poor weather.

One of the main reasons people venture out in the winter is a lack of choice – the need to be out around airports and aircraft is greater than the drawbacks of the weather. So how do you make the most of winter conditions when you’re spotting aircraft?

1. Spotting in the winter is an opportunity to photograph and video some spectacular flying. Think crosswinds, go-arounds, aircraft positioned at unusual angles in relation to the runway. Use the opportunity of windy conditions to find a good spot for pointing your camera at aircraft just before touchdown.

By Andreas Hoppe [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andreas Hoppe [GFDL or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Winter means snow! Use a snowy backdrop to add something unsual to your aircraft photographs. It doesn’t happen all that often, so it makes a change to frame airliners with a bit of the white stuff. It’s particularly nice when you have a crisp clear day with bright blue skies, low sun, and lots of fresh snow.

A picture I took from the Holiday Inn Ariel at Heathrow in winter

A picture I took from the Holiday Inn Ariel at Heathrow in winter

3. Spotting hotels come into their own. You don’t have to be outdoors braving the weather. Pick one of the many spotting hotels, position yourself by the window with fresh coffee and room service on order, and watch the action in warmth and safety.

Duxford

4. Make the most of museums! Winter down time is a great chance to catch up with some aviation museums. Most countries have a few great collections, big and small, and lots of historical material to absorb yourself in. Admittedly lots of museums also have aircraft outdoors, but many also have indoor collections to enjoy.

By Advanstra (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Advanstra (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

5. If all else fails, remember that winter in one hemisphere is summer in another. Take advantage of low airfares to make an off-season trip to somewhere warm for a few days spotting in the sun as a nice break from the cold and darkness at home.

Do you venture out in the dark months? What are your winter spotting tips? Leave a comment below.

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2 comments

John Wilson December 17, 2014 - 4:47 pm

Amazing photos, i really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing!

Reply
Emily Harper December 22, 2014 - 9:08 am

Very nice article. Thanks for sharing. In general I prefer to stay in a hotel near the airport during a vacation Because of the transportation charge. So that I can use that amount on something else.

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