Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas came early and plane shooting 2.

Waiting for my red eye fly home from a business trip, I recently ended up with half a day to kill in Vancouver with a fully paid for rental car. I am not sure what a normal person would do in that situation, but I am pretty sure she would not spend the next couple hours driving around the airport looking for service roads with potentially good shooting spots.
Did I mention that 30 sm of snow that was still in the melting stage and roads with no shoulders?

I found what seemed to be a good spot right in the beginning of Rwy 26R. Unfortunately, there were three problems present. Firstly, the visibility (and available light) were bad to downright non-existent. Secondly, YVR was not Heathrow and planes did not land there every minute. In fact they were not even landing every 15 mins (must have been a slow time of the day). And when the first plane did finally show up, I discovered problem #3 - the pictures of the airplane underside and behind were not all that appealing. Having made those discoveries, I relocated, found another spot and having waited for almost 20 mins, finally got two airplanes in quick succession.

At that point, I was quite frozen (it was also cold) and decided to go for a bit of a drive, which took me to a spot right on a beach that has a perfect view of my second most favorite subject to shoot – ships. The sun was setting and literally putting them on fire making them stand out against bleak surroundings. I had no clue where I was, other than the fact that I was on an empty beach, had a view of a downtown Vancouver and the mountains and was watching an unbelievable sunset. This time with the camera in my hands.

Later that day sitting in the terminal waiting for my flight to YYZ, I made another discovery. The terminal in Vancouver is facing one of the parallel Rwy and had I checked in during the daylight hours, I would have had a great vantage point to shoot both departing and landing traffic. I guess there is always next time.

Few days post YYC-YVR trip, I finally had a chance to augment my plane pictures collection with the YYZ shots. I was getting a few books and looking at a new David Clark X11 at Aviation World just as YYZ was landing on Rwys 23/24. For those not familiar with that store – the landing path for Rwys 24L/R is almost directly overhead of the store. Their next door neighbor is an adult club, making for some interesting composition possibilities ;-))

I spent about an hour at the store trying the various headsets ( I did end up getting X11 as my Christmas present) and looking at the books (they have quite a collection). I think I also spend as much time or longer outside trying to get a good shot of a plane on short final. And then one more, and another one… until I was absolutely frozen solid and could not push the trigger anymore. I am not sure what was more exiting – trying on all the cool headsets, looking at books or standing in the bitter wind with my fingers frozen to the camera waiting for a giant 747 to blast over my head, but the whole experience was so much fun, I’d be doing it again soon. They also had GPS units on display…

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