Love of Airplanes

As a pilot and a photographer - what better than to combine my two loves? And, from a stock photography perspective they make great symbols of travel, transportation, aviation, etc.

I've always been impressed with giant passenger jets so gracefully passing overhead on short final. If possible, I try to find a public road that lies just under the final approach path at a major airport.

Then, if it is safe to do so, I try to grab a few shots as they pass overhead. I've learned its not easy. I find my autofocus has a hard time latching on to the shiny metallic jets. And, they're moving rather fast as well - making autofocus tricky at best.

So, with manual focus and a fast shutter speed (I've found that 1/800 sec. or better is required), the sun at my back, a decent exposure setting - I shoot away. Many of them don't work out, but a few do.

Its exhilirating to hear the roar of the jet as it passes overhead by a few hundred feet... (might want some hearing protection) - but the shots are worth it.

Here's a few things I need to try: (a) get a great picture at dusk, (b) get a great picture at a slow shutter speed allowing the jet to blur, (c) get a night time shot, (d) get even closer if possible, (e) use a more powerful zoom lens.

If you've had experience trying to capture these symbols of travel, let me hear from you. Or, here's an open question: what other ideas do you have that would really symbolize travel and transportation?

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Photo credits: David Watts Jr..