SP's St. Louis Plane Spotting

Showcase the beauty and grit of St. Louis in pictures.
Great photos as always. They never look that good on my iPhone. lol.
jshank83 wrote: Great photos as always. They never look that good on my iPhone. lol.
Oddly, I've taken some of my favorite pictures at airports on my phone, but usually not of planes flying. I need a longer lens. Longer and faster. Phones now do great, though, for wide angle stuff. Anyway . . . thank you!
Nice aircraft pics.
^Thank you Browntones!

Somehow or other I hadn't gotten my aircraft pictures from the last trip uploaded, even though I got most of the airport pictures on here. Now, this is only the St. Louis pictures. The pictures elsewhere are, of course, in my flickr flightline album starting at Midway and moving on to LaGuardia and in particular the Marine Air Terminal and . . . just gobs of traffic large and small.

But here's the St. Louis stuff:

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Looks like it's been a while since I updated . . .

A few from inside A last December. Phone experiments:

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A friend of my wife's rode this 757 east.
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And from a month or so back when my wife headed west and I did a general airport photography trip:

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She's Leaving on a Jet Plane
(Which is to say this was her flight.)

And lastly a few from the other day. Here's some experiments with a new (to me) lens:

About 300mm of zoom
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The old zoom lens, for comparison.
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About 600mm with the new lens again.
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(Note the catfish in her nest.)

I just can't quite seem to get the hang of using older manual lenses with the darn camera yet. I feel as though it will work, if I can get the ISO and shutter speed about right, but I've no through the lens light meter to help me along. (At least not that I can see.) I really will need a stand alone unit to really get this right. 600mm is great. But man, my camera is noisy when there's not enough light. (And at 600mm that lens is probably about an f8 lens. Not fast. Not at all. Best get a lot of sunshine.)

And again at about 300mm

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It's a clear enough lens, I just can't get the exposure where I want it.

Anyway . . .

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Excellent work, as per usual :)
Thank you TZ. Went out train spotting with Shadrach yesterday, so it might be time to start a separate rail thread as well. :) (For the new stuff.)
Wish I'd gotten a better shot of this, but I grabbed it out my car window without even so much as looking. (Had to watch the road.)

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Bird on a Wire

If you look closely you will see that there's a person hanging below that helicopter. He's a lineman and the helicopter is about to set him down on a transmission tower. Bird style. Which causes me to wonder if the dang thing is still energized. Almost has to be. Neat operation. Crazy looking stuff.

No matter how much I tried I never did get another shot of the helicopter actually moving people. Just supplies. But here's a few more that better illustrate the transportation, anyway.

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Shadrach was a little surprised the other day when I didn't make it out to Lambert for the inaugural Wow flight. I rather wanted to, but nobody was paying me for that and I had company in from out of town, so I couldn't make it out until today. That said, I hate to disappoint:

One purple bus to ride to Keflavik.

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And some friends . . .

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WN330 from San Diego.

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AA2371 from DFW with yet another TWA veteran.

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And a little more local flavor with some Lodge of the Four Seasons/ Waterski/ Trans States parked for the night.
stl07 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:55 pm
For those of you who like spotting, swift has a 767 widebody in for the Carribean flights.
That right there sounded like a great reason to go spotting, so I decided to head up to the airport this holiday season.

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If you look closely at this next image you'll see that it's raining or has rained over half the airport, but not the other half. Took me a while to see it in person too. Thought it was heat mirages at first, but it was legit. T1 was soaking wet. T2 was bone dry. Seems like the squall line ended right about at the end of the C concourse. Even though I was standing out in the open through the whole thing I never felt so much as a drop. Just saw it through a telephoto.

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Rainy Day Runway
. . . You do not usually get to make that shot from the comfort of the dry outdoors.

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So . . . uh . . . were these at the airshow? USN aggressor squadron. Top Gun stuff. (Quite literally. Start singing Danger Zone any time you feel appropriate.)

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(Not a great picture, but it's my first 737 Max8.)

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And no 767 . . . It had been scheduled to arrive around quarter after four. When I left at six it hadn't even taken off. When I went back on the fourth I made sure it was actually in flight first.

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See the tiny little Cessna with its landing gear already stowed? Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've been on ladders taller than that. Literally. Okay, I get on tall ladders. One of the quirks of working in theatre. But still . . .

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Oh hey! Would you look at that! That's why I'm standing on this hill in the scalding July sun. To see an Eastern 767 arrive at Lambert. Eastern! You didn't mention that part stl07.

Oh the odd thoughts seeing this livery connected with Swift and Apple Vacations puts in my head. This is . . . interesting. Anyway, I bagged that 767. Thank you very much!

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This concludes an unusually extended couple of trips for some rather intensive spotting. Thank you for flying with us and we hope you'll fly with us again soon. Stay safe out there in the summer heat.
Excellent work, as per usual!
Thanks TZ. :) Will be fun when Sun Country comes to town too.
Great pics as always!

I like how the first one in the last batch makes it look like the Frontier plane in a ditch, haha. It is nice to see some United mainline. I am jealous you got to see the 767 in action. I have only seen it parked so far.
Actually, where were you shooting from? Did you get permission to use that ridge adjacent to the bulldozed neighborhood on the northeastern part of the field (the one that'll be turned into the new fuel storage area)?
I parked legally away from the airport and didn't go anywhere it said no trespassing. Further, no one said anything and I wasn't exactly hiding. And airport police drove past once or twice, though I suppose they might have been utterly asleep. No, I didn't ask permission. No reason to believe I needed to. Didn't venture down any closed roads. I use a fairly long lens, which might be deceptive. I really doubt it was the location where they plan to put the fuel storage area, as I was too far away from most everything for that, and it wasn't remotely far enough from the road, though you do have me curious now. I forget precisely where that was supposed to be, apart from north and east somewhere. Somewhere I don't want to be, I expect. I'm not out there to cause trouble. Just take pictures.
symphonicpoet wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:28 am
I forget precisely where that was supposed to be, apart from north and east somewhere.
It is going in this old neighborhood.

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That makes sense. You can see what looks like it might be some recent excavation on G-maps here:

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A friend (jshank?) mentioned to me the construction going on on 12L/30R and said things might get a little busier on 11/29 as a result, so it might be worth going up and shooting from the cell phone lot.

I went one better and tried a new location just off Fee Fee south of Natural Bridge from the runway. Indeed, things were quite a lot busier on 11. And 12R too. There was one case where I was watching Webber on final when I heard an odd sound and turned to see a Delta MD-90 rocketing down the very same runway Webber's new B190 would touch down on barely thirty seconds later. Almost like someone calmly said "Delta 1834, please expedite your departure." (The time stamp on my camera and a little triangulation tells me Delta 1834 rotated at 19:03:46 just under a mile down the runway. Webber 2204 was a bout 830 feet from the threshold at 19:04:16 exactly. So it was probably very slightly more than thirty seconds between any two spots they occupied, but . . . not a lot more.)

Anyway, without further ado, the art:

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(Note the Catfish back in her nest over the 737s tailfeathers.)

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Sometimes the enormity of the sky really gets to you.

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Slightly different kind of flight geekery here . . .

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Oh yeah . . . that's why I'm down here. Columbia has landed. Did I say the sky was large? It's . . . Apparently you can blot it out with your thumb. The sky and everything else under it. (And that's when you're right on top of it.)

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Fuel injector from an F-1. After crashing into the ocean really hard. Surprised it looks that good, but . . . Neat! That, ladies and germs, is the business end of all that hot gas spewing out the bottom of the tank really fast.
So, I'm apparently a little sun-addled. I went out to the airport and I took a bit over three hundred pictures Sunday. Don't worry. I won't post them all. Or even ten percent. But first, I was also out there on the fifth sitting and waiting for friends from San Diego:

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Tennessee 1

And the sixth for a few minutes killing time before a rehearsal:

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But the ninth was the big show. And this is why I went . . .

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Wouldn't you like to fly TWA?

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Dear god, I could weep seeing that. It brings back memories. Floods of memories.

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Operations were thick and furious that afternoon. Constant movement. Even some simultaneous approaches, though on 11 and 12R not 12L and 12R, so the spacing wasn't classic-close. But every other time I was trying to shoot a takeoff a landing would photobomb me. It was almost comic. For a little while right around five the departure cue was fully six planes deep.

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There you can see someone coming off 11 as F91718 stops on 12L. The E145 was parked, but the distant UA 737 was taxiing. It must have landed shortly before the E175 that's at the end of 11 in the picture.

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Even C looks busy (ish).

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Up, up and away! (TWA!)

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There's that elusive 757!

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That little gerbil-jet is an international arrival, by the way. From Yorkton BC.

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The blue tide just kept rolling.

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There was lots more. A little rock and roll looking Citation. A ton and a half more blue 737s. A mystery Dassault Falcon. Stuff. Lots of stuff.
Great pics as usual.

What camera setup do you use? I have been thinking about getting a good camera with some zoom and get back into photography. Looking for suggestions.
^There's quite a lot of decent to good cameras out there from Sony, Canon, Nikon, and many many others. I have a Sony A-100. I'm an old Minolta guy, so I kind of lean in the Sony Alpha direction. And A-100s are old enough and cheap enough to fit my budget. The important thing is probably just having a long enough lens that will give you a crisp focus. And there are even some very nice single lens "bridge" cameras with a surprisingly long zoom. The key is probably just getting a longer lens than what comes on cell phones these days.

I typically use the kit lens when shooting aircraft, since it's the longest lens that fits my camera without an adapter. And I'll usually shoot in the 200-300 mm. range, which would be about equivalent to the 300-450 mm range on a 35mm camera. Once in a while I've tried shooting with an older manual zoom and a telextender that gives me up to 600mm, which would be about 900 on a 35mm camera, but my results that way have been dang mixed. (I start running into heat and atmospheric distortion and it's nigh unto impossible to shoot at that length without a tripd, and tricky even with. Not only is the lens long and heavy, making it harder to keep the camera steady, but motion is exaggerated by distance. Messed up a lot of shots that way.) You might try going by a camera store and doing a little comparison shopping. See who carries used. Or ask friends if they'll let you give their cameras a once around the block. (I'd be happy to show you my rig.)

Canon is probably the industry standard these days, though Sony is giving them a serious run for the money and leading the full frame mirrorless charge. Any of the majors, really, should work just fine. Just a matter of what you're comfortable with and what kind of money you want to drop on the project. (I envy the stuff that runs into four figures, but I'd end up paying my wife even more dearly, I expect.) If you go with interchangable lenses you can work it up slowly over time. (A new lens here. A new camera body there.) You just have to pay attention to what fits what or you'll end up with something useless or needing an adapter. (And adapters aren't always a bad thing. I bought one so I can use my old collection of manual Minolta lenses.)