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Recent spotting experience ...

Shabbir A Bashar 

Joined in February 2013
Posts: 74
Posted 5 December 2016 - 23:13 CET

I've been meaning to write this note for a few days now after having spotted at Heathrow, Toulouse and Prague.

Despite having a veteran aviation photographer taking me to all the best locations at Heathrow, the October weather just wasn't going to be my friend.

I managed to find the "spot on the hill" at Toulouse and simultaneously attract the attention of LE with my 600mm lens; they did their usual "feel the vibe" and seemed satisfied. I think that they were a bit surprised to see a total stranger walk up to local photographers (armed with radio scanners) and manage to communicate with them without a single word of French ... and find out if any interesting planes were going to show up. This speaks to the unspoken bond between aviation photographers from all around the world ... and at least for me, makes this hobby all the more fun!

Likewise, I rented a car in Prague to find the most amazing spotting location I've ever had the pleasure of photographing from (see photo). Not only do they have a purpose built elevated "hill" but even the wire-fence has holes in it just so photographers can stick their camera lenses through them to get unobstructed views. I suspect the Czech aviation photographer community had a lot to do with setting it up in collaboration with local LE/airport security. So thank you guys!

And I have to share this story: imagine arriving in a city at night where you've never driven before and the GPS map is outdated ... and keeps taking you through a part of the city that's under construction/renovation ... as you try to get to your downtown hotel from the airport. All the while it's raining. You don't know the rental car too well ... and inadvertently drive with the full beam on thinking lever was for the windscreen wipers. That ticks the driver ahead of you off ... and they stop the car in the middle of the road purposefully blocking you, step out and come out angry and wanting to scream at you in a language (Czech) you don't understand. Realizing my poor and frustrated predicament ... not only does this Czech person empathize but goes out of his way to guide me to my hotel. Amazing world ... amazing people .. and sure as hell one amazing and beautiful city!

These parts of Europe seem more aviation photographer friendly ... compared to parts Asia or America.

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