© Aerowibit / Alexander Daleiden
Planespotting? Aviation photography? Many people do not know what this intuitive and creative hobby is.
Hi, my name is Alexander, and I am an aviation photographer. I spend many days and nights at the local airport here, Aeroport Luxembourg Findel. Usually when people associate photography with aircrafts, they think about planespotting, and while this is usually the case with many people, there are a few individuals that take this “planespotting” to the next level, Aviation photography.
The main difference is that “Planespotters” log different registrations and focus on getting as many different aircrafts and aircraft types as possible. We aviation photographers, however, focus on the creative element and try to create an amazing perspective of aircrafts, and we achieve this by using advanced equipment and software, that I will talk more about later.
When people think about airports, they connect that with travelling, holidays, stress, and a lot of patience. When I think about airports, I immediately think of the great opportunities for photography and what I have planned for that day to get the best photo possible. I consider the lighting conditions, weather and which runway is in use, either 06 or 24 (this determines from which side the aircrafts land from; either over the city of Luxembourg or over Niederanven).
We have many different locations that we can go to all around the airport that helps us to get the photos that we want. A huge part of this is done through exploring yourself and a fair amount of time on google maps, where we can see what parts outside of the airport we can go to, depending on the situation influenced from the factors that I listed before. If I were to visit other airports around Europe or the world, we use a website called “Spotterguide” where our community provides us with information of their local airports, and this makes our life easier.
© Aerowibit / Alexander Daleiden
A big part of this hobby is the “surprise” factor, as we do not always know what will be arriving at the airport each day, but many of us have our contacts, where they provide information in designated Facebook or Instagram groups. Therefore, for this hobby to work, we require great organization and time management. This includes preparing our gear every evening, and always having it “ready to go”. I need to make sure that I have transport available to me. Sometimes, I bike to the airport, which takes around an hour to get there and sometimes, mostly during winter, I take the public transport, however because of snow, delays can happen, so we always need to factor this in.
A great aspect of this hobby is the large community that we form. There are many people all around the world that are enthusiastic about aviation just like me. You can make many friends and great connections with people such as pilots, ground crew and air traffic controllers. However with all the great people there are, there are many people that we do not get along with, mostly other “spotters”, as they provide false information to the group and people just so they can benefit themselves. These people are quite rare, but when they do appear, we deal with them swiftly and we usually do not accept these people back into the group, unless they decide to change.
While aviation photography is a lot about being at the right place and at the right time, the equipment matters greatly. I have a Canon EOS R, along with a 100-500mm Canon L-Series Lens. The importance of this equipment is largely because of bad weather (that we usually have here in Luxembourg). The “L-series” part of the lens is very important because it means that it is watertight, and heavy rain will not affect it, which is also true with my camera. This gear allows me to take photos in rain and snow, without having to worry about any malfunctions. This weather provides great opportunities to take fantastic photos as many people wouldn’t be able to see this.
At Luxembourg Findel, we are very lucky to have a great range of aircraft traffic, and a brilliant collection of 747-400/800s from Cargolux. This aircraft type is being slowly retired and Luxembourg is one of the last places in the world where we can see them. Furthermore, recently many governments have visited Luxembourg for different summits with their government planes, which provides so many chances for fantastic photos.
Finally, to create the photo that you can see on my Instagram (@Aerowibit) or my website, I use different software such as Luminar Ai, Photoshop, Lightroom and Topaz Denoise & Sharpen to edit and sort my photos after every session.
I really hope you enjoyed and maybe I will see some new faces around the airport.
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