Approaching Aircraft

48mm  f/10  1/200sec  ISO200

Last Saturday morning I spent some time at our airport. Initially I wanted to capture aircraft being de-iced. But I was not very successful with that. Luck was not with me, as I wrote in my previous post. To get rid of my frustration I moved to another location in the final approach of landing aircraft. I wanted to go there since the new runway was opened over a year ago. It is an incredible location, because you are very close to the touch down area. The planes are so low you can nearly touch their wheels. If one machine is passing just above your head, you start shivering and feel the power and strength of it. In the second photo you can see, how close you are to the runway at this location. But the most amazing thing happens long after plane has touched down. It is very quite already and suddenly you hear a strange sound of twirling air all around you. This is very mystic. When I turned around to follow the sound I saw a little tornado building up in the snow. That was crazy and my frustration was immediately blown away. Since we have a lot of air traffic here, photo chances were more than enough.

At this location you can move between the landing lights, which looks very interesting. The T-like structures are standing in a row, forming a nice geometric formation. With all this naturally black and white scene of a gray Winter morning, the red stripes are a beautiful color contrast. One other reason why I wanted to go here for long time was to take photos of approaching aircraft together with this landing light structures. It is a much more interesting and exciting scene that just the single plane in the frame. It makes clear that you are at an airport close to the runway. Unfortunately most of the T's are surrounded by a fence but you can shoot through it. Either with some zoom or you crop out the shades of the fence in post processing.

55mm  f/8  1/200sec  ISO200
Taking photos of low overflying planes in Winter with a snow covered landscape has the advantage, that the aircraft is nicely illuminated from below. Usually the belly is quite dark, but the snow reflecting the daylight produces a nice ambient illumination of the bottom part of the plane. And reflecting the snow covered ground gives the belly a very beautiful texture. Speaking about the snow I must admit, that I'm not very satisfied with it in my photos. It is just a plain white area without any structure, looks kind of burned out. But with the overcast sky and missing sun, there was not any shade or shadow that could have given the ground any texture. It really was that plain white area.

Again, at the end here are my camera settings for these photos: I have used my EOS 600D with my EF-S 18-55mm kit lens. Camera was set into P mode with a fixed ISO value of 200 and calculated aperture and shutter speed automatically. I have shot through a fence and cropped out the final frame from the original photo.