When we speak of Aviation, airplanes are the first thing that comes to mind. However, Aviation is a much broader concept as opposed to popular belief. We can include all the activities carried out in many areas ranging from the production of aircraft to their use for various purposes, from maintenance services to passenger & ground handling services and even corporate promotion is included in the concept of Aviation.
Aviation Photography can be defined as a hobby and an Art that introduces aviation with a visual display of magnificent images of aviation. Aviation Photography, which is quite popular abroad, has started to be recognized in our country in recent years. Although aviation photography predominantly covers airplanes, photographing all subjects within the aviation concept is also a part of this field. Aviation Photography is internationally known as “Spotting”, and Aviation Photographers who are interested in this hobby are called “Spotters”.
Aviation Photography appeals to the various members of aviation from different standpoints. While taking photographs signifies escaping from the chaos of the world to get away from stress and focus on the moment for spotters, it is considered as an advertising activity for airline companies and airports.
Currently in our country, spotters are the preferred source of promotion for airline companies. Because spotters willfully engage in this activity with a passionate spirit, with love and self-sacrifice, and they face harsh conditions that cannot be tolerated for any reasonable price, and for them money is not the driving force to catch that perfect shot. Waiting for hours under the sun for the illusive and magical perfect shot, walking for miles scouting and fighting nature in the snow, in the storm can only be endured by infatuation with capturing that perfect shot . While performing their arts, spotters also introduce aviation to people by combining composition, lighting, direction, timing, and multiple other factors when demonstrating that perfect shot.
Sometimes they look through the eyes of a pilot, sometimes they look through the eyes of a passenger or a cabin attendant, but they look with their heart and with their devotion. They convey their appreciation of aviation to people with their photographs. For spotters, this is more than a hobby, it is a form of therapy, fulfilling a deep desire. They do not feel anything but the beauty of the “moment” and they provide passage into the multidimensional world of aviation.
Spotters look at aviation from a different perspective than most people, as if they are creating a composition. That’s why people are willing to see aviation through their eyes. When people look at photographs, they want to see not only the metal and concrete or the catalog shoot, but also the composition and beauty behind it. Telling their stories through various mediums such as magazines, television, and especially social media, the main goal of spotters is to share their love and art with their devoted and passionate followers.
With hundreds of thousands of followers, spotters are not only the favorites of business partners but also an integral element in introducing the abilities and strength of all modes of aviation to the whole world.
What does Aviation Photography mean to people?
Besides aviation enthusiasts, spotters are also closely followed by aviation professionals. Because spotters always want to show what is inside the frame in the best way possible. You can see their happiness from the smile on their faces when they look at the photographs. The visualization of airport capacity, the service quality of airline companies, and the comfort of the aircraft can be best seen through the eyes of spotters. When it comes to aviation, even major media organizations with an army of photographers leave it to the intrinsic experts.
That is why spotters are first to come to mind whenever an airline goes to a new destination, a new plane is added to its fleet, or a new airport is opened. Because even if the technical features of a product are presented in written text, during the marketing process, the visuals are what will be remembered.
Therefore, aircraft manufacturers, airline companies, airport operators, flight training centers, and commercial partners organize spotting days in various parts of the world, creating special areas at airports for spotters and give them special permissions to execute their craft.
Notably, the Eurasia Airshow 2018, Teknofest Istanbul 2018, Sivrihisar Airshow, and two separate welcoming ceremonies organized by an Antalya based airline company for the addition of two different types of aircraft to its fleet during Karain Fly in Airshow can be considered as examples.
Spotters may come from various backgrounds including engineers, pilots, executives, students, doctors, DJs, and many other professions. Introducing and inspiring people toward aviation, spotters may be the cause of great changes in people’s lives without realizing it. They inspire little kids to look at photos of planes that they have never seen before, then take a picture of them and perhaps dream of flying with them as a pilot one day.
I want to be an Aviation Photographer, where should I start?
Before you start aviation photography, you need to choose a suitable camera for your budget.
Before mentioning the basic features of cameras, it is useful to know that there are rules that are not written but ethically followed, and the failure to comply with these rules may have negative consequences for all parties. Because these rules are not written, it will be quite helpful to exchange information with experienced spotters, benefit from their experiences, and meet with them in various events if possible. Since the airports are considered restricted areas, participating in aviation festivals until you have sufficient experience in this hobby will protect you from the legal and security problems that you may encounter.
In terms of equipment, if we consider the conditions when shooting fast moving planes at long distances and various heights, a high-resolution camera with a fast processor and 70-300 mm telephoto lens is preferred. Later on, you can consider switching to a 24-70mm lens for close-up shots as your expertise progresses.
It should not be forgotten that it is not the camera that takes the photographs but humans. For this reason, it would be appropriate to start with a telephoto camera that is suitable for your budget to understand whether you have the ability to do this and to discover your potential in this field and then gradually switch to higher level equipment after you gain enough experience.
Aviation photography is the art of reflecting the concept of the spirit of aviation with the support of technology by kindred spirits, those who feel the passion of aviation in their hearts. With the support of business partners who are aware of the added value of spotters, this beautiful hobby has also captured the attention of the masses and has become indispensable for commercial aviation activities…