|A bird's eye view of the incredible China Aviation Museum at Datangshan, taken from the top of Datangshan (Datang Mountain) itself.|
Welcome to Hawkseye Aviation Photos, the site that hopes to provide you with the best information about all aspects of where to photograph aircraft around the world, together with a selection of some of my own favourite shots.
If this is your first visit, please take the time to read through the introduction below. I know it's a bit lengthy, and you're probably itching to get at the 'meat', but it will tell you about my reasons for creating this site, what you will find here, and how to navigate through it with the minimum of trouble. You'll only have to read it once, anyway!
|If you've been here before and know all this stuff, just click on the appropriate button below to move on.|
General Information / Reasons behind the creation of this site
This website has two main purposes:
a) to showcase a selection of some of my favourite shots taken over the years (we're all a bit egotistical after all!)
b) to help fellow enthusiasts find the best places for photography at various locations around the world, in an easy-to-use format with the minimum amount of time necessary to find exactly what is required.
The basic idea and layout for this website developed in response to a number of things.
Firstly, having been a keen aviation photographer for a good many years, my collection has grown to a quite considerable size. Although I may never get any of these published in a book it seemed a waste to keep these to myself now that they can be easily and cheaply 'published' on the Internet.
Secondly, I've been looking for ways to collect and store information about spotting and photographic opportunities at places I haven't managed to visit yet for a number of years. Since so much of the information available is out there on the Internet anyway, this seemed to be a perfect place in which to keep track of it all for my own reference.
Finally, as you'll be aware if you've done much surfing yourself, there is a huge, and ever increasing, amount of information out there, so much so that the problem nowadays has become one of how to find what you want easily and quickly. Although most sites have a 'links' section to other related (or sometimes not!) sites, with others valiantly attempting to keep up with the entire range of aviation-related material, I have so far been unable to find any real comprehensive and easy-to-use listing. Many of the best sites do at least categorize their links in one way or another, but even then the links within a particular category (which can number in the hundreds anyway!) are generally listed in purely alphabetical order according to the site name, which is not always a clear indicator of the site's contents. Also, many sites provide information on more than one aspect of aviation, which may not be realized simply from looking at the name. I may be crazy (!), but I decided that I would make an attempt to collect all the relevant information out there into a single easy-to-use format, based on the idea of categorizing everything according to location.
What you'll find (general)
As already noted this site has two main purposes - to showcase some of my collection of aircraft photos and to give you information about where to find the best places for your own photographic endeavours.
In terms of the image content, all the photos on this site were taken by myself since I
started photographing aircraft in the early 1980s. They are not limited to any one 'genre' of
aviation: civil or military, vintage or modern, heavy or light, active or preserved - all will be
covered somewhere or other. However, if you think you detect a slight bias toward (ex-)Soviet
types, propliners, 50s/60s stuff, or fancy colour schemes then you could well be right!
I have tried to make all the photos as different as possible, and unless absolutely unavoidable there shouldn't be any two photos of the same aircraft or type in the same markings. Of course, for some of the more obscure locations this may be necessary in order to provide a representative shot (which is, after all, what this site is all about), but I hope to keep this to an absolute minimum.
The photos themselves are intended to show the type of shots that are obtainable at the various locations described, but should not be seen as necessarily showing a typical aircraft type at that location. Indeed, wherever possible I have tried to include what I would consider to be rarer or more unusual types, rather than the more typical 'everyday' stuff to be seen at a particular place. My reasons for this are that, apart from being hopefully more interesting, shots of most of the 'regulars' can probably be found very easily elsewhere on the Internet (which is what the links are for), and also the fact that what may be a 'regular' today can all too easily become history tomorrow, thus becoming a 'rarity' itself anyway.
The information given for each location is based on what I found at the place in question during
a personal visit. I have tried to make this as accurate and useful as possible, but please note
that, for various reasons, there is no guarantee that things will be the same when you visit. Some
places are places that I visit/visited regularly, and therefore know quite a lot about. Others
are places that I have visited only once or twice, and my observations are therefore less likely
to be as accurate or comprehensive. Remember also that the information is aimed more at the
photographer rather than the pure spotter. Of course, anywhere that you can photograph aircraft
you can also spot them, but I'm sure there are many other useful spotting locations out
there that I've made no attempt to include. You'll have to check into the links if you want this
kind of information.
The 'last visited' date included at the end of each page will help to give you an idea of how up-to-date the information is, although just because I visited somewhere on a particular date doesn't necessarily mean that I went to all the locations described. All information is intended to be used as a guide only!
Important: All places described on this website should be considered to be 'Private Property'. Unless otherwise noted all the photographic locations mentioned are 'landside', on, as far as I am aware, public ground. However, this in itself does not necessarily mean that taking photos from a particular location is legally allowed. It seemed to be OK when I was there, but this is not a guarantee - if in doubt use your common sense and/or ask first. This website has been created to provide information only - what you actually do with this information is up to you, and I accept no responsibilty for any 'problems' that may occur as a result.
Navigation (and details)
My original concept was to have everything organised around particular locations for ease of
navigation, and this is how the main part of the site has been designed, with different pages
describing different locations. Each individual page is organised in a similar way to help you
find what you want as easily as possible. If it's somewhere that I have actually visited then you
will find some brief notes about the location (what you can expect to see, best time to visit,
general facilities for the enthusiast etc.), followed by a detailed listing of all the different
photographic vantage points that I know of (directions, overall usefulness, best time of day etc.),
together with a representative selection of the type of shots that you can expect to get at each
location. Any other photo opportunities (such as preserved/derelict aircraft away from the
previously-mentioned locations) are listed at the end.
Clicking on the thumbnails will take you to the full size image, together with extra details about the aircraft or photo in question.
The second part of each page (or the only part if I haven't actually been there) is a listing
of all the links I have been able to find relating to that particular location. These are listed
in order of what I regard as their usefulness to the average photographer/ enthusiast, i.e. sites
dedicated to that particular location will generally come first, followed by sites containing a
major section related to the location, and then those with a lesser emphasis on the place in
question. Needless to say, sites with a high photographic content will 'rank' higher than those
All links listed here have been visited (and perused) by me, which allows me to give the comprehensive annotations (something which I personally find very useful, but which is often lacking from many sites) included in this section. Note that these remarks are based on my opinions of what I found when I visited - the very nature of the Internet means that things can (and do) change very quickly, and so certain comments may relate to a previous version of a particular site. If you feel that my comments are out-of-date, unrepresentative or need changing for any other reason, please contact Phil Hawks and let me know. Likewise, if you find any broken links. Thanks.
I have also included a rating system for each location, which can be found at the top of each
page. Again, this is a purely subjective opinion, and you may disagree, but hopefully it will give
you some idea of how 'useful' each place is for photography.
The 'airplane' logo is intended to show how good the location is in terms of the actual aircraft to be seen (ie. numbers, variety, 'quality' etc.). This is based on what you are likely to see on a single visit, and I've tried to take into account the type of place it is - obviously a major international airport is going to be very different from a small airstrip in this respect.
The 'camera' logo shows how good the place is for photography (ie. number of different locations, ease of access, variety of shots etc.).
Both of these ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 5.
The other way the site can be used is if you are looking for a picture of a particular aircraft or type, rather than being interested in a specific location. In this case just go to the 'Types' page, and see if you can find what you are looking for there. All images from the main locations part should be listed here, with cross-referencing wherever possible.
I intend to change the picture on the front page whenever there is an update. This will be a representative shot from one of the places included in the update, but will not be included as part of that location itself (a 'bonus' shot, if you like). All previous images from this page will be collected on a separate page called, not surprisingly, 'Frontpage Photos'. This will only be accessible via a link on the front page unless I can think of another logical way to include it elsewhere. Again, however, I will endeavour to provide full cross-referencing for these images as well.
You may sometimes come across something which I have called 'From the Archives'. This is basically a section describing a particular spot (or sometimes an entire airfield) that used to be good for photography but is no longer accessible for whatever reason - a historical section, if you like. OK, so it's a bit of a misnomer I agree (in as much as almost the entire site is probably 'archive' material that cannot now be seen), but I liked the sound of it!
This site has been designed to be viewed with Netscape Communicator. Of course any internet
browser should allow you to see it, but you may lose some of the formatting if using a different
system (I haven't checked this completely, but I know there are some minor differences).
It was also designed for a screen resolution of 800x600, which seems to be the most commonly used. Again, any other resolution should work, but it certainly won't look as good.
Obviously, you should have your screen set to the highest colour setting available if you want to see the photos at their best, although this goes without saying, really (I hope!).
I've tried to keep things as simple as possible, without using masses of extraneous graphics,
in order to keep download times to a minimum. It might not look as flashy as some sites, but
hopefully this will be compensated for by the actual contents.
All the image sizes are a bit larger than a standard 6x4 print, and I've attempted to keep the file sizes down to a manageable 50K or less.
The future / Support this site
Due to the the dynamic nature of both the aviation industry and the Internet this site will
obviously never be 'finished', but instead will hopefully continue to expand as I add information
from my large backlog of photos, visit new places, and check out new links.
In terms of adding information, unfortunately at the moment this is a bit of a problem as the bulk of my photo collection is 'at home' in the UK, whereas I am currently living in New Zealand. This means that, for the time being at least, this section of the site will only be updated with what I have with me here in New Zealand, or with what I can scan in on my visits back to the UK. All updates of the main information will be included as an 'official' update, and be noted in the 'What's New' section.
Whether or not I am able to update the main information section, I will continue to plough through the thousands of links that are out there, time permitting. God knows how many I'll actually get round to looking at, but I'll do my best! Listing all these as updates would be excessively time-consuming, so you'll just have to come back again regularly to see if anything has been added since your last visit.
I don't intend to include photos or information for places I haven't visited on this site (I'll
have more than enough to keep me occupied with just my own stuff, and there are plenty of other
sites that do this more than adequately), but I could still use your help. If you see any
information that you believe is incomplete, misleading, out-of-date or incorrect, or that you can
add to (particularly if it's regarding your local field), please let me know, and I'll provide an
update to that effect if necessary.
Likewise with the links - if you are the webmaster of a suitable aviation-related website, or know of any that you think should be included, please contact me with the details. All information of this nature will be put into a 'queue' - those at the top will get looked at first! Otherwise it's just pot luck as to what I include next (but dedicated 'location' sites have a much better chance than others).
Please contact me, Phil Hawks, with your details -
all contributions gratefully received.
Help me to make this one of the best and most useful aviation enthusiasts' sites on the Internet!
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