Lots of night photography from Terminal 2 at SAN

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By the time I got back from ORD, I was pretty burned out on my current style of aviation photography. Spending an entire morning or afternoon at the airport taking pictures of pretty much anything is no longer interesting to me – I crave something more. I think part of the problem is that I dislike spending so much of my precious free time taking pictures when I could be out doing other things instead. So with that, I decided on a new aviation photography strategy: I would decide what I want to get pictures of before I go to the airport, and once I got what I came for, I would go home. I call it my “surgical strike” plan – “one shot one kill” so to speak. No more filling up my memory cards with boring images!

This strategy has been working out well so far. I’ve spent about two months trying to perfect my night images, and I never once went to the airport in daylight hours during that time. Part of my motivation for this is the fact that my night photos are starting to get a ton of hits on airliners.net, and I feel like I found a new niche – things are starting to get interesting, and I feel like I am learning a lot about photography and composition.

American Airlines MD-82

American Airlines MD-82

American Airlines 757-200

AeroMexico MD-88

Alaska Airlines MD-83

Continental Airlines 737-800

Delta Airlines 737-300

Delta Airlines 737-300

Frontier Airlines 737-300

America West A320

United Shuttle 737-300

Southwest Airlines 737-500

I really enjoy those taking those twilight and nighttime photos, and I find them to be much more enjoyable than taking pictures during the daytime. The visual impact is huge, and as an added bonus, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Cloudy, rainy, or clear, nighttime photos were always possible! Not being dependent on the weather is a huge plus in my book.

Terminal 2 at SAN was where I took most of these night photos – terminal 1 is much too limiting in terms of the variety of aircraft and views of the ramp. Terminal 2 is much more open, and contains most of the airlines at SAN, except for Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, USAirways, and Alaska Airlines. I did try shooting from terminal 1 once or twice, but I was never happy with the results.

Because of the way the long exposures turn the sky a vivid blue, the twilight photos are my favorite. It doesn’t matter if the skies are dull and gray – the sky always turns out nice in those moments just before total darkness.