Now that I am back into aviation photography, the poor lighting at KSAN is starting to get on my nerves a bit. I am sick and tired of only shooting artistic shots at sunset, and I’ve been craving to get some bright side profile “archival” quality airliner photos. LAX is out of the question due to the fact that the runways are nearly identical in angle to SAN (24 and 25 vs. 27 at SAN), which means that backlit photos are pretty much all that is possible due to the angle of the sun vs. the runway positioning. I also don’t want to spend any money to travel to a place where good aviation photography *might* be possible this time of year. I’ve been burned before by traveling to a far-away destination only to discover that photography conditions are not ideal.
With that said, I have two options this time of year: KNSA or KLGB. I had been looking at photos from each airport on Airliners.net for a while, and I know that their runway configurations are almost perpendicular to the sun in the summer months. The problem was that I’ve hesitant to drive to either one because of the limited traffic. I don’t know about you, but I hate sitting and waiting 30, 40, 50 minutes between flights, especially when said flights are little guys like regional jets and 737’s!
But the aviation craving has been too strong, so I decided to make the drive to SNA for the very first time on the afternoon of June 25th. It’s not really that far from San Diego – only about 45 minutes to an hour north on I-5 (depending on traffic). But the pessimist in me was still quite hesitant.
That pessimism was quickly flushed away as soon as I arrived at the local SNA spotting area. I was instantly hooked. The parking lot was huge and empty, the incoming flow of air traffic wasn’t as slow as I was expecting, and the light better than I had been hoping for! Suffice to say, this was the first of many afternoon photo sessions for me at SNA over the coming weeks.