Friends and family know me to be a very stubborn guy. Once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it – even when being tempted by the lure of something better. That stubbornness was especially relevant when it came to LAX. I loved (loved) the Proud Bird photo spot and I can’t count the number of afternoons I’ve spent at that location getting the same pics time after time after time. I knew that there were better vantage points from Imperial Hill, and heck, I even went up there once in 2000 just to check it out. Back then, I only had a tiny point-and-shoot camera with a very short zoom, so it was an impossible location for me.
But now it’s 2005, and I have a good camera with a 400mm lens. Yesterday I grudgingly decided to try it. It seems funny now, but I was driving up to LAX from San Diego thinking that I’d be wasting a perfectly good opportunity for photos from the Proud Bird by going to Imperial Hill instead. I’m glad that I did it though, because I quickly discovered that it was a MUCH better location than the Proud Bird spot.
As a matter of fact, this photo session made me realize that I prefer to take airliner photos with some sort of background in them. Taking approach or departure shots with nothing but sky in the background doesn’t give any context to the location, especially when that location is very interesting (such as LAX). It was such a moment of clarity for me and my photography, and I may never shoot at the Proud Bird spot again.