It’s not a major revelation to say that I travel… a lot. Over the past ten years I have flown over a million kilometers, which is equivalent to flying twenty-five times around the globe, or to the moon and back (and halfway there again). This happened over four-hundred flights with more than two months – day and night – up in the air. I’ve been as far north as Iceland, down south to South Africa, east to Seoul and west to San Francisco.
Over these many years, I gradually hated hotels, airports, airline lounges, taxis, immigration queues, and most of all airport security. Reading and having an iPod full of music and podcasts has helped with most of the hate-list… Hotel stays however are still an issue.
In all this travel, I never disliked flying. Seeing planes in the air, no matter where I am, still excites the little (and thin) boy inside me. Between the years 2000 and 2005, I worked in a town south-west of London. My daily commute from and to our house in West London, took me through Heathrow Airport. One particular part of the journey was a real rush-hour highlight amidst all the horrible traffic. The A30, Bath Road, provided me with the perfect ten-to-fifteen minute break to unwind before reaching home. I saw almost every airline one could imagine, landing over the low street lamps. Summer, winter, rain, snow, day and night framed my many sightings of what I like to call IFOs. Every imaginable aircraft so low they seem close enough to touch.
I often saw people there with binoculars and cameras. I finally managed to get to Myrtle Avenue this summer. It’s a short walk from Hatton Cross station, but I took my car since parking (unlike the rest of London) is available just across the road.
The place is an interesting contrast of busy traffic on the Bath Road, a tranquil – albeit small – green field with houses in the background and low-flying airplanes. There, the people are a mix of those who spend the odd afternoon there, and odd people who seem to be there every afternoon.
In the above shot, three of the queuing planes are visible. Had it not been cloudy you will have seen at least one more in the far distance. I remember one clear night when I counted six lights in one line.
For collecting images of different airplanes and airlines landing, this place is perfect. Most airlines are present and the landing runway shifts weekly. For one week, you can see the landings for the first half of the day (until 1530); and the following week you’d see all the evening flights coming in. On the day, I just missed the Kuwait Airways plane which landed while I was parking!
There are also other locations for shots with airplanes banking, touchdowns and takeoffs. I wasn’t collecting stock photos so I experimented with different lenses and many angles. I spent a few hours watching, reflecting and capturing. I’ll stop writing now, and leave you with a few more shots.