The 747 was still the mainstay of many long haul operations when I started shooting digital and SFO was a place that was served by a bunch of airlines using the type. I used to go to SFO quite a bit when I lived in Chicago because work brought me to the Bay Area frequently. That meant I got some opportunities to shoot the movements there. Of course, in due course we moved to the Bay Area so I got more chances but, by then, the 747s were swiftly disappearing and the 777 was becoming dominant.
I was recently searching for a shot for a project and was having a hard time finding it. I knew roughly when it should have been as it was when shooting at SFO during a visit. I scrolled through to the day and found the shoot and realized that I hadn’t keyworded the photos from that trip. Consequently, the search had failed to run them up. I therefore spent a little while running through everything and adding keywords.
This proved to be way more fun than key wording usually is. I hadn’t looked through these shots after taking them and, while it was a pretty standard sort of collection that a day at SFO would provide, it was all new stuff. I was enjoying looking st stuff I had forgotten I had taken. These shots are just a few from that day out.
I once got to shoot the United retro colors on the A320 while I was at SFO up the tower but I had not got a decent shot of it actually flying. When it showed up on approach to SFO, I was pretty pleased. Sadly, the cloud cover was not cooperating terribly well. Only when it had got past me did it pop into better conditions. It was okay when further out on final but neither of these were too helpful. One day!
The Thomas Cook A330s do come in to Seattle and I got some distant shots of one once – it was actually one of the Voyagers that is leased out by Air Tanker – but they were not much use. SFO proved to be a better hunting ground and the light even played ball. This is not a Voyager – just a standard A330 – but the Thomas Cook colors popped a bit better this time around.
This is just a gratuitous Boeing 747 post. The jets are fast disappearing from service with the major airlines but British Airways (those of you that call them British Air just stop!) has a substantial number of them left and they are due to stay around for a few more years. This one was arriving at SFO in 2018. It came into view across Coyote Point and headed down the approach in nice winter light. There will come a time when they are gone so appreciate it now. I have flown on more of them than I can recall so have plenty of happy memories of traveling on them.
During the summer season, Asiana was flying their new A350s in to SeaTac. I did get some more distant shots but nothing of significance. With the introduction of the winter schedule, they changed to a lower capacity type. However, while I was at SFO, I was able to shoot one of the A350s as they continue to run there in the off season. The light was quite nice as it came in so I was pleased to get a shot. They will soon be pretty common but, for now, it was a nice catch.
Korean Air 777s are hardly a rarity so would not normally warrant a blog post. However, this one arrived at a time when the light seemed to be particularly appealing and I was pleasantly surprised by the shot. I figured it could have a blog post on what is probably a cold and rainy winter’s day.
My last time shooting at SFO, I got shots of a Virgin Atlantic 787 arriving. Crossing shots are not unusual at SFO as the jets on approach will often have departing jets in the background. The Virgin jet had this. It also had a second crossing shot a little earlier on the approach. A jet heading over the bay to pick up the approach further down was directly behind the 787 just after it passed Coyote Point.
I was in San Francisco for a work visit a little while back. I was picking up a rental car so took the shuttle that runs around the terminal areas and then out to the rental car facility. This trip gives you a view of the apron areas by each terminal. As you drop away from the central terminal area, you get a good view back across the ramp area predominantly used by United but also other Star Alliance carriers. I grabbed some shots from the shuttle to give an overview of this area that is otherwise obscured from view.
Coyote Point on San Francisco Bay is a spot from which I have shot many times. It provides the closest spot to the approach path for the planes coming in to the 28 runways at SFO. It is also a pleasant place to hang out with a nice view of the bay, the marina below with plenty of boat traffic and a fair selection of wildlife. When shooting from Fisherman’s Park, the approach line makes the planes appear to be coming from behind Coyote Point. Given that it was a nice clear day when we were there, you had a good view of the approaching jets. Only the widebodies are large enough to show up well but it makes a change from my usual close-cropped style of shooting to go wider and get something with some local context.