We set our alarm for very early in the morning as the weather forecast was expected to be warm and sunny all day so best to make an early start and this was to be the first time that I had been to the viewing spot at the Rhein Maine side.

After negotiating the 20 minutes drive from the ETAP Hotel at Offenbach we eventually found our way to the Woodland park where you leave the car and walk across the bridge that goes over the Motorway see my viewing map by clicking ( here ) or use the menu link at the bottom of this page, it was a bit tricky to find if you are going there for the first time.

The spot is quite distant from the far runway 25R and you need a long lense so I was glad to have my 100-300mm Stabilised lense on the D60, with it's cropping factor it made the lense equivalent up to 480mm so very useful for those long shots.

If I had been using my 300mm lense with the EOS5 slide camera it would have been a dead loss on 25R because even a 747-400 would have been way too small in the frame but you get plenty of landers on the nearer runway 25L as well so I wouldn't let this put you off going here if you don't have a 400 to 500mm lense, it clearly helps to have a Digital camera like the D60 or 10D that has a cropping factor of 1.6 times.

To give you idea of distance a landing A320 on 25L from this spot is about 260mm so if you are coming hear it is best to have a lense capable of going up to 300mm for a normal SLR.

Personally I prefer to avoid "sky shots" if I can help it with only clouds or blue sky in the background and instead I always look to get some kind of background in view so my routine here was to only shoot something of particular interest on 25L which is always just sky behind until backangled nearer touchdown and that was okay as most heavies that I was interested in tended to land on 25R which of course meant less taxiing in to the Terminal for them.

My first shot of the day was a Lufthansa 747 landing on 25R at 6-35am using the full 300mm of my lense just before touchdown to get some background and that was about 3/4 frame with this being the equivalent of a 480mm lense if it were a normal SLR so you are talking quite a distance.

I was multi shooting the better ones as you do with Digital since their is no need to conserve your shots as it's not like shooting slide film which is costing you for the ones that you won't use so I concentrated quite a bit on the landers just before touching down to get the background scenary in shot, it's better doing this in summer very early in the morning as we got a lot of heat haze later making it difficult to avoid.

Conditions were ideal with clear skies so we stayed here until 11-45am before deciding to head to the runway 18 viewing spot for the rest of the day.


C-GAGM 747
Air Canada
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

D-ABTH 747
Lufthansa
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

N211NW DC10
Northwest
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

D-AIGH A340
Lufthansa
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

D-ABVM 747
Lufthansa
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

N66056 767-400
Continental Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

N864DA 777
Delta Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

D-ALCF MD11
Lufthansa Cargo
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

00179 C17 Globemaster
USAF
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

UK31003 A310
Uzbekistan Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

RA-96010 IL96
Aeroflot
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

Although we left the Rhein Maine spot before 12pm it is okay to stay here up to about 2pm before the sun is getting too overhead as it slowly starts to head in front of you but the reason for the early departure was to get into place at the viewing area for runway 18.

This is an official viewing facility that could really do with being twice the size that it is and quickly fills up with photographers once the sun angle is becoming better as it goes behind you so getting into a good position before it gets busy is a good tactic, it is also very popular with families who just like to watch making it a crowded little spot on a sunny day.

It is complicated here by having to be standing as far to the right side as possible particularly if you are not very tall like me due to the fence barbed wire in front rising slightly from right to left as you look so if you stand in the middle of the viewing platform you have to contend with the wire getting in your shots and that's something that I make every effort to avoid if I can (my pet hate).

You will find that the regular German shooters appear about 5pm or so and a few have a small set of steps with them for that invaluable bit of extra height, this is a good move because they can set up there steps behind where people are standing right against the back wire fence of the platform which narrows as you walk to the right of it.

Personally I would have been very tempted to bring my small flat top steps with me to do this too since you don't have to think about taking measures to avoid the fence wire and other people's heads by trying to balance on the metal railings.

So shooting here is good although there are things that make it a little tricky at times, this spot is looking onto mid runway so you have to be ready for aircraft flashing past you at speed therefore using a shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second is best and making sure that your settings are correct is a must since you only get one chance on takeoff.

Unfortunatley I found that the viewing spot is just a little before the rotation point in most cases which was a pity as many departures went whizzing past still on the ground so you have very little chance of shooting a "heavy" rotating right in front of you from the platform, there were a few that were off the ground level from here although they tended to be the likes of CRJ's or ATR's which you would expect.

Distance wise we are talking about a CRJ side on about 250mm, an A320 at 190mm and a 747 roughly 120mm so lense selection is easy if you have a good quality 100-300mm. All of these distances that I have given are for a normal SLR so a D60 like mine with it's cropping factor would reduce the lense size required by 60%.

Runway 18 is used only for departures and you get a good variety on it but most heavies go off the longer runway 07/25, traffic though is pretty much constant and you see lots of medium sized jets from numerous countries.

One of the big highlights that that enthusiasts go to Frankfurt for is to shoot the Russian built aircraft such as TU154's and YAK42's but one of the niggles with runway 18 is that although the YAK's use it a lot the TU154's mostly tend to depart from the 07/25 runway so you see these really nice schemes on 154's that you have a clue who they belong to disappearing off on the wrong runway.

During this Saturday evening between 5-30pm and 7-00pm there were 4x TU154's and all of them left off of the other runway, another two did it in the afternoon so if those are the main ones that you want to shoot then consider the Terrace in the evening when the sun is going behind particularly on Saturday's.

As you can see from the shots below there is plenty of variety departing on runway 18 and I could have put twice as many here of other diferent airlines, once you get the hang of shooting here and get a nice spot on the platform without the fence wire at eye level you can spends many hours at this place, there are trees all around that cut the breeze out so it gets very hot on days like when we were there so take plenty to drink with you.

One thing I didn't like was the big red Fire Station that is level with you on the other side of the runway so I tried my best to avoid this eyesore by shooting slightly before and after it, actually with Digital you can blast away and not use the ones where the Station is in shot but with slides you would have to watch out for it if you don't want it to show.

I have put some photos of the platform for runway 18 on my viewing map that can be accessed by clicking the link to page 5, it's always better to see for yourself what a viewing spot looks like rather than have someone describe it to you and these kinds of shots are something that I always pay attention to taking when I am on a trip to help pass on info to those who haven't been there before, you will see more viewing maps in the future as I catch up on my trips to other European Airports made during 2003.

Light conditions deteriated this day about 6-30pm when some mist built up on the horizon but we stayed on as late as possible in the hope of trying to shoot the new South African A340-600 that departs each week night, we didn't manage to do it on this trip though as it doesn't leave until about 8-30pm when the light had gone down too much and anyway it goes off of runway 07/25 rather than 18 that we were at.

There is another angle that you get from this runway 18 spot if you have a long lense and that is you can shoot departures from runway 25R side on if it is in use after they are airbourne and climbing away, they are sky shots only with no backgrounds but look good all the same as the wheels are up by this time.

A 747-400 departing from runway 25R is about 400mm on a normal SLR or 250mm on my Canon D60 due to the cropping factor, it is really only the big widebodies that you can shoot though as anything smaller is too high by this time. Lowest ones tend to be A340's due to their slow rate of climb and 747-400's aren't far behind.


E3-AAO 767-300
Eritrean Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

D-ALTB A320
LTU
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

RA-42421 YAK42
Kuban Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

5B-DBO A319
Cyprus Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

RA-85640 TU154
Aeroflot DOH
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

ET-AKF 757
Ethiopian Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

N452FE A310
Federal Express
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

60003 C17 Globemaster
USAF
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

D-ACPJ CRJ700
Lufthansa
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

VP-BAQ 737
Aeroflot
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

LZ-BOH 737
Balkan Air Tours
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

G-BIKK 757
DHL
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

N49082 DC10
Continental Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

D-AHLI 737
Georgian Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).

UR-GAK 737
Ukraine Airlines
(Frankfurt 21-6-03).



Well everyone knows about the famous Frankfurt Spectators Terrace so you may be wondering why I haven't mentioned it yet so I will make a few comments on the page for Sunday 22nd.

Page 1 (Friday 20th June 2003 (6 photo).

Page 3 (Sunday 22nd June 2003 (19 photos).

Page 4 (Monday 23rd June 2003 (4 photos).

Page 5 (Frankfurt Viewing Map) (9 photos).
(click on the red text to access the page)

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