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A random question from a newbie to this... are there any legal/responsibility concerns to photographing military aircraft from outside base fences? I very close to MCAS Miramar, and would love to know if it's OK for me to go and shoot photos of the F/A-18s coming in almost every night
Generally Speaking (and every base has a different vibe .. Miramar is known to be a little hard-assed at times), so long as you make it abundantly obvious that you are pointing your lens AWAY from the fence and capturing landing aircraft, and you stick to locations where photographers are known to congregate, you usually won't have any issues. Be obvious and don't appear to be "slinking" around the fence line. You can "peek" on base, but avoid letting your lens linger pointed inside the fence.
It also depends on what is going on, on base. When they're in the middle of an exercise (which can often bring in out of town guests), bases tend to be a little more sensitive. Even if the local guys are used to you, Squadron CO's and such from out of town may not like having their birds photographed. It also depends on whether or not there's a regular pattern of having photographers around. Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, knows where we usually hang out and we stick to a pretty strict protocol about not lingering on the elevated spot we use. We walk up, shoot a plane or two and then walk back down below the top of the berm. Tucson International (AZ ANG Base) knows we shoot from the cargo ramp parking lot but it took a couple years before the cops said "don't bother calling ahead anymore" and a little while longer before they just stopped coming around.
Are you familiar with APSoCal? The Aviation Photographers of Southern California are a VERY active group and they have all the local knowledge you could ever want.
Edited on Jan 16, 2014 at 12:51 AM · View previous versions