| Spot A: Constitution Beach

Views: This spot is most useful for runway 22L and 22R arrivals and departures as well as taxi shots of planes taxiing to or rolling off the 22′s.

Directions: By road, take RT 1A to Boardman ST. Follow through the rotary to Saratoga St (the street leading to a big intersection). Go across the street, over the bridge, then veer to the right and take the first (quick) right. Follow that  to beach.

By Mass transit, take the Blue Line to Orient Heights, then a right out of the station. Walk across RT145 and continue straight to the beach.

Security: This is a public beach, and spotting, especially with large cameras, can attract attention. Run-ins with authorities have not been heard of here, and locals are generally very friendly. The beach is well used until dark virtually year-round. Gates do get locked just after sunset and police patrol often.

Photography: You will need a minimum of 200mm to photograph the large heavies full frame, and 300+ for anything else. This spot is good after noon and is best in the late afternoon/early evening. All traffic from Cessna’s to 747′s will pass by this spot if the 22′s are in use for departures or arrivals. This spot is best for side-on shots, and will require a 500mm+ to catch rotation and/or touchdown. Taxi shots will require 200mm+ for heavies.

Notes: Food and water are close by on 145.

Some photos shot from this location:


Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

| Spot B: Coughlin Park/Yirrel Beach

Views: This spot is useful for arrivals on 27 and departures on 9. Taxi action with 33 is also visible, and runway 4L/R & 22L/R operations are also visible – but at quite a distance. You can also walk down Grand View Ave from Couglin Park…which offers similar views from different angles. Bring food & water.

Directions: By road  from the airport, go north on 1A and take the 145/Bennington St exit. Follow the signs for 145 through Winthrop and follow 145/Washington St to the road’s end. Take a right onto Shirley St and follow onto you see the sea wall. You can find parking along the road, as well as parking in Deer Island.  For the Park and Grand View Rd follow same directions to beach but take a right off Shirley St. onto Bay View Ave. Parking is available on Grand View Ave on the road and a few spots in front of the park. Make sure to respect residents and do not block their driveways.

By mass transit, take Blue line to Orient Heights and catch a Winthrop bus (route 712/713). Get off at beach and walk to park or stay at beach.

Security: Run-ins with local officials have never been reported at any of these locations. The town of Winthrop advertises all locations as excellent planewatching locations on their website. Be mindful that Grand View Ave is a residential neighborhood. Please be respectful.

Photography: Both the park and the beach can be good at all times during the day. Head on shots are best later in the day; side-ons are possible almost all day; rear shots are technically possible most of the day but are best in the morning. All lenses are usable from fisheyes to 400mm – you can get right under them or a decent way away depending on what you want. Aircraft are much lower in the approach path to runway 27 over Coughlin Park than the beach. The park along with Grand View Ave offer a good view all the way to touchdown with Boston as a backdrop. Departures on 9 are best from the park as you can catch rotation with a large lens (400mm+), but they will pass rather high over the park (1,200 feet or so) and you’ll need a 150mm-ish+ for full frame. Heat haze is a problem the closer you get to having the runway in the frame.

Notes: This spot is “registration chaser” friendly as planes are easily visible and low.

Some photos shot from this location:


Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

| Spot C: Pleasure Bay/Fort Independence

Views: This spot is one of the most often utilized by ATC – especially during the winter months due to winds shifting primarily to N/S. It is by far best for runway 4L/4R approaches, though runway 22L/22R departures are possible to see along with taxi/ground action – especially with a good pair of binoculars. All aircraft will use runway 4R (mostly A319+ though), and mostly commuter aircraft (CRJ’s and props) will use runway 4L (though A320′s, 737′s, and 752′s use 4L sometimes).

Directions: By road, this can be a bit complicated and will vary heavily depending on from where you are coming. Please Mapquest or Google directions with an endpoint of Farragut Rd.

By mass transit, take the Red line to South Station, change to bus Route 7 to City Point, then change to bus Route 11 Bayview via Broadway. Or, take Red line to Andrew Station, then change to bus Route 5 or 10 to City Point. See mbta.com and type in END of Farragut Rd, Boston MA 02127 for additional and custom route information.

Security: This beach and park are heavily travelled and used year-round, all day; much more so than any other spotting location. Locals seem to be used to photographers here, and police are not known to bother spotters. Parking is ample, so tickets shouldn’t be a problem.

Photography: This spot is good any time of day for photography, though the best spots to photograph from will shift from the fort to Marine Park as the day goes on. All manners of shot are possible with the approaches. All sorts of lenses may be used as well, though 70-200mm will be sufficient for most aircraft from almost all locations within the park. The approach paths for the 4′s are far enough apart to require a 300-400mm+ lens to photograph both at the same time for full frame side-ons.  A lens such as the Canon 28-300mm would be perfect here. Departures off the 22′s are not recommended unless you have a very large lens (400mm+) .

Notes: “Registration chasing” is easy for approaches. Food & drink, along with public restrooms, are available during daylight hours. They may be seasonally closed.

Some photos shot from this location:


Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

| Spot D: Airport Subway/East Boston Park

Views: These locations are good for runway 15R arrivals (rare) and runway 33L departures (also rare) only.

Directions: By road, it is highly recommended that you park at Constitution Beach and ride the T from Orient Heights to Airport on the Blue Line. Parking along Bremen St appears to be possible, but it is difficult to get to.

By mass transit, take the Blue line to Airport stop, then exit either on the airport side by crossing over the tracks to shoot there or head to the park.

Security: Spotters have been questioned by authorities at the park but were friendly and let spotters continue. They have been questioned and asked to leave the T station and the immediately surrounding area. It is not recommended to photograph on the airport side of the T station; it is regularly patrolled by MBTA/local police and Massport. They will ask you to leave and they will check again to make sure you’re gone. Always carry your ID.

Photography: Planes are somewhat far away, and a 250mm minimum will be needed for side-on shots of the heavies (767 or bigger), and you’ll need 350mm+ for everything else. Lighting is best as the day progresses. Scanners are recommended as this is one of the few spots in which aircraft can creep up on you during runway 33L departures. They will appear quickly over the buildings, duck behind the highway ramp to Logan, and then reappear quickly again. Gear is being retracted if not fully retracted by the time side-on’s are possible, giving it that “air to air” look. All aircraft types land and depart on runway 15R/33L. Depending on the aircraft type or conditions, they may be much higher or lower depending on where they rotated on the runway, so be prepared for variance.

Notes: Public restrooms are available, and it is recommended to bring food & water. Binoculars are needed for registration chasers.

Some photos shot from this location:


Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

| Spot E: Rt 145/Saratoga Rd/Main St Winthrop

Views: Arrivals on the 22′s, and departures on the 4′s only. Runway 22L will see all aircraft types, while runway 22R will see mostly regional jets and props.

Directions: By road, follow 145 until you go past the approach lights; you can’t miss them. Pull off on the side of the road (but not on the bridge), and start shooting! Be mindful of any parking restriction signs.

Mass transit would require a 15 minute walk or 5 minute bike ride from Orient Heights on the Blue line.

Security: No recorded problems, and the location is shared with friendly locals who like fishing in the tidal river.  Be polite if approached however, and entertain curious locals now and then. Always carry ID.

Photography: Good any time of the day. Just shift your angle with the sun. In the mornings,  sitting on the bridge is really nice; telephone wires can make for obstructions however. As the light switches to the west, you can shoot off the sidewalk up the road from the bridge. All lenses work here as you can get right under the path or fairly far away. Good for side-ons and head-ons.

Notes: Food ,drink, and semi-public restrooms are available from a Dunkin Donuts nearby.

Some photos shot from this location:


Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren

Photo by Jeremy Lindgren