| Spot A: In-N-Out Burger Area

Views: Runway 24R arrivals, and the very rare Runway 6L/R departures.

Directions: The In-N-Out Burger on the corner of S Sepulveda Blvd and W 92nd Street. Due to one-way streets, approach from Westchester Parkway one block to the north, going south on Sepulveda Westway. Parking is best (and free) on the north side of the small park, which is W 92nd St, which meets Sepulveda Blvd.

Security: In-N-Out is private property, but there is a public park directly across the street to the south. There are also nice views along Sepulveda Blvd just southeast of In-N-Out, landmarked by a giant LAX sculpture/sign and landing lights, but be sure to not obstruct traffic or climb on any equipment or landing light structures.

The parking garage should NOT be utilized for aviation photography, whether you are a paying customer or not. Employees have a long reputation of ejecting such patrons and calling police.

Photography: Planes are low enough for lenses as short as 50mm from the grass and can go to much larger focal lengths to capture touchdown shots toward the west once the aircraft has passed overhead. Directly overhead views from Sepulveda Blvd can warrant even shorter focal lengths.

For a more traditional side view vantage point, walk down Sepulveda Blvd and take photos from the grassy area along the sidewalk. You can also go up on the Vicksberg Ave overpass via the staircase on the south side of it, however be aware that traffic on the overpass can be difficult to cross and the sidewalk that you want to take photos from is fairly narrow. anything from 70mm to 400mm will be good from the overpass, while anything from a fisheye to 400 can work along Sepulveda, depending on how far you walk.

Some photos shot from this location:


Photo by Ben Granucci
Photo by Phil Derner Jr.
Photo by Phil Derner Jr.
Photo by Conor Clancy
Photo by Conor Clancy

| Spot B: Imperial Hill

Views: Arrivals and departures on runways 25R and 25L, nice overview of cargo terminals and freight ops.

Directions: From Sepulveda, travel west on W Imperial Highway, then make a left on Main Street and an immediate left onto East Imperial Ave. A few blocks down you’ll see an observation area on your left, between Cypress and Sheldon Streets.

Security: To our knowledge, there have been very few, if any, encounters with law enforcement at this location. As always, carry your ID.

Photography: A 300-400mm lens is recommended here. Anything smaller will probably not give you a fully framed photo. The planes go right to left and offer you a decent side view. Zoom in on the planes once they pass for that engine/nose shot. The light is good here pretty much all day, and the elevated vantage point makes for some nice long exposures after dark. 

 

Some photos shot from this location:

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Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren
Photo by Eric Dunetz
Photo by Eric Dunetz
Photo by Matt Molnar
Photo by Matt Molnar
Photo by Raj Changela
Photo by Raj Changela

| Spot C: Lincoln Blvd Bridge

Views: Best for evening arrivals and departures on Runways 24L and 24R from late spring to early fall.

Directions: From Westchester Parkway, turn onto Loyola Blvd, then make your first right onto La Tijera Blvd. Make another right onto Lincoln Blvd and then a third right onto West 94th Street just before the bridge to park. Follow the dirt path around the fencing and up the embankment. Carefully cross Westchester Parkway, being mindful of both cars and bicycles.

Security: To our knowledge there have not been any encounters with law enforcement here. However you are standing on the side of the road in a spot that sees less usage than others at LAX. As always, wear a smile and carry your ID.

Photography: You’ll want something 70-100mm on the wide end to be able to frame arriving widebodies. On the narrow end, you’ll want 300-400mm for approach/touchdown/closeup/climbout shots, though 200mm would suffice if you’re mostly interested in side shots. This is the definition of an “evening spot” where the light gets better until sunset. You really have to wait until the sun is at least coming straight down the runway, which is usually in late afternoon or early evening. From late fall to early spring, the sun won’t even make it that far. Just after sunset, this is a great spot for working on your panning technique. 

Some photos shot from this location:

Photo by Andrew Poure
Photo by Andrew Poure
Photo by Raj Changela
Photo by Raj Changela
Photo by Conor Clancy
Photo by Conor Clancy
Photo by Ben Granucci
Photo by Ben Granucci