The winner of Heathrow Airport’s November #AvGeek of the month is Imran Aslam.
Imran is the most followed aviation photographer in the UK on Instagram (@av1ation) and has in the past also been a winner in our #VoteMeAirside competition. We caught up with Imran to find out more about his aviation experience and top tips as an #AvGeek. We’ve also shared a selection of his incredible photos, enjoy!
Name: Imran Aslam
Aviation enthusiast, spotter, or photographer? Or all 3?
A spotter, turned aviation enthusiast and now photographer! So all 3…
What first interested you in aviation? / Why are you an #AvGeek?
It all began many many years ago now when I would visit my uncle during the holidays. He happened to live directly under the flightpath for arrivals on Runway 27R. I would find myself sitting for hours on end in the garden, gazing at the sky with a big beaming smile upon my face as the aircraft went over. Constantly trying to figure out the the type as well as the origin of the flight.
The highlight of my day without a shadow of a doubt was Concorde departing from the airport, bound for New York. I can still vividly remember the rocketing sound of the Olympus engines, frequently setting off car alarms as it roared overhead.
Between then and now, I have been fortunate enough to have travelled extensively and this has only made me more passionate about all things aviation. Our world seems to feel so much smaller now with aircraft being able to fly even further non-stop and more efficiently than ever before. Nevertheless, I do miss the sight and sounds of the classic Boeing 747s as well as older aircraft which visited Heathrow in the past.
What do you love most about coming to Heathrow?
To be perfectly honest, Heathrow is a dream come true for any aviation lover. I would go as far as saying that you really are spoilt when it comes to the number of aircraft movements. So much so that for a photographer like me, it can be pretty tricky when it comes to capturing certain aircraft that you have not photographed to date. You really need to be quick and there is never a dull moment.
I absolutely love the atmosphere surrounding the airport. The people I came across whilst taking photos in and around Heathrow just add to this experience. One day I come across someone from outside the UK who was a true #AvGeek who had flown specifically to Heathrow solely for the purpose of plane spotting. The next day I am met twins who were over for their summer vacation, happily shooting away on their cameras from the famous Myrtle Avenue spotting location.
Check out a selection of Imran’s best shots!
Favourite aircraft livery at Heathrow?
It has to be the golden beauty that is the livery on the Etihad Airways Airbus A380. It looks absolutely stunning and even more beautiful when the sun is out.
Social media accounts?
Instagram – @av1ation
For many years I found myself just taking photographs, only for them to accumulate and take up space on my hard drive. Then one day it dawned on me – why would I not want to share my photos with others who share the same passion and enthusiasm for aviation as me. I proceeded and created my page, @av1ation on Instagram. If I am perfectly honest, I did not expect much at all in return other than perhaps for a few people to follow me.
How wrong was I? Well, here I am today, 4 years on, with the largest following of any aviation related photographer within the United Kingdom. The response has just been phenomenal and I cannot be thankful enough. It is such a wonderful feeling to see airlines as well as airports (including Heathrow) sharing as well as using my photos.
Any tips for other #AvGeeks?
- Plan ahead and look at the Heathrow runway alternation schedule which is available at https://www.heathrow.com/noise/heathrow-operations/runway-alternation. This will allow you to determine where you need to be around the airport to capture arrivals or departures. You can always follow the airport Instagram and Twitter feed to keep up to date with the latest news and developments.
- Apps such as FlightRadar24 allow you to look at the flights arriving and departing from almost any airport in real-time.
- You can find so many informative aviation related groups on Facebook. Why not join one, contribute and see for yourself!
- No matter what your skill level or experience, pick up a camera and get capturing. With practice and experience your photography will improve and do go and share your photos on social media as well. You may well be surprised by what it may lead to. I for one sure was!
- Set yourself new challenges and goals. Recently, I have turned my attention to low light and night photography. I love the colours of the sky at dawn and dusk, reflecting off the fuselage of an aircraft.
Think you know someone who should be Heathrow’s #AvGeek of the Month? Tweet us @yourHeathrow or email us at email@example.com
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