AS THE aircraft swoops down for its final descent, like an eagle diving to catch its prey, Vishal Jolapara (23) adjusts his Canon 400D one last time. Jolapara and his 28-105mm lens follow the airplane’s trajectory as it lands with a thud. He clicks.
Jolapara is among the growing enthusiasts of aviation photography. This latest craze, however, is still in a nascent stage.
Armed with cameras, a growing number of people frequent areas surrounding the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport on Sunday mornings to get their dose of airplane beauty.
But they have to deal with suspicious guards even when they are shooting outside the airport premises.
“Aviation photography is a rage abroad. Airports around the world, like in Manchester and Amsterdam, have dedicated stands for aviation photography,” said Jolapara, an aspiring pilot.
Even foreigners come to the Mumbai airport to get a glimpse of Indian aviation and for spotting — zooming in on the perfect plane.
For Aalok Gaitonde, it is more about getting the right aircraft with the perfect colour scheme against the azure sky. “The colour scheme, aircraft type and lighting are some of the important factors that come into play before you hit the button,” said the 17-year-old who just finished his Class 12 exam.
This passion has also got them international fame. Their pictures have been put up on websites dedicated to aviation photography. “Jetphotos.net and Airliners.net are like the Oscars for aviation photography. A team of experts scrutinises and screens the photographs to judge if they are worth putting up,” said Jolapara, who has more than 200 photographs put up on the websites.
Aviation photographers from across the globe interact on these websites and meet up when travelling for a session.
“People getting into aviation photography reflects the growing interest in the sector, especially in Mumbai,” said a spokesperson of the Mumbai International Airport Ltd, which manages the airport. “Once the airport is fully modernised, we may look at encouraging it.”