KJFK- John F. Kennedy International Airport - New York Aviation Photography

Spot A: Howard Beach

Howard Beach, affectionately known as "Hobe" features Kennedy's staple Canarsie Climb bank shot. Although this departure name has been relegated to an RNAV SKORR3 departure, its banks remain infamously large! Only for RWY 31L departures.


Spotters Beware: Gale force winds in winter and desert heat in the summer will make this experience miserable unless you have a car. Fortunately the climate is comfortable during the best times of year for light; fall and early spring.

Gear Needed: 400mm for tighter shots, however a 300mm will suffice. 

Light: October-February=All Day/ February-September=Mornings


Click link to open in Maps:

Google Maps Destination Link- HOBE

Address: Crossbay Bridge North Channel Bridge Kayak Launch, Cross Bay Blvd, Far Rockaway, NY 11693

Spot B: Bayswater

A popular spot among locals however unknown to most out-of-towners. Use this location for 4L+R arrivals and departures, 13R departures, 22R departures, and 31L arrivals. Not only does this location offer a photo op regardless of runway config, it also provides a beautiful NYC skyline to complement your shots!


Spotters Beware: The state park is notorious for opening late some mornings, same climatic conditions as HOBE, be mindful of the families and fishermen by the waterside.

Gear Needed: 4R+L 100-300mm, 31L 200-300mm, 13R 300-400mm, 22R 200-300mm

Light: Morning is fine all year-round for all runways. In summer, only RWY 13R departures are lit in the afternoon. 


Click link to open in Maps:

Google Maps Destination: Bayswater State Park

Address: Bayswater, Queens, NY 11691



Spot C: Panera Bread

While nowhere as close as the planes at In+Out at LAX, Panera provides those who fancy the option to grab a quick bit while photographing airliners. RWY 31R arrivals only.


Spotters Beware: Some Panera delicacies will cost an arm and a leg. This spot is also located alongside a busy road. A few spotters have been called in to the police. The police are mostly tolerant of us at this location.

Gear Needed: 200-300mm 

Light: Afternoons all year-round for RWY 31R.


Click link to open in Maps:

Google Maps Destination: Panera Bread Rockaway Turnpike

Address: Panera Bread, Bay Harbour Mall, 345 Rockaway Turnpike, Lawrence, NY 11559


Spot D: Costco

A very viable alternative to Panera, most frequented by Kennedy locals who complain of the distance and minor heat haze at Panera. Similar view of RWY 31R arrivals, just a bit closer.


Spotters Beware: Seagulls prone to defecating, odd fishermen.

Gear Needed: 100-200mm

Light: Afternoon all year-round for RWY 31R.


Click link to open in Maps:

Google Maps Destination: Costco Rockaway Turnpike

Address: Costco Wholesale, 605 Rockaway Turnpike, Lawrence, NY 11559

Spot E: 149th/Brookville

Splendid spot for 22L morning arrivals only. One of the closest spots to the planes.


Spotters Beware: Located in a sketchy neighborhood, in sight of a busy road.

Gear Needed: 50-100mm

Light: Mornings all year for RWY 22L arrivals.


Click link to open in Maps:

Google Maps Destination: 149th/Brookville Blvd

Address: 240-0 149th Avenue, Rosedale, NY 11422



Spot F: "Mounds"- Idlewild Park

Probably the most well known spot at Kennedy. There is simply no better location to get sunny side ons!


Spotter Beware: Mosquitoes and other biting insects are unavoidable in summer! Shooting from the street will mitigate this situation. Tower will often employ the 22/13 split in summer for overflow. Most arrivals from the south and west will go into 13L. Europeans are mostly guaranteed 22L during this split.

Gear Needed: 120-200mm

Light: Afternoons all year around for RWY 22L.


Click link to open in Maps:

Google Maps Destination: Mounds

Address: 230-1-230-25 149th Avenue, Springfield Gardens, NY 11413


Spot G: Travel Plaza

Wild banks, condensation, and beautiful morning light! Watch last minute corrections and wild approaches as airplanes come off the RNAV, VOR, and visual for 13L. Plus there's a food court nearby!


Spotter Beware: Stay on the sidewalk to avoid trespassing offenses. 

Gear Needed: 50-100mm

Light: Early mornings all year for RWY 13L.


Click to open in Maps:

Google Maps Destination: Travel Plaza

Address: JFK Airport Travel Plaza, 150th Avenue & 147th Street, New York, 11430

Spot H: Cargo Plaza

Go close or far, the angle possibilities are endless! Catch sunny side ons, sunset silhouettes. or belly shots.


Spotter Beware: Parking lots are accessible but be mindful they are not for the public.

While the police have become more accepting of us at this spot, take caution when standing out with your camera out.

Gear Needed: 40-70mm

Light: Afternoons all year for RWY 13L arrivals.


Click link to open in Maps:

Google Maps Destination: Cargo Plaza

Address: Cargo Plaza/Bldg 86, Queens, NY 11430


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