Spotting the Spotters

Plane spotting at LAX

I’m in LA this morning for, among other things, plane spotting with a bunch of other dorks (the event is called dork fest) at the In-N-Out by the airport. It is a plane spotter Mecca of sorts and happens to have a park adjacent for those who want to spot without buying a burger. I’m early at the site. There are only three others around. One is the guy cleaning up the outdoor seating area at the restaurant. A second is a man who obviously slept in the park last night. The third is over by Sepulveda taking photos of some inbound aircraft.

Plane spotting at LAX
Plane spotting at LAX

It is this third man who caught my eye. A bit disheveled but he mostly seems to fit in to the spotter aesthetic with the SLR camera slung around his neck and an eye to catch the morning arrivals. I did’t really think much of it until he wandered past me through the park and over to one of the blankets spread under a tree. He, too, slept in the park last night. And I’m having a lot of trouble reconciling that.

By the time I figured out what was going on he was gone. And others from our motley crew of spotters, dorks and geeks have started to arrive. I’ll make new friends and meet new people today. But his is the story which captured my attention this morning. And it is a story I will never get to hear.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. There are two enthusiasts that literally seem to live there. I know one of their names, having met him back in 2004. I know that they often eat by asking people to buy them food, though i have no idea how they otherwise take care of themselves, much less do everything that would be required to maintain, operate and use the images from a D-SLR.

  2. bummer … i was at renaissance LAX whiling away time until my 4pm flight. saw your post about the meet-up only at 12:30 … i’d have loved to come. next time!

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