Saturday, June 30, 2007
The View from Seat 5A
Until recently I was a dedicated aisle seat person when I traveled. After flying for a number of years, I found that aisle seats gave me more room and access to stand up if I felt like stretching. I didn't have to ask anyone's permission to move around or to retrieve an item from the overhead bin. But a few months ago, I came across a book about photography from the window seat of a plane, which inspired me to reconsider my old seating regime.
Since that time I have started to request a window seat and with my camera started to photograph out the window. At first I was skeptical that I would get any images that would be interesting, and some of the shots like a lot of my photography are rejects. The biggest challenge is the high contrast (the difference between light and dark in an image) and strong haze that is created on bright sunny days. But with all else digital, Photoshop comes to the rescue. With a little color balance and some sharping, the photos are a bit more presentable. Because I don't want to draw attention to myself during the take offs and landings I use my little point and shoot camera, which means the resolution on these photos is not the best.
So far, because I live in Phoenix, I have had the most luck photographing landmarks in and around the Valley. The shot of Camelback Mountain includes my favorite public golf course, Papago, which is located on the boundry between Phoenix and Scottsdale. In the same shot if you look to the north of the McDowell Buttes you'll notice another golf course, Arizona Country Club, a course that I worked at during high school.
I even tried to photograph some afternoon clouds as they hover over the desert. The heat during the summer raises off the desert floor and creates dramatic cloud formations. These thermals are very popular with hang gliders and bald eagles because they provide the energy to soar for hours; they're a little tougher on the fixed wings of a commercial jet. So they are much more fun to photograph than to fly through.