Photo Fun at 40,000 Feet



A great way to break up the ennui of flying is to play around with aerial photography. Get yourself a window seat, a camera, and enjoy all the amazing landscapes Earth has to offer. I’ve recently been doing this more and more and I am loving it! Google Earth, step aside, Wolfe Earth is now a thing.

But seriously, you can get some great abstract shots and fancy yourself a spy from time to time. This last trip took me over the pole so I was able to get some images of ice break up in the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland, Russian farmlands, the east coast of the Caspian Sea, and the Alborz mountain range in Iran. While on the plane I do set my clock to local destination and try to get some sleep, but it can be very difficult, so I find this to be a very absorbing and intriguing distraction.

5 Responses to “Photo Fun at 40,000 Feet”

  1. Dale Flynn says:

    These photos are fantastic. Thank you—

  2. Christine Antoniuk says:

    I’ve been doing this with my phone, not my camera.
    How do you avoid the annoying scratched-up windows? They always seems to me to get too much in the way of the photograph!

    • Art Wolfe says:

      Great question and probably worth a post in it’s own right! Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if you can’t clean the window there are a few tips to help get a better shot.

      For starters, it helps a lot of the window is in shade as direct light will expose any dirt or scratches on the glass. Even light from inside the cabin can be problematic, so waiting until the lights have been dimmed can help, or if that’s not an option pack a dark cloth or use a dark piece of clothing to help block some light from your camera as you aim it out the window – anything to keep the window from reflecting!

      Also, ensuring that you are shooting as perpendicular to the window as possible will also help, as any angle to the glass will also enhance reflections. Finally, a larger aperture will also help nullify some of the impact.

      Hope that help!

  3. Skip says:

    I agree, been doing that for decades…. Interesting to see how some places change, and others do not.

  4. Jan Wilder says:

    Great photos Art! Thank you for sharing!

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