This is an aerial image taken on the Las Vegas to San Francisco leg of my journey to the Big Island of Hawaii, where I will be working on a special project. As I joyfully anticipated the beauty and the photography to come, I was inspired by this sight, as the aircraft crossed the Sierra Nevada, somewhere south of Yosemite National Park. It was an uplifting bonus, sending me on my way to the challenges to come.
I “see” the way I do thanks to the inspiration provided by many Masters, mainly in the arts of painting and photography. One example comes from Japanese and Chinese landscape traditions, particularly Hokusai. Some of his evocations of Mount Fuji with clouds at its feet triggered my response to this view from my window seat.
A white, Winter-time, late-afternoon fog carpeted the main valley between the mountain ridges, like a foamy ocean riding into cliffs on the shore. Wispy clouds hint at the fact that the image was taken while travelling around 400 MPH at about 30,000 feet. The layout and contrast of the colours, particularly the diagonal sweeping down from image left to image right, bring the eye into the scene from distant to near. The highlands were a delicate progression of blue-gray tones, dusted with a more delicate mist, which highlighted the progression of the ridgelines. Sumptuous.
The Eye in the Sky
I have written in previous blogs about the techniques for photographing from a fast-moving, vibrating aircraft through scratched and dirty Perspex. Sometimes this pays off more than others. This was one of those times.
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 24-70mm f2.8G Zoom
Focal Length: 56 mm
Focus Mode: AF-S
Autofocus Area Mode: Single
Shutter Speed: 1/2000s
Exposure Mode: Shutter Priority
Exposure Compensation : -0.3 EV
ISO Sensitivity: 640
Whenever you fly, I encourage you to be aware of how precious is the opportunity to be a witness to the beauties of the sky and the land. At least take the time to ponder it for a moment, and, should it truly move you, maybe try to capture it in a photograph to share with others.
Copyright Paul Grayson 2015