Aerial NYC

Technical: Panasonic DMC Z57, 1/400 sec, f4, focal length 4.1

Taking pictures from an airplane is tricky. Most people don’t do it. If you don’t, please give up your seat to someone who will do it. It’s a shame that people take flying so casually that they don’t even look out the window. “Turn off all electronics in preparation for landing!” commands the flight crew. Ever wonder why? The signal of a cellphone trying to communicate with a cell tower can interfere with the radio transmission to the plane. It is interference at close range like about 3 feet. Therefore, there is little chance that I could create any problem. There is a basic rule that my seat assignment is always at the back of the plane no matter how hard I try to get a seat closer to the front. And if that’s the case, there can certainly be no interference from a camera. But I have been told to turn mine off and put it away. So, my strategy is to wait until the cabin crew is seated for landing and then pull out the camera and start clicking. Shooting from a double pane of glass, which is etched by weather is enough to make your lens cry. No sharpness of lens can make up for this. But with an image at least you have something to work with in Photoshop. Add contrast, color correct, increase saturation and you can make something from nothing. Sometimes right out of the camera you have a good image. To keep the wing or not is the other conundrum. Some do and others don’t. I usually try to keep the wing out.

Here is an iconic photo of New York that cousin David shot. I can even pick out the location of my apartment on the Westside. (I’m not home.) Exposure’s good, clouds, wing, it’s all good and the image really comes together nicely. You’re at about 3000 feet and it’s a good image of the city without losing detail from being too high. Good shot. Landing and take off are the times I’m always camera ready. In between, the Rocky Mountains and other such land marks make great patterns at 35,000 feet. And watch the clouds. Some thunderheads are fairly impressive. At night lightning is good too.

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