Photos from a Window Seat

It’s summer – which implies travel.  And sometimes that travel is on an airplane.  I just thought I’d pass along 10 tips to getting some shots from a commercial flight.window seat-1

  1. Sit in a window seat. Now – this isn’t always within your control – nor is it always the right choice.  But – on short hops – especially over interesting terrain – go for it.
  2. Obey the rules of air travel.  Just count on reading your favorite photography magazine for the first and last few minutes of your flight – unless you’re shooting a film camera with no electronic interface.
  3. Try to avoid the wing in your photo – unless it’s part of your story.  With the perspective– folks will likely know that you’re shooting from the air.window seat-2
  4. Get the camera as close to the window as possible – but try not to bump your lens.  If you have one of those rubber lens hoods – even better.
  5. Every airplane window is – as they say – not optical glass.  Nor are they typically clean.  Just find the best spot possible – and wait for a good shot – e.g. patterns, mountains, cities, …
  6. Set yourself up for depth of field.  Likely f/8 or so.
  7. Turn the flash off.  Just trust me on this.
  8. A circular polarizer, if you have one, could be very useful.
  9. When you get the images – they’ll likely require a bit of clean up (see #5).  My quick fix here is high contrast B&W.
  10. And if you don’t know straight away what cool mountain is in your landscape – the nifty online mapping sites are great tools – especially with their integration of satellite images.

And the shots above?  Alaska Airlines – from San Jose to Portland with the Canon 20D and 24mm lens.  Top image: Mt Shasta.  Bottom image: Mt McLoughlin.

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