Cloudscape over Los Angeles
These photos were made during my flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR) on a Boeing 747. Departure time for the flight was approximately 6:30pm, so by the time we taxied and were up above the clouds, the sun began to set.
How to get this type of shot
Shooting above the clouds is a little different compared to shooting from the ground because instead of waiting for the sun to approach the horizon and reflect light from the bottom of the clouds, I had to wait for the correct angle so that the setting sun could skip light from above the clouds. The light was fleeting and just minutes before I made these photos the clouds looked completely white, then turned a brilliant orange and within 5 minutes turned dark gray and were void of color. What was most challenging was framing the shot since I had to do so thorough the tiny window of the aircraft. In addition, I had to deal with shooting through the sheet of plexiglass of the inner cabin and then the sheet of glass of the fuselage and the flare that they created, which when shooting almost directly into the sun, was impossible to avoid.
I composed the first image to include the tip of the plane’s wing and engines to give context to the image. This same shot could have easily been made from atop a large mountain, so I wanted to give the viewer a sense of place. The second image was made to include only the sea of clouds and the color that was coming from them.