The view from an airplane is magical. And the best part of capturing it on film is that the rule of turning off any electronic devices at take off and landing doesn’t apply to you.
Getting the window seat is awesome. In my opinion, that wonderful view is worth all the pain of getting through security at the airport, getting a special check for all your undeveloped film, the long lines, the waiting to board, and the fighting for overhead room for your bags. Once the plane takes off and you get to look out, there’s nothing better.
About a year ago, I was on my way to Indiana and the Autumn weather had been gloomy for a few days. I got a window seat that day. I was traveling alone and the person sitting next to me fell asleep before the stewardess was done giving the emergency instructions, so I had plenty of time to enjoy the view. That’s the day I realized that every day is beautiful, sunny and with blue skies. When we took off, the day was gray, but as we got higher and went past the clouds, we reached the sunshine, the sky was blue and the clouds underneath us looked like cotton candy. You see? Every day is beautiful, you just have to get past the the thick layer of storm clouds. I think of that realization when there are too many cloudy days in a row. I think of flying to reach the sun and that makes me smile.
Another thing I love about the window seat the change of perspective. And what a change! Reminds you how insignificant things can be when you’re all the way up in the air. A life is just a tiny dot from up there.
In 2011 I got to fly a few times. I didn’t get the window seat on every flight, but when I did I made the most of it (which means I tried to not fall asleep). On the last flight, I had my brand new Lomo LC-A+.
That last flight was LAX – XNA. When you take that route, you start at the Pacific and then you go over mountains before getting to the beautiful Arizona desert. When you go over the desert, you pass by a meteor crater. It’s just off U.S. 66, between Flagstaff and Winslow. The crater is about one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep, according to meteorcrater.com.
On one October morning on my way back from L.A., I experienced one of the best window-seat moments yet. And I don’t have a single photo from that flight. It was before I came back to film, and there were too many thoughts in my head that morning, so I decided not to bother getting my big DSLR out. That morning, as we took off, I sent my love as I spotted the Venice Beach board walk, the Santa Monica Pier and downtown Los Angeles. It was the end of the morning golden hour and everything seemed magical. I stopped thinking and just took in the view. It was as if I hadn’t seen anything so beautiful in ages, it felt so perfect. Maybe it was all the rain of the previous days, that left the land so clear, crisp, and vivid. As we headed East, leaving the Pacific behind, we left behind the big buildings, the streets and highways, the palm trees. We reached mountains. That morning they were a very vivid shade of blue. There were just a few clouds over the mountains, barely caressing their peaks. The clouds were translucent and created tiny rainbows. I still have that flight fresh in my mind.
Sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy your day flight. Now, my friends, night flights are a whole different article. But tell me, what’s your best window-seat moment so far?