From The Window Seat by Alpha Whiskey Photography
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From The Window Seat

  • Aug 04, 2016
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From The Window Seat

To be honest, it's not a deal breaker for me. I'm perfectly happy wherever I sit on a plane, as long as it's not in the cargo hold (although I imagine the luggage could be quite comfortable to lie on). More often than not I'm fast asleep before the plane takes off until after it lands. But every once in a while I'll glance out of the window and marvel at the planet below me. It's not the same view as from space but it does put our one little Earth into a humbling perspective, when mountains and cities become mere points of rock and light.Now if I'm awake on a plane I'm probably reading. I'll have a book or magazine in my lap as opposed to a camera. I'm not holding or keeping my gear on or around my seat. The person sitting next to me is invariably already freaked out by the shifty-looking brown man sitting next to them; the last thing I want to do is agitate them anymore by littering the area with strange pieces of equipment. So all of these images were made with either a phone or a small compact camera and their quality therefore reflects that.Taking a photo from the window seat can be challenging, depending on the light, the cleanliness of the window or the fact that there's a giant wing taking up your view! Getting a sharp shot at night, for instance, is a challenge for any small camera sensor. Obviously a slow shutter speed won't help, primarily because there's nothing to rest the camera on, but even if you could the plane is in motion anyway. So you have to rely on high ISOs to get enough shutter speed. And with high ISOs on small sensors you might as well smear vaseline on the window. I'm not saying it's impossible, and it's a good case for using a larger sensor camera, but it can be tricky. On my phone I'll use the 'Night Mode' if it has one, and on the compact I'll shoot in RAW and clean it up in post. Obviously don't use a flash or you'll get a giant shiny orb reflected back at you.If the window isn't especially clean then opening up to a wider aperture and focusing on something into the distance should render any specks invisible. A wide aperture might sacrifice absolute detail across the image but why would you care at 35,000 feet? And it will allow more light in helping to keep the ISO lower. The lens on the compact camera I used opened to F/2.8 across its zoom range. I've had mixed results using a polariser to cut down reflection, sometimes ending up with a colour cast; I guess it just depends on the type of glass in the window.In terms of subject, if you can't see beneath the clouds then you can always make them your subject. Rendering them in black and white may also accentuate their texture and shapes. Obviously much depends on the altitude of the aircraft. A higher altitude makes it easier to capture mountains and geographical features, whereas a lower altitude brings human structures such as buildings and cities into view. And if you happen to be up there around sunset who can resist the view at the horizon?Well, the next time you fly, if you happen to be at a window seat and you happen to be awake, try taking some shots. They will undoubtedly be better than these. 

Aug 04, 2016

From The Window Seat

This post has 17 photos Aug 04, 2016Comments (0)804 views
To be honest, it's not a deal breaker for me. I'm perfectly happy wherever I sit on a plane, as long as it's not in the cargo hold (although I imagine the luggage could be quite comfortable to lie on). More often than not I'm fast asleep before the plane takes off until after it lands. 

But every once in a while I'll glance out of the window and marvel at the planet below me. It's not the same view as from space but it does put our one little Earth into a humbling perspective, when mountains and cities become mere points of rock and light.

Now if I'm awake on a plane I'm probably reading. I'll have a book or magazine in my lap as opposed to a camera. I'm not holding or keeping my gear on or around my seat. The person sitting next to me is invariably already freaked out by the shifty-looking brown man sitting next to them; the last thing I want to do is agitate them anymore by littering the area with strange pieces of equipment. So all of these images were made with either a phone or a small compact camera and their quality therefore reflects that.

Taking a photo from the window seat can be challenging, depending on the light, the cleanliness of the window or the fact that there's a giant wing taking up your view! 

Getting a sharp shot at night, for instance, is a challenge for any small camera sensor. Obviously a slow shutter speed won't help, primarily because there's nothing to rest the camera on, but even if you could the plane is in motion anyway. So you have to rely on high ISOs to get enough shutter speed. And with high ISOs on small sensors you might as well smear vaseline on the window. I'm not saying it's impossible, and it's a good case for using a larger sensor camera, but it can be tricky. On my phone I'll use the 'Night Mode' if it has one, and on the compact I'll shoot in RAW and clean it up in post. Obviously don't use a flash or you'll get a giant shiny orb reflected back at you.

If the window isn't especially clean then opening up to a wider aperture and focusing on something into the distance should render any specks invisible. A wide aperture might sacrifice absolute detail across the image but why would you care at 35,000 feet? And it will allow more light in helping to keep the ISO lower. The lens on the compact camera I used opened to F/2.8 across its zoom range. I've had mixed results using a polariser to cut down reflection, sometimes ending up with a colour cast; I guess it just depends on the type of glass in the window.

In terms of subject, if you can't see beneath the clouds then you can always make them your subject. Rendering them in black and white may also accentuate their texture and shapes. Obviously much depends on the altitude of the aircraft. A higher altitude makes it easier to capture mountains and geographical features, whereas a lower altitude brings human structures such as buildings and cities into view. And if you happen to be up there around sunset who can resist the view at the horizon?

Well, the next time you fly, if you happen to be at a window seat and you happen to be awake, try taking some shots. They will undoubtedly be better than these. 

Somewhere over Central Europe.
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Somewhere over Central Europe.

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South coast of England.
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South coast of England.

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Sofia, Bulgaria.
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Sofia, Bulgaria.

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Bridge Of The Americas, Panama.
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Bridge Of The Americas, Panama.

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Panama City.
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Panama City.

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8

8

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9

9

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10

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11

11

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Dhaka.
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Dhaka.

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13

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13a

13a

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14

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15

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16

16

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16a

16a

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Usually asleep and snoring! :)
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Usually asleep and snoring! :)

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