Thursday, May 23, 2013

From The Window Seat

By Tracey Clark Of Shutter Sisters Published in Point Of Focus
From The Window Seat
Rereading a story I shared in the Shutter Sisters book Expressive Photography, I was reminded of the exact moment I fell in love with photographing views from an airplane window.

"On a recent flight from New York back to Los Angeles I found myself easing into the idea of a long, lazy flight home. I chose to stow my laptop, hold my camera in my lap (just in case) and gaze out the window, resting and reflecting. With no expectations or agenda, I literally watched as the world went by and periodically snapped pictures of the mysterious and multifaceted skyscapes from my window seat. I let the view play its tricks on me as I felt sometimes lost in space, hovering over stormy seas or looking down on an enormous patchwork quilt of colors and textures. Hours passed and I drifted in and out of a sleepy daze. As the clouds continued to shape shift, the sun used a soft palette as a subtle yet deliberate stage light illuminating the sky as our plane followed along and floated above the last miraculous act of evening. I watched unblinking, transfixed as the last light of day sparkled then disappeared at the final curtain call."


Since that dreamy flight, I've made it a point to ingest and enjoy the sky each time I fly. Lucky for me, I've never flown more often in my entire life, which has made it that much easier for me to indulge my creative cravings and follow my photographic bliss.

A lot has changed over the last few years. The camera that has become a constant travel companion is my iPhone and, although I do often carry my DSLR onboard, the convenience and ease of my mobile phone makes the process equally, if not more enjoyable, depending on my mood.


I discovered the true visual rapture of window seat shooting through the eye of a Lensbaby Super Wide lens. The name says it all. Without even adjusting the distance between myself and my window—which is usually not much more than a foot—I could include everything I wanted that was in front of me in my viewfinder: window, wing and sky. The dreamlike quality of the Lensbaby helped me to capture not only what my eyes saw, but also what my head and heart felt, which are exactly the kinds of images I long to create with every click of my shutter.

Since then, I've found another effective wide-angle alternative, but it's for my iPhone. The olloclip wide-angle lens or fisheye lens (the olloclip comes with both) are great options when you want to leave the DSLR stowed in the overhead bin. You get the same opportunity to frame the vastness of the horizon even when your mobile camera is right against the window. It also can allow for compositional creativity because you have all kinds of options in the way you frame the scene.

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