I must admit that I'm a nervous flier. I don't enjoy anything about the process of traveling by airplane, particularly all the stepped-up - and to my mind, pointless - security that followed 9/11. I'm always hugely relieved to just be at my destination, wherever that is.
That being said, I have always requested window seats, as I love the view of the earth from above, and looking out the window at the horizon and earth below is usually more interesting than the in-flight movie. When I fly now, I never go without my camera. On the day I flew out of Tucson, the sky was filled with beautiful, chunky cumulus clouds. Part of me was excited, because this had the potential for some great photos. The other part was anxious, as clouds of this type almost always mean a bumpy take-off and that is what I dread the most about flying. I have these visions, admittedly totally irrational, about the plane falling apart as we hit the turbulent air that is responsible for producing the clouds I so much love. Clearly, the amygdala - the fear-generating part of the brain - is overriding my higher brain functions at this point.
I just finished reading a book about Georgia O'Keefe and discovered that she, too was afraid of flying, but once in the sky, was likewise captivated by the view, so I guess I'm in good company there! Later in her career and in her 70's, she did a series of paintings based on her observations and sketches from the air, including one of her last pieces that was 8'x24' in size. The abstract quality of these is too compelling not to do a series of paintings at some point
At any rate, the flight from Tucson to Atlanta was fantastic as far as the views went, primarily because of the glorious clouds that graced a good portion of the sky along the route. It is just a sweet thing to be able to see the clouds from their own level or look down upon them.
I hope you enjoy these. Last summer, following a trip we took out to Durango, I started a Picasa gallery dedicated to clouds and sky taken from above. You can see them here. Eventually, I'll post all the photos I took on this trip to the gallery once I'm able to resize them.
Clouds with Valley and Shadows
Shortly after take-off, we are within the cumulus layer. The mountains seen are the Santa Ritas, to the south.
From a Cumulus Point of View
Continuing our ascent, this layer of clouds is just alive with color, depth and texture!
The beautiful red earth of the desert contrasts with the clouds and their cast shadows in this wide-angle shot, while the horizon appears to go on forever. Location: New Mexico or western TX.
This towering and curiously-shaped cumulus congestus is breaking ranks with its more sedate neighbors and dreams of evolving into a cumulonimbus. Location: TX
This scattered layer of cumulus humilis and medocris sits within in the human-caused smog layer in the approach to Atlanta.
Warm light hits the face of this cumulus as we now drop below the cloud layer.
This photo violates the rules of composition, yet it still manages to be interesting because of the perspective and the fact that there are interesting things going on everywhere.