Plane Bored (Or Just Plain Bored)

By Sara Goodnick

There is an answer to keeping yourself amused when flying, even on long flights, if you keep a camera close by. It’s easier with a mirrorless camera, but a newer cell phone can also work well.

1. Get a window seat in front of the wing, as close as possible to the front, if flying regular class. If you are behind the wing, the exhaust will have a negative effect on the air quality and your images will not be sharp.

2. Bring something to clean the window with, such as a soft cloth. Don’t use your good lens cloth-it might get contaminated with something awful. We were flying out of San Francisco to Hawaii during a gorgeous sunset. I was so happy to have been seated next to a relatively clean window.

3. Watch for interesting land patterns, cloud formations, shadows, storms, story-telling objects. Remember you are moving fast, and they will disappear very quickly! Be ready and don’t hesitate to shoot. Flying low into Phoenix from the NE during monsoon season has great potential for seeing afternoon storms.

Flying into places with a body of water nearby has many possibilities for interesting captures.

4. The images will improve when you take them into an image-processing program. I brought out some contrast and detail in these clouds in Lightroom CC.

5. When you can’t shoot from the window, look around where you are sitting. Ask yourself, “What would this look like through my lens?” This was looking into my glass of ice before I dropped it onto my lap.

Have fun! Then stretch out your back and neck muscles by turning the other way for awhile!

Sara Goodnick is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes.

Capturing Clouds : Tips

Author: Kerrick James

Most of my sixty or so Arizona Highways photo workshops have featured the pursuit of Landscape, the endlessly challenging chase for light and drama, texture and natural design that we hope will unite in an evocative slice of time that both defines a place, and your skill in rendering that reality. Somewhat paradoxically, it’s very often the atmospheric phenomena above the land that elevate the image to its greatest impact. In a word, Clouds, are key. Call them ‘icing on the cake’, or any descriptor you wish, but distinctive clouds are always worth waiting or planning for. I’ve whiled away thousands of hours over the years waiting for clouds to arrive or depart, to morph or reveal, and still they surprise, delight and confound me.

Storm clouds of all types are inherently dramatic, and indeed stormlight is my personal favorite situation. But having Clouds in place over a striking graphic landform is always my chief goal, as the clouds themselves without a hint of land are merely meteorological trophies. It seems there are more types of clouds than earthly gemstones, and here are some examples:

Shiprock, New Mexico (linear, horsetail Clouds)

Jungfrau, Switzerland  (clearing storm clouds)

Hunts Mesa, Monument Valley  (morning monsoon clouds)

Three Sisters, Monument Valley (morning monsoon clouds)

Sometimes the clouds are moving at surprising speed over the land, and by using a neutral density filter and very low ISO, you can attain long shutter speeds even in full sunlight. Obviously a sturdy tripod is essential, and don’t forget that you can shoot clouds at night if you have some moonlight to work with.

Colorado River at North Canyon, Grand Canyon  (30 seconds, F 11, ISO 100)

Sunrise light on Totem Pole (Yei Be Chi), Monument Valley (1/10th second, F/16)

Stars and clouds over the Bluemlisalphorn, Switzerland  (172 seconds F8, ISO 100)

And let’s face it, luck favors those who wake up early, or wait past the edge of patience. Last June I finally got sweet light after sunrise, illuminating clouds that featured patterns and weight and well, gravitas, flowing slowly over Double Arch. It only took thirty years to find them there, or to find myself in the right place, at the right moment, watching the clouds go by…

Sunrise clouds over Double Arch, Arches NP, Utah

 

Kerrick James is an Instructor with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops
Space still available in Kerrick’s Glacier workshop July 24-28, 2017

Clouds, Clouds and more Clouds

Author David Halgrimson

A favorite subject for me to photograph is clouds. We don’t get them very often here around Phoenix, but when we do… oh my they can be great! This August I was out walking in our neighborhood, looked up and saw some spectacular clouds.

Not only were the clouds great, but the sun rays showing around them were some of the best I have ever seen. Thinking they would probably be gone by the time I got home to get my camera I took my time and just enjoyed looking at them as I walked. Thankfully however, the clouds and rays were still putting on their show when I got home so I grabbed my camera and started shooting!

I shot for about half an hour and captured 75 images. The hardest part was to avoid getting parts of houses and trees in the images so I had to move around a lot! I was on the sidewalk, in the middle of the street, my backyard, front yard etc., to get the best angles. I used a Canon 5D MKII with a 17-40mm and a 24-105mm lens. Camera settings were 1/80th to 1/125th, ISO 100 and f/22. Some post processing in Lightroom to bring out the rays the way I saw them.

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Always look up!

David is a trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops