Sunday, April 01, 2007

Under a blood red sky


View on descent
From a Northwest Airlines 757-200 somewhere over Michigan, March 2007 [Click to enlarge]

The plane banks back and forth as it goes through the ritual dance of approach and landing. We're somewhere over the hinterland of Michigan, on our way to Detroit. Behind us is over 4 hours of flying from San Francisco. Ahead of us lies home, the end of a successful trip and a family that can't wait to see me again.

I sit in my seat, spellbound by the incredibly rich colors that play out in the painted sky before me. I don't think it's even possible to capture. The shuddering airframe makes a solid shot in this variable-light environment difficult to snag. Normally when shooting sunsets, I'd be planted firmly on the ground. Worse, I'd be shooting through a plastic window that's as scratched and pitted as any I've seen on a London city bus. It's the photographic equivalent of trying to win the lottery. Sure, you can buy a ticket. But you're virtually guaranteed a loser's trip home and a date with the celebratory bottle of flat root beer.

But I pick up the camera anyway. I have to try. Because not trying guarantees failure. Trying at least offers a hope, even if it's a glimmer. I get to work. Automatic exposure is useless. I flip to manual and ratchet off a few frames at one setting. Too bright. I dial down the aperture and try again. Better, but not perfect. I switch to a faster shutter speed, squeeze the shutter and check the results. Looks better, but I can't be sure. Was my focus OK? I won't know till later. The plane banks back left, so now I'm looking at a different patch of sky - with different light characteristics. I re-meter and try again.

As the plane dances in the air, I'm dancing with my camera beside the dollar store plastic window, working feverishly to come up with even one photo that allows me to tell the story of how I felt sitting up in the sky, watching magic unfold before my very eyes.

It's not often that a photographer gets to witness colors like this. I was privileged to have had exactly this experience on my way home Thursday night, and I was equally privileged to be able to snag it with a camera. I wish I could have had my family and friends with me so we could have shared the moment for real.

Your turn: Images and moments that move you. Please discuss.

One more thing: I'm framing this one for our living room. Please let me know if you'd like the full-res photo as well.

22 comments:

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

It's gorgeous. I wish I had a space for it!

colleen said...

Even through the glass window it looks awesome. I am inspired by the sky as well. I also shots of surprising things that seem out of place.

scrappintwinmom said...

I love this! Wonderful job! It will be a magnificent addition to your wall, I am sure. I took my camera out this week myself - stop by and take a look.

kenju said...

That is magnificent, Carmi! It reminds me of the sunset I saw from the plane when we were flying home from Costa Rica in 2002. Just gorgeous!

srp said...

You are right, the color is fabulous. It matches the deep flame red tulips with yellow highlights that have opened up in the flowerbed across the street. I bet it will look wonderful in frame and mat.

David said...

very nice
God draws it and you get to catch it on digital. a good partnership.

come see my market night shot of the artichokes.
are you offering to send this file to your blogger buddies?

Bob-kat said...

Oh wow! I can only imagine what it was like to witness for real. Gorgeous and sumptious - you did such a good job of capturing this! I would love to see the full res version :-)

Sunsets always move me. So does the ocean.

Anna said...

STUNNING.

surcie said...

God must've done that just for you, Carmi.

daisy said...

So pretty.

talj said...

So beautiful!!

Carmi I would love to have the full res version to add to my 'Where in the World' wall

Hope you have arrived home safely {{HUGS}}

photowannabe said...

Stunning Carmi. It looks like a pastel chalk drawing. It will be beautiful on your wall.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a fabulous picture Carmi...I was here yesterday, but got interipted and so didn't comment...BUT, here I am again.
I love the way you wrote about the beauty of this sky and wishing we could ALL have experienced it with you....Memorable, my dear, in every way.

Do stop by my blog if you can, I have a 'funny' at the top that may give you a laugh, and a tribute, too.

Have a WONDERFUL Passover, my dear...Are you with your parents tonight? Or at your own home...? Wherever you are, sip a bit of that lovely Passover wine for me, and eat an extra Gefilte Fish for me, too! (lol)

Katherine said...

That is an incredible sunset. I love seeing one that amazing; it makes me feel so calm. I'm here from Sarch's. Congratulations on your award!

beth said...

Great shot; your photos are exquisite, but I am equally moved by the stories you tell.

Thanks, Carmi...

tommiea said...

that is absolutely beautiful! reminds me of sunsets in Charleston, South Carolina in the summer time.

CG said...

Would never have guessed this beautiful photo to be taken through a plane window!!

Rainbow dreams said...

This is gorgeous - I thought I had commented but obviously just thought my comment without my fingers catching up!
I'd love this on my wall at home...

Sarch said...

Thank you for sharing this with us Carmi. Wonderful shot!

Gyrobo said...

Thanks to a special web page I wrote, my background image changes at regular intervals.

I keep an extensive array of beautiful vistas, so that every ten minutes I'm given a new landscape to admire.

Gyrobo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jezzy said...

Love this one! Fantastic shot! Those window ones never turn out like that!