Holiday snaps for me often start from the minute I get on the plane. I was very lucky on a recent flight from Palma to Paris, as visibility was excellent. cloud cover minimal and turbulence (ie camera shake) negligible, and greasy smudges on the window from previous passengers absent! I was good to go, with camera at the ready…
My first shot was seconds after take off as the aircraft swung out over Palma Bay giving me a great view of this beautiful city. If you’re geography isn’t so hot, then I’m talking Mallorca. Curiously this image slightly reminded me of a nice photo I took of the seafront at Blackpool, when I did some aerial photography many years ago in my newspaper days.
The second shot was my favourite, showing the tidy harbour at Palma, complete with three cruise ships in port. It’s a favourite stopping point for Mediterranean cruises and there is usually something large dominating the scene. The photo is nicely complimented by the impressive backdrop of mountains. I think the tallest peak on the horizon is the island’s highest, Puig Major at 1,445 m (4,740′) and to put it in perspective, quite a bit taller than our Ben Nevis.
Continuing and in chronological order, as the plan continues to gain height and turn northwards, I got a nice view of the island’s south western corner, home to some of the biggest resorts.
At the top is Isla Dragonera (Dragon Island) and supposedly resembling a sleeping dragon. This is somewhere I have yet to explore and with regular ferries from the mainland, shouldn’t be a problem.
One of Mallorca’s largest resorts and particularly popular with Brits, is Santa Ponsa, shown in the foreground as I zoom in on the coast.
My final shot of Mallorca is looking up the west coast over the mountains. This doesn’t quite give the impression of just how mountainous this part of the island is. If you’re hiring a car you certainly need to be happy with extreme hairpin bend driving. Quiet an experience, but well worth it for the spectacular scenery.
All quiet out the window and time for a brew, before sighting the Spanish mainland below. My flight conveniently flew very close to Barcelona giving me a good view of the city, albeit at cruising altitude through the thick glass of the window, hence not the sharpest detail.
A different sort of landscape below as we track north over the Pyrenees mountains. A beautiful landscape that looked rather bleak in my view. I’m not sure if the white is a fine dusting of early snow, or just white rock glinting in the sunshine. A fairly low sun and shadows helps to pick out the mountaintops.
It’s great when you can look down on clouds from a plane and I love the way they envelope the mountains like a blanket. Also a sign of cloudier skies ahead as we leave the Mediterranean behind.
A curious sight sometimes, if the sun is behind you, is a shadow of the aircraft on the cloud below, surrounded by a strange halo of light. It’s called a glory. A glory is made of sunlight scattered back toward you. It’s much smaller than a rainbow and it’s made by light scattered from the droplets of a cloud, instead of falling raindrops.
Rainbows are nice to photograph and they look quite different at 37, 00 feet. If you’re lucky it will appear a a full circle, with sun on one side of the plane and showers and mist on the other. My shot captures some of it, visible over central France.
My final photo is rather cheating in that it wasn’t taken from the plane, but a couple of days later on the top of Montpernasse Tower in Paris. For a fantastic view of the city, forget the long queues for the Eiffel Tower and head for the nearby Montpernasse Tower where you get a wonderful view of the city that incorporates it’s famous neighbour. At 210 metres, its a little shorter but nonetheless dramatic.
This is the tallest building in Paris and well worth a visit, day or night (or preferably both). There’s even a chance to get some shots not through glass as there are gaps to snap through.
It’s an iconic view of an iconic city to finish on.
I hope my shots have inspired you to keep your camera handy, when you board your flight, as well as when you’ve landed.
Happy snapping and more Photographer’s Ramblings coming soon…