Picture of the Week: Starry Flight

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Last night I flew from Dallas to London on my way to Austria (from where I’m writing this post) (note: I’m also hungry and am very first-world probleming that Uber Eats doesn’t work out here and all the restaurants are closed ugh) on an American Airlines 777-300ER.  I was in business class (seat 6A) and was hoping to see the northern lights from the airplane since I saw that the forecast for aurora activity looked positive.  Ultimately I didn’t see any northern lights (our flight path wasn’t north enough, unfortunately) but I had my camera set up just in case I did and I got a great picture instead!

I used a tabletop tripod and mounted my Sony a7rIII and my 24-70 G Master lens and set everything up for a semi-long exposure shot to capture the stars with the jet engine and wing in the frame.  I had to get a bit creative though due to the light coming from the various lights inside the jet.  I eventually took the blanket from my sleep set and would hold it over the window and the camera (which probably looked sketchy as heck) for a few seconds at a time to get the pictures.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well this worked, although it really made me regret there not being any northern lights activity, but oh well.  The image still looks incredibly surreal to me, and, in post-processing, I really got creative in making the image into what I wanted to show you.

Hopefully more images to come from my time in Europe this week but for now here’s a slightly delayed Picture of the Week: Starry Flight!

For the photographers: As you hopefully read above this one was super challenging to take.  Post-processing, however, was pretty easy and accomplished all in Lightroom.  My settings were 10 seconds, f2.8, and ISO 1600.  I really just boosted the heck out of contrast and clarity to get the blues a really deep hue and bring the starlight out.  I was at 24mm so going any longer of an exposure than that would’ve led to some star trails, which I didn’t want.  Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

3 Comments

  1. Boy, is that magic of flight. Well done.

    Reply
  2. Nice work, love the image. I felt a little awkward myself trying the same on a recent flight to LHR. Unfortunately I was in Main Cabin Extra and the wing obstructed my view.

    Reply
  3. That’s awesome!

    Reply

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