An aerial view from the cockpit: a rare perspective

An aerial view from the cockpit: a rare perspective

Christian van Heist — Dutch pilot and part-time photographer.

His photos — whether it’s the twists and turns of the Delta of the Indus river in Pakistan or striking colors of the Northern lights over Alaska — made with a rather rare angle.

Van Heist holds up to 100 hours per month flying and for more than ten years devoted to improving the art of aerial photography.

Often he simply puts the camera on the visor of a dashboard, like its lens to the glass, and leaves some time to take a picture with long exposure. “Nevertheless, he says, have to do five or ten night shots to get at least one sharp. And, if you’re lucky”.

Van Heist often works on long-haul flights, with two or three pilots, so he has the opportunity to move around the aircraft and take pictures like this: with views of the Northern lights over the wing of a Boeing 737. According to him, the radiance so bright that sometimes only a couple seconds of exposure to get a good photo.

This photo was taken over the Northern regions of Russia and has sealed the Northern lights along with the sunrise. Done in almost complete darkness, she was able to grasp due to the long exposure and the Northern lights, and sunrise at the same time.

Using exposure length is 30 seconds, photographers run the risk of getting fuzzy pictures, especially in turbulence.

According to van Heist, Murphy’s law applies in the stratosphere: “as soon As I set the camera starts shaking”.

The next picture shows a thunderstorm over Toronto. Van Heist took this photo, being a passenger on a flight. He used an ultra-wide angle lens “fish eye”, creating the impression that the camera is outside the plane, and presenting engineering achievement of man against the natural disaster.

“These types of forced to realize how lucky I am to have a job” — says the pilot-photographer about this picture of the Himalayan mountains in the setting sun.

All the pictures of Christiaan van Heijst.