Archivi categoria: airplane

Taking the Last Picture of Something

The recent collapsing of the Azure Window in Malta finally motivated me to take my keyboard and tell you the story behind the picture above.

T’was the summer of 2015. We were on a journey on the North Shore, a beautiful region of Québec at the mouth of the St Lawrence River. A pretty classic road trip. Departure from Montréal, a stop at Québec City, two nights at Grandes Bergeronnes next to Tadoussac. Here we go for a nice weekend of oxygenation. A summary can be seen in this video:

But among the hundred of pictures taken during this trip, it’s without any doubts this lonely seaplane on a lake at sunset that is the most fascinating.

This picture had been shot on the 2nd night of our weekend. While we were en route for Tadoussac for dinner, when our attention was caught by the side of the road with this seaplane and this lake. This was the kind of moment where all the passengers of the car marvel at the beauty of a fleeting moment of a sunset, and when the detour to go to the shore is not even to be discussed.

It was August 21st at 8.13PM.

Less than two days later… “Another Tragedy for Air Saguenay”

“Seaplane Crash on North Shore: ‘vertical’ impact”

While we were heading back to Montréal, the radio announced the crash of a seaplane of Air Saguenay. After the obvious horror and empathy for the victims, a realization came to me — a realization that my photograph is probably among the last, maybe the last, existing of this aircraft.

The last visual trace of this seaplane in all its glory, innocently “immortalized” by my camera…

It’s also my guilty pleasure: this photography attracts, in an inexplicable manner, gazes and attention. As if an invisible force was attracting them, viewers stop and contemplate. And I like to come and have a contextualizing conversation…

Me: “Do you like this picture?”

Viewer: “Yes! It’s really [insert a positive adjective like beautiful, nice, superb…]!”

Me: “You know there’s a whole story behind this picture…”

Viewer: …

Me: “… This plane crashed the day after this picture. It’s probably among the last pictures of this particular plane.”

Viewer: *Mixed expression of fascination and half-disgust towards this new morbid information*

And this is where you really realize the responsibility of a photographer; our pictures might be the last trace of someone, somewhere, or something. Or maybe they will be the last trace of us in this world. That’s why they must exist (and the perfectionist will say “and be perfect too”).

This is where I also realized the broad scope of the name “visual storyteller” to describe a photographer. The story we’re telling is not always in the picture itself or in the moment it captured. No. It’s sometimes in a moment before or the after. In a temporality that hasn’t been frozen in the picture.

But taking a picture, and knowing it’s the last of the object you’re portraying, is a unique experience. Morbid, but profoundly aesthetic. Fascinating, but heavy with unsolved questions. It’s a peculiar feeling for a peculiar piece of art.

Almost two years after, I still don’t know how I feel about this picture and the responsibility it bears. But I feel that it deeply moves me, and will continue to do so until my last shutter click.


About the author: Jp Valery is a photographer and a product manager at Gameloft who’s based in Montréal, Quebec. You can find more of his work and connect with him on his website, portfolio, Twitter, Instagram, 500px, and Facebook. You can buy a print of Valery’s photo here. This article was also published here.

Capturing the Northern Lights from a Window Seat at 35,000ft

On New Year’s Eve, you might think the people in Times Square were treated to the best light show… but you’d be wrong. Photographer Aryeh Nirenberg, enjoying a full row of seats on his flight from JFK to Reykjavik, Iceland, was treated to a more spectacular show.

New Year’s Eve might be the only night of the year you could dream of having a row of airline seats to yourself on a flight to Iceland, and Nirenberg took full advantage of his luck.

Using the abundance of space, he slapped his Nikon D810 and 20mm f/1.8 lens on to a tripod and rigged it to the window with a blanket for maximum visibility and minimum glare. Here’s a picture of his setup, busy shooting a time-lapse at 35,000ft.

The final product is a tad shaky at times, but stunning all the way through. If you’re not requesting—nay, requiring—the window seat every time you fly at night, you’re missing out. Check out the full video up top and then give Nirenberg a follow on Instagram to see the photos he captured once he landed in Iceland.


Image credits: Photo and video by Aryeh Nirenberg and used with permission.

Shooting the Aurora at 36,000 Feet with the 4M ISO Canon ME20F-SH

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Of the things that new camera technology has allowed us to do, filming the Aurora Borealis in real time has to be one of our favorites. Using the incredible Canon ME20F-SH, the folks at AURORA skycam TV were able to capture the northern lights in real time, handheld, while gliding along at 36,000 feet and 800 km/h.

The $30,000 Canon ME20F-SH, in case you don’t remember, can capture footage at over 4 million ISO! By comparison, 102000 is a walk in the park. In fact, they were able to shoot the whole thing at 1080p and 50fps.

The resulting video—captured from inside a Norwegian airlines flight—reminds us that the so-called ‘polar spirits’ dance slowly, not at the hectic time-lapse pace we’ve grown accustomed to. It just wasn’t until very recently that camera tech allowed us to see the display in real time.

There are some amazing shots in this video starting right away, but as the AURORA skycam team puts it in the description: wait for the good stuff.

Drone Hits Plane Approaching London Heathrow, Pilot Says

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It was only a matter of time, a safety specialist in London said, before something like this happened. Yesterday at 12:50 BST, a British Airways Airbus A320 carrying 132 passengers and 5 crew was hit head on by a recreational drone while approaching Heathrow, the pilot claims.

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed the incident, saying that they were contacted Sunday afternoon shortly after the incident. Aviation police have launched an investigation, but no arrests have been made at this time.

Fortunately, the pilot was able to land the plane safely and the airliner was cleared for its next flight by engineers. But if you think a drone doesn’t pose serious danger to a massive airliner, it’s worth thinking again.

“You end up with very high-velocity bits of metal going anywhere they like,” Steve Landells, flight safety specialist at the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), told The Guardian. “That could be through fuel tanks, through hydraulic lines and even into the cabin.” He also said that current computer models show a drone could penetrate an airliner’s windscreen.

Landells is the same specialist who said it was only “a matter of time” before something like this happened. He’s calling for more education and enforcement of the rules.


Image credits: Photograph by Juergen Lehle

Astronaut Snaps Photo of an Airplane from the ISS

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Every day, NASA releases a photograph from their collection that allows us to admire the great blue and green planet we call Earth. Recently, the agency released a picture of a group of small island cays in the Bahamas. The most interesting aspect of the photo is not the location, but a little bit of detail that reveals itself when you closely examine the photo.

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Zoom in on the image and you will find a single aircraft and its two condensation trails as it moves through our atmosphere. The photograph was made possible with a Nikon D4 camera and an 1150mm lens. Due to the weightless space environment, astronauts can take steady shots without the need of a tripod for stabilization.

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The photograph was taken by a member of the Expedition 44 Crew that was aboard the International Space Station on July 19th, 2015. NASA notes they have cropped the image and enhanced it to improve contrast. The only thought on our mind, though, is how much clearer the image might have been if NASA used Canon’s latest 50MP DSLRs instead of a 16.2 megapixel one.

(via NASA via CNET)