Friday, January 16, 2009

The Last Salute Of The Day’s Light

On Final Approach To Melbourne

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


The inner child comes out every time we check in for a flight, whether it is a short domestic hop or a long international trip.

Do I want an aisle seat or a window seat?

Window, thank you very much. But now that I am a responsible father of three, I happily surrender the coveted seat to one of the Authorbloglets. No worries there.


Last week, when we were flying back across this huge country-continent from a family wedding in Perth, I kept peering past Mrs Authorblog to check the view outside the Qantas Boeing 767. The landscape changed in a range of amazing hues during the almost four-hour flight, and I knew we would be landing just minutes after inky darkness hit the sky like a squid’s secret weapon.

I had done the right thing and given Mrs Authorblog the window seat, but as I had my favourite 18-125mm lens on my camera, I knew that I’d still be able to compose a decent shot through the window if we were treated to a swift burst of striking colour.

Sure enough, just as the captain began to bank towards Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, I saw the last burst of vivid colour beginning to coat the sky. I quickly shot a series of about ten frames, happily contorting myself (not an easy task when you’re my height) in order to capture the stunning Australian dusk.


The jet banked hard, heeling over on the port wing (that’s left, to the landlubbers) as I was about to hit the trigger and I watched in dismay as the colours swam so high up my little window in row 51 that I simply could not capture them.

Being the resourceful fellow that I am, I realised that I had a few seconds – while the pilot completed the manoeuvre – to capture the hues reflected on the metal skin of the wing, even though there was nothing but complete darkness across the leading and trailing edges.

Sure enough, the captain straightened out in a few seconds and I was level with the horizon once more. This time the colours were even stronger and more pronounced, with the wing itself in darkness this time.

To think that none of this would have happened without the Wright Brothers.


For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.


47 comments:

Craig Glenn said...

David,

I think this is the most unique and well thought out skywatch post I have seen. I really enjoyed that.

Craig

richies said...

The first picture is particularly good. The color is great, and it has an abstract quality.

An Arkie's Musings

Daryl said...

AND Mrs Authorblog letting you lean across her to get the shot. ;-)

Lee said...

I always try to get a window seat over the wing. Looking out and down is a fascinating adventure. Those are great shots, David, and a tribute to how quickly your mind can assess a situation!

Cheers!

Artist Unplugged said...

The photographs are beautiful! How can you not love a beautiful sunset from a birdseye view. I am gaga over any type of sky/cloud photos...I have hundreds.

Rebecca said...

Absolutely lovely! Such clear, vivid shots.

quilly said...

What a gorgeous sunset! How incredible that you got to photograph it from an airplane -- though I am certain it would have looked incredible wherever you photographed it from.

Dumdad said...

Lovely photos.

I still get that childish urge to sit next to the window but, like you, will let my kids have first choice!

The Muse said...

I love how you relinquish the best seats for your "brood" lol...parenthood the most selfless of posts, other than this one, of course... :)

I am all about taking pictures of the mechanics of the plane...one more set of eyes...surely cannot hurt!

George said...

All the photos are wonderful -- I just love the colors in the first. But I'm really impressed with the reflection on the wing of the aircraft. Quick thinking and a good eye.

Mojo said...

Wow. When you watch the sky, you really like to do it up close and personal, eh?

I can't decide which I like better, the first shot in the series or the one with the wing on black. Both are striking!

Cheffie-Mom said...

I love the colors in these photos. Absolutely beautiful! Oh, and "Authorbloglets" Love it!

Corey~living and loving said...

these are stunning. I love them all. such a beautiful sight to behold. thanks for sharing.

Carol said...

David...You always get the most extraordinary shots out of airplane windows. Just beautiful!

Pat Houseworth said...

Always enjoy taking photos from planes....even have managed to get decent photos of the Lake I live on when 70 miles from the airport.....

RuneE said...

That's the way to do it - I'll remember it the next time i go flying!

Sylvia K said...

Gorgeous as always, but different and that makes them all the more intriguing and unique! Thanks for sharing, David.

Sandra said...

These are really original - I haven't seen much pictures with this theme.

Louise said...

Nothing like a sunrise or sunset from above.

And I'm with you on the window seat. I WILL give it up for one of my children, but they are still small enough that I can do whatever I need--almost as if they were not there.

Rob Ripma said...

Great shots. I really like that you included the wing of the plane in your shots. Great idea!

Steffi said...

Absolutly fantastic photos!Perfect for a SWF!Have a nice weekend!

esnorway said...

good work on this SWF have nice weekend

Photo Cache said...

beautiful rich colorful skywatch entry.

bowledover said...

Wonderful colours here. Neat to capture the reflection in the aircraft wing too. Thanks for sharing.

Colin Campbell said...

Very nice. I have not been out flying for ages. I don't really miss it after years and years of on and off planes. My favourite was walking onto a 747 up the stairs from the old KL Airport.

Have a great weekend.

imac said...

Nice work David, sounds as if you were as high as a kite.lol.

Ida said...

Just about perfect - the view and the photos.
Very good timing. :)

cheshire wife said...

Wonderful!

Petunia said...

Very nice! The first one is my favorite! So perfect!
Today! Only! On my blog:
SWF Puzzle for sale;)

Greyscale Territory said...

Love your bubble of comments attached to the photos! (Still smiling here!)

Interesting shots!

Merisi said...

These images and your story capture the romance of flying!

David, they do take take on an extra meaning after the emergency landing of an USAir plane on the Hudson river in New York City.

Rocky Mtn. Girl said...

That's as close as I would like to see that sky that far up... =)
I'm not too fond of flying... *shiver*
Very pretty photos indeed!
~Michele~
Mountain Retreat

Gill - That British Woman said...

great story, and great photos.

Gill in Canada

Woman in a Window said...

This is beautiful. And it's been so long since I've flown I think I forget how.

Patricia said...

wow! You have beautiful photos! Love the orange. You are right, when you fly the inner child comes out :) and I love flying!
Happy weekend!

dulce said...

I love the first one very much. I'm glad you captured it.

Arija said...

Honour where honour is due, good on the Wright Brothers!!!, with a little help from our contorionist friend they brought us some amazing shots. Never before have I seen a black lightning flash. The light on the wing was just spectacular as was the co-operation of the sun and haze to produce those stunning colours.
You I take it were responsible for putting it all together into perfect compositions which at the best of times is quite a job from an aircraft.
I dips me lid!

Jack and Joann said...

I like how you wove the pictures into a story. And today I learned that there is a MrsAuthorBlog and three little bloggets! That's nice to know. To know that your not alone in that big old country down under in that big old Pacific Sea. Australia=Big Island in my thinking pattern.

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Wonderful snaps and beautiful colours!
I always fight for the window seat! hehe ;)

Enigma said...

Incredible colors David! What a great series. Thank you for sharing!

vincibene said...

Fantastic series!

ArneA said...

Due to the text this post is one of the best in this week meme.
But I prefer the aisle seat.

Sandi McBride said...

Lovely
Sandi

Hilary said...

Great series of shots by a pro. If I'd have tried this, I'd have just been wingin' it..

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi David
Excellent post great pictures as always my friend...

becky voyles said...

Love the photos as always, David. Just perfect. I am quite sure Mrs. Authorblog knew you could still take photos from where you sat. Of course I would have let you come take one from the seat. No, wait... I'd be taking it with my own camera! LOL Check mine out & tell what you think of it.

Tammie Lee said...

wonderful series of images. Love the smoothness of the colors. And 'inky black' wonderful line.