JasonTank PRO
JasonTank

Grand Canyon at 35K



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Behind The Lens

Location
I find that as photographers we attempt to control all aspects of each shot, i.e. lighting, exposure, shutter speed, and tripod to name a few. However, all this was thrown out the window (no pun intended) as I was approximately 35,000 feet above the Grand Canyon traveling 500+mph taking the shot through the window of a plane. I simply tried to frame the shot as best I could using the lens hood propped against the window to act as a steadying tactic. Then it was simply fire off a few shots before the framing was gone.
Time
This shot was taken mid day with clear skies and no clouds in the area. I was concerned that the direct sunlight and my high vantage point would not permit for great detail in the image but after mild tweaking with Photoshop I was able to resolve some of the issues from the initial shot.
Lighting
I had no control over this aspect and tried to slightly underexpose the shot given the harsh/direct sunlight over the landscape. I figured this would give me more to work with during post-processing than it would if I had overexposed the shot.
Equipment
My equipment consists of a now, almost archaic, Nikon D200 camera body, and a Nikon Nikkor 17-55mm lens at 50mm with the hood on.
Inspiration
I find myself attempting to photograph things in ways that haven't been done (or overdone) by others. I love sitting next to the window on airplanes because the vantage point to see such a vast landscape is unparalleled. The challenge in taking a photo like this is trying to convey that same experience through the photo. There were several such photos that I was able to take on this particular trip that I was pleased with and, admittedly, this initially was not one of my favorites but has grown on me with time.
Editing
The original photo proved to be uninspiring which probably led to this not being a favorite of mine. I think I left it for the better part of a year before attempting to process the photo. The first thing was to overcome the exposure issues and cloudiness that came with shooting through 2 panes of glass on the airplane and the direct sunlight. The original photo appeared grayed out and not as sharp as I remembered it. I used Photoshop Levels and Curves to correct some of the initial problems and then bumped up the saturation and contrast slightly to give more dimension and depth to the canyon walls.
In my camera bag
I don't like to carry a lot of gear and this trip was no exception. I was on my way to Las Vegas and the last thing I wanted to do was drag along a bunch of equipment that I would worry about. My Nikon D200, 17-55mm lens, 80-200mm lens, and SB-800 were my companions this day.
Feedback
As for advice shooting from an airplane through 2 panes of glass traveling over 600mph, simply use the widest angle lens you have, a fast shutter speed, and attempt to slightly underexpose 1/3-1/2 stop if the lighting is clear and sunny as it was this day. Luck also plays into it as you never know what the weather conditions will be like and if you will get a shot of something you want because of the limited view through the airplane window. Be ready with your camera and good luck!

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