Saturday, February 28, 2009

At One with the Sky

Someone asked recently for a full-sized version of the cloud picture I'm using lately for my profile picture. I'll tell you the story behind it. I was searching for photos of airplanes I had flown, because I wasn't sure I had the registration right on one and wanted to double check it without calling the company. I happened upon not the airplane I was looking for, but another one, and the date was very memorable, so although the pilot is not really visible in the picture, I knew it was me.

I e-mailed the photographer, Chris Coates, and he was kind enough to send full-sized versions of not only that picture, but of all the pictures he had taken that day. He said the light wasn't quite right so they weren't all up to the website's very high standards. The last one was a picture of the sky that I disappeared into. When I first saw it I thought of it as a very gloomy sky, then I realized it was sunlight showing through darkness. i really like it because I think of it as a picture of me at one with the sky.

After the recent request, I e-mailed the photographer to make sure it was okay to share his work on the blog and he e-mailed back:

My friend, you can do whatever you please with that cloud photo. Post it wherever you'd like. I appreciate you asking me if that was OK, it was kind of you but not necessary. I don't own the sky, it belongs to everyone!

I think that statement makes the picture even better. You can see more of Chris's photographs at


The Flying Pinto said...

Oooooh, I love that! Sounds like a great guy! It was nice of you to ask, I like the pic:)

Anonymous said...

If only all photographers had that attitude :P

I've had some experience in the industry, in the past, and it was not quite that nice.

Frank Ch. Eigler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Ch. Eigler said...

Chris snagged a picture of little old me too.

mid said...

Excellent sentiment!

(For the other comments about aviation photographers: Well, making money in photography is an awkward balance of being friendly and preserving copyright.)


Anonymous said...

If only all photographers had that attitude :P

I've had some experience in the industry, in the past, and it was not quite that nice.

THe flip side to that is that there are folks who are shameless about ripping off work owned by others. I'm not a professional photographer, but I can certainly sympathize. As an example, a friend of mine who was in the publishing business, orchestrated some fairly dramatic photographs, he spent a fair amount om money, and he has hired a pro photographer (who was working for a fee and my friend would acquire the rights to the photos) It was for a commercial venture, and it wasn't long before other folks were ripping off those same images and using them for commercial purposes. That may be part of the reason some photographers get testy about their images.

No doubt that are also those who just have big egos and bad attitudes

Anonymous said...

It's a great picture. I love cloud pictures ... ( and astronomical images, sort of really far away, big clouds. )

There's nothing like a sky with clouds for making you realize you're actually flying, enjoying views not given to mortals before only 100 years ago. I rarely have a camera handy, but have vivid memories of certain views.

For example .. at cloud-base in my sailplane, laughing with the joy of an effortless 3000' climb, an easy glide home in hand. One last turn and a slice of the waning moon was just beyond the limb of the cumulus. It looked like I could have reached it were the cloud higher. You'll just have to trust me, it was breathtakingly beautiful moment.

Flying for a living would be nice, but I sure am glad I can fly anyway, for views like those.