Airplane Sunsets

Earlier this fall, I took a flight from Santa Barbara on my way to Chicago which had me flying out of SB around dusk. Like usual... the plane here in SB took off headed directly west and then took a long slow left turn to head south towards LAX. I was fortunate to be sitting on the right side of the plane because I got to see something that you just don't get to see every day.

For as far as I could see out of my all-too-tiny airplane window... there wasn't a cloud in sight. The Pacific Ocean and sky met in the longest, straightest horizon one could imagine. And this straight edge between water and sky was so distinct because it was highlighted in these amazing streams of rich red light. The sun had just dipped below the edge of the earth but the horizon still shined with the deepest reds, oranges, and yellows. Very tough to describe, but breathtaking to say the least.

Now I've seen my fair share of sunsets here on the west coast... looking out over the ocean where it's flat as far as you can see. But there was something very distinct about being 10,000 feet up in the air and looking down at the horizon. It was almost like I could see more than the normal 180 degrees of horizon. The sunset was stretched out so much further than anything I was used to seeing. It was phenomenal!

I tried to grab a picture of it... but by the time I had picked my jaw up off the seat and wiped all my drool off the window... I couldn't get anything decent with my phone's camera. Bummer.

However... on my flight home from Christmas in Sacramento... I was fortunate enough to find myself in a similar situation. Flying south... sitting on the right side of the plane... and taking off around dusk. This time I had a little bit more time to grab some panoramic shots from about 25,000 feet up. The colors are amazing... and the horizon just goes on forever! They need to make planes with bigger windows! There's a slight tear in the image where the different pictures didn't line up... but you get the idea. Click on the image to see it bigger.


OpenID grant said...

I've been fortunate to experience a fair number of sunsets from 30,000 feet. But I must say my favorites are sunrises at that altitude. Because normally most everyone on the plane is asleep... It's like a private, live-art show from God..

2/20/2008 10:52 AM  

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