Purple lightning, psychedelic sunsets, glowing clouds, and swirling Northern Lights — when it comes to crazily beautiful natural phenomena, airplane pilots have a front-row seat.
Whilst there are plenty of incredible scenes, landscapes and locations to be photographed here on the ground, few photographers are lucky enough to take to the skies regularly enough to take photos of what lies above the clouds but 747 pilot Christiaan van Heijst is lucky enough to do that, using his passion for flying to enable him to pursue his other passion in life, photography.
This is truly heavenly weather.
Amazing snaps taken from plane cockpits show thunderstorms light up the insides of clouds
“It’s like a peaceful solitude just flying high up in the sky away from the rest of the world and the planet,” he tells CNN Travel.
Determined to become a pilot since childhood, he got his first job 14 years ago, flying in Africa and Afghanistan.
The pilot brought his camera along to document the experiences. “I needed to capture them because I realized that if I don’t take pictures of it, if I don’t capture it, it will be gone forever,” he says.
The snaps were taken by pilot Christiaan van Heijst and his friend Daan Krans
Van Heijst quickly realized that photographing from the plane was just as exciting as photographing on the ground.
“It started with documenting these adventures back in Africa and Afghanistan, but I broadened my photography to documenting the whole feeling, the total feeling of being high up in the air — and being in an environment where only a very few people are able to enjoy the views,” van Heijst explains.