Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

I’ve looked at clouds

with 54 comments

On the flight from Coron back to Cebu City on December 14th
I sat next to a window and took pictures of clouds that interested me.

At one point I saw a rainbow by looking down, as I had on land earlier in the year.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2020 at 3:20 AM

54 Responses

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  1. It’s not all that often we get to look down on clouds…at least for a non-flyer like myself. Nice catch of the rainbow.

    Steve Gingold

    January 13, 2020 at 3:27 AM

    • I don’t remember if I’d ever before seen a rainbow by looking down from an airplane. As noted in the text, it was the second time in less than a year that I looked down on a rainbow, the other one being at a gorge in upstate NY.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2020 at 4:07 AM

  2. It’s part of the feeling of luxury I always feel, despite the cramped seating, when flying – – the passengers are above the clouds, enjoying the beautiful cloudscapes, while down on earth, it’s just another cloudy day. That rainbow shot is amazing.

    Robert Parker

    January 13, 2020 at 5:24 AM

    • It wouldn’t have occurred to me characterize economy class as luxury. You’re right, though, that moving along above the clouds at 600 mph is something that people for almost all human history would have considered not only luxurious but magical. And to look down at a rainbow twice in one year was another kind of luxury.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2020 at 6:14 AM

  3. That first one is really impressive.


    January 13, 2020 at 6:30 AM

  4. The rainbow and the puffiness of the first photo are great, but I’m most taken with the second photo. Looking at clouds from below and from above may have given rise to that song about ‘both sides now,’ but looking at a cloud ‘edge-on’ is pretty darned unusual. It’s a great image, made even more interesting by that little flock of accompanying dark, linear clouds.


    January 13, 2020 at 8:10 AM

    • You knew the song the post’s title alludes to.

      Aotearoa, the native name for New Zealand, is supposed to mean ‘the land of the long white cloud.” The second photograph is unusual in showing such a very long dark cloud. Whether each cloud in the “little flock of accompanying dark, linear clouds” is another one of the same kind as the primary subject, but much farther away, I don’t know.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2020 at 3:31 PM

  5. Clouds remain forever a rewarding and fascinating topic for the photographer. Your outstanding pictures sparked a renewed interest in capturing their beauty, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    January 13, 2020 at 8:33 AM

    • When I lived in Honduras in 1968 I remember watching clouds while listening to a symphony by Brahms on the radio. You, too, can be a pursuer of clouds, Peter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2020 at 3:33 PM

  6. I’ve never taken pictures out of the windows of planes because I thought reflections or dirty window panes might ruin the picture. But your great pictures convince me otherwise. Maybe I’ll try on my next flights [in May to Ireland and back, and in August to Germany and back].


    January 13, 2020 at 9:01 AM

    • The dirt on airplane windows and sometimes even the plastic itself did sometimes cause distortions, but more on a later flight than on this one, where I managed to get some pretty decent pictures. I hope you make out as well on your flights to Ireland and Germany. We have nothing to lose by trying: we can always throw any bad pictures away.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2020 at 3:41 PM

      • “We have nothing to lose by trying: we can always throw any bad pictures away.” – Now that’s true, thanks to digital photography.


        January 13, 2020 at 11:02 PM

  7. Great shot, Steve. Keep flying and shooting.


    January 13, 2020 at 9:17 AM

    • I’m happy with these pictures. Nevertheless, flying has become a real chore these days, what with all the inspections, waiting, cramped seats, and other discomforts. I prefer driving whenever it’s possible (obviously not to the Philippines): even if driving takes a lot longer, I can keep my own schedule, stopping whenever I want and for as long as I want, and I can carry as much with me as I want.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2020 at 3:44 PM

  8. Clouds from the top side never disappoint the viewer! Beautiful images, Steve!

    Lavinia Ross

    January 13, 2020 at 9:56 AM

    • Glad you enjoy them, Lavinia. I was pleased with what I managed to get. The next flight, as we headed home, wasn’t very productive.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2020 at 4:15 PM

  9. Gorgeous skyscapes………….


    January 13, 2020 at 10:35 AM

  10. Beautiful! The rainbow is lovely. Now I have that song lyric in my head…”I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now…”

    I’ll go listen to the song so it’s not playing in my head all day long. 😀


    January 13, 2020 at 12:02 PM

  11. Absolutely beautiful, even if they aren’t wildflowers. I’m not the least bit upset.

    Michael Scandling

    January 13, 2020 at 2:29 PM

  12. Awesome!!!

    M.B. Henry

    January 13, 2020 at 5:04 PM

  13. Yummy. I’ve seen rainbows like that several times on trips to NZ and South Africa. Awe-some.

    Jenny Meadows

    January 14, 2020 at 2:37 AM

    • “Yummy” is a good word, and it’s good to hear you’ve observed some southern hemisphere rainbows by looking down from a plane. The hyphen in “awe-some” also suggests the original meaning of the adjective “awful,” which has changed polarity in modern usage.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 14, 2020 at 7:22 AM

  14. Fabulous cloud photos from a die-hard cloud fan. Especially from a plane.

    Jane Lurie

    January 14, 2020 at 10:47 AM

    • Thanks for appreciating them. Shooting through the poor optics of airplane window plastic made was a drawback, so I was pleased to get some decent pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 14, 2020 at 1:11 PM

  15. Taking pictures of clouds from the sky is magical. Great captures here. The rainbow tucked in there was an extra special bit of magic. I really like that pop of color. Thank you for sharing.


    January 14, 2020 at 11:54 PM

    • And thanks for commenting. This short flight may have been the best I’ve ever had for cloud pictures. Certainly the rainbow was a bonus.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 3:26 AM

  16. Sitting next to the window on a plane is the BEST! The rainbow is wonderful. 🙂


    January 15, 2020 at 11:52 AM

    • I’m with you: for as long as I can remember I’ve tried to get a window seat on my flights. Even without a rainbow, I like to see the clouds and the land.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 2:53 PM

  17. Nice examples! Having a good observation point from my home I am very tuned-in to clouds. They can certainly make or break a landscape photo. Sometimes I see them as Mother Nature’s abstract paintings.


    January 17, 2020 at 1:10 PM

    • Thanks. I envy you your good observation point from home, and of course you have nearby mountains and winter snow. Airplane flights sometimes offer advantages over viewing from the ground, but on the ground we’re much freer as photographers to (mostly) aim where we want. On the plane I was constrained to a narrow field of view and had to contend with the plastic in the window and also with one of the airplane’s wings.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 17, 2020 at 3:50 PM

  18. Beautiful rainbow!!


    January 17, 2020 at 8:56 PM

  19. Clouds and distant views are two of the main reasons I prefer window seats on a plane, Steve. You captured some fantastic moments from your window seat.


    January 17, 2020 at 10:35 PM

    • Me too. On the linguistic side, let me add that the English word window is etymologically ‘wind eye,’ which accords with looking out at the wind-swept region above the earth.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2020 at 7:39 AM

  20. You know I love clouds …. heavenly post!


    January 18, 2020 at 1:39 PM

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