Astonishing Aerials of Cloud Formations (PHOTOS)

By: Camille Mann
Published: July 19, 2013

Aerial view of the Caribbean Sea, 2012. (Jakob Wagner)

German photographer Jakob Wagner’s series of aerials over the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Seas show breathtakingly clear views of clouds from above, despite the fact that they were captured from inside passenger planes.

“In common airlines the conditions are unpredictable,” Wagner explained to “The windows might have little scratches or they are just too dirty from the outside to allow for good photos.”

In addition to the plane’s windows, Wagner said weather conditions, flying altitude and atmospheric pollution can also affect the sharpness of his photos, something he has to correct in digital post-production. Conditions like rain clouds or thunderstorms can produce stunning images, but also cause a bumpy ride.

“In December 2011 there was a heavy winter storm over West Europe and we had serious turbulence while landing in Glasgow. There was a moment when the machine suddenly sagged down several times, it was a horrible feeling to be at the mercy of the forces of nature.”

While most of Wagner’s aerial photos are taken from regular passenger planes, he would prefer to take them from gas balloons.

“From a gas balloon you are able to shoot in almost all directions and you fly very slowly. You also have the opportunity to fly several days at a stretch,” he explained.

The two series featured above “Sea of Clouds” and “Caribbean Sea” were shot on passenger flights. “Sea of Clouds” was taken on his way from Cape Town to Dusseldorf, Germany and “Caribbean Sea” on a flight from Houston to Bogota, Columbia.

Wagner, who spent a lot of time in planes as a photo assistant for a few renowned photographers, said that’s where his aerial portfolio was born.

“The job included a lot of time in airplanes that I couldn’t have afforded otherwise. So, I tried to use every flight to capture aerial scenes from landscapes to clouds for my personal photography projects.”

The Duesseldorf-based photographer, who has always been captivated by thunderstorms and lightning, says it makes sense why he has decided to focus on photography of weather. For more on Wagner’s work, visit his website.

MORE: Amazing Aerials of Beaches Around the World

Bondi Beach, Australia. (Credit: Gray Malin)

Featured Blogs

California Drought/Polar Vortex Jet Stream Pattern Linked to Global Warming

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 16, 2014

From November 2013 - January 2014, a remarkably extreme jet stream pattern set up over North America, bringing the infamous "Polar Vortex" of cold air to the Midwest and Eastern U.S., and a "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" of high pressure over California, which brought the worst winter drought conditions ever recorded to that state. A new study by Utah State scientist S.-Y. Simon Wang found that this jet stream pattern was the most extreme on record, and likely could not have grown so extreme without the influence of human-caused global warming.

March 2014 Global Weather Extremes Summary

By Christopher C. Burt
April 15, 2014

March featured a number of anomalous extreme weather events such as the floods in portions of Egypt and New Zealand, a freak hailstorm in Asmara, Eritrea, record warmth in much of Europe, severe cold and snow in the eastern half of the U.S. and heavy rainfall in the Pacific Northwest that culminated in a deadly landslide in Washington. Preliminary data from NASA indicates that globally (land-ocean temperature index), it was the 4th warmest March on record (since 1880).

Polar Vortex, Global Warming, and Cold Weather

By Stu Ostro
January 10, 2014

Some thoughts about the recent viral meme(s).

Just in time for the Holidays! Wundermap has a new layer: Precip Start Time!

By Shaun Tanner
December 23, 2013

The Weather Underground elves have been hard at work developing a brand new layer for the WunderMap and they made their deadline. Enjoy the newest addition to the WunderMap. Also remember to give us your feedback!

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.

Astronomical VS. Meteorological Winter

By Tom Niziol
March 1, 2013