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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 Weather.com. “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)


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