The Air Up There

Posted by on October 31, 2011

When I was about 15 my best friend’s mother gave us some word of wisdom.  “Everyone knows one or two subjects really well.  They might be completely ignorant about everything else, but in those subjects they are experts.  Unfortunately in this town, most of the men have chosen to be experts about the weather.  That’s farming for you.”

Clouds figure large in your life on the prairie, where the sky is bigger than the land.  Those men depend on the weather for their livelihood, so yes, they they are experts on the sky.  I was always more of a detached observer.  I notice and enjoy beauty wherever I can find it, but I don’t know anything about weather patterns, or what it all means for precipitation.  I just know the way water and light interact is gorgeous.

The first time I was in a large, commercial, airplane, all I could do was look out the window.  I still prefer a window seat, even with long legs.  When we descended into our destination we went through a bank of clouds.  For a moment we were in the cloud, and there were shafts of sunlight all around, and it was beautiful.

These images are the work of photojournalist Rüdiger Nehmzow.  He strapped himself into a small airplane with an oxygen mask and several cameras, then left the door to the plane open as it flew to about 20,000 feet.   Nehmzow is German, but these photos were taken above Brazil.

They are as beautiful as the sky above the prairie.  I love the layers upon layers of clouds.  We are used to looking up at the clouds, changing the viewpoint to straight on, changes the compositions they create.

Rüdiger Nehmzow’s website.

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