ABOVE THE CLOUDS
When I travel, my Nikon is always ready to shoot. I especially love Kodachrome 35mm film. It comes in ISO (ASA) of 25, 64 & 200. Very few people know that it can be pushed one and one third stops by having the Kodak lab run it special at the end of their daily run. So I can shoot the 200 ISO film at an effective 500 ISO if I need to.
Above the clouds, the view is surreal and different. I book a window seat so I have the choice at all times during the flight to take pictures. I make sure that the lens is very close to the window but not touching it because there are bad vibrations. I use a 50mm normal lens with an A-1 skylight filter because that sees exactly what my eye sees. The filter cuts out all UV rays for better pictures.
My lens is set at a middle f-stop like f8 or f5.6 for sharpness. A lens is sharpest two stops down from its widest aperture unless it is a macro lens.
My shutter speed is as high as possible corresponding to the light outside the plane. The light meter in the Nikon is as good as the best expensive hand-held meter. Plus, it accurately reads the light coming through the window, through the filter and lens that is landing on the film. This gives me a perfect exposure 30,000 feet up on top of the clouds.
The star is made by the aperture blades when the lens is pointed at the sun. Do not look directly at the sun because it will blind you permanently. Only glance at where you want it to be in composing you picture. You may want to bracket your f-stops to get darker or lighter exposures while you are shooting. There should be time to do that professional technique. Slide film is delicate to notice one quarter f-stop changes. Print film or film that makes prints from negatives can be color altered in the lab while being printed, unlike slide film.
Another thing to note is that x-rays are
cumulative on film. So when you travel, use a lead lined
film pouch which may be purchased at most camera stores
or by mail order. Going in and out of airports security
checkpoints can and will affect your film. Many times I
ask for personal hand checking of my cameras and film in
order to prevent x-raying of my film. Another tip is to
hold the roll of film that you intend to use on the
flight in your hand and pass it with your car keys and
coins around the metal detector and x-ray machine. I have
captured many gorgeous pictures out of airplane windows
while traveling. You can also if you plan ahead.