I sometimes think how awesome it must be for pilots if they love photography. And an Ecuador-based pilot and photographer Santiago Borja Lopez proves me right. He captures night skies from his Boeing 767, and sometimes, these images involve lightning bolts and incredible storms. The sky from an airplane is magnificent on its own, but if you add lightning bolts above the clouds to that picture – you’ll get something completely astounding.
Santiago is based in Based in Quito, Ecuador, and flies long haul. Because of this, he often flies over regions that experience some amazing (and very photogenic) natural phenomenon. But worry not – if you are on a plane with him, be sure that he won’t leave the control seat to take photos. He captures them while he’s off duty and another pilot is flying the airplane, as the crew takes turns at the controls.
One of his images won the third place at National Geographic’s Nature Photographer of the Year contest in 2016. It depicts an isolated cumulonimbus lit by a thunderbolt. It was shot at 37000 ft, and it looks like completely surreal, like a cotton-candy nuclear explosion.
Despite the incredible images he takes, he and the crew stay safe and protect others. The plane never flies near or above the storm, but long lenses are enough to do the work more than fine. As a result, the passengers are safe and sound, and they get to see some incredible images once they are back on the ground. Here are some more of them:
About the Artist
Santiago Borja Lopez is a pilot and photographer based in Quito, Ecuador. As a pilot, he flies the Boeing 767-300ER. As a photographer, he mainly does nature and landscapes. For more of his work, check out his website, like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.