Pilot and photographer Christiaan van Heijst’s stunning photo of the Northern Lights
Boeing 747 pilot Christiaan van Heijst has captured this stunning photo of the Northern Lights and the Milky Way from his cockpit.
Van Heijst’s portfolio of images taken from his rare perspective, high above the clouds, has captivated millions.
Now one of the world’s leading aviation photographers has detailed how the exclusive display unfolded in front his window above the sparsely populated Canadian arctic.
“Green, turquoise, purple, red; the colours change as rapidly as the shape of these flaming curtains,” he said.
“It's bright glow reflected off the clouds, ice and snow below, giving the world an otherworldly appearance.
"I still remember seeing a documentary about the northern lights on television when I was five or six years old.
“Tales from the first polar explorers who witnessed these magical lights, the reverence in which these shows have been regarded since ancient times by the inhabitants of those regions.
“Sights and experiences reserved for the lucky few explorers that dared to venture where no man had gone before.
"If only I could see it myself one day when I'd be a grown-up (I thought), if I'd only have known then what would be in store for me.”
Even after having seen it a dozen times from the flight deck, van Heijst says he was “still in awe when a cosmic plasma storm is silently raging far above my head”.
“(It’s) a visual spectacle with ferocious intensity and magnitude that can make a human being feel so insignificant,” he said.
"Whenever I’m lucky to see the northern lights I wonder about the impressions and thoughts of the first human beings to witness them on their trek north.”
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