Pilot and photographer Christiaan van Heijst reveals his favourite photos

Headshot of Geoffrey Thomas
Geoffrey ThomasThe West Australian
St Elmos fire on 747 windows.
Camera IconSt Elmos fire on 747 windows. Credit: Christiaan van Heijst

World renowned pilot and photographer Christiaan van Heijst has revealed his 10 favourite photos taken from his office in the sky.

Mr van Heijst’s brilliant photos have captivated millions, giving unique perspectives on our planet, its near neighbours, and of course, mother nature.

Here are his favourites:

Sunrise and thunderstorms.
Camera IconSunrise and thunderstorms. Credit: Christiaan van Heijst

Sunrise and some small thunderstorms while flying over Arkansas in the US.

Aurora and moon over Canada.
Camera IconAurora and moon over Canada. Credit: Christiaan van Heijst

Of the aurora and moon over Canada, Mr van Heijst said: "In the dark; a long veil of Aurora is stretching under the stars while the full moon ahead acts like a bright beacon for our 747."

"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. Fear? Awe? Curiosity? Or perhaps a mixture of all of them.

“Having no knowledge to explain their presence or nature, I can imagine the aurora must have been of divine origin to them; a manifestation of their old Gods and the new.

“Today we know that the aurora is caused by charged particles from the Sun that get caught in the Earth’s magnetic field.

“A rather boring and factual statement, though it doesn’t take away the fascinating nature of the lights. An enchanting display of one of the most beautiful manifestations of nature and that always leaves me excited when I see them in person.”

Moon over a cloudy Pacific.
Camera IconMoon over a cloudy Pacific. Credit: Christiaan van Heijst

On the moon over a cloudy Pacific Mr van Heijst said: "Endless patches of stratus clouds cover the north Pacific Ocean, while the moon shows her face in the far distance. An island in the sky."

Milkyway over Brazil.
Camera IconMilkyway over Brazil. Credit: Christiaan van Heijst

"A long exposure over Brazil shows the brilliance of the galaxy core while countless villages drift by below our wings," he said of the shot he took of the Milky Way.

St Elmos fire on 747 windows.
Camera IconSt Elmos fire on 747 windows. Credit: Christiaan van Heijst

A spectacular image of St Elmo's fire was part of a mesmerizing show of colourful static discharges on the 747 windows.

See Mr van Heijst’s entire top ten here, while more of his work can be found on his website or his @jpcvanheijst Instagram page.

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