Summer Forest Fires from 40,000ft

One of my favorite ways to kill time on a long flight is to take aerial photos. It's such a good chance to get a unique perspective of an unfamiliar land, that it's hard to not keep my camera under the seat in front of me...just in case. Usually though, not much interesting is happening down below and nothing comes about from those photos. However, the other day on a 6hr flight from Miami to Seattle, I flew over this incredible scene - two wild forest fires near Stanley, ID and their smoke clouds blowing east for hundreds of miles.

Thankfully, I had my Canon 60D & 10-22mm lens with me and didn't have to try to capture this with my iPhone. The above photo was taken at 10mm, 1/2000th sec, f/7.1 & ISO 250 - super wide so that I capture the entire scene & horizon to provide perspective, and fast enough to stop the action and avoid any motion blur.

Photo Tip: Don't use a polarizer on your lens when photographing through a plane's window - it will give you some distracting rainbow color effects.

And one up close photo taken with my 70-200L...