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747 pilot shares incredible pictures that he’s taken from the cockpit

My office view is better than yours! Jumbo jet pilot shares incredible pictures that he’s taken from the cockpit

  • Christiaan van Heijst is a 747 cargo pilot who always has his camera on board so he can snap cockpit views
  • He has flown all over the world capturing cities, shooting stars, the Milky Way and the Northern Lights
  • Christiaan says he has always been in awe of how the light and shadows interact so high up in the sky 

When it comes to flight deck photography, Christiaan van Heijst sets the bar sky high.

Christiaan, 35, has flown all over the world capturing thousands of cities that pass by, shooting stars, the Milky Way, and the Northern Lights.

The 747 cargo pilot always ensures he has his camera on board so he’s able to share the amazing natural views he witnesses at 30,000ft and above.

When it comes to flight deck photography, Christiaan van Heijst sets the bar sky high. This image was taken above Iran

Christiaan, 35, has flown all over the world capturing thousands of cities that pass by, shooting stars, the Milky Way, and the Northern Lights. This image was captured half-way across the Atlantic Ocean

Christiaan always ensures he has his camera on board so he’s able to share the amazing natural views he witnesses at 30,000ft and above. Here the plane is so high you can even see the curvature of the earth

We’ve published astonishing pictures that he’s taken on MailOnline Travel before – and this latest batch from the Dutch pilot, which were taken over the past eight years, are similarly jaw-dropping.


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Christiaan said: ‘It is sometimes hard to describe to people what’s so special about flying at night when you see the stars, Northern Lights and dim glow of the atmosphere around.

‘Or what it feels like to see the cities, countries, oceans and continents glide by below your wings as if we’re detached from the planet.

Here Christiaan has captured the Northern Lights above Alberta, Canada, in spectacular style

Christiaan said: ‘It is sometimes hard to describe to people what’s so special about flying at night when you see the stars, Northern Lights and dim glow of the atmosphere around’

Christiaan says he has always been in awe of how the light and shadows interact so high up in the sky. These are the lights of London, glowing beneath the heavens

Way to glow: The selection of photos here were taken using long exposures

‘I think every photo tells its own story and together, like pieces of a bigger puzzle, they show a much broader picture that tells what it is like to fly across the globe at night.

‘This selection of photos show a series of long exposure photos from the cockpit and airplane cabin to illustrate the possibilities of long exposure photography in the air.

‘The urge to capture those beautiful views started when I had my first job as an airline pilot.

‘The mesmerising views at night of the cockpit and all its little lights, the cities that pass by, the countless stars, the Milky Way, shooting stars and sometimes even the Northern Lights was something that just had to be captured by camera.’

Christiaan says he has always been in awe of how the light and shadows interact so high up in the sky.

Christiaan describes the skies he flies through as a playground for his photography

This is a view of the flight deck as Christiaan’s 747 heads over Quebec towards the Atlantic Ocean

The flight deck viewed from a bit further back. Most would agree, that’s it’s one of the world’s most spectacular offices

He added: ‘Light is behaving in a completely different way compared to what we see on the surface of the earth and this, combined with the unique perspective we pilots have from the cockpit, was just the perfect playground for my photography.

‘Another thing that urged me to capture these scenes was the fact that every vista, cloud and landscape is changing constantly and thus will never be seen again.

‘Very often I’m just the only person to see that view from that perspective and I simply felt the urge to capture this beauty and share with the world.’  

The man behind the lens: Here’s Christiaan appearing on the other side of the camera for a change

High flier: Christiaan gazes forwards from the flight deck of his 747 cargo plane at 33,000 feet

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