“Window Seat” Inspiration

Several weeks ago, I treated myself to a copy of Julieanne Kost’s fantastic book, “Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking“.  It is a great mixture of some fantastic photography, shooting tips, and philosophy that goes well beyond the camera to life itself.

Julieanne is the Principal Digital Imaging Evangelist for Adobe Systems (gotta love Adobe for creating job titles like that!).  But more to the point of this posting, she is a very, very skilled and creative photographer and terrific teacher.  I had the pleasure of meeting her last year at a conference and have been a fan ever since.  You can find her bio and her many tips and tutorials via the Adobe website ( or from her personal website (  Or you can check out the book at O’Reilly Media ( .

Window Seat” (don’t want to violate her publisher’s copyright, so won’t post a cover image here) is a photo documentary of Julieanne’s many business trips with all of the images taken from the window seat of the airplane.  In the book, she shares her thoughts, a few fears, some of her triumphs, all in the context of her passion for photography. This book isn’t a how-to on digital photography as might be assumed from the title, but rather, in my opinion, it is a brilliant composite of images and thoughts, all from the window seat of an airplane.

So why am I writing about this?  Because, in addition to all the gushing above, I found it to be a very inspirational basis for my trying to do some shooting from my “window seats”.  Julieanne writes about the physical challenges of attempting through-window photography, but I fully underestimated just how hard doing that is.

On a recent trip to Alaska, I re-booked all my seats to the window variety.  Unfortunately, none were forward of the engine and wing (one of her main tips), but I had to take what I could get.WindowSeat_Sky

Armed with my Nikon D800 and a 28-300 lens (very nice lens, but probalby not the one I should have used), I started shooting some abstracts, clouds and skies.  Not a single one comes close to what I had expected even for my first attempt.  But I’ve included some of those first attempts here.WindowSeat_Clouds

None have that abstract quality that are in her book, but hey, I couldn’t ask the pilot to move a few hundred miles to the left!WindowSeat_Wing

I even tried while on a small plane out to the Iditarod trail.  Now those windows were really bad.  If you think grey clouds render the light flat while on the ground, you should see it from the air.  And, unfortunately, sharpness with the specific gear I had failed pretty miserably.  But the atempt was another good learning experience.  So, it was time to try some interpretive stylization!WindowSeat_Trail

I will now go back and re-read (for the already half-dozenth time) “Window Seat” and try some more on the next trips.  Sure wish I’d had it back in the day when I flew too many times each month over what would have been wonderful possible subjects.WindowSeat_Mtn

Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, Julieanne.



1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for your support Jim! I’m really happy to hear that you are enjoying the book AND that you’re photographing out the window of the plane. I love it! Please, I hope you’ll keep it up. The composition of the image of the Iditarod trail is wonderful. I know that sharpness can be an issue – so I’ll be looking for more images next time – where you rented the plane and had them take the doors off! : )

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