Boeing 777 Captain Jon Bowles has turned his night flights into an art form.
The 55-year-old British airline pilot and professional photographer has spent the past five years taking photos of the cities he passes over as he traverses the globe.
As a result, he has now amassed a collection of stunning images of the earth photographed from thousands of feet above, including images of Qatar.
In a statement, he said:
“One of the things I love most about flying, whether by day or night, is how it puts things in perspective. I love how different the world looks at night. I especially enjoy flying at night with no moon and a sky full of stars.”
Bowles’ work as a long-haul pilot has given him the opportunity to take photos of many of the greatest cities on earth, including Dubai, Bangkok, Tokyo and New York.
“I love seeing storms flickering in the distance, remote settlements sparkling in the desert, seeing the aurora when it’s active,” he said.
Bowles is keen to point out that there is “no danger” involved in the taking of the photos, as he only shoots images “at times of low workload” or when he is seated in the flight deck jump seat, with others pilots at the controls.
He adds that his photography requires that the airplane’s windows are very clean, as dirty glass can cause distortion. “I have been known to clean the windows myself before a flight,” he said.
Bowles said he likes to photograph cities that have “light areas, dark areas and patterns.”
“Older cities tend to radiate out of the center, with ring roads and spokes running into the center. They sometimes look like huge fluorescent growths on the countryside, with tendrils spreading out from the nucleus.”
Bowles estimated that he has flown around five million miles during his 36-year career as a pilot.
He added that he hoped his photos will give people a better sense of perspective in their daily lives:
“When you see the planet from above, you tend to appreciate the world we live on more.
It’s too easy to get stuck in your immediate environment, to forget that there is a whole planet out there, and that most of our day to day worries are trivial when seen in a planetary context.”