Traveling Between

I travel across the United States, camera in hand, several times every year and the in-between-place, the time spent nowhere and on the way to somewhere, strapped into the car, plane, or train, is uncomfortably endured and then mostly forgotten. 
 
Airplanes are a strange, cramped, limbo where we are uncomfortably intimate with strangers, squeezed in together and breathing each other's air, but isolated by the constant white noise, dim lights and pressure on our eardrums.  Even our senses of smell and taste are suppressed at high altitudes.  The passage of time, as well, seems out of sync with its normal flow.  If I fly west, although I am suspended in the air for six hours, clocks say that only three hours have passed and if I fly east, nine hours have slipped by. 
 
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Initially, I took these photographs to break the monotony while traveling.  I expected the quality to be poor since I was shooting through airplane windows which are made of thick, foggy, Plexiglas.  At best, I hoped to collect pictures I could draw or paint from later.  However, the camera's viewfinder has a powerful magic which cuts out distractions and focuses the eye and the mind on the image before it.  To my surprise, I found that the subject matter of the pictures made up for any softness or defects in the photographs. 
 
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The view from the air is stunningly beautiful, moody and often bizarre.  The folds and cracks in the land look alien from this strange perspective.  Mankind tends to lay out its buildings, towns, and fields in simple, geometric shapes. I am amused by how frequently our pure concepts are skewed or broken by rivers and mountains and I am vaguely disturbed by the rigid order we impose on the plains. 

Up high, the air is cold, thin and free of the haze.  Midday clouds are crisp and white and sunrises and sunsets are saturated and dramatic.  At times, the plane is so high that the blue of the sky darkens to nearly black, reminding us that we are skimming just below the emptiness of space.
 
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The pictures I take have become an obsession.  I always sit by the window, much to the annoyance of my husband, and I reserve seats on the side of the plane that will give me the best light based on the direction we are flying and the time of day.  I still find the act of traveling to be an uncomfortable, strange, twilight experience which I can barely tolerate.  However, the act of photographing from the air gives me a sense of the sublime, that the world is beautiful and terrifying all at once, and although it makes me aware of how small and vulnerable I am, I also feel intense joy and wonder.
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Moody blue nevada