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Silver 2019 Science / Environment

Close Encounters of The First Kind

  • Photographer
    Christiaan Van Heijst
  • Prize
    Silver in Science / Environment

A thick uniform layer of stratus clouds is acting like a blanket over the northern Turkish coast, hiding the bright Moon from the face of the Earth. But above the clouds the highways of the air are in full motion around the clock. Nearly all the traffic from Europe to and from the Middle- and Far East is passing along a narrow corridor over the Turkish Black Sea coast. In this case there were two airplanes coming towards us at the same time, 1000ft below and above. Sandwiched in between, the exposure time of 6 seconds drew their navigation lights as long colourful streamers.

Born and raised in The Netherlands in 1983, I was fascinated by natural light in all its forms since a young age. Now working as a pilot, flying all over the world, I always have my camera with me to immortalize the world around me, be it from the cockpit or at destinations that I am fortunate to visit. Capturing moments that have never been seen before and will never be seen again with eye for light, composition and mood.