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You know that feeling when you're on the sofa with your stupid cat and your annoying nephew watching Strictly Come Dancing and you're like, 'Omg, I have got to take a selfie right now of the three of us with zebra face filters and share it on the Instagram'? You know that feeling, right? The irresistible urge to capture the shot, the unequalled exhilaration when you share it with the world?
Yeah, well pilot Christiaan van Heijst hasn't quite experienced that most glorious feeling, but he can probably imagine what it must be like - having amassed a spectacular collection of pictures from the cockpit over the past eight years of his career.
The 747 cargo pilot always ensures his camera is close to hand as, unsurprisingly, when you spend your days and nights cruising above the earth at 30,000 feet, you are often exposed to breathtaking views.
The 35-year-old Dutchman's photos show thousands of cities across the world, along with the Milky Way, shooting stars and the Aurora Borealis.
He 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.
"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 mesmerizing views at night of the cockpit and all its little lights, the cities that pass by, the countless of stars, the milky way, shooting stars and sometimes even the northern lights was something that just had to be captured by camera."
It's hard to argue with that, but don't let this serve as inspiration to you; there's much less traffic in the sky, plus nobody wants to see 'Views From Behind The Wheel On The M62'. As Mr van Heijst explained, it is the uniqueness of his perspective that makes it worth documenting.
He said: "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."
Still, we await your latest cat-based selfie with bated breath.
Featured Image Credit: Caters
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