Reach Out Of The Plane And Touch That Glacier by David McMahon

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Reach Out Of The Plane And Touch That Glacier by 

This shot was taken in August 2008, during a memorable flight over the Kaskawulsh Glacier.

The pilot’s name was Andy Williams, of the Kluane-based Icefields Discovery Flightseeing Tours – and while he was very familiar with the airspace and the peaks, it was an great experience to be sitting behind such an experienced flier.

There was little or no turbulence, which meant I had the chance to work with two cameras, a Pentax K100D with a Sigma 18-125mm lens and a Pentax K200D with my Sigma 70-300mm lens. I reckon the flight was about an hour’s duration and from memory I shot more than 500 images in total, while airborne – which works out to about eight images a minute, or roughly one image every seven seconds!

The weather was fairly clear at the start of the flight, but as we climbed aboved the snow-capped peaks, I could see signs that the conditions would soon be closing in. This meant that the light was really interesting and quite often the snow as seen from one side of the fuselage of the plane was pure white, whereas the snow on the other side had a distinct grey-blue tinge.

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 18-125mm lens. F6.7, 1/3000 sec, ISO 200, focal length 58mm.

Featured in FROM THE COCKPIT, April 2010.


Featured in SKY HIGH, May 2010.


Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at

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  • Betty Mackey
    Betty Mackeyover 4 years ago

    Wow, what a fabulous experience and equally excellent photo!

  • Thank you, Betty – the real credit must go to the pilot. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Simple as that!

    – David McMahon

  • Lynn  Abbott
    Lynn Abbottover 4 years ago

    A wonderful opportunity, David! And as always, YOU made the most of it!!! Fantastic photograph, David! Love the blue coloration…such an interesting interplay of shadow and light…

  • Thank you very much, Janine. It was an incredible flight, and the light across those snowy peaks was really interesting in its variation.

    – David McMahon

  • byzantinehalo
    byzantinehaloover 4 years ago

    Stunning! Byz. :))

  • Thank you very much, Byz. A couple of hours later, the weather had deteriorated, so the timing was crucial that day!

    – David McMahon

  • bevanimage
    bevanimageover 4 years ago

    Just make sure you have your woolly gloves on! Great view of a spectacular landscape, David.

  • I’ll remember that next time, Bev! Wide-open spaces and snowy peaks have always fascinated me ….

    – David McMahon

  • Tomi10
    Tomi10over 4 years ago

    a stunning view David.

  • Thank you, Thomas. The Yukon inspires me in many ways ….

    – David McMahon

  • Themis
    Themisover 4 years ago

    Great view – nice take. This (and one taken just before or after) would make a great 3D

  • Thanks very much, Themis. I actually thought, during that flight, that it was like looking down at a 3D map!

    – David McMahon

  • CeePhotoArt
    CeePhotoArtover 4 years ago

    Your cohosts,
    Cee and Chris

  • Thank you, Cee and Chris.

    – David McMahon

    JUSTARTover 4 years ago

    fab shot

  • Thanks very much, JustArt. It was a flight I’ll never forget.

    – David McMahon

  • CJTill
    CJTillover 4 years ago

    This is awesome work David.

  • Thank you, Colin. A couple of hours later and conditions would have been dramatically different.

    – David McMahon

  • BaZZuKa
    BaZZuKaover 4 years ago

  • That’s a great honour. Thank you very much, BaZZuKa, to you and your co-hosts. You would have revelled in this flight, too.

    – David McMahon

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