The rules might say to keep your electronics stowed during takeoff and landing, but sometimes, you just can’t help yourself. And even though we certainly don’t condone breaking FAA regulations, the above photograph is a prime example of one of those times when not being able to help yourself pays off.
Taken by photographer James Kastner, the snap beautifully captures the sun glinting off the One World Trade Center just as the glare on the harbor aligned with Liberty Island. It’s no wonder the shot has gone viral.
The story behind the photo starts with a 7am business flight from Newark to Miami that Kastner was taking with his boss to demonstrate a 3D printer at a jewelry show. This isn’t the first time Kastner has gotten media attention for a photo he’s snapped out of an airplane window, and so his boss was kind enough to give him the window seat.
And it’s a good thing he did, here’s a closer crop of the shot he was able to capture:
He took the photo with his 5D Mark III and trusty Canon 28-70mm f/2.8L lens, and when we caught up with him through email to inquire about the image, he told us a little bit about how he got the shot:
I did have to break the rules a bit to get the shot, but I couldn’t resist, so I set my camera to silent mode to be as stealthy as possible. As we gained some altitude, the sun was just coming up, creating an awesome silhouette of the city.
The plane made a slight turn to the east and was angled just right so the city was in full view. The sun was glaring and the shine coming off One World Trade Center was too irresistible to miss that photo, so I fired off a few shots. I got this photo just as the glare on the harbor aligned with Liberty Island.
When he got back to his hotel, he immediately recognized the shot for what it was and uploaded it to his Life After 10,000 photo-per-day album on Facebook, and then eventually Reddit for good measure. The rest is upvote history. As he puts it: “I should fly more often.”