Photographer Shoots Departures and Arrivals of Various Commercial Flights and Combines the Images in One Photo

mike kelley

You can do many things with eight hours. Eight hours is a typical work day. Eight hours is also ample time to tour a new city. It also takes eight hours to travel from most states to another. For Mike Kelley, eight hours translates to an opportunity to photograph something ordinary, but in an extraordinary manner. Being an avid aviation enthusiast, Kelley recently shot the flight activity of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in one astonishing photograph.

mike kelly airplanes

Kelley devoted practically a whole day at the south complex of LAX where he shot all of the departures and some arrivals of the various commercial flights. He then devoted another eight hours processing the images with Photoshop combining all his material together. The result is a large squadron of commercial aircraft in flight all together, making for a rather awesome image of modern aviation.

The remarkable image shows how eight hours of planes taking off at Los Angeles International airport look like if they took off at the same time. Kelley shot 370 photos during one day of planes arriving and leaving. 75 of the shots made it into his single spectacular image which he calls Wake Turbulence.

airport mike kelly airplanes

Shot from the airport’s south complex, the composite image includes take-offs from two runways, which is the reason for the size discrepancies in the many airplanes.  Kelley admits to some ‘artistic liberty’ with the angle of the planes departing from LAX. The busy airport had a transient 66 million passengers go through it in 2013 alone.

Kelley recently uploaded the image to his blog and had this to say: ‘I took some artistic liberty with the angles of attack to make a more interesting photograph, but for the most part this is all very similar to how it would appear if you were to go and watch yourself….If you look to the right of the tower, I also tried to get some of the heavies arriving. Singapore, Air France, Malaysia, Air New Zealand and Emirates A380s and 772s.”

mike kelley  departures arrivals

See the amazing Wake Turbulence here and also read about how Kelley came up with the image.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.