Photos of the One World Trade Center Shot from an Airplane Window

aerial perspective of one world trade center in new york

Photographer Mathew Ziegler is one lucky man to have his camera ready to point and shoot at some truly remarkable, aerial photographs. In what was a brief opportunity while flying from Florida to LaGuardia, Ziegler’s lens shot the One World Trade Center seemingly piercing its sharp top above the clouds hovering over New York City. The photo which was sold to the Associated Press, quickly made the rounds of various photo slideshows on news websites across the internet. Ziegler was seated in the plane when he first saw the rare chance at snapping these shots.

While in the cabin, Ziegler conveniently had his camera on his lap on the trip from Florida to LaGuardia, as the flight was heading north while over the Hudson River. His initial intention was to capture images of the stars he saw on the way to Florida. Instead, what presented itself was a far rarer image to orchestrate or anticipate.

As the plane made flight adjustments towards the southern part of Manhattan, he noticed that practically every passenger on the plane had their attention on something going on outside the cabin. As he looked outside, there was the 1 WTC peeking through the clouds. Ziegler said that after making the bank over the bay, there it was looking very surreal. Ziegler further describes the brief moments:

I could see out of the corners of my eyes that everyone had their faces up against the windows in the seats in front and behind me (sorry for the guy sitting next to me. He probably didn’t get to see it with me in his way!) As quickly as it came it was gone.

I didn’t have much time to make camera adjustments because it all happened so fast. I was at ISO 6400 because I had been shooting people in the cabin because I was bored during the flight in addition to trying to make those stars pictures which didn’t work at all like I thought. I was at f/1.4 on a fixed 35mm underexposed about three stops. Although these probably weren’t ideal settings being underexposed help keep the building sharp since we were so low and moving so fast. The original version is quite dark, but I think that’s better than over exposed and blurry. So that was that!

The One World Trade Center occupies the same location where the original World Trade Center once stood.

Manhattan skyline
Photo Credit: Mrs Logic
Photo of the Manhattan Skyline in October 1989
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.