Week 42 – Flyover Country

I’m a Midwesterner, geographically, so I get a bit annoyed at times by East Coast and West Coast folk who dismiss the middle of the United States as flyover country. Cosmopolitan identity gives way to disinterested ignorance.

Nonetheless, my own experience of much of the Western South, Midwest, and Great Plains is limited mostly to flying over it. I’ve driven as far south as St. Louis and west as Crested Butte, Colorado. But that’s it.

But I love flying over the Midwest and Plains to photograph them. Here’s three sets of shots from my recent trip to Las Vegas for the Western History Association’s annual meeting, some from east of the Rockies, some over Nevada as we descended towards Las Vegas.

From the Midwest:

As you can see, I had problems with the glare of the sun and light in the plane. These were taken with my Fujifilm XE3.

This is the lone black and white shot, taken of a plateau region with a mix of desert and foothills (Fujifilm XE3). The light was remarkably flat and color did not work, so I went black and white and added a lot of contrast.

mountains meet desert

Finally, flying over Lake Mead and over Las Vegas, taken with my iPhone. More problems with glare and haze are obvious in some shots.

From thousands of feet the dry, monochromatic landscape is beautiful. From the ground, the dryness and the spread out nature of Las Vegas left me aware that my eye is profoundly shaped by water rich landscapes. It was not so much that I could not see beauty as the absence of familiar frames of reference.

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