Contrails

Contrails (short for “condensation trails”) or vapour trails are visible trails of condensed water vapour made by the exhaust of aircraft engines. Pretty boring stuff for most of us but they sure do raise havoc when trying to pretend you are out in the wilderness, miles away from civilization. These beautiful images photographers make have straight and skinny white clouds running through them. Hard to hide but reality at the same time.

The Palm Springs area is only about a 2 hour drive from one of the most densely populated places in the world, the Los Angeles basin. The mind boggling Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is of course located their along with numerous other very busy airports. In 2007, 31,244,261 people departed Los Angeles International and 31,194,322 arrived.  That’s 31 miilion people arriving and 31 million people departing, the total population of Canada coming and going in one year. On top of this we have busy airports like Burbank and John Wayne adding even more.

Heading back to the contrails subject, it’s very difficult to shoot a photograph with much sky in the image without having at least one contrail adding its artistic flair. Camping in Joshua Tree National Park the sounds of jets coming and going also is a constant buzz drowning out the coyotes and killer lizards. What to do? The simple solution seems to be using longer lenses or just living with the blight. It’s part of the scenery whether we like it or not.

Contrails near Palm Springs

Contrails near Palm Springs

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3 Responses to “Contrails”

  1. Dave Blackey says:

    Great composition on a nasty subject. Dave

  2. […] writing the previous post about contrails and mentioning that over 31 million people fly into Los Angeles International Airport every year I […]

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