Kai Tak

A few photos I took at Kai Tak airport, Hong Kong, around 1985. These were slides, and they are well preserved. Still, of course after scanning I had to so some touchups and restoration.

The famous checker board:

Pretty steep tun at very low altitude. An adventure, landing at Kai Tak.

And the large aircraft were amazing. I was at the Hong Kong aviation club, at the foot of Rwy 13. I was learning to fly Cessnas at the time. And afterward we’d drink in the bar and see htis:

Anyone who has been there will recognize this – and feel the humidity, small the smells, and feel like they’re there again. That is the power of photography.

Click to see larger. Ektachrome; touched up with Lightroom and de-noised with Avast De-noise AI.


The other day, as we were landing (on my way back from the recent trip to Phoenix), into the -18C frigidity:

Click for larger.

How to shoot these in the first place: I have recently talked about this. Basically, low ISO but large aperture (low “F-number”), wide angle, and get very close to the window.

As is often the case with aerial shots, this image needed some adjusting in Photoshop: mainly, a levels adjustment; with a bit of noise reduction added, followed by some sharpening after resizing.

Aerial picture tips


Since I have not been on an airplane for a year, I thought it might be time to tell you how to take pictures from one. And in sort, it is like this:

  1. Carry your camera, no bag, “underneath the seat in front of you”. Keep it discreetly when flight attendants walk by. A camera does not in any way endanger the aircraft. You could put the strap intop your seat belt to avoid the camera flying off in case of turbulence.
  2. Sit near a window (but not over the wing…).
  3. Wait until the plane banks, after take-off or before landing (as when turning final  in the picture of Manhattan above).
  4. Aperture mode, wide open, perhaps 100-200 ISO. Or you could try “sports” or “portrait” modes.
  5. Get close to the window – close, but no touching.
  6. Zoom in, but not extremely so: use the widest angle you can to still get the right composition.  Wide angles are less susceptible to vibration.
  7. Shoot repeatedly, as much at right angles to the window as you can.

Finally: you will find many aerial shots to be somewhat hazy. That can be fixed if the problem is not extreme. In Photoshop, do a “levels” adjustment to ensure the histogram goes from black to white.

It is as simple as that!