One of the advantages enjoyed by pilots is the ability to witness stunning natural wonders from inside the cockpit, just like Ecuadorian pilot Santiago Borja.
Photography was the main hobby that drove Borja to capture awe-inspiring images of thunderstorms he encountered while flying in the skies.
Speaking to CNN Arabic, Borja says, “I’ve always been interested in observing storms and weather conditions from the cockpit, so I started learning how to capture these atmospheric phenomena from the aircraft window.”
It took him some time to adjust the camera settings and a bit of luck until he had the opportunity to capture his first lightning photograph.
Borja confirms that the pilot’s perspective from the cockpit is completely different from the passengers’ perspective on board the aircraft.
He explains, “It’s a completely different experience, not only because our windows are bigger and have better quality, but also because sitting in the forward direction provides a different view of the world.”
He continues, “You can see many aircraft passing by that passengers cannot see, or witness storms forming miles away.”
Borja often encounters these unique phenomena, which he documents in the Caribbean and Amazon regions throughout the year. He adds, “I believe that every part of the world has its uniqueness when it comes to weather and natural landscapes.”
Borja’s photos stand out for their focus on turbulent weather conditions, which are usually widely shared.
One of these photos, titled “Pacific Ocean Storm,” gained significant traction when a user on Twitter shared it, attracting a lot of attention.
For Borja, two photos stand out from his collection. The first is titled “Pacific Ocean Storm” and showcases a type of cloud known as cumulonimbus, which is usually associated with thunderstorms.
Borja believes that this photo highlights the unique structure of cumulonimbus clouds, and he mentions that many scientists from around the world have reached out to him to explain the intriguing theories behind their formation.
The second favorite photo of the Ecuadorian pilot has become the cover of his personal photo book. It features a lightning bolt illuminating the sky above the rainforests in Ecuador.
Recalling the capture of this photo, he says, “I was fortunate enough to be able to capture a close-up photo of lightning during daylight. It’s an opportunity that won’t repeat itself.”
Since childhood, Borja has always dreamed of becoming a pilot.
He says, “I’ve always loved flying. I lived near the airport in my city, and I would wake up to the sound of big aircraft engines. The airport was surrounded by mountains, which posed a challenging obstacle, and I always wondered how skilled pilots could safely land amid strong winds between those mountains.”
Borja receives widespread feedback from his followers on the social media platform Instagram. While some express their admiration for the beauty of the photo, others focus on the natural phenomena documented in the image, and there are also those who aspire to learn to fly.