Western US

Snapshots from the sky: Denver to Los Angeles

Sometimes I think I should have been a pilot.

I’m not actually sure the realities of that job would be the best fit for me – and I love my actual job – but I know for sure that I’d never get sick of gazing down at our beautiful planet from the air.

I’m forever a window seat person. I’m that passenger who spends the entire flight with their face pressed against the glass (I mean, not actually pressed against it because, gross) staring out at the scenery. I put a lot of thought into choosing my seat, looking at the likely flight path and aiming for whichever side of the plane will offer the best views. At this point, I pretty much have it down to an art form. Or maybe I’m just a dork.

Anyway. I flew to Los Angeles for spring break this year, and it was the first time I’ve flown west out of Denver since we moved here. And wow, have I been missing out! The Colorado mountains are always beautiful, but looking down on jagged snowcapped peaks from the air gave a whole new meaning to the word.

In fact, the entire route was almost completely cloudless, so I spent the whole flight using the live flight-tracker and my knowledge of the Western US to identify (and take way too many photos of) the highlights. I learned that the layered red rock landscape of southern Utah looks even more bizarre from the air, the Grand Canyon is enormous (I mean, I knew that. I’ve been there. But seeing it from the air really emphasized just how huge it is), and Lake Powell and Lake Mead really are frighteningly low. Also, there’s a lot of desert in southern Nevada and California.

I was hoping to have equally wonderful views from the other side of the plane on my flight back to Denver, but a 2+ hour weather-related delay resulted in a nighttime flight, the only views being the occasional burst of city lights and a whole lot of darkness. Better luck next time, I suppose.

This was actually my first ever visit to Los Angeles, and I’ll be writing all about it in upcoming posts. But for today, I’m just going to share some of my favorite airborne photos. They’re not the best quality since they were taken through the window (obviously) but hopefully they still do a decent job of showcasing the beautiful views I enjoyed from the air.

Leaving Denver
Above the Continental Divide, Colorado
Canyonlands National Park, Utah (center left)
Colorado River and Glen Canyon National Rec Area, Utah
Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
Grand Canyon (if you squint through the shadows, you can see the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon)
Lake Mead, Nevada
Mojave National Preserve, California
San Gabriel Mountains, California

45 thoughts on “Snapshots from the sky: Denver to Los Angeles”

  1. You are SO lucky to have clear skies your whole trip. That rarely happens, at least for me. My husband is an airline pilot, and he heartily approves of your love of aviation and taking photos from the plane. Half my FB feed is photos of local mountains that he’s taken. Mountains and flying go well together indeed! As for being a pro pilot? It’s a tough job that requires you to be away for long periods at a time. If you like living out of a hotel… However, this is a pilot shortage right now so it’s a great career that pays well. Pluses and minuses, like every job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, I’m sure he has thousands of photos. I have a friend who is a charter pilot and he takes so many amazing photos. But he does say living out of a hotel sometimes gets old.


  2. I thought about being a pilot too because of having lived in so many countries! Have you ever seen the movie Sully that’s about the Miracle on the Hudson? I love how real it is

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the geography and geology lesson, Diana. I’m also a fan of window seats, but have not taken the seat choice quite to your level, as far as picking the side of the airplane. I need to get with the program! 😊
    Let’s hope this winter’s snowmelt and the spring rains will help raise the levels of Lakes Powell and Mead!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this! And your photos are really impressive for being through that plastic window. I look like a kid who is on her first flight every. single. time. I’m sure the adults near me are rolling their eyes as I grab for my camera and maneuver to get the best window shots. I love following the flight tracker, and sometimes I even take a photo of the route on my screen before or after the window pics so I remember exactly what I am looking at (double dork!). My coolest recent ones were of Baghdad, including the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (so exciting), more of the Middle East, and then later in the flight, the fjords of Norway!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yep, that’s definitely me! I watch planes take off and land when I’m at the airport, I watch the crew working out on the tarmac, and then I watch the scenery out the window. I’m totally that person.

      Those sound like some amazing photos you’ve taken from the air!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll go against the grain and say that I’m an aisle seat girl (due to more leg room and easier access to the bathroom/walking around the cabin). But I do appreciate views from the airplane window, and I try to sneak a quick photo when the other passengers in the middle and window seats aren’t around or are asleep, haha! I’m excited to see what you got up to in my hometown soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I do understand that preference. I always feel bad when I’m at the window seat and need to get up… but not bad enough to give up my window seat preference haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You have very accurate pictures of these beautiful places. I am generally disappointed by aerial photos, the automatic settings tend to get lost in the space. I choose the window though, just in case, but mostly to catch up on my sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I had many more photos that didn’t turn out thanks to glare, smudges on the windows, etc. I’m happy I was able to capture some good ones. Window seats are definitely ideal for sleeping as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had the same experience (and put out a similar post with similar shots – haha – great minds think alike) on our flight two years ago from Minneapolis to Palm Springs. What a great route, and I’m usually a strict aisle-sitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Like you, Diana, I love the window seat. And I am always sure to check out whatever scenery is below me. I also take photos, a few weeks ago of clouds over Mt. Shasta. Views of sights like the Rockies and the Grand Canyon never grow old. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m with you Diana. I love the window seat (my wife says I hog the view) and am always looking down to see what is below. I was taking photos out the window since 1980 (poor photos, but photos nonetheless). Have a great day. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, the challenge of having two window seaters. Pat and I are the same way… we both always want the window seat so we have to switch off. I was alone this trip, though, so I didn’t have to share.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha glad you enjoyed that little tidbit. I hadn’t initially written the “obviously” and then realized upon proofreading that everyone clearly understands how planes work 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m glad that you are a window “dork” too. Although my friends and relatives kid me about it, I love the window seat and look not only at the natural landscape, but enjoy picking out high school and college tracks, golf courses, stadiums – especially at night and smaller airport runways…..

    Liked by 2 people

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