Take a look at this stunning series of "Airportraits" to see what we mean. They were taken by Mike Kelley, an LA-based architectural photographer who spent the last two years taking pictures of planes departing the tarmac at eighteen different airports around the world. Afterwards he compiled the images to create these stunning compositions that serve to remind us just how busy our skies are.
"The inspiration behind these images was somewhat simple," Mike told Bored Panda. "After the first LAX 'Wake Turbulence' image I knew that I had to do more, owing to how successful that original shot was. There are a ton of amazing airports, airlines, and airplanes out there that I had to photograph, so the plan was set in motion to try and capture as many as possible. Since I'm obsessed with airplanes, travel, and seeing new places, it was also a great excuse to get me out of my comfort zone a little bit."
This is shot from Dockweiler beach in Los Angeles directly under the path of departing flights between the hours of 5-7pm, when light from the setting sun illuminates the bottoms of the planes.
In the background, the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. I shot this between 6-8am, when there is a rush of departures to all over the world.
This is the original image which was supposed to be a proof-of-concept for the series. It was extremely successful and convinced me to expand the project to airports around the world. This image shows a day's worth of takeoffs from LAX's south runways, though some aircraft have been omitted due to redundancy - i.e., we don't need to see 84 737s!
This image was shot during the morning arrivals rush at London Heathrow as flights from Asia and North America descend on one of the busiest airports in the world.
Due to a complicated noise abatement scheme, Zurich Airport actually uses runways oriented in different directions depending on how light or heavy the winds are. This made for a very interesting photo when combined with the idyllic Swiss countryside that surrounds the airport.
Amsterdam's Schiphol is surrounded by quintessential Dutch canals and plenty of green grass. Some stormy weather provided an interesting background for the image.
This image was shot from the end of the runway as planes land during the morning rush hour.
It took THREE trips to London to get these images. The weather there is no joke. It was very difficult to get a full day of clear skies, and even though the day I shot this image on was threatened by clouds, I got lucky and there was no rain or heavy shadow. It made for one of my favorite images of the series.
This image was shot in July of 2015 when mainland Europe experienced some once-in-a-decade storms.
Planes depart from DXB's runway 30R - with a background of ominous clouds over the neighboring Emirate of Sharjah.