This week’s Photo of The Week comes from reader Alexander Krivenyshev, who was taking photographs and hadn’t realized what he had captured quite by accident. We not only have that photo, but additional shots detailing how Alexander succeeded in finding the plane, its pilot and its crew, and sharing the shot with them. It’s an amazing story of how one photographer made our big world a little smaller with an act of kindness.
It was all chance. Alexander had been photographing the sun and the moon recently—he’s into astronomical photography—when he chanced upon an amazing find. And what happened next was even more fun than that!
From The Photographer:
“After taking alternating photos of the sun and the moon on May 3, 2020, I was surprised to discover a lucky shot of an aircraft crossing the face of the sun. The photo was taken through a solar filter.
Considering there are so few aircraft flying above us due to the COVID-19 shutdown and there was no contrail to follow, it’s surprising that I captured this image at all.
I was curious to see if I could figure out what plane it was, and much to my surprise, I was able to. According to flightradar24, it appears that it was KLM flight KL 621, a 787-9 Dreamliner flying from Amsterdam to Atlanta. It was the only big jet nearby at 6:03 p.m., NYC time.
To confirm, I applied the angular size (0.08 deg) and distance (about 42 km = 26 miles), as well, and it matched.
Through the miracle of technology and with assistance from KLM Royal Dutch airlines, I got a message from the captain of that flight Henk Everwijn.
Here is the captain’s message:
I received a message from my company KLM with a stunning photograph that you made of a KLM 787 on its way to Atlanta. I’m the Captain of that flight and my name is Henk Everwijn. Thank you so much for making the effort to find out what company it is and also sending us the e-mail. It means a lot to me and my colleagues. Again thanks so much and I hope to be in touch.
But it got even more touching than that, as flight attendants shared their thanks for the image that meant so much to them. [The following emails are edited to improve readability, as the senders are not native speakers of English.]
From Paulette, a flight attendant:
“Dear Alexander, you made such a beautiful photo of the airplane on which I was working, with the red sun behind it. It was a very special flight for me, because after it, I learned that KLM would not renew my contract because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve never seen such a beautiful photo and I would like to make a poster of it in my house.
From Monique, another flight attendant:
“Hi Alexander! What a great picture you made from our flight KL621 last week. I understand that you did some research to find out which flight you
captured so beautifully and that you contacted our captain! Thanks again for putting so much effort in this! Once again thank you so much! I hope you are healthy and stay safe!
Here one more message from the captain of the flight KLM 621:
Again thank you so much for this picture! I reached out to my crew to share this beautiful photo and all crewmembers were excited and touched
by this photograph. For one stewardess, this photograph is especially emotional. When we got back, she learned that her contract with KLM would not be renewed due to the current corona crisis. She made her last flight with KLM and has your picture as a remembrance of her last flight….
I’ll let you know when I’m in New York and the beer is on me!”
Take care and stay safe!
And let us add our thanks and warmest regards as well, Alexander, for sharing your amazing story!