- 13 Mar 2014
- 2 comments
- Posted by Mike Kelley
- aerial, architectural photography, aviation, design, fine art, helicopter, lighting, los angeles, photography
It would appear that I’ve been bitten by the aerial bug – quite hard, in fact. What began as a half baked idea to shoot real estate and architecture from a helicopter turned into a full-fledged fine art book. So that’s the new goal – take 15, 20 flights, amass a huge collection of black and white photographs, and get it together in a big, heavy, thick coffee table book, as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been keeping an eye peeled for my latest personal project and thankfully, this one is right in my own backyard.
Los Angeles is a thing of terrible beauty; and sometimes downright misery from street level. But once you’re up in the air, it transforms entirely into something else. There are endless opportunities for composition with all of the lines of intersecting freeways, surface streets, and architecture. Every time I have flown in a helicopter now, I make a loose plan to get some shots I’ve pre-selected with Google Earth, etc. The problem that I have is that the shots I plan on come out just okay, but the shots that I don’t plan for absolutely shock me with how awesome they are. That might sound cocky, but some of this stuff is beyond what I’d ever thought I’d be capturing.
Shooting like this is definitely refreshing and a nice change of pace – it’s one thing to put something together from a tripod, 10 lights and Photoshop, but it’s something else entirely to be shooting something so alive. Nobody will ever recreate these images – and they exist for only a fleeting second. Trying to coax the light and mood out of them in post-processing is just eye-opening – things that you never notice from the air become simply magical once the files are worked over a bit.
So, here’s to this next project of mine. I’ve got a lot on my plate, as always, between my Iceland project, Pan-Am project, and now this, but these are just too cool to pass up, and I might as well strike while my iron is hot. I’m hemming and hawing over kickstarting this project or just doing it on my own, I’m not really sure yet. Time will tell!
In the meantime, I’ve been invited to sell these prints throughout a few select stores in LA as well as online through PurePhoto. You can check out the full gallery and order prints, if you’re interested, by clicking here.