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How To Capture Urban Landscapes From 7,500 Feet

Learn how photographer Vincent Laforet captures sprawling urban landscapes of cities around the world.

| Landscape and Travel
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AIR is an on-going project created by photographer Vincent Laforet, and sponsored by G-Technology, that explores aerial views of cities from different locations around the World that's gained huge viral success online. In fact, one shot showing what New York City looks like from above at night gained over 40,000,000 views within a few weeks and that number is still continuing to climb.

Vincent hopes his project shows that the World we live in isn't as big as we think it is and that we're a lot more connected and close than we think. "When you’re on the street and look up at the tall skyscrapers that fill our cities, you tend to feel pretty small and sometimes quite insignificant. However, when you look at the same environment from above, it paints a totally different picture. You’re able to see the entire scale of a city and see just how connected we all are. Altitude gives you a different perspective on our relationship with one another and with our environment," said Vincent.

 

How To Capture Urban Landscapes From 7,500 Feet : London

© Vincent Laforet – LaforetAIR.com

How It Works

Most recently, London became Vincent's focus with him and his team flying up above the city in a helicopter just before sunset on 13 May. It sounds simple but when you're working at 7,500 feet, things aren't quite that straightforward. 

Planning a shoot can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of months and due to the altitude the helicopter flies at, permission has to be granted from the city they will be flying over which can involve talking to law enforcement officials and the military. 

When it comes to helicopter choices, it needs to have a sliding door or no door at all, so that Vincent can hang out and capture his shots.

 

How To Capture Urban Landscapes From 7,500 Feet : San Franciso

© Vincent Laforet – LaforetAIR.com

 

On the morning of a shoot, if the weather's playing ball, everything is re-confirmed with the helicopter company and air traffic control then the team prep the helicopter harnesses and oxygen tanks. There are no reshoots when working at these heights so precision, speed and accuracy are a must. A detailed workflow process helps ensure this which even includes a plan for how memory cards are stored in wallets. If a memory card is facing up then it is ready to be used in the air, if it is facing backwards, then it has been shot but not copied and once it has been copied on the ground it is placed vertically in the wallet and is the original backup. 

Once ready, Vincent is then harnessed into the helicopter where another team member joins him to help swap lenses and 15-20 minutes prior to sunset, they head up. 

The shoot continues for 90 minutes after sunset where Vincent can be seen hanging out of the helicopter, capturing several images of the city below him.

 

How To Capture Urban Landscapes From 7,500 Feet : London

© Vincent Laforet – LaforetAIR.com

After The Shoot

In total, about half a terabyte of data and 5,000 images are captured on each flight which are then copied onto two G-Technology drives when back on the ground. The two drives, which are sent back to the office along with the memory cards, never go into the same bag or travel in the same car in case something happens and then all content is lost. 

After making several more back-ups, Vincent's attention is turned to editing and for every hour of shooting, there are around 10 hours of editing to complete. Vincent uses Lightroom to edit the images and other post-production software, including DxO Optics Pro. 

We've only featured a handful of Vincent's images so do take the time to view the full set of AIR photographs from the project which can be viewed online at the storehouse. There's also a book available for purchase titled 'AIR'. 

 

How To Capture Urban Landscapes From 7,500 Feet : LA

© Vincent Laforet – LaforetAIR.com

How To Capture Urban Landscapes From 7,500 Feet : Las Vegas

© Vincent Laforet – LaforetAIR.com

 

How To Capture Urban Landscapes From 7,500 Feet : New York

© Vincent Laforet – LaforetAIR.com

 

G-Technology & The AIR Project 

The global AIR project is sponsored by G-Technology and 2 G-DRIVE ev ATC (1TB) units, along with a G-DOCK ev and a 64GB G-RAID drive play an integral part in Vincent's workflow. 

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