It's always exciting to receive a message from a master like Vincent Laforet telling you about his new photos. This time he has outdone himself (once again!) so I had to share it right away. Never in my life I've seen New York from this perspective and with this stunning quality—so perfect it feels unreal.
Click on the magnifying glass to zoom and see these images up close at full screen because the detail is absolutely phenomenal. It's the only way to do them justice.
The combination of altitude, gear, and camera settings make these images look like the most amazing SimCity I can imagine. Or like an isometric drawing, like the famous isometric map of midtown Manhattan.
He took all these photos hanging from an open door of an helicopter flying at 7,500 feet "on a very dark and chilly night..."
It is both exhilarating and terrifying all at once. Let's just start off by saying this was the scariest helicopter "photo mission" of my career. And the most beautiful. [...] One veteran pilot that we often fly with refused to go up to the altitude we were at. He said that "helicopters are not meant to live in that realm"—which I kind of agree with following this flight.
I told him that I've never seen New York like this, so beautiful and complex. He replied that, to his knowledge, nobody else has done it from a helicopter at this altitude. According to him, "it was a pain in the ass to get the clearance [for flying at that altitude over NYC] and [you have to] have the right gear."
But it wasn't only the altitude. He says it wasn't technically possible until now:
Armed with cameras such as the Canon 1DX and the Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 MP back- both capable of shooting relatively clean files at 3200 & 6400 ISO and a series of f2.8 to f1.2 lenses including a few tilt-shift lenses (see image above.)
I was finally able to capture some of the images that I've dreamed of capturing for decades.
What this video to see how these amazing images were shot.
Vincent Laforet is a director, photographer, and a pioneer in tilt-shift, aerial photography, and in HD DSLR cameras for shooting film. He won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his images of Afghanistan and Pakistan's conflicts after 9/11, plus three prizes at the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, Life and many other national and international publications have commissioned his service.