The view from above: A photographer puts life in perspective with a unique vantage point
“You have a ton of things to consider — how high or low you want to be, the weather conditions, the quality of light — you have to make quick decisions to optimize your time in the air.”
Daniel Barnes has a unique perspective of the world—literally.
As a commercial helicopter pilot he gets to see things from a point of view most people rarely get the privilege to see. So Barnes, who is also an iStock by Getty Images photographer, saw an opportunity to combine his two professions and share this special outlook with others.
“The aerial perspective is pretty high impact. It’s not a view that many people get to enjoy or really ever see,” Barnes said. “One of my favorite things is showing people something they aren’t privy to in their everyday lives.”
He approaches his entire creative process in a larger-than-life manner, so it’s no surprise that Barnes is drawn to capturing big industrial sites and enormous ships in inventive ways.
“I like when people put their minds together to build something on a mass scale,” he said. “My goal is to make people wonder, so I’m always doing my best to think outside of the box.”
While the end results are stunning, the process of capturing these images from above is no easy feat.
“There’s always challenges in the air. Until you’re up there and shooting, you don’t know if it’s actually going to work,” he said. “You have a ton of things to consider — how high or low you want to be, the weather conditions, the quality of light — you have to make quick decisions to optimize your time in the air.”
With a recent photo he took of a container ship, Barnes had his fair share of difficulties trying to align the moving ship with the moving helicopter. But, he was finally able to get into the optimal shooting position to create a beautiful, powerful image.
“Photographing from the air puts life in perspective,” Barnes said. “It makes you realize how big these ships are and how small we are in the world.”