If you happen to see someone hanging out of a helicopter over London, chances are it will be aerial photographer Jason Hawkes. Author of over 50 books and responsible for countless advertising campaigns, Hawkes photographs London from above on a weekly basis.
He explains his unique process: “I’m flying in an AS355 helicopter. I’m harnessed in, as is all my kit, as we fly with the doors off. I’m usually up between 750ft and 1500ft. Occasionally, if the shoot requires, up to 10,000ft. This particular night set was shot from 1100ft.
“This time of year we often take off before dawn, so around 5.15am, for sunrise, and you have to wear at least four layers to stay warm enough to be able to work.
“The night shots are done using a pretty large stabilising mount. It takes about 20 minutes to get it up to speed, and then you hold it rather than the camera, and all settings on the camera are changed remotely.
“If it starts clouding up in London and our friends at the MET are in, we sometimes drop in for a cup of tea at Lippets Hill. The heliport there has the most amazing views across all of London, so you can keep an eye on the weather.”
© Jason Hawkes