Jon Hope Aerial Photography: Blog https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog en-us (C) Jon Hope, All rights reserved jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:56:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:56:00 GMT https://aerials.jonhope.com/img/s/v-12/u961370661-o341037245-50.jpg Jon Hope Aerial Photography: Blog https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog 120 120 Oakland Graffiti https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2016/4/oakland-graffiti I shot this a few years ago when heading back to Hayward airport after shooting some aerial views of San Francisco. There isn't much to shoot in the last few minutes flying down Interstate 880, so I usually review what I've taken earlier in the shoot. I still keep an eye out for anything interesting out of the door as we are zipping along. A building roof grabbed my attention and you can see from the GoPro footage below I'm working really quickly. I see the roof, take a couple more shots, look around a bit more, snap a few quick aerials of downtown Oakland then get back to reviewing. I slowed down the video where I shot the graffiti as it was all over in a second or two. 

Turns out this is the work of two bay area graffiti artists, Swampy and GATS (Graffiti against the system). You can just about make out the BART line near the building, so this was probably the intended viewpoint, but I like how this looks shot on a long lens from 1000ft. This is the Instagram version of the original, I added a bit of tilt shift to emphasize the roof a bit more.

Aerial shot of Oakland graffiti artists Swampy and GATSOakland Graffiti from the airGATS and Swampy, 5th St and MLK in Oakland, 2012

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2016 BART GATS Graffiti Artist Instagram Oakland Swampy aerial photography tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2016/4/oakland-graffiti Sun, 24 Apr 2016 23:25:46 GMT
Fort Mifflin https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2016/4/fort-mifflin I usually don't get a window seat when I'm flying. I like the aisle so I can stretch my feet out even if it does mean the occasional bruise from the drinks cart. 

Last week I was on a short flight from Dulles to Philadelphia. The plane was pretty small as it was a 23 minute flight, and I had the whole row to myself. The row had just the one seat - 1A and just before landing at PHL I spotted this Fort and had enough time to take a picture with my Phone. 

I do like to shoot with real tilt shift lens, using a DSL with a gyro stabilizer from a helicopter, but sometimes a quick snap from a phone out of plane window does the trick !

Aerial photo of Fort Mifflin, a Revolutionary War era fort on the Delaware River near Philadelphia International AirportFort MifflinAn aerial view of Fort mifflin, a fort from 1771 that protected the Delaware River. These days it's located near the runway at PHL !

To get an idea how close this is to the airport and why I was so low when I took this photo - check out Google Maps.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2016 Fort Mifflin Instagram PHL aerial photography https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2016/4/fort-mifflin Fri, 08 Apr 2016 23:14:31 GMT
Guest lecturer at Southport College https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2016/3/guest-lecturer-at-southport-college

I was invited to speak about my experience as a photographer to students at Southport College in the UK. Looking back over a career of over 20 years it was fun to put together a presentation to show how I started in photographer, shot editorial portraits and then ended up specializing in aerial photography. 
 
I really enjoyed talking to the students and seeing the difference between starting out in photography now and when I left college. It was a very different world of photography when I started. No digital cameras, no web, no social media. Another big difference is that the path to a professional photographer usually included assisting other photographers first. This is the path I took, and at the time in the early 90’s most commercial photographers in London had assistants. It was a great experience enabling me to learn how to shoot everything from models to products to shooting a car in the studio. 
 
For college students now, the photography world has changed dramatically. There is very little assisting work, but there is a wealth of knowledge online. These days I could find out how to do an aerial shoot online, and have good suggestions of equipment to use and what pitfalls to avoid. I learnt the basics of aerial photography when assisting, loading cameras in the back of the helicopter and passing them to the photographer while they dangled out of the door.  Pretty soon I knew the specialized equipment I would need if I ever did this myself, but if I had never experienced this as an assistant I wouldn’t know what to do. 
 
Another huge shift is how you get your name out there and make the contacts you need for your first paid shoots. When I was assisting you met a lot of art directors and magazine photo editors. If you were really lucky and worked hard you might get a small shoot that the photographer you worked for couldn’t do, or didn’t want to do. The technical skill was there, you just needed to prove it to yourself and start getting real work in your portfolio. Social media makes a big impact on getting your name known. Art directors look at Instagram, and check out photographers sites and blogs. It’s a nice way of engaging with your potencial clients, and in many ways it’s a lot easier to tell the back story of how you got a certain shot. 
 
Comedian Harry Enfield in Covent Garden, 1988Harry EnfieldThis was my first magazine shoot and was shot for Time Out London
 
This was my first magazine shoot. A quick portrait of an up and coming comedian Harry Enfield for Time Out. He ended up being very well know in the UK, and in the US he is the voice of the Travelocity gnome. I was a little nervous and Harry very kindly bought me a coffee before we started the shoot. This shot was used in the magazine. It was an unusual shoot for another reason, the film I shot it on. There was a very tight deadline, the photos had to be at the magazine pretty much straight after the shoot. London had lots of great E6 labs at the time, and I could get a roll of slide film processed in a hour, however this wasn’t quick enough. I ended up shooting this on Polaroid Polapan instant film. This was an instant black and white transparency film that used a special hand held processor. 
 
After the shoot I went over to the Time Out office and processed the film on the photo editors desk. Polapan had a nice quality to it, though not super sharp. The downside was that film was extremely fragile and prone to scratching. 
 
I have come full circle in my photography, starting off with my first published photo which was an aerial shot, and ending up specializing in aerial photography. My advice to the students was to shoot what you love when you can, even if thats not the type of photography you make a living from. It will keep you creative and give you some great stories.

 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2016 BTEC HND Harry Enfield Polapan Southport College aerial photography lecture https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2016/3/guest-lecturer-at-southport-college Wed, 30 Mar 2016 23:33:00 GMT
Photography exhibition at the UN Paris Summit on Climate Change https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/11/photography-exhibition-at-cop21 I'm honored to have one of my favorite aerial images selected for inclusion in a photography exhibition at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris. The Lucie Foundation curated a show of 52 images to be displayed in the Blue Zone at COP21 from Nov 30 to Dec 11, 2015. Representatives from almost every country in the world are there to agree on what to do about climate change.

Curious about the conference? The BBC provides a guide to the conference, the participants and the issues

 

 

San Francisco's Sunset District Aerial Photo by Jon HopeSunrise in the SunsetI took this shot on a crystal clear morning over the Sunset district of San Francisco. Despite the hopeful name, this is a neighborhood that is usually covered in fog.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2015 COP21 Global Climate Change Lucie Foundation UN aerial photography san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/11/photography-exhibition-at-cop21 Sun, 29 Nov 2015 23:34:19 GMT
Helicopters vs. Drones https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/10/helicopters-vs-drones I took part in a discussion on the pros and cons of using a helicopter or drone for aerial photography which was featured on Zenfolio's blog page.

Olympic photographer Jeff Cable made some good points and has some cool aerial photography and video that is very different from what I can get from a helicopter. Maybe there is room for a DJI Phantom or Inspire in my camera kit after all. Yet another thing to try and fly !

Check out the complete post here

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2015 DJI Phantom Drones Zenfolio aerial photography helicopter", "DJI Inspire" https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/10/helicopters-vs-drones Mon, 19 Oct 2015 22:23:00 GMT
Seminar on aerial photography https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/7/seminar-on-aerial-photography I'm doing a seminar on aerial photography at San Carlos Flight Center this week.

http://sancarlosflight.com/activities-and-events/july-18-sat-1200pm-capturing-wonder-aerial-photography-helicopter

I'll be covering :

  • My background in photography
  • How I ended up shooting aerials
  • Planning an aerial shoot
  • The gear I use and recommend
  • Shooting Tips
  • Safety 
  • and we’ll have plenty of time for Q&A at the end

Here's a link to the notes so you don't have to take any :)

Come check it out, it's free !

Best camera to use for aerial photographyShooting TipsSet your lens to manual, and tape your lens lens to infinity. Tape down your wide angle lens hood so it doesn't come off.
 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2015 San Carlos Flight Center aerial photography bay area https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/7/seminar-on-aerial-photography Tue, 14 Jul 2015 01:54:00 GMT
London, not quite from the air https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/6/london-not-quite-from-the-air London is trickier to shoot from the air than most US cities. Unless you have a twin-engine helicopter (very expensive) you can only fly up and down the River Thames.  For this trip I had a look from a couple of tall buildings to get an idea of what it would be like. 

The City of London has some interesting new buildings, and the skyline has really changed since I lived there in the 90's.They also have great nicknames such as The Walkie-Talkie, The Gherkin and The Cheese Grater.  While many of the new buildings are within the square mile of the Financial District my favorite one isn't. The Shard is south of the River, and dominates the London Skyline. It would be great to get a similar shot of the Shard to the one I have of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. One of these days I'll have to bite the bullet and do an aerial shoot in London.

Instagram photo of Tower Bridge and the Tower of LondonTower Bridge and the Tower of London

The Shard and 20 Fenchurch StreetThe Shard and the Walkie-Talkie

The Gherkin and The Cheese GraterThe Gherkin and The Cheese Grater

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2015 Instagram London The Shard The Walkie-Talkie Tower Bridge aerial photography https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/6/london-not-quite-from-the-air Mon, 15 Jun 2015 01:01:15 GMT
56th Communication Arts Photography Annual https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/4/communication-arts Aerial view of the Bay Bridge toll plaza included in the 56th Communication Arts Photography AnnualCommunication Arts

My aerial view of the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza has been awarded a place in the prestigious Communications Arts 56th Photography Competition and Annual. The Annual will be published in July. I am so honored to be included. Thank you Communication Arts!

Here's what they say: Of the 4,421 entries to the 56th Photography Annual, only 157 were accepted, representing the work of 154 photographers, making the Photography Annual the most exclusive major photography competition in the world.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2015 56th Photography Annual Bay Bridge Communication Arts Phase One aerial photography https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/4/communication-arts Sat, 18 Apr 2015 21:07:43 GMT
Aerial Scout https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/2/aerial-scout Monday morning was a good excuse to do some scouting for some new aerial shoots. I was looking for some different scenery to shoot and check out the Golden Gate Bridge again in some different light. This time I would be flying rather than shooting, but there is still plenty to prep for. My ride today would be a Robinson R44 Raven 1 from San Carlos Flight Center. I've flown the R44 before and shot from the back of one quite a few times but none have had the fancy paint job this one has. It's the perfect color for the bay area if you're a Giants fan :)

Pre-flighting the helicopter for an aerial scoutPre-flighting the helicopter

Oakland is a challenge to fly through as you are often restricted to one route. Sometimes you get to fly right over the terminal which can make for some cool shots but you can't be certain you'll go the same way twice. The airport looked very similar today to this shot I took on an earlier shoot

Aerial photograph of Southwest Airlines planes at Oakland AirportSouthwest Airlines at Oakland Airport

As I wasn't shooting today I used my bluetooth GPS to log my route. I usually use this to track my flight so I can geotag my aerial photos in Lightroom but it's also a great tool to remember where you were and to locate the cool spots you saw from the air for future reference. I used a Bad Elf BE-GPS-2200. I chose this one as it's very quick acquiring the satellites, is easy to use as a stand alone device, has great battery life and straightforward to export a gpx file for use in Lightroom. Here's the route I took for my scouting trip. Napa looked promising for an upcoming aerial shoot.

GPS route from my Bad Elf GPS

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2015 Bad Elf GPS Instagram OAK Oakland Airport San Carlos Flight Center Southwest aerial photography bay area helicopter san francisco scout https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/2/aerial-scout Thu, 19 Feb 2015 03:25:00 GMT
APA 2nd place https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/12/apa-2nd-place Two of my aerials are included the APA San Francisco Something Personal Exhibition :) Both came joint 2nd place !

The show was great, I got to check out some fantastic photography from the other photographers included in the show. You can buy the exhibition catalogue here

Award winning aerial photography of Iceland and the Bay AreaAPA Something Personal 2014 Second place

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 2nd Place APA aerial photography awards bay area something personal exhibition https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/12/apa-2nd-place Mon, 08 Dec 2014 01:36:00 GMT
I’m in a museum! https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/11/Im-in-a-Museum If you are in New York City check out Nature’s Fury at the American Museum of Natural History. One of my aerials is featured in the exhibit.

Sunrise in the Sunset

The exhibit runs from November 14, 2014 – August 9, 2015 and “Sunrise in the Sunset” is featured to illustrate the need for earthquake retrofitting in San Francisco. 

I can’t wait to check it out and see a 8 foot wide version of the shot :)

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 aerial aerial photography amnh amnhnyc earthquake museum naturesfury retrofit san francisco sunset district https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/11/Im-in-a-Museum Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:55:00 GMT
What does a $35, 000 digital back get you? A personal review of the Phase One IQ250 https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/10/reviewing-a-35k-digital-back I’ve wanted to know the answer to this for a while. You can read online reviews to get the general consensus, but nothing beats testing it for yourself. After all, we all have our different workflows, techniques and subject matter.

I fully admit I’m obsessed by sharpness. I currently use a Canon 5DMk3. When switching from medium/large format film to 35mm digital a decade ago and I was disappointed by quality. It seems the newer the camera is, the stronger the anti-aliasing filter becomes. This means I have to compensate by sharpening my images more and more during postproduction each time I upgrade to a new camera. I was looking forward to testing a camera and digital back combination that did not have an anti-alias filter and hopefully see some sharper images.

On a slightly foggy San Francisco July morning I got to see for myself. The weather was just about good enough for a test, with a little wispy fog but still had good overall visibility.

I had only used the Phase One camera with the IQ250 CMOS back once before for about 5 minutes, so I was a little apprehensive about using a new camera in the air. Even though this medium format camera is quite a bit larger than my 35mm Canon DSLR, once the gyrostabilizer was attached it was all nicely balanced. I checked the focus of each lens, taped them down at infinity, and was good to go. 

Phase One camera, IQ250 CMOS digital back and a 55mm f/2.8 Schneider Kreuznach Lens on a Kenlabs KS-6 Gyro Settings:

  • As usual, I placed the camera in manual mode for full control.
  • I set the ISO at 100 because it was quite bright and I wanted to come away with as much detail as possible.
  • I kept the aperture around f5 or f5.6 to keep the shutter speed high.
  • For exposure, I usually rely on the meter in the camera and usually keep it 1/3-stop underexposed. So why not check the histogram on the camera back and preview the shots? A helicopter costs around $10-$20 per minute, so every second counts and you can miss a good shot by looking away for a second. The shots that weren’t exposed properly could probably be brought back in Capture One.

The photos below don’t have any sharpness applied. 

1a. This is the Oakland Arena and Coliseum.

 Aerial photo of the Oakland Coliseum and Oakland Arena Click to see a larger image

1b. Zoomed in at 100% is a detail of the Oakland A’s mound. You can see the groundskeepers mowing and read the overstock.com banner clearly. 

Click to see a larger image

2a. This is Fort Point, which is a civil war era fort on the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Aerial view of Fort Point in San Francisco, a civil war fort next to the Golden Gate BridgeClick to see a larger image

2b. At 100% you can make out the brick detail and even see an orange cone on the roof.

Aerial photo of Fort Point in San FranciscoClick to see a larger image

3a. I had one shot, however, that really demonstrated how good this new Phase One IQ250 back and Schneider lens combination is. This is an aerial view of downtown San Francisco shot from near Golden Gate Park. It’s shot on a 55mm lens so it’s a wide-angle shot. I really like how you can see the fog layer and haze and the tops of the tallest building are darker because they are above the fog.

Click to see a larger image

3b. Now check it out at 100%. You can see the Transamerica building, the Bay Bridge and cranes across the bay at the Port of Oakland. But if I you look closely you can see something on the hill in the distance. It might be hard to see in a screenshot online, but on my screen it’s obvious.

Click to see a larger image

3c. At 200%, you can see the antennas on Mount Diablo, which is 31 miles away from where I was shooting over San Francisco. All while shooting handheld from a moving helicopter at f5. Now that is detail.

Click to see a larger image

What I learned from shooting with the Phase One camera.

  • I hadn’t realized until this shoot quite how much I relied on a zoom lens to compose my shots. Because I couldn’t use a zoom lens, I had to give far more instructions to the pilot and adjust our altitude a lot more.
  • When flying an orbit around a subject, I depend partly on a fast frame rate to help capture the right composition. The Phase One shoots slower, so I needed to do few more orbits to try and get the composition lined up. My old Canon 1ds was even slower than this and had buffer issues. Shooting with the Phase One will take a bit of practice to get used to a slower frame rate again.

What does a $35,000 digital back get you? Amazing sharpness and detail. If you need the detail in your shots so they can be blown up very large then nothing else comes close. I was so impressed with the results I picked out a couple of favorites to print. They look great printed as a 30" x 45" digital c-print and could go larger still.

A special thanks to Ken at Phase One for letting me test the camera at such short notice :)

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 Camera Review Golden Gate Bridge Oakland Arena Phase One IQ250 aerial photography bay area san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/10/reviewing-a-35k-digital-back Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:09:00 GMT
2014 International Photography Awards https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/10/2014-international-photography-awards I received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 International Photography awards for my recent shot of the toll plaza  This year the awards received over 27,000 entires and it's the 2nd year in row I've had something accepted in the Aerial category !

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 Bay Bridge IPA International photography awards aerial photography bay area honorable mention san francisco toll plaza https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/10/2014-international-photography-awards Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:02:00 GMT
A classic piece of Aviation and Design https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/1/a-classic-piece-of-aviation-and-design Bell 47 at Chinook Helicopters, Abbotsford, BC

This is a Bell 47 G-2 from about 1952.

It's rare to get to see a part of aviation history up close and personal outside of a museum. A classic combination of good design and practical use,  an early version of this Arthur Young designed helicopter hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Chinook Helicopters in Abbotsford, British Columbia still use the Bell 47 for their initial flight training. I got to fly this very helicopter for an hour, it was a fun ride :)

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 Arthur Young Bell 47 Instagram abbotsford aerial photography aviation history chinook helicopters cyxx flight training https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2015/1/a-classic-piece-of-aviation-and-design Tue, 23 Sep 2014 02:35:00 GMT
Port of Oakland Containers https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/7/port-of-oakland-containers Arial photo of shipping containers in the Port of Oakland from Maersk, Evergreen,CMA CGM, China Shipping and Hapag-Lloyd.Port of Oakland Containers on Instagram

Multicolored shipping containers in the Port of Oakland from Maersk, Evergreen,CMA CGM, China Shipping and Hapag-Lloyd.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 CMA CGM China Shipping Containers Evergreen Hapag-Lloyd Instagram Maersk Port of Oakland aerial photography bay area https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/7/port-of-oakland-containers Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:48:00 GMT
Phase One Gyro Promotion https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/7/phase-one-gyro-promotion

Phase One used one of my favorite images that I shot with the IQ 250 a couple of weeks back for new promotion  The image detail really is that good !
 

 
 
 
 
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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 Bay Bridge Kenyon Gyro Toll Plaza aerial photography phase one IQ250 testimonial https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/7/phase-one-gyro-promotion Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:22:00 GMT
Out with the old https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/7/out-with-the-old Aerial view of the old span of the Bay Bridge Being dismantled New and old Span of the Bay Bridge

Out with the old and in with the new. The old span is slowly being dismantled on the Bay Bridge. The smoke at the bottom of the frame was from some welding or cutting on the old span.  

The old span of the bay bridge being removed with the new span in the backgroundThe old span of the bay bridge being removed

Here's an example of the detail from the Phase One IQ 250 CMOS back. The above shot is pretty much full frame apart from the horizon being corrected. Below is a 100% zoom of the workers on the old span.

Aerial detail of workers dismantling the old span of the Bay BridgeWorkers dismantle the old span of the Bay Bridge

 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 Bay Bridge Phase One IQ250 aerial photography bay area construction https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/7/out-with-the-old Tue, 08 Jul 2014 01:04:00 GMT
Testing a phase one camera https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/7/testing-a-phase-one-camera Testing a 50 megapixel Phase One camera yesterday morning, I didn't want to give it back :)

 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 Phase One Phase One IQ250 aerial photography camera test https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/7/testing-a-phase-one-camera Tue, 01 Jul 2014 23:07:00 GMT
Vote for me ! https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/6/vote-for-me I’ve entered some new work in the The Open a world wide photography competition. In 2012 my Sunrise in the Sunset shot was included in the final 200 images.

I entered a night time aerial view of San francisco, and five aerials from my Iceland trip. My submission included two new abstract views of the Ölfusá River

Please vote for my entries - You need to click on the heart on each photo to vote !

If you click on these images you’ll be taken to The Open and you can vote for the ones your like - Thanks :)

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 Aerial Photographer Jon Hope abstract aerial photography helicopter iceland photography competition reykjavik Helicopters the open Ölfusá River https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/6/vote-for-me Sun, 01 Jun 2014 11:21:00 GMT
A trip to the museum ( The Helicopter Museum) https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/2/helicopter-museum Back in January on a trip to the UK, I was looking for a fun afternoon escape from the dreary winter rain. The Helicopter Museum near my parent’s place in Somerset was well worth the visit, especially at a mere £6.50.

The museum has the largest collection of helicopters in the world. Two hangars are crammed full of an incredible assortment of models. It was hard a little hard to appreciate the size of the helicopters as they were so closely placed, but you will get to see helicopters that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.

The visit was part history lesson, part trip down memory lane. I got to see a Westland Dragonfly, a helicopter that my dad flew around in sometime in the early 50’s. I also saw a Westland Whirlwind in which I took one of my first helicopter flights when I was 16 or 17, only few months before they where retired from service with the RAF.

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Westland Dragonfly

The museum also has a good collection of Russian helicopters including the massive Mil Mi-8, which holds 24 passengers, 3 crew, and clocks in at 60 feet in length. Not to be outdone, the infamous Mil Mi-24 holds only 8 troops, but has staggering array of weapons. I really wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of either.

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Mil Mi-24 Hind

The Kamov Ka-26 is one of the strangest looking helicopters. In the photo below, you can see two sets of rotor blades that run in opposite directions. And it features an optional passenger pods that can be detached (preferable not mid-flight.)

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Kamov Ka-26

It was also good to see one of the US helicopters on display is a Hiller UH-12C, built in Palo Alto, California near my home in the Bay Area. When you are visiting Northern California, check out the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA. They have some fun stuff too.

Two things really stood out for me.

Scale. I‘ve flown in a Robinson R22 and at the size of a smart car this is one of the smallest helicopters in the world. For contrast, this was placed next to a huge old French helicopter, Sud Aviation’s SA321F Super Frelon (Super Hornet) which carried around 35 passengers, and was used by an inter island airline in Greece.

Variety. The Helicopter Museum has around 80 helicopters, with a few repeats. As a museum that started as a private collection, this is a real mish-mash of models, from the menacing to the silly. Honestly, I am amazed some of these ever flew. But my visit was definitely a fun day out. 

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Robinson R22 (foreground ) and a Sud Aviation’s SA321F Super Frelon

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2014 Hiller UH-12C Kamov Ka-26 Mil Mi-24 Hind Sud Aviation SA321F Westland aerial photography aviation helicopter helicopter museum photography rain robinson r22 somerset westland dragonfly westland whirlwind https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2014/2/helicopter-museum Sun, 23 Feb 2014 19:13:00 GMT
2013 International Photography Awards - 3rd place and an honorable mention https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/9/ipa-3rd-place image

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My aerial of the Sunset district took 3rd place in the Architecture - Cityscapes category and my Salt ponds shot got an Honorable Mention in Nature - Aerial category.

This year the 2013 International Photography Awards received nearly 15,000 submissions from 104 countries across the globe. The jury included respected magazine photo editors, curators and art buyers.

It’s always a great feeling to have been selected for an award and to check out the other winners work. 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2013 2013 IPA photography awards 3rd place Aerial Photographer abstract honarable mention salt pond san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/9/ipa-3rd-place Sun, 22 Sep 2013 18:18:00 GMT
Icelandic Roads from the air https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/9/icelandic-roads I only had time for a quick shoot during my Iceland trip but the landscape near Reykjavik changes pretty dramatically in only 15 minutes of flying.

Bláfjallavegur Road looked amazing curving through the snow covered lava fields near the Thrihnukagigur Volcano. The lava fields had some interesting patterns so I spent a little time trying to get some more abstract views with a hint of road for scale. 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2013 Bláfjallavegur road Iceland Thrihnukagigur volcano abstract aerial aerial photography helicopter highway landscape lava reykjavik Helicopters road travel https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/9/icelandic-roads Sat, 07 Sep 2013 11:35:00 GMT
Colourful apartment buildings in Reykjavik, Iceland https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/8/reykjavik-aerials Scandinavian houses use a lot of colour for the exteriors. I’m not sure why, but it makes for some great photos. It’s good to see that the tradition also applies to larger buildings such as these blocks of flats ( apartments ) in Reykjavik. 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2013 Abstract Aerial Photographer aerial photography apartments blocks of flats canon 5d mk3 cityscapes colourful buildings europe helicopter iceland reykjavik scandinavia https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/8/reykjavik-aerials Sat, 17 Aug 2013 14:30:00 GMT
Last minute aerial shoot in Iceland https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/5/iceland-aerials I had a great last minute aerial shoot on my short trip to Iceland. Reykjavik Helicopters made it happen with almost no notice on a cold but clear morning only a couple of hours before my flight back to London. Thanks guys - it was the highlight of my trip.

It was pretty windy, check out the horizontal windsock !

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I concentrated on mostly new abstract landscapes as the really dramatic scenery was too far away to fly to and make it back in time for my UK flight this trip. Stayed tuned for some shots from the shoot.

Shooting the Ölfusá RiverThis helicopter had a sliding door so I could close it to stay warm between locations !

It’s turned into a bit of a tradition for each aerial shoot to take a shot of the back of the helicopter from my position sitting out of the door on each trip. I call them my tail rotor shots, and I’m getting quite a collection. This one is over the bay bridge in San Francisco from an earlier blog post.

These two tail rotor shots from Iceland are maybe 10 minutes apart, and you can see how dramatically the landscape changes.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2013 Eurocopter Ecureuil Astar AS3 aerial photographer Jon Hope aerial photography canon 5d mk3 helicopter iceland landscape reykjavik Helicopters tail rotor https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/5/iceland-aerials Sun, 12 May 2013 15:17:00 GMT
A couple of weeks ago I did a dusk shoot over San Francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/3/dusk-shoot

A couple of weeks ago I did a dusk shoot over San Francisco - Something that really challenges the limits of even the newest cameras. I have a bunch more editing to do, but here’s a taster.

This is shot on a Canon 5D Mk3  at 1/40 second  10000 ISO !

Aerial view of the West Span of the Bay Bridge at duskThe Bay Bridge at dusk

The Bay Bridge looks amazing at night from the air. I really like the reflections of the lights in the water.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2013 Canon 5D MK3 aerial aerial photographer Jon Hope aerial photography bay area dusk ferry building night san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2013/3/dusk-shoot Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:18:00 GMT
I'm a finalist for the 2012 World Open of Photography https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/11/36199476443

One of my aerial shots of San francisco made it into the final 200 photos for the 2012 World Open of Photography

I took this shot on a crystal clear morning over the Sunset district of San Francisco. Despite the hopeful name, this is a neighborhood that is usually covered in fog. So when I saw the opportunity to shoot these long straight streets, I grabbed it. I really love that red siding on the house in the middle. My eye is drawn directly there. Then I start seeing all of the other houses around it. 

Jon Hope

It’s a great feeling to be selected for the final round, and to see some excellent photography from the other finalists.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 2012 World Open of Photography Cityscapes Sunset Sunset District aerial aerial photography finalist san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/11/36199476443 Wed, 21 Nov 2012 00:01:00 GMT
Election Day ! https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/11/vote-today

Election Day !

San Francisco’s City Hall on Van Ness Avenue. This aerial view was shot on a Canon 45mm TS-E Lens and the blurring is in camera, not photoshopped !

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 Canon 45mm TS-E Canon 5D MK2 City Hall Van Ness aerial aerial photography san francisco tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/11/vote-today Tue, 06 Nov 2012 13:46:00 GMT
Playoff Time ! https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/10/playoff-time

Playoff Time !

Here’s a Tilt-Shift aerial photo of ATT park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

This shot and other aerials are available for sale at my online store: aerials.jonhope.com

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 MLB aerial aerial photography att park baseball stadium san francisco sf giants tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/10/playoff-time Sun, 07 Oct 2012 13:09:04 GMT
Apple's 3D map vs Actually Being There https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/9/3d-map When I saw the 3D map in Apple’s latest iOS 6 features video I thought it was funny to see they show off this new feature by flying around the Transamerica Pyramid. It’s a view I know pretty well!

I can see how the 3D feature could be handy for scouting out aerial locations to shoot from ahead of time, but you don’t get the sense of perspective that you get from using different lenses. It’s a little whacked.

Here’s a comparison between what I can see in the new Maps App on my iPad and what I actually shot from almost the same position. In my aerial shot the Transamerica Pyramid seems to be shooting out of the ground and is far more dramatic. Needless to say, I still like my shot better.

The top picture is a rendered view of the Transamerica Pyramid from iOS 6 Maps 3D.

And this second one is my shot taken from a Hughes 500c helicopter, with a Canon 5D Mk2 16-35mm at 16mm.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 3D Hughes 500 Maps App aerial aerial photography apple iOS 6 iPad san francisco transamerica pyramid https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/9/3d-map Sun, 23 Sep 2012 18:52:00 GMT
Near Fresno on a client shoot last week https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/8/central-valley

I was near Fresno on a client shoot last week, and not surprisingly saw a lot of  vineyards, fields and orchards from the air. The Central Valley is massive and covers 22,500 square miles, much of which is farmland.

This colorful field caught my eye. I’ll have to make another trip just for stills to get some more. There is a lot of potential for cool abstract shots in the central valley.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 Agriculture California Central Valley Crops Fields Fresno aerial aerial photography https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/8/central-valley Sun, 26 Aug 2012 18:21:00 GMT
Flying in a restored Huey https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/6/flying-in-a-restored-huey  

EMU 309 at KHWD

It’s a sunny Sunday morning and a loud womp-womp-womp sound is coming from outside a hanger at Hayward Executive Airport. A sound that is immediately recognizable to anyone who served in the Vietnam War or lived in South East Asia during that time.

EMU Inc., a non-profit in Hayward California painstakingly restored Vietnam-era Huey to flying condition. A couple of weekends ago, I got to meet the founders and volunteers that keep this part of American history alive.

Geoff Carr and Peter Olesko served as crew chiefs and door gunners in the 135th AHC. In Vietnam the 135th was unusual as a joint Royal Australian Navy and US army unit. The unit motto, “Get the Bloody Job Done“ has a very Australian ring to it.

Get the bloody job done

Peter and Geoff where both Crew Chiefs for the “EMU 309” during their tour in Vietnam. The 309 was a special helicopter because it was the longest serving slick* in the unit with 2724 flight hours. The average flight time for the unit was 830 hours before a Huey was sent away for major repairs or damaged beyond repair.

Geoff Carr sitting in the door gunners seat

Geoff Carr in the Crew Chief/Gunners seat

So the EMU crew bought a similar aged Huey (not the original EMU 309) from the Sacramento Police Department and completely refurbished it. Using this helicopter, they recreated the EMU 309 in every detail. Now it’s a flying museum and tribute to their old unit and other Air Assault Units. The actual EMU 309 did make it back to the US but I don’t know that history of it after that.

Detail of EMU 309

EMU is part living history, part healing tool. At the Hayward Air Show I watched a Vietnam Vet get very emotional at being able to go up and sit inside. It would be hard not to relive some memories when sitting in something that took you in and out of the battlefield.

Of course, keeping a helicopter this age in perfect order doesn’t come cheap. The fuel alone for one hour’s flight is around $600. Donations are always needed to keep her going. Check out hueyvets.com for more information on the history of EMU309 and the 135th AHC, events, donations and membership.

 

Preflighting a Huey

Pilots Peter Olesko and Croy Pelletier preflight EMU 309

Peter and Croy flying

Peter and Croy flying southeast of Hayward

Pushing the Huey back into the hanger after the flight

Pushing back to the hanger after the flight

*A UH-1 helicopter used for transporting troops in tactical air assault operations. The helicopter did not have protruding armaments and was, therefore, “slick”. From: http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/sixties/HTML_docs/Resources/Glossary/Sixties_Term_Gloss_Q_T.html

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 135th AHC 2012 68-16309 EMU 309 Geoff Carr Huey N911JM Royal Australian Navy UH-1H aerial aerial photography peter Olesko vietnam www.hueyvets.com https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/6/flying-in-a-restored-huey Sat, 23 Jun 2012 11:49:00 GMT
I'm a nominee for the 7th Annual Black & White Spider Awards https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/6/spider-awards

My aerial shot of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco was a nominee in the Professional Architecture Catagory :) 

It’s becoming quite a prestigious annual photography competition with the judges from the Tate Gallery in London, National Geographic, Bonhams Auction house, and more.

http://www.thespiderawards.com/gallery/7th/gallery.php?g=&x=p&cid=105&fid=95273

I was also a nominee back in 2006 in the Professional Sports Category for my portrait of Tochiazuma , the number 2 ranking sumo wrestler at the time I shot him in Japan.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 7th Annual Black & White Spider Awards Sumo Tochiazuma aerial aerial photography san francisco transamerica pyramid https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/6/spider-awards Sat, 16 Jun 2012 19:38:00 GMT
Happy 75th birthday Golden Gate Bridge ! https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/5/ggb-75th


Happy 75th birthday Golden Gate Bridge ! Here’s another tilt-shift shot of one of the worlds most iconic bridges.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 75th Birthday aerial aerial photography bay area bridge golden gate bridge san francisco tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/5/ggb-75th Sun, 27 May 2012 18:56:00 GMT
My video testimonial for the Speck Handyshell iPad case https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/5/speck-testimonial

Here’s my video testimonial for the ipad case I use on aerial shoots. The shoot was a lot of fun, I got some great new shots of San Francisco including some new tilt-shift shots.

I used a WFT-E4 IIA wifi grip on a Canon 5D Mk2 to send low resolution jpeg images to shuttersnitch on the iPad. It was a great way to review images while still in the air !

Getting ready for some tilt-shift aerial shots of the Golden Gate Bridge during the shoot.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 Canon 5D Mk2 Canon WFT-E4 IIA aerial aerial photography bay area handyShell shuttersnitch speck https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/5/speck-testimonial Fri, 18 May 2012 09:51:00 GMT
Who knew that Alcatraz had loads of solar panels on the roof ? https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/4/alcatraz-solar-panels

Who knew that Alcatraz had loads of solar panels on the roof of the cell block? The National Park Service is using renewable energy in some of it’s over parks too.

Here’s a view looking straight down on to the exercise yard.

I was going to shoot some tilt shift shots of Alcatraz Island, but one building or water tower is covered in scaffolding and protective covering at the moment, so the island doesn’t look great from the air :(

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 Alcatraz National Park Service Solar Solar Panel Solar Power aerial aerial photography bay area san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/4/alcatraz-solar-panels Thu, 05 Apr 2012 21:34:00 GMT
Looking straight down on a junk yard in Hayward, CA. https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/3/junk-yard

Looking straight down on a junk yard in Hayward, CA. I love that they’ve laid the cars out in a herringbone pattern.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 Auto Dismantler Cars East Bay Junk Yard Scrap Yard aerial aerial photography bay area herringbone pattern https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/3/junk-yard Thu, 22 Mar 2012 10:40:13 GMT
Salt ponds near the Dumbarton Bridge, San Francisco Bay https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/2/salt-ponds

Salt ponds near the Dumbarton Bridge, San Francisco Bay.

These ponds can range in color from pale green to bright red depending on the salinity of the pond.

I’ll have to spend some more time shooting the vibrant colors and the abstract shapes these salt ponds make. I want to go back again for another shoot when they are bright red !

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 Abstract Dumbarton Bridge Salt Salt Pond Saltern aerial aerial photography bay area san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/2/salt-ponds Fri, 24 Feb 2012 16:54:00 GMT
Last Thursday was a perfect day for an aerial shoot https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/2/speck-shoot

Last Thursday was a perfect day for an aerial shoot. Speck (who make the awesome ipad case I use) filmed me for a video testimonial for their web site. 

I’ve added another San Francisco land mark to my Tilt-Shift Series :-)

I’ll have quite a few more images and some video to post soon. Stay tuned!

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2012 Bridge California Golden Gate Bridge Landmark aerial aerial photography bay area handyShell san francisco speck tilt shift tiltshift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2012/2/speck-shoot Tue, 21 Feb 2012 20:35:00 GMT
My very first aerial shoot https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/12/first-shoot

Today is the 30th anniversary of my first published photograph. It also happened to be my first ride in a helicopter, and my first attempt at aerial photography.

My school had visit from a military helicopter and gave a few students a short ride around the surrounding area. I lived near the school, so there was just enough time to run home, grab my camera, a roll of film and try to catch the last ride of the day.

I was lucky. One of the helicopter crew saw my camera and suggested I wear the winchman’s harness. So for my first helicopter flight I sat on the floor with my legs dangling out while we flew around the town. I was more excited than scared. What really worried me was losing my shoes somewhere over the town, and how angry my mum would be if I lost them.

My aerial was published in The Wellington Weekly News. I think I got paid £2, which is about $3 for my first published shot. It was on page 7. Score!

It’s funny how life goes full circle. I had no idea I would end up shooting a lot more aerials. 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Wellington School Wellington Weekly News aerial aerial photography helicopter ride https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/12/first-shoot Fri, 30 Dec 2011 10:38:37 GMT
Speck Case for aerial photography https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/11/speck-ipad-case Speck Case for aerial photographySpeck iPad Case for aerial photography

The ultimate ipad accessory might well be a helicopter, but I’ll have to settle for a good case for an ipad to use when I’m shooting from one.

I spent a while looking for the right case to use on aerial shoots and the Speck HandyShell for the ipad 2 is perfect.

The case holds my ipad nice and securely. The red handle is handy for attaching a climbing sling and carabineer to to my harness or an anchor point in the chopper.

Thanks to my good friend, artist Kurt Stoekel for telling me about the case.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Hughes 500c Kurt Stoeckel aerial photography handyShell helicopter iPad 2 speck https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/11/speck-ipad-case Fri, 25 Nov 2011 15:29:00 GMT
I’m a nominee for the Photography masters Cup https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/11/I-m-a-nominee-for-the-Photography-masters-Cup

 

 

 

 

One of my aerial tilt shift shots of a freeway is a nominee in the Aerial Photography Category of this years awards. 

Using a tilt shift lens makes this aerial shot of a freeway junction look like a modelFreeway interchangeA tilt shift aerial shot of the Interstate 580 and Interstate 238 in Castro Valley. CA

 

I even get my own press release !

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY NOMINATE US PHOTOGRAPHER Jon Hope AT 5TH ANNUAL PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERS CUP

LONDON – Professional photographer Jon Hope from the USA was presented with the 5th Annual Photography Masters Cup Nominee title in the category of Aerial Photography at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow. The live online ceremony webcast Sunday, October 29, 2011 was attended by photography fans in 83 countries who logged on to see the climax of the industry’s most important event for color photography.

The awards international Jury included captains of the industry ranging from Hasted Hunt Kraeutler in New York, Brancolini Grimaldi, David & Goliath, Simon Studer Art Associates, Stills Gallery to Christie’s in London who honored Color Masters with 272 coveted title awards and 1099 nominees in 18 categories.

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,321 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Jon Hope’s “Freeway,” an exceptional image entered in the Aerial category, represents contemporary color photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present him with the title of Nominee.”

See all the 5th Annual Winners & Nominees at http://www.thecolorawards.com/gallery

INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERS CUP is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in color photography.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Freeway Nominee Photography Masters Cup aerial aerial photography awards tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/11/I-m-a-nominee-for-the-Photography-masters-Cup Thu, 03 Nov 2011 21:08:19 GMT
Hayward Airport https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/10/KHWD aerial view of some general aviation hangers at Hayward AirportTilt-Shift aerial of some hangers at KHWD

Tilt- Shift of Hayward Airport

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Airport Hangers Hayward Airport KHWD Planes aerial aerial photography tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/10/KHWD Mon, 31 Oct 2011 07:01:42 GMT
Tracking and geotagging aerial photos https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/10/-1

I recently got an ipad, and it’s been very useful to have on shoots. In the back of the helicopter an ipad is lot more convenient for notes and shot lists than bits of paper blowing around.

I used a great free App GPX Master to track the path the helicopter flew, and then used the GPX file it created to geotag all my images. You need a separate program on your PC or Mac to do the geotagging, but there are quite a few to choose from.

Check out the screen shot, the ipad is pretty accurate with the GPS position, and for the 2 hour shoot the GPX Master App used up about 20% of the ipad battery life at the highest accuracy settings. Not bad !

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 GPS GPX Master aerial aerial photography geotag iPad iPad 2 https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/10/-1 Mon, 03 Oct 2011 08:28:00 GMT
Moss Landing Power Plant https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/9/moss-landing Aerial photo of the Moss Landing Power Plant Moss Landing Power Plant Moss Landing Power Plant shot from the air on a foggy fall morning.

Moss Landing Power Plant in the fog. The stacks are 500ft high and can be seen throughout the Monterey Bay Area.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Moss Landing Moss Landing Power Plant PG and E aerial aerial photography monterey bay https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/9/moss-landing Mon, 26 Sep 2011 10:10:00 GMT
Morning fog over Monterey Bay https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/9/monterey-bay

Morning fog over Monterey Bay on my way to a client shoot last Friday. I flew with Specialized Helicopters out of Watsonville.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 R44 Specialized Helicopters aerial aerial photography monterey bay https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/9/monterey-bay Sun, 25 Sep 2011 15:17:00 GMT
Flying with 771 NAS on a practice search and rescue mission https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/8/771-NAS Flying with the Royal Navy Search and rescue in the 80'sDressed for action on one of my first aerial shoots. A full flight suit and helmet was needed to shoot with the Royal Navy

Back in college I was lucky enough to arrange to fly with a Royal Navy Search and Rescue Helicopter from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall as a photography project. On a rainy September morning I went up with the crew from 771 NAS on a flight exercise.

They practiced hovering close to the cliffs. And I mean really close to the cliffs – the blades were maybe 20 feet away from the rocks. Because the instruments can’t tell you what is beside you, only your altitude from the ground below, the observer had to look out of the side door to tell the pilot how many yards away the rotor blades were from hitting the cliff. This was the only guidance the pilot had. These guys were really good.

flying with 771 NAS from CuldroseChecking for clearanceThee observer is checking for ground clearance as we fly near the cliff tops. He’s wearing a harness to stop him from falling out. I wear one too on my aerial shoots !

Hovering low over the seaAnother shot from my flight with 771 Naval Air Squadron. We’re only a few feet above the sea here.    A Westland Wessex from 771 NAS practicing winching in Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to get some shots of the helicopter hovering over a rocky outcrop. So they dropped me off in a field. Later, after I had finished my shots they retrieved me by winching me back in, dangling outside the helicopter door. This was a bit unnerving to say the least.

 

Search and Rescue practice pickup in a Westland Wessex from 771 SquadronPickup timeYou can just make out the winchman hanging below the helicopter as they came to pick me up.

The last part of the morning flight was to simulate a total engine failure a few times and land with no power. This was my first experience of autorotations, and a crew member kindly suggested I unplugged my headset in case I threw up as the sound would annoy everyone. Happily, I didn’t get sick. 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 771 Naval Air Squadron Flight Suit RNAS Culdrose Royal Navy SAR Search and Rescue Westland Wessex aerial aerial photography autorotation from the archives https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/8/771-NAS Wed, 24 Aug 2011 16:02:32 GMT
Port of Oakland Crane https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/8/portofoakland Aerial photo of one of the cranes at the Port of OaklandAerial view of the Port Of OaklandTilt-Shift shot of the containers and crane.

Port of Oakland Crane

Even though it's an urban myth that the Port of Oakland cranes were the inspiration for the AT-AT Imperial Walkers, I couldn't help thinking about the similarities even from the air !

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 AT-AT Imperial Walkers Containers Crane Oakland Port Port of Oakland aerial aerial photography tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/8/portofoakland Tue, 09 Aug 2011 12:09:00 GMT
Adobe Pop-up Store https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/8/abode-pop-up

Russell Brown, me and my aerial shot of the Transamerica Pyramid on the wall at the Adobe pop-up store in San Francisco.

I got to check out Adobe’s pop-up store in San Francisco today. It was a lot of fun and sat in on a ‘Hidden Gems in Photoshop’ seminar from Adobe product manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes. I really like Adobe’s seminars because I always learn some new photoshop trick or feature that I didn’t know of before.

I also tested out a Canon large format printer. You can’t go wrong for $5 for a 24” print. Russell Brown, Adobe’s Sr. Creative Director, is running his Extreme Imaging Lab there all week. He put my picture on the wall above his workstation. Thanks Russell!

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Adobe Bryan O'Neil Hughes Canon Photoshop Photoshop & You pop-up store Russell Brown aerial aerial photography san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/8/abode-pop-up Fri, 05 Aug 2011 18:17:58 GMT
Union Bank Tilt Shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/8/-6

The roof of the Union Bank building in San Francisco. No helipads in sight, downtown San francisco only has one rooftop helipad, very different from LA.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Bank Downtown Union Bank aerial aerial photography san francisco tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/8/-6 Wed, 03 Aug 2011 13:32:00 GMT
57 Splash Hits https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/7/splash-hit

The Giants have made 57 splash hits out of the stadium into McCovey Cove since the ballpark opened in 2000.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Giants Pac Bell Park San Francisco Giants aerial aerial photography att park baseball stadium sf giants https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/7/splash-hit Thu, 21 Jul 2011 10:22:00 GMT
Toll Plaza Aerial View https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/7/toll-plaza-tilt-shift

A miniature Bay Bridge toll plaza ! This is one of my favorite tilt shift photos so far. It can be a bit hit and miss doing this in camera, especially during an aerial shoot. I shot this on the Canon 45mm TS-E.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Bay Bridge Freeway aerial photography helicopter road san francisco tilt shift tiltshift toll plaza traffic https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/7/toll-plaza-tilt-shift Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:25:20 GMT
First Flying lesson https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/7/-2

Yesterday I got to try to fly a helicopter. And I do mean “try” as I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

Shooting from a helicopter is a lot of fun, but I’m usually stuck in the back snapping away. I never get to watch how a pilot flies, they just effortlessly get me to the right position I need for the shot. I’ve wanted to fly for a while, partly for the challenge, and partly to give my pilots clearer instructions when I’m on a shoot. The pilots I use for aerial photography usually have at least 3000 hours of flying time, and many are also ex-military. They all make flying look easy, and I have great respect for their skills.

Having a go at hovering was hard. It’s amazing how little the controls need to be moved, and how tricky it was not to over compensate with each move. My hover looked more like a bucking bronco but once my instructor took control again we were instantly stable.

I have a lot to learn.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Robinson R44 Sirius Flying LLC aerial photography flight training learning to fly a helicopter https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/7/-2 Fri, 01 Jul 2011 12:50:00 GMT
My Ride https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/6/myride

My ride this morning.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Robinson R44 Sirius Flying LLC aerial photography helicopter learning to fly a helicopter https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/6/myride Thu, 30 Jun 2011 17:29:00 GMT
Downtown and the Bay Bridge https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/6/SF-Downtown

Aerial view of Bay Bridge and Downtown San Francisco on a perfect sunny morning.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Bay Bridge Downtown aerial aerial photography san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/6/SF-Downtown Tue, 21 Jun 2011 12:58:00 GMT
New Bay Bridge - Yerba Buena Detour https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/6/Yerba-Buena

Here’s what the Yerba Buena detour looks like from the air.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Bay Bridge Bay Bridge Contruction aerial aerial photography san francisco tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/6/Yerba-Buena Tue, 07 Jun 2011 10:07:00 GMT
Bernal Heights Tilt Shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/BHTS Aerial View of Bernal HeightsTilt Shift image of Bernal Heights in San Francisco

Flying over my neighbourhood was fun. It’s a different perspective on the streets I know well. 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Bernal Bernal Heights aerial aerial photography landscape san francisco tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/BHTS Thu, 26 May 2011 10:11:00 GMT
Red Mini on the 580 https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/red-mini Early morning aerial view of interstate 580 and 24 in Oakland, California

An early morning shot of Interstate 580 and State Route 24 in Oakland. I like how the red mini stands out against the grey of the freeway.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 580 East Bay Freeway Interstate 580 Oakland SR 24 aerial aerial photography bay area road https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/red-mini Thu, 19 May 2011 13:34:00 GMT
Tilt Shift Freeway https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/tilt-shift-freeway Tilt shift photo of a freeway interchange in the Bay Area

Another real Tilt Shift shot. This time a freeway interchange in the East Bay.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 East Bay Freeway Roads aerial aerial photography bay area landscape tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/tilt-shift-freeway Thu, 12 May 2011 12:35:00 GMT
How to shoot a building from the air https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/-3
Here’s a short video of me shooting the Transamercia Pyramid in San Francisco from the air.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Black and White Music by Joe Scuderi aerial aerial photography san francisco transamerica pyramid https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/-3 Mon, 09 May 2011 08:36:00 GMT
Retro style aerial view of the Transamerica Buliding https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/-4 San Francisco Skyline Aerial ViewTransamerica PyramidAerial View of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco

 

I really like how this shot of the Transamercia Pyramid came out. The square crop makes it feel like I shot it on my Hasselblad, and the black and white image gives the early 70’s building it’s retro look.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 70's Architecture BW Black and White Transamerica William Pereira aerial aerial photography financial district san francisco skyline transamerica pyramid https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/-4 Wed, 04 May 2011 14:21:00 GMT
Film vs Digital https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/-5 Last weeks shoot over San Francisco lasted just under an hour and I shot 967 images. Days like that, I don’t miss film one bit. It would have been 80 rolls of 120 film on a Hasselblad, or 26 rolls of 35mm film.

I remember all too well loading numerous film backs and cameras in the back of a Jet Ranger when I was a photographers assistant.

Here's a few more shots from last weeks shoot. These really show the different patterns you see from the air.

Traffic at the Bay Bridge Toll PlazaTraffic at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza

Bay Bridge Toll Plaza 

Aerial view showing the new and old span of the Bay BridgeThe New and the OldThe new span of the Bay Bridge is coming along.

New and Old.  The new east span of Bay Bridge is coming along.

Abstract aerial of storage lockers Storage Lockers Aerial view of some storage lockers in the East Bay

 East Bay Storage Lockers. I love how the doors jump out. Who knew storage facilities could look cool.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Bay Bridge Digital Film New Span Storage Lockers Toll Plaza abstact aerial patterns aerial photography traffic https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/5/-5 Mon, 02 May 2011 21:49:00 GMT
Bay Bridge Tilt Shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/4/bay-bridge-tilt-shift

This one is for real, no photoshop trickery. Shot with the Canon TS-E 45mm lens, with lots of movement applied.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Bay Bridge aerial photography road san francisco tilt shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/4/bay-bridge-tilt-shift Sat, 30 Apr 2011 00:23:00 GMT
A fantastically clear morning for my shoot over San Francisco today. https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/4/a-fantastically-clear-morning-for-my-shoot-over-san-francisco-today Bay Bridge from a Hughes 500CBay Bridge from a Hughes 500C

This is the view from the door looking back at the Bay Bridge and Downtown. It was a cold morning and one of the clearest I've ever seen the Bay Area from the air. 

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 Bay Bridge San Francisco Bay Tail Rotor aerial photography helicopter san francisco https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/4/a-fantastically-clear-morning-for-my-shoot-over-san-francisco-today Fri, 29 Apr 2011 23:14:00 GMT
Photoshop tilt shift test https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/4/photoshop-tilt-shift-test

A photoshop test to simulate a tilt shift lens. I'll be testing out a Canon 45mm tilt shift lens soon to see how it compares.

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jonhope@gmail.com (Jon Hope Aerial Photography) 2011 aerial photography photoshop tennis courts tilt-shift https://aerials.jonhope.com/blog/2011/4/photoshop-tilt-shift-test Wed, 27 Apr 2011 19:44:00 GMT