Some of my 2015 aerial photos
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The first flight of 2015 was in the local area of Newark to shoot a new housing development and to shoot a new solar farm near Tuxford in Nottinghamshire. It's only a few years ago that the solar farm near Hawton brought a lot of interest and now from the air they seem to be appearing everywhere. Great for the environment and great for us who love to shoot aerial patterns!
The next flight at the end of Feb was with my old mate Chris who had just returned from lots of summer flying in New Zealand. The forecast was for low cloud and rain moving in from the West but despite taking off in good light by the time we reached our first site at Kingsmill Hospital the cloud was rolling in and we just managed one orbit before the light was too poor to carry on. We quickly headed East to our next destination of Lincoln but sadly the weather had beat us to it so we carried on into better light at the coast to shoot some stock of Grimsby. There is huge interest in the area at the moment with lots of regeneration and new investment in the renewables sector. To prove the point there was a Siemens wind farm service vessel in dock which being bright red we could see for miles!
In March I was once again shooting stock images in Nottinghamshire. I've added some more images of Lord Byron's former home, Newstead Abbey and by way of a complete contrast I got some new images of the Clipstone Colliery headstocks which are a listed building. Whilst in the area I grabbed a few shots of the village of Clipstone and King John's Palace at King's Clipstone and Archway House.
Currently there is a lot of interest in stock images of industrial estates so I shoot these whenever I pass over them although it's not always easy to work out which is which when I'm editing them! I've also had enquiries about golf courses so have added a few shots of Coxmoor near Kirkby in Ashfield and Hollinwell near Annesley.
April had some un-season-like weather with plenty of sunshine and reasonably warm weather so I headed out into Derbyshire once more on the hunt for some interesting sites. I headed up towards Ladybower, Derwent and Howden Dams and on the way I shot some stock images of Nether Langwith, Apperknowle, Unstone and Dronfield.
From the Dams I headed South West past the Hope Cement works, Bradwell,Monyash, Winster and Castleton. Flying over this area there are thousands of prehistoric or Roman metal mining pits. The area once held large deposits of lead, copper and coal which were close to the surface which made the mining easier.
The next site was Arbor Low and Gib Hill Barrow. Arbor Low is a large Neolithic henge and stone circle although all of the stones have now fallen it is still a very impressive and important national monument. On the same site is Gib Hill Barrow, a large prehistoric burial mound. Within a few hundred meters there are several other visible earthworks.
The middle of April has seen another visit to Derbyshire and this time I've added more stock of Hardwick Hall, Bolsover Castle and another couple of villages to the collection, Palterton and Huthwaite!
As ever for all these trips so far this year my gear consisted of my trusty Canon 6D's with GPS enabled and my main lens of choice is the brilliant Canon 70-200 f2.8L is.
For the last week of April I decided to add a few more Nottinghamshire villages to my collection. After a quick count up I have around 140 different Nottinghamshire villages from the air.
As well as getting photos of 'new' villages I also shot new stock of villages I had already got and was passing. These included: Aslockton, Bingham, Burton Joyce, Halloughton, Southwell and Whatton. When passing over Southwell I shot a couple of the former Minster School site where there has been unearthed part of a Roman Settlement and Roman Villa.
The 'new' villages I have now added to the list of Nottinghamshire villages are: Bulcote, Cotham,Cropwell Bishop, Cropwell Butler,Elston, Gonalston, Radcliffe on Trent, Colston Bassett, Shelton, Stoke Bardolph, Syerston and Thorpe.
I hope May will be as productive as April has been and we get some great flying weather!
Sadly the early good weather didn't extend into the summer months. A flying instructor friend who keeps good records told me that he'd done the least number of days flying due to weather for 15 years!
I have managed to achieve a photo I've been thinking about for quite some and that is the Trent Head Well near Biddulph Moor near Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire. Having grown up near the River Trent and flown over much of it all the way to where it meets the sea in the Humber Estuary I wanted to see where it started. All I can say is there isn't much to see from the air! From the well, the first body of water the Trent flows into is Knypersley Reservoir to the North of Stoke. Much of the Trent is now underground where it flows through Stoke and there's little to see until you get to the South and the beautiful Trentham Gardens.
On the few other occasions I have flown I have added quite a few more Lincolnshire villages including, Aslackby, Burgh Le Marsh,Candlesby, Carlton Le Moorland, Humby and Metheringham to name only a few.
Venturing a little further south I've shot quite a lot around Kettering and Corby in Northamptonshire and some in Leicester too. It's been largely industrial estates and business parks but I have added some villages as we've passed by.
Some of the other places I've photographed include Foxton Locks, a group of ten locks on the Grand Union Canal near Market Harworth. It looks very impressive from the air and is now a well known tourist attraction.
Another tourist attraction I've photographed this season is the National Trust's Gunby Hall and Gardens near Spilsby in Lincolnshire. These were taken on my way out to the coast to see if Skegness had any new buildings on the sea-front following the major fire from the end of 2008.
Late November was time for a short city break to New York. Well I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to take some aerial photos of the Big Apple! After much research on the internet I found a helicopter company who would do a doors off flight for photography. With this duly booked for take off 30 minutes before sunset all I could do was hope that the weather would be good on the day. The day of the flight was a dull grey overcast all day but at least it was dry and not windy. We caught the train out to New Jersey and got a taxi to the heliport. Once we'd managed to get in, and had our gear checked and suitable tethers attached so nothing could be dropped we were treated to our harness fitting so we couldn't fall out.
I'd commented to the guy giving us the brief etc that it was a shame about the weather and he agreed and said at that time of year we had about a 3% chance of a good sunset. Well, someone was smiling down on us. As we walked out to the helicopter the cloud had started to break and was starting to turn from grey to pink. Once we got airborne we could see New York 6 miles East of us bathed in a beautiful glow. We raced towards it at about 120 knots only a 100 feet above the water which was great fun with my legs which were outside being blown back with incredible force. Within seconds we were at Liberty Island and I had to motion to our pilot to climb as we were below the face height of the Statue of Liberty and I wanted AERIAL photos! He positioned the helicopter perfectly to capture this World famous symbol.
From here we were soon over New York City and flying very close to the high rise buildings was an unbelievable privilege and thrill. I was clicking away madly swapping cameras every few seconds and I also had a GoPro video camera attached to one camera to catch a bit of video too. As we came around Manhattan the sun was reflecting perfectly from the One World Trade Center which is built on the site of the old 'TwinTowers'.
As we made our way back towards New Jersey, looking back, Manhattan was simply glowing. What a fantastic site and such a contrast to what I usually see when I'm flying. To view the video I took during the flight click here.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has visited my site this year and especially those of you who have bought prints and downloaded my aerial photos for use in your commercial projects.