Gotham 7.5K | Aerial night photography by Vincent Laforet -Landscape, Photography
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Gotham 7.5K | Aerial night photography by Vincent Laforet

New York City have been photographed from above quite often, however what Vincent Laforet accomplished is literally on another level: capturing the city while hanging out of a helicopter door at 7,500 feet on a cold dark night.

This impressive series was shot while hanging out of a helicopter door at 7,500 feet and make the vast island of Manhattan seem minuscule. What make these photos special is the complex combination of altitude and camera equipment required. It’s quite difficult to get clearance to fly at the specific height over New York City, with also pilots refusing to fly at a higher altitude due to safety hazards. The equipment needed is another problem since helicopters vibrate significantly and you have to be able to shoot at a relatively high shutter speed which makes shooting post sunset quite challenging.
Vincent Laforet used cameras like 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.

I’ve flown on “aerial missions” over The Big Apple more than 50 times over the past decade and a half, and I’ve flown several hundred hours of photo flights around the world… And this was by far the most frightening flight of all. And nothing “eventful” whatsoever happened.
My cameras & I were safely harnessed in at all times. The pilot was top notch. The wind was … Well it was a factor. But the real scary part was that there’s just simply nothing quite like leaning out of that chopper over the sea of darkness and light, held in only by a full body harness…There is no chance that you will fall – the harness is tried and true. But you DO think about the fall. And you think about it again … And again … And how long you would have to think things over from that height all the way down to the ground below.
…and the most beautiful I have to admit that it was very odd to be looking at airplanes – big ones: jetliners – flying beneath you!


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