The Helicopter Perspective


Sydney has just experienced one of the driest (and coldest) winters on record. It has also been one of the slowest for ocean swell. While the surfer in me has been a little frustrated, the photographer in me has been ecstatic. The lack of rain and small seas have combined with the cooler currents, that flow up the east coast in winter ,to produce some of the cleanest water I have ever seen on this coastline.


Taking advantage of these conditions, I decided to charter a helicopter and work on a series of aerial photographs. Photographing from a helicopter gives an amazing perspective of the world. You can really identify key elements to an image and single them out to feature in a photograph. For me, the simple things often work best and ,during this flight, I was on the lookout for small details that would feature in the bigger picture.


My plan was to look for people or structures that I could single out in a photograph to feature them in an overall landscape. It takes time and patience and you really have to communicate well with the pilot to keep you hovering in the right place. That’s the great thing about helicopters, they can put you right where you need to be.

Enjoy your day,
Joel Coleman…

Lone Surfer - Joel Coleman
Low Tide - Joel Coleman
Turquoise and Blue - Joel Coleman
The Waiting Three - Joel Coleman

In Sydney you can only get photographs like this in winter. In the summer months the beaches are full of sun-lovers that the focus tends to be on the colour and chaos of the people. That’s what I love about aerial photography in winter, it is the landscape and the natural colours that are the focus of the images.


Even though I knew the beaches would not be too busy at this time of year, I was still amazed at some of the scenes that I was able to capture. Empty beaches, lone surfers, single yachts at anchor. Sure, it was not peak season, but this is Sydney Harbour, one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Sydney, with a population of more than five million people, and yet you can still find scenes like these just moments from the CBD.

Manly's South Steyne - Joel Coleman
Sanctuary Rocks - Joel Coleman
Boulders In The Blue - Joel Coleman
The Beach Walk - Joel Coleman
Diagonal Curls - Joel Coleman
Sydney Turquoise - Joel Coleman
North Head and The Beaches - Joel Coleman
Joel Coleman Aerial Photography
Watching The Children Play - Joel Coleman
Harbour Style - Joel Coleman
Fairlight Symmetry - Joel Coleman
Remarkable Sydney - Joel Coleman

All the images you see in this journal are available for sale from my gallery in Manly and online. They were all photographed using an ultra-high resolution 80-megapixel medium format camera, so the detail is incredible, the images are tack sharp and will maintain their clarity at any size (perfect for those big empty walls).

Joel Coleman Aerial Photography
Joel Coleman Aerial Photography

If you think your friends would enjoy seeing these photographs, please click the small green circle on the  upper left of your screen and share this journal with them.

Enjoy your day,
Joel Coleman…

  • Denise
    Posted at 22:44h, 20 August Reply

    Amazing shots the colors leave me speechless

  • Rosana
    Posted at 02:25h, 21 August Reply

    Beautiful work Joel,
    Love aerial, or birds eye from whatever platform…

  • Mick
    Posted at 02:26h, 21 August Reply

    Amazing shots Joel

  • Nicole
    Posted at 06:22h, 21 August Reply

    Amazing!! I think we saw you buzzing Freshwater beach…you had a few surfers nervous!! Always love the pics.

  • Tracey
    Posted at 07:19h, 21 August Reply

    Just beautiful Joel, nice work!

  • Alan
    Posted at 07:47h, 21 August Reply

    A different look at Sydney and Manly, really great shots .
    Well done and thanks for the images , nice to go WOW !!

  • Jim
    Posted at 22:00h, 22 August Reply

    Nice work Joel.

  • Cari
    Posted at 23:32h, 25 August Reply

    Amazing!!! I am a fan for life!

  • Ivan
    Posted at 05:12h, 26 August Reply

    Love the examples of how much you can zoom in, seems you have got the hang of the new kit mate, well done lovely stuff.

  • Mark Knowles
    Posted at 10:26h, 26 August Reply

    Very Impressive mate.

  • Grahame
    Posted at 08:43h, 06 October Reply

    Amazing pictures, makes me want to go back to Manly, great work.

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