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London as you’ve never seen it before: Photographer takes bird’s-eye view pictures of the capital while hanging out of a helicopter… so how many landmarks can YOU guess?


A high-flying photographer has captured London – by taking pictures while hanging out of a helicopter.

Jeffrey Milstein shuns drones to lean out the side of choppers with high-resolution cameras for his projects.

The New Yorker’s stunning images are only possible by getting permission from authorities to enter restricted airspace.

The series of aerial pictures in new book, London from the Air, are from four flights over the capital over four years.

Scroll down to see the answers. 

1. This landmark welcomes more than five million visitors annually

1. This landmark welcomes more than five million visitors annually 

2. This landmark stands at 443 feet high and more than 5,000 people have got engaged here since it opened

2. This landmark stands at 443 feet high and more than 5,000 people have got engaged here since it opened 

3. This landmark is older than the United States of America and was once guarded by a cat named Mike

3. This landmark is older than the United States of America and was once guarded by a cat named Mike 

Jeffrey says: ‘Over several years I made four flights in helicopters to get the photos needed for London From the Air. I require that the pilots make steep turns so I can lean out the open door and get straight-down hand-held shots that I am known for.

‘In 2016, I was vacationing in London with my college-age daughter Lucy. She had flown with me before in a helicopter photo flight over LA, one of the only passengers I have flown with who can take the steep turns without getting sick.

‘She kept asking me to take her over London. So I found a helicopter and It turned out to be a great flight, with many of the photos appearing in this book, including the perfect overview of the Gherkin.

‘The London controllers are very restrictive with the higher airspace over London because of air traffic into Heathrow. I really wanted that shot so the pilot asked the controllers could we get higher over the Gherkin. The controllers gave us four minutes. Luckily, with the help of the pilot I was able to nail the shot.

4. This landmark was once called the 'loveliest place in Europe'

4. This landmark was once called the ‘loveliest place in Europe’ 

5. This landmark was designed by architect Norman Foster and opened to the public in April 2004

5. This landmark was designed by architect Norman Foster and opened to the public in April 2004

6. This landmark is named after a sea battle in the Napoleonic wars

6. This landmark is named after a sea battle in the Napoleonic wars 

‘In May 2019, I was on a panel at Photo London, and I decided to shoot London again when I came for the panel, then in November 2022, I had a show of my aerials at Messums Gallery in London.

‘I brought a camera but had not planned an aerial flight, preferring warmer months for flying with the door open. But when we were walking around the streets at night around Piccadilly, we saw all the festive Christmas lights hanging above the streets. My girlfriend Kim said, ‘you should get a helicopter and photograph this from the air’.

‘With her help I managed to line up a helicopter for the next day and the weather was good. The colourful photos comprise the Christmas section of the book. By then I had enough photos to put a book mock-up together.

‘I still needed to photograph a number of places to complete the book and In May of 2023 I returned to London to photograph a fourth time. After many days of cancelling flights waiting for the clouds to clear up, the sun finally came out long enough to get a very successful 2.5 hour flight where I got everything I needed and more.

7. This landmark also goes by the nickname 'Mile of Style'

7. This landmark also goes by the nickname ‘Mile of Style’

8. This landmark provided the setting for the film adaptation of 'The Railway Children'

8. This landmark provided the setting for the film adaptation of ‘The Railway Children’

9. This landmark would have been available to purchase thirty years ago for a bargain price of £1.5 million

9. This landmark would have been available to purchase thirty years ago for a bargain price of £1.5 million

‘I got some great shots of Foster + Partners buildings, Including Battersea Power Station, and housing, and Sir Norman Foster agreed to write the forward for the book.

‘Prior permission was required from NATS (National Air Traffic Services) to fly over London, including Buckingham Palace and Hampton Court.’

London from the Air is Jeffrey’s third aerial book, and second one with Rizzoli publishers following Paris From the Air released in 2021. Both books have won many awards, including Graphis Gold Awards.

London From the Air will be released 26 March 2024.

Answers

1. The Natural History Museum 

2. The London Eye 

3. The British Museum

4. Hampton Court Palace

5. The Gherkin

6. Trafalgar Square

7. Regent Street

8. London Waterloo

9. Battersea Power Station 



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