Thursday, 17 September 2009

Aerial Photography on a Happy Accident

If I was asked to name the job I’d want most it might be “aerial photographer”.
Who isn’t fascinated with NASAs images of the earth from space? I could spend hours flying high with Google Earth, (from my comfy perch aboard Bristol Rose) getting a bird’s eye view of neighborhoods where I’ve once lived or places I’ve visited around the planet. The nostalgia, the images, the technology, the awe of it all; it’s just so beautiful and so strangely addictive.


Memories of views through plane windows; Sydney Harbour, the majestic Rockies, the canyons of Arizona, Lake Superior or the patchwork fields of the midwest stay with me. Flying over land or sea, I’m yelling in my head “wow, look at that!”, but my fellow passengers don’t seem to notice the scenes below.
Photographers like Mark Abrahamson show the impact and magnitude of our collective lives and activities upon our earth. Flying in small planes he captures images of disturbing beauty. With over twenty years of aerial photographs to his credit, an environmental student might be able to get a good sense of how we are doing by studying his work. I suspect anyone would find his images interesting.

With camera in hand, I went flying today. It was raining on and off but it didn’t matter to me. Anyway, the rain shut out the usual scorch of the sun.

The most fluid and amazing patterns emerged as I gazed below. Colours shifted from browns to blues and greens with sometimes a dash of red. I found myself falling into a trance-like state, totally unwilling to snap out of it. It could have been hours for all I cared because I wanted to snap each minute change of scene as it presented itself. To heck with the boat maintenance schedule, self-discipline and time management; we cruisers are time millionaires!

I flew out over the bow, the stern, the starboard side of Bristol Rose, clinging to the rigging to make sure I wouldn't fall. It could have been the rain drops or it could have been the fuel fumes but eventually I pulled myself together enough to duck back inside the cabin to the full reality of jobs a-waiting.

There's no telling where I got to on my solo flight. The rivers were wide, the valleys low, the mountains high and the colours... see for yourself, unbelievable colour! I hate to admit it but someone else's unfortunate spill was my happy accident; life as an aerial photographer.

To see Mark Abrahamson's work go to

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