Diary of a Long Distance Aerial Photographer – Part Two

Finally we head inland to our next site which is an industrial estate in Gateshead where a cloud shadow over our target checked our progress as we waited for it to clear.

Once complete we pinned our ears back for another long leg, this time heading west to Preston, Lancashire. Our track took us over the top of the magnificent Yorkshire Dales National Park-bleak but beautiful nevertheless.

Looking out onto the vast Yorkshire Dales from above The Yorkshire Dales

With our site in Preston ‘in the bag’ we head east again passing over the Northern industrial cities of Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley before transiting the Pennines to our nest site, an industrial estate in Bradford.

Having been in the air for just over four hours a ‘pit stop’ was in order and Leeds Bradford Airport provided a perfect spot to refresh and refuel.

A small light aircraft parked next to the large planes at Leeds Airport G-BIOB Parked up at Leeds Bradford Airport

Feeling revitalized we take-off heading for our next port of call namely the town of Halifax.

Our High Level Picture Editor, Lizzie had asked if we could fly Halifax in order to get some library images for our archives. When conducting library searches, more often than not we have the images however, there are a number of locations that we have not flown before therefore, whenever practical we try and fill the gaps.

From Halifax we tracked South West back over the Pennines to a site in Oldham

A motorway runs through desolate moorlands The M62 at Saddleworth Moor

On the downhill stretch now we head for Dudley, Birmingham which takes us down the Western edge of the stunning Peak District over Derbyshire and Staffordshire to our final site.

When trying to identify our subject properties from the air it is always good if there is a nearby landmark to pinpoint the location. At Dudley our subject was a development plot quite near to Dudley Castle which as landmarks go is pretty useful.

An aerial image looking down on Dudley Castle Dudley Castle

Final site complete-hurrah. Just the final leg back to Fairoaks over the green fields of Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

A beautiful towering manor house surrounded by forest Waddesdon Manor near Aylesbury

As we crossed the M3 on our descent we encountered an RAF Chinook as an added treat.

A chinook flies over the m3 motorway RAF Chinook

Finally landing at Fairoaks after a total flight time of just under seven hours, 760 miles and adding another 31,000 images into the High Level image library.

All in all a very long but enjoyable flight. From the rolling countryside down South to the fenlands, moors and hills it makes one realise what a beautiful variety of scenery we have in the UK and how privileged we at High Level are to experience it as part of our job.

Spare a thought for the pilot…..For the photographer an aerial detail is relatively straightforward, cramped yes, but there's generally some wriggle room to stretch the legs.

The pilot’s job is a bit more pressurized. Pre-planning is essential (I feel another Blog coming), not only does he then fly the plane - monitoring the systems constantly, keeping us on track, but he also has to liaise with air traffic control throughout to confirm safe passage and ensure we are not endangering ourselves and other aircraft that might be operating in the vicinity.

All very tiring.

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