Check out our interview and some of his favorite aerial shots below:
Q: What inspired you to get into Photography?
I do it mainly for myself. Each photo is a moment of my life I want to remember. They’re much more than pictures to me, they’re memories that trigger other memories. Also, in design school while classmates were cutting up stock photography books I was out taking pictures. I was a nerd but think I got a C in the college photo class I took. Takes lots of practice.
Q: What do you do for a living?
I’ve worked as the graphic designer at a 60 person architecture firm for the last 10 years. I also shoot architectural photography.
Q: How many times have you been up in a helicopter?
Counting the 3 times with you in the last 3 months? 3.
Q: You recently took part in our first special event flight of the season. How was the America’s Cup Flight?
It was amazing to see that spectacle from the air. I’m just in awe of the tech involved in those boats and went over to Liberty State Park to stare at them after I left the hangar. They fly too.
Q: What do you shoot with when you go up?
Nikon D7100 and D750. The D7100 is my personal walk around camera but I rent a lot of gear and keep coming back to the D750 with 24-70mm f2.8. It’s a great midrange camera that’s perfect for what I do. I did have quite a bit of gear envy on that America’s Cup flight.
Q: What’s your favorite building to see from the air?
Just seeing the grid is the best part of flying over New York but I have to be cliche and say Chrysler Building. It’s a masterpiece and nothing built after it comes close. A giant print of the crown hangs over my desk and getting that photo was my reason for going up in a helicopter in the first place.
Q: Who are some of your favorite Instagrammers / photographers?
Besides your New York regulars like @ch3m1st, @davidlacombenyc, @marzenka_, and @roon, my heart is in the mountains with @stianmklo and @thiswildidea. But the real draw of Instagram isn’t following professional photographers, but people I’ve met (and a couple I haven’t) around the world. You don’t need to understand the language to connect over photographs. And add @oracleteamusa to the list!
Q: What other special flights would you like to experience?
I’d like to see early morning light on the Chrysler Building. Waiting for my invite.
Q: If you could do a photo flight over any city in the world, where would it be and why?
There are other cities? The Manhattan grid is so wonderful and I don’t tire of seeing everything line up from the air. That said, I’d love to fly low into the Fjords of Norway and up into the Arctic. And to see curve of the volcanic crater that formed the Greek island of Santorini.
Q: What programs do you use to edit your photos?
Just Lightroom. Couldn’t live without it.
Q: What was your most memorable FlyNYON Flight?
The first. Going into a steep bank for a 180° turn and looking face down at the Brooklyn Bridge is not something you ever forget.
Thanks for sitting down with us Derek!
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