Monday, March 12, 2012

PAVED Magazine Cover - South Australia Aerial Series

Some fresh work from this year's Tour Down Under has hit the newsstands.

Paved Cover

First up, the cover shot and 10-page feature picture story/short essay for Paved Magazine (a new magazine from the makers of Bike, Powder, and Surfer) from my 2012 aerial series.

I've had many inquiries about how this this image was made--here's the lowdown.

This project was inspired after sitting next to National Geographic's aerial specialist George Steinmetz at the The International Photojournalism Festival of Perpignan in 2010.  Ever since, I've been looking for a cycling venue where I could secure a helicopter credential to execute aerial photography over a peloton.  In January of this year, the the opportunity presented itself at the UCI World Tour Event, The Tour Down Under.

Peloton and wheat fields, South Australia
I had just a few minutes per stage directly above the peloton to make the pictures for this assignment.  Each morning, the heli-pilot and I would meet in a ball field across the street from my hotel to review topo-maps of the route.  We picked target locations for the shoot and cross-referenced our take-off duration, flight speed, and the actual start time/average speed of the peloton in attempt to intercept the cyclists over these locations for quick bursts of image making.  The timing needed to be perfect--and a bit lucky.  Air traffic control granted us two to three turns (hovers) over the bunch (1,500 feet) at each intercept point before we had to turn the airspace back over to the TV choppers.  Because each stage was scheduled at mid-day--I needed to work with what I had--harsh sun and the beautifully patterned landscapes of South Australia.

Though I always think that there is room for improvement, in just a few days since publication, these images have become some of the most requested prints and editorial use licenses of any cycling-related photos in my archive.  I think more aerials are in my future.


Shooting bursts out of the Bell Ranger


  1. just watched the magazine and the picture of the peloton along the crop fields is amazing! any chance to see it in a decent size and share it digitally.

  2. Thank you! My agency, Aurora Photos, now represents that image so I can't share it digitally. You can see it in a larger size on my portfolio site,