Our Vivid Planet


Megan Gambino talked to photographer and geologist-by-training Bernhard Edmaier about how he captures his aerial shots of Earth, such as the above photo of Landeyarsandur, Iceland:

“I do a lot of internet research, including Google Earth [searches], study satellite images of planned destinations, maintain close contact with local scientists and commercial pilots, deal with various authorities and negotiate flight permits,” says Edmaier. “It can take months of research until the moment of shooting has arrived.”

Then, on that long-awaited day, the German photographer boards a small plane or helicopter and instructs the pilot to position him in just the right spot over the landform. He often has that perfect shot in mind, thanks to his planning, and he captures it out of the side of the side of the aircraft with his 60-megapixel digital Hasselblad camera.

From a logistical standpoint, Edmaier explains, “As my favorite motifs, geological structures, are mostly very large, I need to shoot my images from a greater distance. Only from a bird’s eye view can I manage to capture these phenomena and to visualize them in a certain ‘ideal’ composition.”

(Photo by Bernhard Edmaier. More of his work is available in his new book, EarthART, published by Phaidon.)