The avid traveller and professional photographer has visited over 70 countries around the world and was recently honored as an ambassador of Singh Ray Filters. Below you will find some recent aerial work from Duman as well as photos of his new gallery and thoughts on aerial photography. Be sure to check out our previous post with Andrei for some breathtaking travel photos from around the world!
2. California, USA
3. Bora Bora
What do you find most challenging about aerial photography versus say traditional landscape photography where your feet are firmly planted on the ground?
I have always had a love for aerial photography. I think it is mostly because of the fact that it forces you to feel small, helps you feel insignificant, engages you in a different way to landscape photography. Don’t get me wrong, I love being on the ground and looking for unexpected locations. Being on the ground, within reason, you have time to set up your tripod, get your gear ready, set up your shoot. You have the time to take a shot, check your results, make small adjustments to correct for any imperfection. You have time to take it all in on a long exposure, you can plan for your next location or technique.
From the second you leave that tarmac in a helicopter with the doors off and only a rusty safety belt between you and death, all your senses are heightened. It is noisy, it is windy, it is violent. When you reach your shooting location, your adrenaline kicks in and you would do nearly anything to get that shot. You don’t really have time to think, everything happens quickly, with a direct correlation between what your pilot does and your actions. Any slight movement from the controls, hugely affects how your shot will come out. This is why constant communication is crucial to discuss pitch, altitude and speed. When panning hard to catch the shot straight down, the wind, the sun and G-Forces play a huge role. When rotating around on a tight spot, the wind speed picks up greatly and there have been times when my camera and lens has flown out of my hands (always carrying a camera strap with you is an invaluable lesson I learned). Your fingers freeze up from the cold and remain in the clutched position of them being wrapped around the camera body for a short while. The sun and its position is crucial as it comes around every swing, forcing you to change your composition and shooting angle. Combating these factors along with the heavy G-forces that are constantly pushing your head in your stomach, makes even holding the camera in your hands a difficult task. Focusing your shot therefore becomes critical. Knowing your equipment inside out allows you to make changes on the fly (excuse the pun!) and not waste very expensive time. I like that sort of fast rate, clinical shooting… where you don’t have the time to think properly, when all is instinctive. You see patterns on the ground and you train your eye to catch different angles that one would not have on the ground.
All these aside, it is the unexpected that keeps me so engaged with aerial photography. One can do all the research they wish, however until one is up there looking down, one never knows what they will find and that is why I will always be looking to get back up in the air.
5. Santa Monica, California
8. Soussusvlei, Namibia
Where do you want to photograph on your next aerial adventure?
I have had a fascination for a few years to photograph the slums of Rio or Bangladesh from the air. I am a huge fan of things that are abstract, fairly tightly framed and with enough patter to make the viewer think at what they are actually looking at. I want to get that reaction of “Hang on a minute, what exactly is that?” rather than “Ok that’s a bunch of houses”. I like things that are linear, busy in their composition and framing and force a reaction. This is why I think they slum houses would make for a very interesting subject.
I would also like to shoot from the air, the huge open pit mines. I think the shape of the depression along with the massive heavy machinery that look like a miniature toy set would also provide good results. I am off to Myanmar in 4 weeks and on that trip I have a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Began ruins and the eerie morning mist that surrounds them. I am hoping for some good images from that so stay tuned!
12. Bora Bora
Duman recently opened his first-ever gallery in ‘The Village’ at Westfield Topanga in Woodland Hills, California. While it’s the third largest mall in the United States, Duman is the first and only photographer to ever have a gallery in a Westfield development in their 55 year history! Check out the unique space below and drop by if you’re in the San Fernando Valley 🙂