Photographers see something in the images they capture, creations both manmade and natural. Former airline pilot turned professional photographer, Adam Senatori took a furlough after 9/11 and turned his artist’s eye onto the world below him. “I think flying and photography give you freedom to explore and push boundaries,” he says. “Both have the capacity to keep you engaged and interested for a lifetime.
The I-10 and the I-110 freeways, Los Angeles, California, shot from a Robinson R44 helicopter.
“Before I go to shoot an aerial flight, I’ll spend a few hours on Google Earth. It’s three-dimensional and I’ll put in an elevation. It’s not completely foolproof. It’s where the artistic part comes in. I’ll use my eye to frame what I want. My shot of the Continental Divide in Montana was very tough to frame. It was very windy, cold, and turbulent. I wanted to show the differences in climate in one shot. I slightly desaturated the sky to help out, but for the most part that’s how it was—pretty washed out and gray. Very green and summerlike in the valley and essentially lifeless winter up top.”
Continental Divide, Montana
“I shoot from a Cessna 172, sometimes a 152 or a 172S model. I have another pilot fly for me. They can put me in some angles and positions so I can take photos. Lately I’ve been shooting from a helicopter where you can get the doors off and [have room to] get the harnesses on and off.”
Laguna Beach, California
“When I left the airlines I became a CFI again. I was flying a lot and I started taking cameras along with me. When I left the airlines I didn’t want to leave flying—especially the general aviation world.”
“Photography opened up avenues for me to explore things. I’m in southern Wisconsin, the Madison-Milwaukee area. I look for anything that piques my interest from 1,000 feet: the Misssippi River, the skyline of Chicago, anything interesting at the time. Patterns in the cornfields, those are real fun.”
“My client really wanted to embrace its message, The Outdoors Misses You. Placing a vehicle in the scene was important to support the concept. We didn’t have a model vehicle so we had to make multiple passes and hover for awhile before one came along. The car had to be going away from the camera.”
Highway 240, the Badlands, South Dakota
“I shoot aerials almost everywhere I go. For the LA shot we were in a R44 with the doors off and I was in a safety harness in the back seat.”
Port of Los Angeles, California
“Neighborhoods are definitely one of my favorite subjects to shoot photos of. Looking at them from above really helps ground me. Each house in the scene has its own distinct triumphs and tribulations going on inside, yet from above we are all the same. This shot was made in the early morning, and I remember thinking about all of the families starting their day and getting ready to go out into the world.”
Los Angeles, California