Photography is a stunning and evocative art form that ignites imagination from pauses in reality. Capturing a moment in time, it chronicles events in history and freezes fleeting glimpses into the past, to unfold before the eyes of the future. A lens can almost be a time capsule to witness previous eras or press news into a vivid document of global events, or more likely nowadays, be an offhand snap of someone’s pout as they stare at their phone. It is capable of providing moments where it stops the clock on our frenetic planet and one of the most thought-provoking forms of photography that deliver this is drone photography. From above, the busy, ant-like scurries of people across the world’s surface between the hive-like buildings we erect as frozen statues to achievement and destruction, paint a fitting testament to humanity's imprint on Earth's surface.
Laws regarding drones have grown stricter in recent years, in the US for example; a person must be at least 16 and hold a drone pilot certificate. The law also requires keeping the drone within the line of sight, remaining mindful of the craft’s height and speed. Such a raft of restrictive new regulations may stymie gathering pictures from the air (perhaps intentionally?) Therefore, this collection of aerial drone images by New Zealand journalist and photographer Amos Chapple are all the more spectacular. After working for a New Zealand paper, Chapple became a photographer for UNESCO, shooting stills of World Heritage Sites. Going freelance in 2012, he has traveled to more than 70 countries and still has his work published in numerous major print titles. His collection of aerial shots includes a snow-dusted St. Petersburg and the splendor of both human architectural artistry, glimpsed in the ethereal spires of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, alongside base poverty of Indian slums. Delights like the majesty of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and the Danube’s jewel - Hungarian capital, Budapest - are preserved on this Imgur page. For more of his work that tells individual stories in the myriad nations Amos has visited, check out his website.
Below are his various pictures, below which are descriptions of the images in Chapple's words:
Saint Petersburg's Hermitage Pavilion wreathed in dawn mist. The little whipped cream palace was famous for parties where mechanical tables laden with food rose from beneath the floorboards. Click here for the full gallery.
Russia's candy-cane capital.
Saint Petersburg's Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood during a squally autumn morning. The church marks the spot where the reformist Tsar Alexander II was assassinated; the patch of the cobbles on which he lay dying are inside the church.
Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral rises through winter mist.
The Peter & Paul Fortress, Saint Petersburg's founding point. At the time of the fort's construction, the islands of St. Petersburg were populated only by a ragtag collection of fishermen's huts. The area was deemed "too wild, too wet, too unhealthy" for human habitation, the equivalent of founding a capital city in the upper reaches of Hudson Bay.
The Lotus Temple dotted with pigeons at sunrise. Designed by an Iranian exile, the building serves as the center of the Baha'i faith in Delhi. Click here for the full gallery.
The Taj Mahal and its gardens as the day's first tourists trickle through. Click here to watch a BBC interview discussing working with a drone in India.
Two wrestlers are practicing the ancient Indian sport of Kushti in a pit they had hacked into the ground two hours earlier.
Jama Masjid, the heart of Islam in India. The red sandstone structure, built under the orders of the Shah Jahan, also commissioned the Taj Mahal.
Budapest on a summer morning. Europe, please never change.
Peter & Paul Cathedral after a snowstorm, Xmas day 2014. We *almost* saw the sun that day. Anyone who's ever spent a December in St. Petersburg knows how special this is.
Known to the locals as 'Hill 3' this knoll jutting above Mumbai's northern slums is no more valuable than the land below; running water, which the Hill lacks, is far more valued than any view.
The neatly arranged suburbs around Sagrada Familia. Octagonal city blocks allow for the light, large street corners which make al fresco beer & tapas in Barcelona such a delight. Click here for the full Europe gallery.
Russian tourists basking on the beach in Abkhazia. Click here for the full gallery on the embattled territory.
The golf course at Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand.
The Vittoria Light, overlooking the Gulf of Trieste at sunset.
The star fort at Bourtange. Three centuries after the last cannonball fired in anger at the fort; it now serves as a museum and center of a sleepy farming village in eastern Holland. The thick walls were designed to offset the pounding force of cannon fire.
Buda Castle on August 20, 2014. The barge in the center of the Danube is loaded with fireworks, launched later that night to celebrate Hungary’s national day.
Clouds swirl through the pillars of Sagrat Cor Church, high on a hill above Barcelona. Twenty minutes later a thunderstorm hit the city.
Paris’ Sacré-Cœur glows in a hazy sunrise.
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