These incredible photos taken almost three miles above New York City have never been shot before as they were taken from the highest-ever open-door helicopter flight over Manhattan.
Photographer Paul Seibert was so high that the pilot was required to wear an oxygen mask to fly the aircraft legally.
“This particular shot has never been taken before,” Seibert tells PetaPixel. “I wanted to do the highest open-door helicopter flight over NYC.”
“I’ve heard of people doing 10,000 feet and even 12,500 feet. No one to my knowledge, and to the knowledge of the flight team in N.Y. had ever been to 15,000 feet,” he continues.
“At these heights, there are not only atmospheric conditions to fight with, but also physiological responses to a lack of oxygen in an unpressurized aircraft. The pilot was on oxygen to safely pilot the helicopter.”
Seibert’s spellbinding photos, taken at dawn, of one of the most densely populated areas in the entire world show Manhattan Island, Brooklyn, Jersey City, Staten Island, Roosevelt Island, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.
“I was really interested in highlighting the relationship between the geography and how much humanity is fit into this relatively small area of the world,” says Seibert.
“The image taken this angle really shows off the Verrazano Narrows, and how this tiny inlet into New York’s Upper Harbor became a main artery for our country hundreds of years ago.”
Seibert took the photos on a Canon R5 with a 15-35mm attached, however, he used a 70-200mm zoom lens for some detailed shots of the skyscrapers of Midtown.
“The clarity is something I’m extremely proud of despite the atmospheric conditions of 70% relative humidity, and mostly perpendicular lighting due to the fact that this was taken shortly after sunrise,” adds Seibert.
The photographer describes the photo shoot as “highly planned and coordinated” and Seibert has plenty of experience shooting from helicopters above New York City. In 2022, he released New York From the Air featuring 200 photographs of the Big Apple.
Image credits: All photos by Paul Seibert.