11 mesmerising aerial photos of cities at night

In an era when most human contact happens on screens, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the world around you. Photographer Vincent Laforet likes to take flight for a little perspective.

For his 2015 book, “Air,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning aerial photographer travelled to 10 cities around the world and captured the sights from a helicopter soaring overhead. “When you’re above it all, you can see the world is much smaller than you realised,” he said.

Laforet shared some of the incredible photos from his book with us. You can see more of Laforet’s work on his website.

According to Laforet, the biggest challenge for an aerial photographer is sometimes ignoring the incredible panoramic views seen from the sky.

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
Sydney, Australia.

It's tempting to photograph the vast expanse, but that doesn't always translate well in a photograph. 'You're just seeing a lot of sky and land,' Laforet told Business Insider.

Dustin Snipes

For his book 'Air,' Laforet instead pointed his long camera lens at the ground, picking out a specific spot to shoot. The composition makes the skyline look like a glowing circuit board.

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
New York City, United States.

Laforet flew over New York, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas (pictured), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sydney, London, Barcelona, and Berlin for 'Air.'

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
Las Vegas, United States.

In order to get these incredible shots, Laforet strapped himself into a harness attached to the helicopter. He said the harness felt safer than wearing a seatbelt.

During a typical two-hour flight, Laforet would take about 5,000 images using a gyroscope -- a type of mount that helps stabilise the camera and create sharper images.

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
London, England.

The rising popularity of LED lights created the vibrant spectrum of colour seen in Laforet's photographs. Blues, purples, and greens accompanied the familiar yellowish glow.

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
Miami, United States.

Laforet's background as a sports photographer prepared him for the gig. 'There's only one game-winning touchdown,' he said. 'You only have one chance at getting the image.'

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
Chicago, United States.

The same applies to aerial photography. 'You're rarely able to get the helicopter in the same spot or in the same moment more than once,' Laforet explained.

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
Berlin, Germany.

Laforet said he helped map the pilot's route before taking off and used Google Earth to identify interesting areas to shoot.

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
Barcelona, Spain.

He estimated that he travelled 160,000 miles in 2015, the year the book was published. Paris, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and Hong Kong are among the cities still on his to-do list.

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, United States.

'It's a very interesting parallel between taking aerial photos and taking a step back in your life and seeing the big picture,' Laforet said. 'That connects things a little more clearly.'

Vincent Laforet, Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles
San Francisco, United States.

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