Drone imagery has radically changed the way we photograph the Earth. It is now more common to see this vertical view, however the changed perspective is still new, still mesmerizing, and still has the ability to startle. See one website that gives you a daily fix of the world from above, a long way above!
My general metric as to whether a photographic technique, method, or piece of gear has crossed over from niche, to cutting-edge, to widely used is to take a look at its use in wedding photography. Wedding photography is by no means exhaustive in terms of methods, but the combination of time-pressured, one time, run and gun, alongside engagement or pre-wedding shoots, means that it's a wide skill-set. Just take a look at the use of drones in this sector and you'll see that they are increasingly becoming common. Both for the wide shot (remember the once fashionable whole group shot take from a second storey window?), as well as the more abstract vertical imagery.
It's all a matter of mental perspective, seeing something you're familiar with but from a new vantage point, something unusual, something we're not used to. In addition to perspective, it's also about scale. Macro photography opens a whole new world to us. However instead of moving closer to objects, how about moving farther away?
The NASA Earth Observatory does that, bringing together the awe inspiring images from its fleet of satellites that are constantly orbiting the Earth. Instead of the paltry 100m away, these beasts are around 1000km away! Cities, rivers, coasts, deserts, and mountains take on a whole new meaning from this distance, and at this scale. The Image of the Day gives you a daily fix, something that genuinely will be out of the ordinary.
The banner image shows the Rajang River Delta in Sarawak showing its impressive meandering systems, along with the impact of pollution on the waters. The image above shows a very icy Lake Erie using visible and infrared light with some pretty impressive ice floes.
As much as I love looking at satellite images, the magic really comes when film makers combining satellite images with something a little closer to the Earth. This promo video from Toyota UK was shot last year. Now that's one big logo — enjoy the doughnuts!
Images used courtesy of NASA