London at night: Aerial photos of a neon city

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Timo Lieber has traveled the world taking aerial landscape photographs

He pays tribute to his adopted home town in the series "Lights of London"

CNN  — 

“I’ll just step out for a second,” says aerial photographer Timo Lieber, before swinging out of the helicopter with his camera, just a few hundred meters over the glittering London cityscape.

CNN is with the award-winning German-born and London-based photographer on one of his nighttime shoots over the UK capital, as part of his astonishing photo series “Lights of London.”

“I love London and it feels like home now,” he says. “It is actually a quite chaotic place but it looks sensational when you are up there in the air.”

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‘Fly with the right guys’

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Helicopter ride over London at night
01:31 - Source: CNN

Lieber’s technique involves strapping himself into a helicopter with the seats ripped out, then hanging out of the aircraft to take his photos. The shoots over densely peopled areas require special permission, but he knows the right people.

“You can basically do what you want if you fly with the right guys,” he says.

Lieber’s methods may be high adrenaline but the resulting images are serene and eerily beautiful.

“The thing about aerial photography is that you are so far moved from the subject you are actually shooting, [it] allows you to play with compositions,” explains Lieber. You can “play with colors, with textures, with geometry, so that actually keeps things very, very simple.”

Inspired by our environment and the interaction between humans and nature, he travels around the globe to search for impressive images, from remote deserts to the Arctic Circle.

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Uncommon perspective

“The way I started shooting was just shooting abstract landscapes,” he says. In series such as “Earth Patterns” and “Earth Etchings,” “very often you wouldn’t know what it is that I am shooting.”

Now he’s turned to attention to big city life and his adopted home town. “The main reason I went up there was to just really document the change that London is going through. One skyscraper is going up after the other. The aerial view is a very uncommon perspective you can take,” he adds.

“It just shows something that looks totally unreal from above and just different […] You can use it to tell a story.”

See more of Timo Lieber’s work on his website or follow him on Instagram at @timolieber.