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Interview: AirPano - Aerial Panoramic Photography

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As their website states, AirPano is “a not-for-profit project focused on high-resolution spherical panorama shots from a bird’s eye view”.  It has photographed almost 300 gorgeous and fascinating places on Earth.  Their images let you travel the world at the comfort of your home.

Projects have included famous cities like New York, Barcelona, Paris, Dubai, Sydney, Las Vegas, Vienna, Rome and unique views of nature such as waterfalls, volcanoes, northern lights, and mountains.

The team may use helicopters, airplanes, dirigibles, hot air balloons, or light jets to shoot their images. They are the largest source of aerial panoramas and virtual tours in the world.

Visit their website, for aerial 3D panoramas, 360 degrees videos and virtual tours.

DubaiPhoto by: Airpano

Can you give us a background about AirPano?

AirPano: AirPano is a not-for-profit project created by a team of Russian photo enthusiasts focused on taking high-resolution aerial panoramic photographs. Although we usually photograph from a helicopter, we also like to shoot from an airplane, a dirigible, a hot air balloon, and a radio-controlled helicopter.  Today AirPano is the largest resource in the world – by geographical coverage, number of aerial photographs, and artistic and technical quality of the images — featuring 360° panoramas of the highest quality shot from a bird's eye view.

GreecePhoto by: AirPano


Photo by: AirPano

Can you tell us how you got started?

AirPano: In 2006, we learned how to take spherical panorama shots on land. In those years, this was not an easy task: it required a special panoramic tripod head, a sufficiently deep knowledge of shooting panoramas, and it demanded a lot of manual work. At that time, we also had a lot of experience in photography from helicopters and airplanes, and suddenly Oleg Gaponyuk, the founder of the AirPano project, got an idea: why not break all of the existing laws of taking panorama shots on land, and try to do it in the air? We figured out how to take a spherical shot in the sky, where it is impossible to use a high-precision panorama head, because the helicopter can shift by many meters while shooting, due to the blowing of the wind. After several unsuccessful attempts, we finally figured it out, and the result exceeded all of our expectations. The effect was stunning, and the viewer felt like they were sitting in the helicopter and seeing the surrounding landscape with their own eyes.

When we realized what a stunning impression produce aerial panoramas, we decided to do a project called “100 places on the planet, which you should see from a bird's-eye view”. We wanted to share with the audience fantastic, awesome, incredible impressions, inaccessible to most people. This is how our project has been made. After photo shooting of the first hundred places, we didn't stop there, and now on our website you can find panoramas of more than 230 places of our planet - from the North Pole to Antarctica.

Photo by: AirPano

AustraliaPhoto by: AirPano

What has been your favorite city to explore and photograph?

AirPano:  New York City, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

New YorkPhoto by: AirPano

Mosco, RussiaPhoto by: AirPano

What motivates you to continue taking pictures?

AirPano: This is hard to explain. The same feeling that makes people reach mountaintops and fly to the stars.

St. Petersburg, RussiaPhoto by: AirPano

MalaysiaPhoto by: AirPano

So far, how many countries you've already photographed?

AirPano: We have photographed about 70 countries, 300 locations.  We have published about 3000 panoramas on our site.

FrancePhoto by: AirPano

ZimbabwePhoto by: AirPano

What is your dream project?

AirPano:  We’ve shot almost all top places on the planet Earth including underwater shootings and close space (stratosphere)… Panoramas of the Moon and ISS are our dream projects!

Website: AirPano