For Penn Gazette's coverage of Penn Park, photographs from the ground are not able to tell the entire story. Greg hired a helicopter to gain a higher angle in order to show the size of the site and how it sits in relation to the Penn campus and Center City Philadelphia.
Getting good images from the air is an exercise in team work between the photographer and the pilot. To photograph from a helicopter it's best to fly with the door off. The cabin is very noisy and once in the air the only way to verbally communicate with the pilot is through a headset. The pilot also needs to stay attentive to any instructions he may receive from air traffic control, so chatty photographers need to keep their talking to a minimum for the sake of safety.
Prior to hiring a helicopter, Greg shot the park from nearby high buildings, like Franklin Field. The view from there has power lines and the railroad line is prominent. The limitation of shooting this project from the ground led to using a helicopter.
For all the complications, costs, and considerations, aerial photographs show angles that photography from the ground cannot. Satellite images, while showing a view from above, do not have the same spatial quality.
For more on this assignment, see our post about photographing Penn Park from the ground.