Aerial Photos of Colorful Beaches Shot from Doorless Helicopter

people sunbathing on the beach

À La Plage, À La Piscine or At the Beach, At the Pool, is a collection of aerial photographs of various shorelines packed with frolicking beach goers. That may sound a bit mundane, but one must see the pictures to get a sense of how amusing these images look. West Hollywood-based Gray Malin owns this series which he meticulously photographs himself.

aerial view beach umbrellas and huts

They have a miniature diorama quality to them, almost akin to those architectural scale models you see of pre-built structures. Each photograph is be-speckled with bright summer colors and different shapes and patterns that cover the beach. Capturing these photos is certainly no easy feat, and requires both precision and nerve. First of all, to get airborne Malin rents a helicopter. He has to lean out of the chopper to get these amazing photos. There is also a very small window of opportunity to catch the perfect image.

aerial photo of beach

“A truly great photograph is all about timing,” he tells “When you’re flying in a helicopter at high speeds, leaning out the doorway into strong winds, you often only have a fraction of a second to capture the right shot.” A close monitor on weather conditions is also a must. “The weather is the most important factor to all of my photo shoots, especially wind,” he says. “You would think rain would ruin a shoot, but during rainy days I have captured beautiful shots of empty beach chairs.”

beach photo aerial view

The inspiration for the “À La Plage, À La Piscine” came to Malin one day when he caught a pool view from a top floor balcony in a Las Vegas hotel.

“I became mesmerized by the spectacle of hundreds of sunbathers and swimmers splashing around in this gigantic pool. I took a photo of the scene, and it ended up being the creative spark that ignited the series.”

As an ongoing project, Malin plans to expand the beach locations to Chicago and Italy. The current collection contains beaches from Australia, Europe, the Americas, and Africa.

colorful beach

See the amazing portfolio on his website.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.