Front Street is flanked with tall ships during the 2002 race. *Photo by Scott Stallard
Front Street is flanked with tall ships during the 2002 race. *Photo by Scott Stallard

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16: Photographer Scott Stallard believes a tethered hot air balloon floating above Bermuda could do wonders for tourism.

He has spent 17 years photographing aerial views of Bermuda from a helicopter and has just published a new book featuring these magnificent bird’s eye perspectives.

Bermuda From Above is the third in his series of books showing views that most of us only get to see rarely and fleetingly aboard commercial fights.

The book features land and sea photographs from St George’s right through to Dockyard taken between 2000 and 2002. It includes the tall ships race in all its glory, submerged shipwrecks which the great Teddy Tucker helped Stallard to identify for his captions and forgotten landmarks such as The Sonesta Beach Resort and Club Med. Of course, the nosy ones among us can have a great time poking right into the back yards of some of the most extravagant properties on the island.

For Stallard, the main reason he shoots these views is to give people the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the island from the air.

“There are Bermudians who do not see stuff like this — the reef line off Somerset is as good as anywhere in the world, Tahiti — anywhere you can think of is not any prettier but we just don’t get to see it.

“I look to show some of the natural features of Bermuda, things that have been untouched, things that the National Trust and BEST are always looking to preserve.

“Also, Bermudians take a lot of pride in their property and their land and I respect how beautiful they make their surroundings.”

The self-taught photographer was born in Bermuda and graduated from Springfield College, Massachusetts. He worked in the film industry as an assistant to Robert Stigwood before being represented by The Image Bank/Getty Images.

He has been on photographic expeditions around the world and has published eight books about Bermuda including the aerial series.

Along with the previous two books in the series — Bermuda Aerial Views in 1992 and Bermuda From the Air in 1995 — you can see how the island has changed over the years. What used to be rural land is now covered with white roofs. He has included three photographs taken by his father from an aircraft in the 1950s which will give you a good idea about how times have changed.

Stallard first went up in a locally-owned helicopter to enjoy the thrill and to try new photography.

He said: “For a photographer it was like another step up from standing around on land waiting for the sun to come up. You always seek more interesting things to do like taking the shots from a mountain or going down a river and taking pictures. With the Internet you have to put out an interesting image to grab anyone’s attention.”

So what exactly is it like hanging from a helicopter trying to snap shots of the island?

“The only thing I would say is when you are sitting in the doorway facing out and you have propellers just over your head and the door’s off and you are strapped in — it’s very safe — but the part that gets me is putting a telephoto lens to my eye and going for more than an hour — it’s like reading in the back of a car — you get nauseous but you can’t afford to get sick because it is costing you $25 a minute to be in the helicopter and you need to get the job done. You keep going and you are getting hot sweats sometimes from zooming in and out and the helicopter is banking round. When we came down I would often go over and sit under a tree for about an hour and try to get back to normal.”

The Town of St George. *Photo by Scott Stallard

Bermuda From Above is on sale for $45 at Brown & Co, Bermuda Book Store, BUEI, Dockyard Craft Market, the Book Cellar, Robertson’s Drug Store and the Olympic Club.