Hanging out of the side of an AS355 helicopter from dusk until dawn while avoiding air traffic to capture these images is “pretty good fun”, Hawkes said.
Insisting that the rides are safe and “no different than getting in a car”, Hawkes added that the flights are “really not terrifying” even with the helicopter at times being “right on its side”.
While shoots are often rushed, sometimes having no more than 30 seconds to capture an image, the real work follows with four to five days of editing.
On a typical day of flying the veteran photographer would take three flights a day, beginning as early as 5am in the summer for the best lighting, to capture around 8000 images and film footage.
The process has become more digital since his start with film cameras at 21 years old, now often shooting tethered to a laptop and beginning editing before even landing.
Recently Hawkes has spent majority of his flying days capturing London and its iconic city scenes including Piccadilly Circus, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Oxford Circus during lockdown.
“My favourite view is probably looking from East of the city cluster - the big towers in the City of London at sunset. If you’re lucky you get really amazing colours and the view changes every few months.
“Even if you fly over London 30 times a year it’s still different every time you do it because the light is always different. Sometimes you might be flying at 700-foot and the next day you’ll be flying 2400-foot and it looks completely different again.
“I want to carry on as long as I can – the views have been incredible.”
Jason Hawkes’ work is available on his website www.jasonhawkes.com.