Eagle’s Eye: Exploring Earth’s Beauty From Above With British Pilot Lee Mumford
Lee Mumford is a British pilot and photographer who has literally elevated the concept of travel photography. He travels far and wide constantly thanks to his job. From his vantage point up in the skies, he has managed to capture an awe-inspiring collection of stunning photos.
From cityscapes to mountain ranges and bodies of water, the scenes and locations in these images are gorgeous and highly detailed. They make you see the world in a whole new way. Just looking at Lee’s photos will assure you he is an exceptionally talented photographer.
Today, we are privileged to introduce this artist/pilot to you. So sit back, relax, and prepare to have your wanderlust well and truly fired up. Who knows? Maybe this collection will make flying a better experience for you.
This richly atmospheric image captures the tops of skyscrapers as they poke through thick, cotton wool-like clouds high above Hong Kong. We particularly enjoy the moodiness of the lighting playing across the gauze of cloud cover. Can you imagine being this high and being able to take such a beautiful shot?
Hong Kong is a metropolis with numerous towering buildings. It’s stunning. But we have never seen it from such an angle. There’s a sense of wonder and mystery inspired by the rest of the cityscape being obscured in this manner. It allows your mind to fill in the blanks and lets the imagination run wild.
What gives this picture such an interesting feel is the juxtaposition between the sweeping, rugged rocks and the beach, which depict the full glory of nature with the tiny boats. Beaches have always had a unique, effortless appeal, and this picture just makes you understand why that is.
There’s a really strong sense of place in this picture. It reminds us of a secret tropical paradise. This cove looks like the sort of place we could spend many a happy day or month! The Philippines is famous for having a massive coastline, so we weren’t surprised to learn that this was snapped there.
Yes, we’re still in Asia. If you squint, you can almost imagine that you are looking at some kind of magical skyland. The way the skyscrapers stretch up through the low-hanging clouds gives this image a sense of strange dislocation and a weird mythical quality.
Clouds are often associated with dreaming and, by extension, imagination. Have you ever wondered why that is? Photos like these sometimes help us understand things like that. They offer the viewer an unusual perspective which is perfect for mapping onto our own freeform, free-association images and ideas.
This one is almost like the Ying-Yang symbol. The curved bridge, which in itself is unusual, separates the two sides of the image. On the right, the waves have frothed up to wild white speckles with a kinetic sense of energy, epitomizing the concept of a wild sea.
The waters on the left are still and give a sense of serenity and peace. This is a really well-balanced image that demonstrates the power that is inherent in this type of photography. Can you imagine how it would feel being on this bridge at the exact moment this photo was taken?
This beautiful image truly captures the essence of this shrine and statue complex. From this birds-eye vantage point, you can appreciate the statue’s grandeur. This photo was taken from a plane, but the figure still looks massive. Makes you wonder how gigantic it must look from the ground.
All these shots have something magical about them. It’s quite an unusual perspective. There’s something inherently interesting about them that offers the viewer a new way to perceive these buildings and landmarks. They almost make the world look like a miniature model of itself.
The boats bobbing on the water are undoubtedly the main focus of this image. But we really like the textures you can see in the water itself. The photo has an undeniable sense of serenity to it that is often associated with bodies of water.
There is something random yet very organized about the way the boats are positioned here. It has a sort of calming sense to it that we really enjoy. It’s one of those pictures where the more you look, the more you get from it.
This bird’s eye shot of a maze of Spanish streets is just beautiful. As fascinating as it is to see forests and other natural features from this vantage point, we’ve always thought that cities definitely own the spotlight in this regard. The colors of the buildings are brilliant and very evocative.
It’s cool to see how the streets and buildings all fit together. The intricate nature of well-planned cities is a perfect subject for this type of photography, and this is a brilliant example. Cities may not exactly be the number one choice for vacation destinations, but it would be cool to see this up close.
This is just stunning! From the rolling undulations of the island mountains to the moody and atmospheric-looking sky, this photograph has it all. The variety of colors and textures is beautiful to see. It’s one of those shots that would look incredible in a frame on the wall.
Nature has a way of constructing some of the most beautiful shapes from natural formations in the world, and in this example, those elements are all there. Photography, like many other forms of art, has the ability to transport the viewer to these magical scenes.
This unusual photograph of a bridge in Hong Kong is remarkable for so many reasons. That said, our favorite thing about it has to be how it frames that beautiful sunburst sky. And what a sky it is! Full of beautiful pinks and oranges and bright whites.
Even the structures of the bridge have a type of mesmerizing beauty about them. The diagonal slants of the cables give a sense of pattern and form to the photograph. We also have to mention the lone double-decker bus that adds a feeling of movement and transience.
Being so high up and capturing photos like these allows the photographer to experience the world in ways that most of us will never get to see. This is another beautiful photo featuring the island of Palawan. With this one, it’s the sunlight that is the main focus.
It’s one of those pictures that was taken just at the perfect moment, with the flare and haze from the sun crowning the photograph in the top right corner. Even though you are not the kind of person who would enjoy an adventure here, these photos have a way of making you appreciate such scenery.
Sai Kung, Hong Kong
This almost looks like a mythical landscape straight out of a fantasy film. Can you see how the tower of clouds in the background almost looks like an ice wall? Very Game of Thrones! Aside from being a bustling metropolis, Hong Kong also clearly boasts a gorgeous natural landscape.
As with some of the previous photos, it’s these natural features that really stand out and elevate this picture beyond your usual holiday snaps. The world is such a beautiful place, and we are so fortunate to have people like Lee to remind us of that every day.
El Nido, Palawan
This place could fit the description of a little slice of paradise. We would love the chance to visit this awesome beach hut which sits upon a pure strip of golden sands. The water looks lovely and clear, and the palm trees at the back and the side just frame the property perfectly.
The cliff face towers above the beach scene and gives the photo a beautiful sense of depth and composition. It really does look like a wonderful place to visit. Looking for the perfect private beach location? We think this might be it.
We are back to more urban settings with this sprawling shot of Hong Kong. But there’s more than just skyscrapers on display in this one. In the background, you can spot some jagged mountains rising through the mist like colossal sentries that protect the city.
The juxtaposition between man-made and natural structures is a real point of interest here. The contrast is quite striking and gives you a really good idea of the impressive scale of the kind of world that can be captured when you are up in the sky.
Just look at how clear that water is! And the sand! The colors captured in this beach scene are absolutely gorgeous. The way the sea darkness as it gets deeper further way from the beach is something we will never tire of admiring.
The boat in the foreground offers the viewer a hint of life. Judging by the thatched structures, we would say this was a holiday location. Can you imagine living or even vacationing in a place like this? What a life that would be! You can almost feel the warmth emanating from the photo.
The region of Cappadocia in Turkey has always been a favorite among tourists. There’s so much to see in terms of cultural and even geological features. Best of all, you can do it in a hot air balloon! That’s why this particular shot is among our favorites.
It looks fabulous and so peaceful. The photograph was taken at the perfect time, with the colors of the sky providing a wonderful background context for the floating airships to really stand out. Thanks to that and the colors, the mesmerizing photo almost looks like an oil painting.
Death Valley National Park
This photograph is a testament to the fact that some of the most inhospitable places on earth are also some of the most beautiful. Death Valley is well known for having a pretty unforgiving environment as temperatures are extremely high a lot of the time.
Doesn’t this make you think of those system screensavers and backgrounds that used to be on all computers? There is something almost Martian about this strange, smooth land. The undulations of the sand give a tranquil sense of serenity but also speak of a place that is constantly changing.
This one is all about composition. We have seen Lee use natural structures to frame his photographs before, and this is just another instance where he used that technique. As usual, it worked really well. You have to be really skilled and talented to take photos like these from up above.
The sun provides a focal point that naturally attracts the eye. Additionally, we appreciate the sense of texture you can see in the rocks and the valley floor. When they say timing is everything, we often think about it in relation to our lives and our unique situations, but that saying also applies here.
When you are so high up in the sky, we assume that a large portion of your view of the ground will certainly be obscured by low-lying cloud cover. However, in this example, the photographer turned that into a virtue.
Although you can actually see very little of the bridge, you can see enough to get a real sense of its height and scale. As with most of Lee’s pictures, the mountains in the background provide an element of context, and the sunlight provides interesting gradients of colors.
Dolomites, UNESCO World Heritage Site
This beautiful and welcoming beacon of light looks so inviting and warm set against the backdrop of some towering, cold-looking mountains. It’s like a calm little oasis in the midst of an unforgiving landscape. Wonder who lives there. What do you do if you unexpectedly run out of salt with no neighbors around?
Well, we hope we never have to find out. This would be a brilliant shot even without the house in the foreground, but the fact that it is there adds a further point of interest. These contrasting elements and the tension between them allow the beauty to really flourish.
Here, the city of angels has been captured in a way that really illustrates what it’s about. The palm trees stretch lazily up to the sky, and the bright sun casts its orange haze over the whole scene. LA has always been stunning, but we have to admit that from this angle, it’s breathtaking.
The fact that the photographer captured a solitary figure on the street adds a point of interest to the photo and also gives us an element of humanity for us to focus on. For such a large and busy city, this picture is remarkably serene.
Back to Turkey and its famous Cappadocia, our next picture features an urban area that covers the tiers of an imposing hillside. As we’ve seen before, it is the juxtaposition of two different worlds and how they connect and intertwine that makes the shot.
Urban scenes are always interesting, especially in this type of photography, and this is a great example of this. It’s the details of the buildings that really catch our attention. From the streets to the windows, doors, and rooftops, everything looks so intricately put together.
Next up, we have another one of Europe’s bustling cities. Lee certainly has an eye for beauty because not everyone would be able to take a shot like this. Anyone can recognize beauty, but it takes real talent to translate that into a form of art everyone can consume and appreciate.
Though the buildings aren’t identical, there is something they all seem to share. As you may have already deduced, they are all white. That’s why this city is sometimes referred to as the Santorini of Spain. It’s so refreshing to see that it’s as beautiful at night as it is during the day.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Jordan is a beautiful country. It is famous for its landscapes that consist of vast red rock, and thanks to this shot, we can see that landscape in all its glory. The mountains and valleys stretch out into the distance. The mere sense of scale is amazing.
In the foreground, we can see a gathering that could be some sort of market. This tiny little group of humanity is essentially dwarfed by the huge and imposing rock formations and gives a really great contrast to the photo.
Here, we have another image that makes a large number of boats appear to have a somewhat otherworldly quality. They look like tiny decorations upon the calm, mirror-like surface of the body of water at the bottom of the picture.
Are you tempted to guess and then count the number of boats like we were? No? Oh well. In the distance, we can see another body of water, but unlike the first one, there are no boats, and the water appears to be more misty. Two disparate elements combining to turn a photo into art.
Alpe di Siusi, Italy
There is so much to like about this photograph. It’s an incredible image that has so much going on. To start with, just check out the dramatic range of its perspective, from the large fungi at the front nestled in amongst the long grass.
Also, look at the almost perfect symmetry of the valley in the middle distance to the broody mountain range in the distance. This photograph really has something for everyone to enjoy. It’s a spectacular image that we can’t help but smile at.
Another one from the architecturally beautiful city of Barcelona. This city is well known for its range of breathtaking buildings. The photographer has really managed to capture the essence of the beloved metropolis city in this stunning shot. Now we’re itching to see Barcelone up close!
Can you see how beautifully the city stretches out into the distance? All the different types of buildings fit together like some kind of hyper-complex jigsaw puzzle. This photo had one job; to illustrate the beauty of Barcelona’s urban planning concept. We’d say it accomplished that quite well.
Dolomites, UNESCO World Heritage Site
The clarity of this photograph is what really makes it look so aesthetically pleasing. Impossibly huge mountains behind the grand house at the water’s edge taper from gray to white. We can see this one selling for an obscene amount of money.
The blurred reflections in the water offer the viewer’s eye a painterly effect that adds to the impression of nature being something akin to a work of art. Even though this place certainly looks like one of those untouched forests that should remain untouched by humans, the house fits here so perfectly.
Bromo Tengger, Semeru
The structures of the tree in the foreground give the impression of a natural frame that helps to add a sense of sturdiness to the image that has been so beautifully captured here. But it’s the mist that makes it seem so mysterious.
We really like the different tiers of the mountains and how they all fit together. They almost look like a tower constructed out of children’s blocks. Oh, forgot to mention where exactly this was taken since not many will recognize it immediately. Semeru is a volcano in Indonesia.
There’s a face on that island! And to be honest, it looks pretty sinister. This is an example of how the shapes found in nature can conspire to produce things that you wouldn’t expect from them. What cartoon character does the face remind you of?
We’d say Eustace Bagge, the guy who owned Courage in Courage The Cowardly Dog. That exaggerated chin can only be that guy! These aerial shots are so good at capturing things in ways you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to see. We probably wouldn’t have cared for this island if we hadn’t seen it from his angle.
Here is another photo that was taken in the expansive desert lands of the American state of Utah. The central pillar of rock looks almost as if it has a castle or citadel sitting at its highest point. It’s bleak and beautiful at the same time.
We really like the shapes of the valley and the way that nature and time have conspired to produce such interesting shapes and textures. Our favorite thing about the picture is how it just seems to roll on into the distance, giving an incredible impression of its scale.
Shiprock, New Mexico
The next image is all about the balance between light and shade and how these two opposite elements can combine to striking effect. The famous Shiprock that is the focal point of the photo rises up grandly in the distance.
The moody-looking clouds at the top of the image add a level of interest to the sky and give the scene a feeling of a slightly oppressive atmosphere. It’s a very lonely photograph with an immense sense of isolation. But as you know, when it comes to art, that’s never a bad thing.
Shapes and angles are the main elements that give this photo such a strong sense of place. There is something almost geometric about the way that all the parts of this image fit together to make up a cohesive whole.
The details of the rooftops of the blocks of flats themselves are really interesting to look at. All the different colors and structures tell a tale of strategic planning. Lastly, we just love the natural sweep of the bright and clear water we see at the bottom right.
When you think about a tropical island paradise, we would be surprised if your mind’s eye didn’t conjure up something that looks a little bit like this. The only thing that isn’t idyllic is the slightly foreboding look of the weather.
We can easily imagine spending many a happy day exploring the beaches of this vibrant and exciting place. That said, we can also imagine that when it rains, it really rains! Tropical storms can be very spectacular, and we think there’s one brewing here.
This is a really cool one. This scene features a single boat pitched up on one of Cornwall’s famous sandbanks. The shapes of the sandbars displayed in the photograph are really beautiful. Lee certainly has a good eye for gorgeous natural features.
If you look closely, you can make out a couple of tiny figures exploring around the sandbanks. Can you spot them? We wonder if they were out searching for the cockles that are often found in this type of environment.
There is something of a fairytale about this picturesque little scene. From the definition of the white church tower to the mist and mountains in the background, it’s a beautiful shot that evokes a feel of faraway, mythical lands. It is simply magical.
The buildings that are huddled together around the bend of the river all have their own distinct characteristics. It’s the sort of place that we can imagine holding a pretty fantastic Christmas market. We imagine it as one of those small lake towns where everyone knows everyone and walking is the main form of transport.
Standing alone in the middle of a grandiose mountain range, this church conjures up feelings of peace and tranquility. It looks like a place of sanctuary in what would surely be a challenging terrain to navigate. We hope they have some kind of water stand inside for people who trek up there!
These aerial photos are so good at capturing the essence of a place, and like with several other pics we have mentioned, that is apparent in this picture. We like the way the mountains seem to stretch on forever within the frame of the photo.
Yosemite National Park
Can you feel the cold from this photo? We most certainly can! This wintery scene is so vivid that even just looking at it makes us shiver. The darkness of the frozen water provides a strong point of contrast with the white snow and ice.
The shapes and textures shown here are all very stark and bare, which strangely adds to the allure of the picture. Another point of contrast you simply can’t ignore is the contrast between the hard rocks and the soft powdery feel of the sky. Together, all these elements make an evocative image.
Dolomite, UNESCO World Heritage Site
If you look closely enough, you will be able to make out a tiny figure dressed in yellow right in the center of the photo. What a view for them to be enjoying! Shots like this are really special because not a lot of people get to see these views.
We really like the way the ridge in the foreground is dressed in greenery and foliage, which makes it stand out from the cold hard ice and rock that constitutes the mountains that stand in the background. We are not hikers, but we certainly get the appeal.
This one is all about the texture. As we have seen, aeriel photography is an ideal medium to capture the feel of a particular location. In this instance, the photographer has succeeded in a really beautiful way. Check this out.
It’s an uncompromising landscape and an example of a place that we would rather look at in a photograph than actually go visit. That is the beauty of these photographs. You get all the details and beauty and none of the cold!
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Sometimes isolation can be a beautiful and powerful thing, and this photo is a perfect example of this notion. We wonder if the hot air balloon is heading to or from the tiny island at the front of the picture.
The other thing that is really apparent in this photo is the sheer sense of scale. It just looks so big! The world is a rich and varied place and images like this just go to show how much is out there to explore and enjoy. Time to start that travel fund!
The ancient city of Petra in the desert lands of Jordan is a magnificent wonder. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s an entire city carved straight of the rocks in a deep valley. It’s an incredible achievement from earlier civilizations, and this photo captures it marvelously.
It truly deserves to be a wonder of the world. The way this image captures the sunlight shining down from the top right-hand corner really adds to the sense of awe that is inherent in this image. The internet is not short of images of Petra, but this has to be among our favorites.
This is a very painterly shot that looks less like a photograph and more like a work of art. We love the way the snow plays amongst the crevices of this mountain range. Despite the obvious cold, there is a certain warmth to it.
We really like the little figure in the foreground who seems to be taking the scene in with a sense of wonder and excitement. We get it. It’s a breathtaking location. If you would like to switch up your vacation destinations from beaches, try an experience like this.
The looming shadow that casts over the foreground of this photo adds to a feeling of mystery and adventure that’s built into its character. It’s the kind of shot that would inspire explorers to get out and see the world.
Rivers are always a great subject for photography, and this tells you why. As it meanders through the frame of the picture, this river evokes a feeling of constant and restless movement. We envy whoever is cruising in that boat.
This is another one of those shots that juxtaposes an elegant building against an overwhelmingly huge mountain range in the background. It gives off a really strong sense of perspective and scale and looks pretty cool as well, wouldn’t you agree?
The photograph is framed at the bottom by a dense stripe of foliage that adds another element of interest to the piece. The natural world has its own unique beauty, and we’re glad that this photographer has captured so much of it.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
This photo is all about the reflection in the shimmering water. There is something almost Disney-like about the turrets and sloping rooftops and the building emerging out of the forest on this island paradise. It’s a dream location for a photographer.
Water is often a fantastic subject for photography, and this is especially true when it comes to aerial photography. The reflections caught in it are absolutely breathtaking. Unlike most of the pictures we’ve featured, this one wasn’t taken from a significant vantage point. However, it’s still stunning.