Horizon Imaging

Aerial photographs and video captured of vast East Midlands Gateway industrial site using drone and manned helicopter

Drone aerial photograph and a ground-level architectural photograph of an industrial logistics site in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Click to enlarge. 
Earlier in the summer we were commissioned by Siren Design, a design agency in London, to capture a comprehensive package of aerial imagery of the enormous East Midlands Gateway project near Derby, Derbyshire. 
Initially we were planning to use our drone to take the imagery, but we soon realised that this project would need a different approach … given that a) it was directly next to the busy international East Midlands Airport, and b) the site to be captured was at least a square mile in size! 
During our initial investigation into the feasibility of using our drone to photograph this site, we contacted the Air Traffic Control tower at East Midlands Airport to request permission to fly over the East Midlands Gateway site. Due to the proximity of the runway to the site the answer quickly came back that permission could not be granted. 
Undeterred, we looked for an alternative way to capture the images our client required, which led us to the idea of chartering a manned helicopter to take the imagery from much higher than would have been possible with the drone — something which in hindsight was the right route to go down anyway given the vast nature of the site! 
After agreeing the relevant fees, a date was set and fingers were crossed that the weather would remain fine and sunny … and to our surprise and relief, the day in question dawned warm, sunny and with clear skies! 
After a briefing by the pilot … which basically consisted of: 
  • Asking if I’m afraid of heights as they’d be leaving the door off, and 
  • Don’t let anything go (!!!) 
… we were off! 
Behind-the-scenes photos from the manned helicopter part of this photo shoot! The Jet Ranger helicopter was chartered from East Midlands Helicopters. Click to enlarge. 
During the flight we used our 42 megapixel Sony A7RIII camera to take super high-resolution photographs out of the open doorway of the helicopter, and we also took stabilised 4K video footage with the aid of a 3-axis camera gimbal. 
We spent a full hour circling the site, although as the East Midlands Airport remained very much open during our flight, we could only cross the line of the runway with express permission from the Air Traffic Control tower, with whom the pilot was in regular contact. As such, we switched from flying an arc around the site itself (the side closest to the runway), and the rest of the time flying up and down parallel to the runway directly above the airport. You can see some of the photos we took below: 
Aerial photographs taken from a manned helicopter of the new East Midlands Gateway industrial park, near Derby, Derbyshire. Click to enlarge. 
And here’s what it’s like to ride in the back of a Jet Ranger with the door off! Windy and cold is a good way to describe it! 
After returning to terra-firma, we went back to the site and spent a further hour walking around capturing ground-level footage for inclusion in a short teaser video for the East Midlands Gateway website. We were also given access to one of the massive warehouses on the site and given permission to fly our drone inside it! You can see some behind-the-scenes photos of our drone outside and inside the warehouse below: 
Behind-the-scenes photo of our drone outside / inside one of the massive warehouses at the East Midlands Gateway site in Derbyshire. Click to enlarge. 
And here are some of the interior photos we managed to capture — it was like being inside a cathedral! 
Behind-the-scenes photo of our drone outside / inside one of the massive warehouses at the East Midlands Gateway site in Derbyshire. Click to enlarge. 
Once all the video footage had been captured, we then cut it together into a short, silent showreel which now has pride of place on the homepage of the East Midland Gateway site. 
And here is the video in full — click the play button to watch it, and click the rectangle icon in the bottom right of the player to watch the video full-screen. 
Our client, Siren Design, was delighted with the resulting photographs and video footage that we produced for them, and they recently sent us the following kind testimonial: 

“Really happy with David’s services. He provided outstanding customer service, was very professional from start to finish and provided us with killer drone footage and imagery from inside one of our client’s large warehouses, as well as fantastic high-level aerial footage and photographs from a manned helicopter – the chartering of which David handled entirely on our behalf. Would definitely recommend Horizon Imaging.” 

  • Are you launching a new property, function venue or office space and need it to be professionally captured for inclusion in your marketing material / website? 
  • Are you looking to refresh your marketing literature by getting a ‘fresh set of eyes’ behind the camera to capture your latest projects? 
  • Do you want to start working with a single company to provide all your architectural photography, videography and virtual tour requirements to simplify shoot bookings, reduce the number of site visits required and ensure consistency between imagery? 
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