Aerial Shots – In the Face of Cristo

Nico Schaerer @work

Nico Schaerer @work

Ricardo Malaguti and Nico Schaerer bend over a city map of Rio; discuss the upcoming flight route. Overflight rights, lighting conditions and possible motifs are discussed. Malaguti is our helicopter pilot today. Since his early twenties, the mid-forties man has been flying daily in helicopters over Rio for local television stations or international film projects. No one in Rio has more experience in this job than he does. An advantage, as soon becomes apparent. We fly over the southern districts of Recreio dos Bandeirantes and Barra da Tijuca – the area where the Olympic Games took place. Afterwards Malaguti flies around a favela. He says he always knows about which favela he is not allowed to fly at which time. If he did not obey these unwritten laws, “they would bring me down from heaven.” Many a police helicopter went up in flames.

Santa Teresa Rio de Janeiro - 4

We fly an hour over the city, several times around the Cristo Redentor, over the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, over the business district and the artists district Santa Teresa. During such a flight, the photographer is secured with a “full body harness He must have the courage to lean out of the helicopter even when the plane is tilted. The door is removed for aerial photography.

Top 10 Rio de Janeiro - 03

Top 10 Rio de Janeiro - 12

Nico Schaerer is always highly concentrated, takes photos, changes lenses and gives flight instructions to the pilot. Helicopter flights are expensive. “I have to get the best out of it in a short time,” says Schaerer. He can draw on a wealth of experience – dozens of helicopter flights led him for aerial photographs through the Swiss Alps, over Venezuela’s table mountains or even over New York’s gorges. Rio inspires the Swiss photographer: “Rio is an aesthetically pleasing city. Hardly comparable to any other city – except perhaps Cape Town, says Schaerer.

Rio de Janeiro Helicopter Flight Pictures - 03