Joshua Jensen-Nagle

Aerial photography: Dreamy scenes from above

Aerial photographer, Joshua Jensen-Nagle is best known for his aerial photographs of beach or snow-scapes, swarming with colorful life. Joshua spoke with Phase One to tell us about himself and his work, focusing on aerial photography and the equipment he uses to create his distinctive works of art.

About Joshua’s style

“I have always strived to use photography as a means to create and evoke emotion rather than simply document a reality. ”

“Early in my career, the dreamlike style that I have become known for was very apparent as I photographed works with old Polaroid cameras and expired Polaroid film. Now, using a Phase One, this style is much more subtle, but the softness is preserved through my process, and enhanced through the paper I choose to print on as well as my face-mounting format.”

Why beaches and winter landscapes?

“Beaches have always been a fascination to me. As a child, I spent my summers in Mantoloking, along the New Jersey Shore staying with my grandfather at his beach house.  Some of my earliest works were beaches and I have revisited the subject many times. Winter landscapes were the same thing.  I can still remember going to the ski hill and photographing my friends skiing down the mountain and it’s simply evolved over time.”

Achieving the image quality for aerial photography

“My interest in aerial photography came about from looking for a way to evolve my series. I was always climbing cliffs and spending time on rooftops, trying to capture higher vantage points. I had tried shooting from a helicopter a few times before, but was never able to achieve the image quality that I needed until Phase One came around.”

“My first system was the IQ2 60MP Digital Back with a gyroscope attached and I was able to capture some amazing imagery.

“Now, I’m shooting with the IQ3 100MP, which has allowed me to capture the scale I was looking for in my finished work.”

Scaling big with Phase One

“Scale is important to me and the presentation of my work.  Phase One lets me achieve this. I wouldn’t be able to make the images I make today without the equipment.  You can’t hang out of a helicopter with an 11×14 camera and get the results that the Phase One allows me to. I have recently been making three meter prints that have an unbelievable quality.  Between sharpness and dynamic range, I have not seen anything that comes close.”

Connecting to our future through photographs

“There are always new projects in the pipeline. I have a few on the go. Cityscapes, expanding my beach and ski series, and now glaciers too. I started this when I was reflecting on my beach work. The more apparent global warming has become, the more I realize that these beaches are going to disappear as the glaciers rapidly recede. So, the project is to create awareness around this issue and hopefully create a discussion between the two bodies of work. At first glance, they seem very different, but they are more connected than one would first think.”

Aerial photography e-book

Get nine aerial photography tips recommended by Joshua that he uses before taking to skies on a photoshoot. In this e-book, you’ll find:

  • Joshua’s 9 aerial photography tips
  • Things to remember before taking off
  • Which type of aircraft Joshua prefers and why
  • The equipment Joshua uses for his shoots
  • Photography tips for when you’re up in the air