My name is Brad Walls, and I am a Sydney-based aerial photographer. For the past months, I have been working on a project that uses a drone to capture Olympic sports from above.
Inspired by the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo (now deferred to 2021), I targetted synchronized swimming, gymnastics, tennis, and ice skating as disciplines that would be most appealing from above. Besides the aesthetic aspect, I am also trying to provide a new perspective to sports that have little coverage outside the Olympic season.
I made this to test the boundaries of aerial photography. The majority of aerial work turns a blind eye to the most beautiful element of our world, being us. I’ve worked on this series for just under 3 months and I hope to continue to add to the collection once the world opens again. The hardest part of the series was controlling the drone indoors for both the gymnast and ice skaters, it was basically like steering a boat in rough waters, with very little control.
When I first began the pursuit of aerial photography, drones were only just reaching the market. Despite the rapid evolutions in drone technology over the recent years, I keep it simple, focusing on the basics of composition rather than the newest and latest gear. I use a drone as a vehicle to capture a new perspective.
In 2020, I won an award in the annual Skypixel awards from over 30,000 entries for my work with a Sydney synchronized swimming team. The winning photo looked at the unique geometrical patterns of synchronized swimmers—often overlooked when watching from side-on. One of my all-time favorite images is from the same series capturing the team performing a cross front-pike pattern.
As I wait for restrictions to be lifted, I am already planning a few more projects, one in particular inspired by fine art photographer Maria Svarbova focusing on springboard diving. It was planned to happen a few months ago with an Australian olympian, but due to COVID-19, it was postponed.