Photographer Victor Chu spent the last six months on an ambitious project: to document landmarks in all five boroughs of New York City with an camera and an aerial drone.
Bronx-based photographer Victor Chu spent the last six months on an ambitious project: documenting landmarks in all five boroughs of New York City with a camera and aerial drone.
His recently completed short video, made from 10 hours of tape shot over the past six months, is Chu's tribute to the city where he's lived most of his life.
"There's been a couple of videos about New York City shot with a drone, but they always cover Manhattan. They never cover the Bronx and Staten Island and the other boroughs,” said Chu, 29. "They are neglecting the other wonderful parts about New York City."
Chu — an editorial, event and portrait photographer based in Morris Park — began the project as a demo reel for his website, but he’s now entering the video in contests and film festivals.
He bought a DJI Phantom II and a Go-Pro camera as an experiment in aerial photography. The resulting video made him feel like he was seeing New York City for the first time.
"It was better than I imagined," said Chu. "It was spectacular. It was awe-inspiring.
"Manhattan is the hub, so obviously I give respect to Manhattan," Chu said. "But I love Queens because of the food, the character and the parks. I love the bridges in Brooklyn. Staten Island is better than what people think — it has calmness and serenity to it. And I always love the Bronx because I grew up most of my life here — the Yankees and the Bronx Zoo."
Aerial drone photography in New York City, although legal, still poses risks and is subject to law enforcement if it creates a public hazard. Over the course of 25 days of filming, Chu was kicked out of Roosevelt Island and Coney Island by local security. A train in Williamsburg nearly blew the drone away, and another time he almost crashed it into the East River. But he says believes that the finished results were worth the hassle.
"I hope tourists would venture out to the outer boroughs rather than just stick to Manhattan," he said.
"When people come to visit New York, I always try to take them to Roosevelt Island or to parts of the Bronx. The other goal is to showcase the aerial photography, not just the negative aspects of drones. I want to give drones a positive connotation."
Behind the Scenes of Ultimate Aerial Video of NYC