“Good morning, Donn. I think we're going to fly together today?!" I said that as soon as I saw one of the greatest aerial photographic artists in the world. Donn Delson, when he arrived by black cab to the London heliport, in Battersea. southwest London.

Donn smiled at me, picked up his photographic gear, and said, “Hey, good morning, oh yes, let’s fly, look how the sky is clean, without any clouds!” "A rare thing in my town," I said.

My interview with Don was a chat that started on land and extended to the sky.

His passion for photography goes back to 1962, when Donn Delson bought his first Brownie box camera and then the Rolleiflex, which he used to shoot images for the yearbook and high school sports games in Cincinnacci, Ohio (USA).

At 75 years young, Donn specialises in large-scale, often abstract aerial images shot from "doors off" helicopters at heights up to 4000 metres (12,000 feet), his artistry quite literally reaching new heights.

He has spent over 100 hours in a doorless helicopter taking pictures and over 300 hours watching the world from a bird's-eye point of view. Donn’s travels have carried him throughout the world, from Japan to the Netherlands, England to Israel, and across the United States.

I asked Donn when he had the “idea” to take photographs from a helicopter with open doors. The answer came with another smile: “It was on a trip to New Zealand together with my wife. We had a beautiful flyover, and that beauty encouraged me to take aerial photos of how I saw the world from above.”

Flying doorless enables him to lean out and/or straight down to photograph clearly and crisply something that excites or inspires him far below; often, a chance sighting of symmetric patterns and textures, whether man-made or natural, colourful or not, evokes in him a sense of balance, harmony, and peace.

“Looking out of the helicopter with the wind in my face and the magnificence of the world stretching out below, seemingly without end, the only thing I can be is in the moment.” He says.

As much as we can describe Donn's artistic eye and photographic technique, the best thing is to have the “luck” of being able to sit next to him in a helicopter with an open door, high above the city that inspires many people around the world: London.

After receiving instructions, I and other fellow journalists were divided into groups of 3-4 people. The excitement for the 20-minutes flight with the photographic legend turned us into happy children on a playground!

Madness? Not at all. Donn is an artist passionate about discovering and finding beauty, portraying the marvellous beauty of the world from above, from the doors of a helicopter, with eagle eyes and an open soul.

His images are often not planned captures but rather serendipitous sightings, named to reflect what they may resemble from high above but not what they actually are in reality. Often taking on an entirely new identity, and aptly named, they become a transformative experience for the viewer, allowing collectors to enjoy the world from an entirely unique perspective.

And there I went, with my heart more than happy to fly over the city that has provided me with unique experiences, such as flying with one of the photographers I most admire for his art and courage.

Belt buckled, headphone and communicator in our ears and we took off. Looking at London from the sky gains a dimension of how small and fragile we are and at the same time how our creations are capable of taking our breath away. I recognized the places: Tower Bridge, London Eye, British Museum and O2 Arena, a place he knows very well. Donn built and sold the 4th largest entertainment merchandise business in the world, BandMerch, to AEG Live in Los Angeles (Staples Center/Philip Anschutz). Donn represented worldwide merchandising (tour, e-commerce, licensing, and retail) for artists like Rihanna, Billy Joel, Alanis Morissette, Outkast, and Linkin Park.

After several loud sounds of joy from me, Donn asks me over the radio: “Are you happy, Patricia?” My answer? How could I not be?!!

Delson’s current camera of choice is the Fuji GFX 100, enabling him to capture images at 102 MP. To make his large-scale images crisp and clear, Delson shoots at high speeds in burst mode, which on the GFX is 5 frames per second. This helps him ensure that while the first and last few frames might not be in perfect focus, usually the few in the middle of the burst will be, enabling him to enlarge the images from 32" x 48"(81cm x 121 cm) up to as much as 12'x18'.

Delson’s large-scale, limited-edition images are printed on the highest quality archival paper using Fuijiflex Crystal and mounted beneath clear acrylic glass with no perimeter frame to encumber the viewing experience. By presenting his work through unconventional framing, viewers can experience the same unrestricted high-altitude views and perspectives he does while keeping both of their feet planted firmly on the ground.

One of the pieces for which Donn is best known is Xylophones in his Points of View Collection. The image was captured in 2016 as he flew over the Port of Los Angeles.

“I spotted a parking area filled with horizontal rows of colourful containers that looked to me from 1000 metres above like the musical bars on a Xylophone. As I watched, I spotted a white semi-tractor trailer driving down the road between the containers. I yelled to the pilot to whip the helicopter around to position me for the shot. I was fortunate to capture the photograph only seconds before the truck drove out of the frame. At first glance, most people think it's either bookshelves or a xylophone. Then they notice the truck, and sometimes it takes them a few seconds to study the image and to realise what it truly is. My Points of View Collection is a series of images that are named for what they might look like at first sight, but in fact are something entirely different.” He says.

In 2017, Delson flew over Times Square at twilight. The genius of Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, with its chock-a-block colours, shapes, and sizes, was the inspiration for his flight, as he hoped to photographically recreate the myriad colours and shapes of Mondrian's famous artwork, enhanced by the twinkling of thousands of lights. Delson was so mesmerised by the spectacle below that, for a few seconds, he almost forgot to snap the shutter.

During Delson’s recent two-week shoot over the Hawaiian Islands, he was flying “doors off” early one morning over Molokai through a light rain shower and found himself smack in the middle of a rare double circular rainbow.

Fortunately, a photographer friend in the front seat was able to take a video of him shooting through the centre of the rainbow. On the ground, because of the horizon, we usually see only the top half of the rainbow as we envision the “pot of gold’ at the end. From Donn’s perspective, 1000 metres up, he found the treasure chest in being able to be physically inside the rainbow for a few moments and to have that gift captured on video.

That photo went viral on social media; it was watched about 5 million times. That was how I saw, for the first time, his artistic photographic work.

Delson’s work has been featured in articles on CNN Arabic, L.A. Times, LA Weekly, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Silvershotz Photography Magazine, Crave Online, JLTV, Fabrik Magazine, The Times London, CNN Lifestyle, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Independent, Metro, Architecture Today, Art Plugged, The Travel Magazine. and now on MEER.