A PHOTOGRAPHER has a good reason to celebrate the London Olympics other than Team GB’s record medal haul.
James Hawkes’ aerial picture of the Olympic Park features on the front page of the latest edition of National Geographic magazine.
He went up in a helicopter to capture the image of the Olympic stadium as its lights were being tested for the first time a year ago.
Mr Hawkes, 45, of Red House Drive, Sonning Common, said it was one of the highest honours in his profession to have a front cover of the magazine.
“I’ve had 50 photography books published but this meant more to me than any of them,” he said. “There’s nothing better.
“I spoke to friends in the profession and they couldn’t believe I had done it.”
Mr Hawkes works as a freelance and specialises in night-time aerial photography. He uses a mount to position the camera and a harness to allow him to hang out of a helicopter.
He said: “It’s very difficult technically. You sit on the side of the helicopter the whole time taking photos.
“That day was the first time I had seen the stadium lit up. I had been photographing it for six years but that was the very first time they tried the lights.
“I just tried to get a really dramatic image of it and it was really newsworthy at the time. It has a nice background as well with Canary Wharf in the distance.”
Mr Hawkes lives with his wife Adele, who works in PR, and children Anouska, 10, Zach, seven, and Finn, five, who attend Kidmore End Primary School.
He studied photography at the University of Westminster and has travelled the world for his job.
His latest book, Britain from Above Month by Month, was released in May to coincide with the London Olympics and he worked throughout the event.