TIME Man on the Wire

Flood Patterns

Lightbox noticed a number of beautiful images taken from the air of the flooding in Mississippi. We asked photographer Robert King about how he came to make aerials over Mississippi’s flooded lands.

“In Mississippi, I shot from the pilot’s seat of a Cessna, with the camera held out the window. The pilot sat in the passenger seat guiding the plane. To take pictures like this, where the Earth below becomes almost two-dimensional, you have to use the horizon line as a guide, so that the camera angle is perpendicular to the ground. Its really difficult, because the wind is sucking at the camera, and you lose focus because of the vibration and the bumpiness, which knocks the focus ring out of place.

I did a lot of work on the floods, but I thought that the aerials were the best. Not only were they the most picturesque, but they came closest to conveying the gigantic scale of the tragedy. The affected areas were not heavily populated, so the real damage was done to the fields, the crops, and the farmers who worked them.”

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