Photographing Cruise Ships From Above by Jeffrey Milstein

May 20, 2015 2 comments

Modern cruise ships look gigantic enough from the shore, but their true scale is only revealed when viewed from above. New York-based photographer Jeffrey Milstein provides us this view.

Milstein, who is an architect, specializes in photos of planes and infrastructure. His most famous photo project was shooting the underbelly of airplanes from the ground, an activity which he did for 15 years. He also shot airports while flying above in an helicopter showing us its marvelous engineering and complexity. This time around, he has been shooting cruise ships.


Caribbean Princess.

Flying between 900 and 1,400 feet in the air, Milstein photographs the ships from the passenger seat of a helicopter, as it swoops above the decks. He can take only one photo on every pass, and in an hour’s time, he gets only two or three chances. To increase his chances of a better capture, Milstein works with a manual control medium format camera mounted on a gyroscope to eliminate vibration. There’s no door on Milstein’s side, which gives him an obstruction-free view and room to maneuver.

Milstein’s photographs are so crisp and detailed, that when viewed in its full 80 megapixel capacity, you can see every detail on the decks – passengers lounging on deck chairs, water slides, golf course, dance floors, basketball courts and pools of various shapes and sizes.

Most of these pictures were taken at Florida’s Port Canaveral, where millions of cruise passengers embark on vacation each year. He has also photographed ships in Fort Lauderdale and Miami for his ongoing project.

Milstein’s aerial photography will be on display at New York’s Benrubi Gallery between July 9–Aug. 22 and at L.A.’s Kopeikin Gallery between July 18–Aug. 22.


Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas.


Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas. Close-up.


Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas. Close-up.


Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas. Close-up.


Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas.


Norwegian Sky.


Disney Dream.


Carnival Victory.


Carnival Victory.


Carnival Sensation.

via Slate


  1. Great photos!
    Do they remind anyone else of pinball games?

    1. I hadn't thought about it that way but now that you're saying it, YES! :-))


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