Bristol from above
Bristol has an amazing group of intrepid, high-flying photographers who capture these sensational views of Bristol from above. How do they get up there? It’s best not to ask.
Don’t try this at home.
Well apart from the odd few taken from a balloon or drone, you can try that.
1. Bristol in the morning
2. The Bearpit
3. A fantastic afternoon view of Bristol
4. Bristol views from a crane
5. Clifton Suspension Bridge from a balloon
6. And from the opposite side with a drone
7. From the top of the bridge
8. And back in the day
9. Bristol on its axis
10. A beautiful view into Bristol’s centre
11. The ever changing Bristol centre
12. Bristol at night
13. A look into the heart of Stokes Croft
14. Flying over Whitchurch and Hengrove
15. A look into Bristol
16. Peaking over from the top of Wills Memorial Building
17. And on a slightly sunnier day
Brucie bonus: A couple of videos from above
Bristol as if it were toy town
From the top of the Premier Inn
12 Incredible Aerial Shots of Bristol
‘Bristol by Balloon’ from Bristol instagrammer and student Patrick Metcalfe
On my 10th birthday I picked up my very first camera, and 13 years later I’ve never been more engaged with photography! I love the combination of the technical knowledge, creative freedom & exploring of the great outdoors that it can offer on a daily basis, whatever the weather.
I joined the popular image-sharing platform Instagram back in 2014 and this has been the main source of inspiration and drive for my photography over the last 3 years – there are some superb Bristol-based ‘Instagrammers’ out there!
Originally from Kent, I’m a current Master’s student of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol and it was in my first year (all the way back in 2013) that I was first given the opportunity to take my camera into the air by flying with the university’s hot air ballooning society. The society, known to most as BUHABS, celebrates its 31st birthday this year and offers students & staff the chance to get involved with the operation of the iconic Bristol University balloon. As well as being trained in how to help with the operation of the balloon (known as ‘crewing’), the society offers frequent flying opportunities which can take you over the city of Bristol.
After my first flight, armed with my camera, I was hooked – and I’ve returned to the skies in the balloon on many occasions since then to fill up my camera’s memory card with photos of Bristol from the unique perspective that the hot air balloon offers! Unlike the increasingly popular consumer drones, having your camera in the basket allows you to take up heavy zoom lenses and it’s a lot easier to spot compositions with your own eyes than via your smartphone screen.
I like ballooning so much that I now hold a position on the society’s committee, as well as travelling to hot air balloon gatherings across Europe – with the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta being my favourite, of course!
The photos I’ve captured from the air, some of which are featured in this article, have helped my photography to reach a wider audience than I ever thought possible – I have recently started selling prints of my work, as well as having it featured in venues and publications across Bristol. It generates a small but welcome income that I use to support my university studies (& photography kit, naturally).
In this article I have chosen 12 of my favourite Bristol images I’ve taken from the Bristol University hot air balloon – I hope you enjoy them!
The repeating patterns in this group of houses in Totterdown leapt out to me when seen from the air, in fact I’ve actually taken this shot on two separate flights across the city. It’s not hard to be hypnotised by this image, and it’s turned out to be one of my most well-known compositions.
2. Broad Quay Birds-Eye
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice this was taken before the infrastructure developments started in the city centre for the metrobus. This was actually shot on my first flight in the hot air balloon – and what a memorable flight it turned out to be!
3. Cumberland Basin
From the ground they don’t look like anything special, but I really like the curves of the Cumberland Basin junction when viewed from above. The Bristol Ferry was an added bonus to complete the composition! This is an area I’d love to get the chance to shoot again from a different angle – fortunately flights from Ashton Court Estate can frequently pass over this area when the wind direction is right.
4. Hotwells & Cliftonwood
This was one of many colourful Bristol scenes that I couldn’t float past without capturing on my camera. It’s now become one of my best-selling prints!
5. Clifton & The Suspension Bridge
Another of the spectacular views that Ashton Court take-offs can offer – this time looking north-east over the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton Village & beyond to Southmead Hospital. It’s a great feeling to float past the White Lion Bar terrace and give a wave to the people enjoying drinks in the evening sunshine.
6. The SS Great Britain
One of Bristol’s many historic attractions, Brunel’s SS Great Britain. She was built in 1839 in the same dock where she now rests, having carried passengers and cargo all over the world for nearly a century! Having been sunk and left to corrode off the Falkland Islands in 1937, she was returned to Bristol and has been restored into a fantastic museum.
The tall ship Kaskelot was actually built over 100 years after the SS Great Britain, in 1948, and still sails around the UK. On this particular flight she was moored by Lloyd’s Arena which made for a simple composition, with the straight lines leading the eye to the ship. This image was also processed into a partial monochrome to further highlight the Kaskelot, which was lit up in a lovely golden colour from the low evening sunlight.
8. Shimmering City
Hot air balloon flights are usually in the early morning or evening, when the temperature and wind speeds are lowest. The low sun at these times creates long, dark shadows which give a high contrast with the bright sky. In this image the sun also casts a bright glare from the river, making the scene look magical.
9. A Lot of Allotments
Whilst not particularly Bristol-specific, I had to include this birds-eye of a group of allotments that passed under the basket on a recent flight over east Bristol. There are scenes like this all around the city that may not look particularly special from the ground, but when viewed from above they are transformed into something completely different!
10. The Avon Gorge
I was surprised at just how small the Avon Gorge looked from the air, considering how high above the river you feel when crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge! It’s also amazing to see all the way across to the Severn Estuary and Wales when just 1000ft above the ground. I’ll never get tired of the views that ballooning offers!
11. Queen Square & Park Street
Any Bristolian will tell you that Park Street is one of the steepest roads in Bristol, but from the air it looks significantly flatter! The view from the top of Wills Memorial Building has the same perspective-distorting effect. I like how the trees surrounding Queen Square stand out in the foreground of this image, surrounded by the building of central Bristol- it emphasises the importance of protecting these green spaces within our cities.
12. The Harbourside
One of my favourite places in Bristol is the Harbourside, so to see it from the air was something extra-special for me. Lloyd’s Arena in the bottom-right is occasionally used as a take-off location for balloons and it’s high up on my ballooning wish-list for obvious reasons!
If these have got you itching to get airborne, I can’t recommend the experience enough! There are lots of commercial ballooning companies in the Bristol area who fly throughout the year and these balloon rides make excellent birthday presents. In my opinion, hot air balloon flights should be on everyone’s bucket list!
50 Bristol Instagram Accounts You Need To Be Following
The very best Bristol Instagram accounts you need to be following
Do you ever get tired of cycling through a never ending stream of cat, food and baby photos on Instagram? Well it’s time to broaden your insta-horizons and check out these Bristol Instagram accounts that will spruce up your Instagram feed.
Run by the brilliant Jess, Mitch, Ben and Rich this is your number 1 Bristol account to follow. Tag them in your photos and use #igersbristol for a chance to be featured.
Moderator of the aforementioned IgersBristol, Jess’ colourful photos are absolutely spectacular. She’s now amassed over 41,000 Instagram followers, making her a Bristol powerhouse on Instagram.
A former moderator of Bristol Igers. Jon is a landscape photographer and his Bristol photos are absolutely majestic.
Armed with his Iphone and Go Pro, regular Best of Bristol contributor Colin Moody takes a picture a day and captures Bristol at its most candid.
Another of the igersbristol gang. Mitch’s photos are stunning, look out for his photos high up in the sky on the hashtag #antimitchclimbs.
Another moderator of the wonderful igers gang and the founder of Bristol Art Collective. Ben has been taking awesome photos of Bristol for a few years now. You can see 10 of his best here.
Dylan is a Best of Bristol favourite, regularly scaling Bristol heights to get stunning photos. Obligatory don’t try this at home kids.
One of our overall favourite Bristol photographers. Neil has been taking gorgeous photos of Bristol and other places across the UK for a many a year. Check out 15 of his epic photos.
One of Bristol’s best photographers, you’ll find some out of this world Bristol photography from Jim Cossey.
We’re huge fans of Carolyn’s photos, regularly featuring her on the BoB instagram page. She takes a brilliant variety of photos across Bristol.
Rich is another moderator for @igersbristol and takes absolutely glorious photos across Bristol.
At over 86,000 instagram followers, Josh is absolutely killing it on instagram. Every photo he posts is absolutely stunning.
13. Visit Bristol
Bristol’s resident tourist information showcase a lot about Bristol. Use #VisitBristol for a chance to make it onto their page.
Another member of Bristol’s blossoming colour photography scene. Ella manages to show the vibrant colours of Bristol in every single shot.
Tim Saunders showcases stunning shots from across Bristol.
Carl takes a unique perspective on Bristol’s decaying under belly. Finding the beauty in shabby Bristol. You can see 10 of his best shabby Bristol photos here.
Lot’s of epic shots of Bristol and others from across the UK for good measure.
Paddy takes brilliant photos of Bristol. The above one is probably our favourite Bristol photo of 2016!
Loads and loads of great colorful Bristol instagram photos. Glorious!
This local street artist is worth following just to see what his next piece might be.
Creators of some of the most famous street art in Bristol in 2016, check out what they get up to in 2017.
You’ve got to adore Rosie’s photos. Another who focuses on the vibrancy of the many colourful places in Bristol.
Captures Bristol’s iconic street art culture. You can share your art and pictures using #spraybristol.
Another account that shoots Bristol”s street art. Use #streetart_bristol when you’ve seen some Bristol street art that’s instagram worthy.
Matt Gibson showcases brilliant Bristol instagrams across the city.
Jessie takes absolutely gorgeous photos of Bristol. We’re bag fans of this rain dropped soaked one!
Lots of awesome Bristol photos from Tom.
Big fans of this Bristol based photography collective. This sunset photo of Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of favs of 2016.
Bristol’s erstwhile monthly magazine and website showcase the best of Bristol. Use #bristol247 for a chance to have your photo end up in their magazine.
Richard takes a wealth of tasty photos across Bristol.
Another account from sichan.he, this one is iphone only and has regular stellar pictures.
Riverslade takes very unique photos of Bristol. You’ll find multiple amazing shots taken in the reflection of water.
Rich is a freelance photographer in Bristol who takes photos across the world but his Bristol ones are of course our favourite.
Loads of really interesting captures from Craig on his account.
Max has been killing it recently with his awesome Bristol photos.
One of the moderators of igersbath. Lloyd takes absolutely stunning photos, granted they’re mostly of Bath but hey that’s fine to. The Bristol shots that appear are some of the best in Bristol.
We absolutely love Bristol pictures… pictures. Awesome colourful photography across Bristol that brings this city to life.
Ryan manages to capture glorious photos of Bristol at night.
Benji is an amateur photographer based in Bristol and you’ll find fantastic shots from across Bristol and London on his page.
Rich takes stunning photos on his nikon D5300 and iPhone6s. Glorious!
41. Live Bristol
Now one of the biggest aggregators of Bristol content with over 14,000 followers. You’ll also find lots of great Bristol competitions here as well.
Natalie’s instagram is pure food porn. This girl eats her way around Bristol’s best food establishments and her instagram will do nothing other than make your mouth water.
43. Bits of Bristol
Bits of Bristol is another aggregator of Bristol content with some marvellous choices. Also posts some belters from their personal account as you can see above.
Ryan takes brilliant colourful and moody photos of Bristol in a style that’s becoming incredibly popular within the Bristol instagram community.
A Spanish photographer who’s based in Bristol and is killing it at the moment with his stunning images of Bristol.
Rob unique and moody photos of Bristol makes him a must follow in Bristol.
Jamie is nailing it with his photos at the moment. His drone pictures are some of our favourite in Bristol at the moment.
We’re huge fans of Kris Avery’s photographer, regularly sharing his stunning photos on our Facebook. Kris does a wonderful job of capturing the best of bristol.
Burnt Dog is looked after by photographer Dan Kelly and associate Kieran Mcconnell. We’re a bit fan of some of the sets which have been taken with a film camera, not to mention that they donate £2.50 of each sale to charity ‘Peace of Mind’.
Another fantastic food based instagram. Bristol foodie eats their way around Bristol and this delicious instagram will make you very hungry.
Got an awesome Bristol photo or video? Then don’t forget to use #bestofbristol or tag @bestofbristol to be featured.
Did we miss your favourite account? Then be sure to tell us in the comments.
11 Awesome Shots Of Bristol At Night
Bristol at night from Bristol instagramer Kris Avery
Photography is something that I’ve been teased and taunted by for some time now.
I hadn’t owned my own camera until about three months ago and until then had relied on borrowing my brothers Canon 30D for holidays and trips. Every time I had it in my hands I’d love getting creative with it. It was only when he upgraded that I took him up on his offer of inheriting the old camera.
The major draw of photographing in and around Bristol is the variety of subjects – you have almost everything covered. From Ashton Court and the iconic Suspension Bridge, to a bustling night scene and an active harbourside. If you want to go a little further you have the Mendips, Cheddar Gorge and Bath all on the city doorstep.
Not only are you spoilt for choice – it’s the convenience that most of it is within walking distance from one place to the next.
But the one thing I love is the challenge of capturing something you and everyone else sees regularly, in an original or creative way that people remember the next time that they visit.
This is why the Instagram community in Bristol is so great – there’s a huge pool of talent putting out unique, creative and stunning photos daily! It’s hard not to be inspired and motivated by it.
I’ve only lived in Bristol for a year and a half, but by getting out with my camera and exploring, it’s starting to feel like home. What you see on my Instagram page is my learning curve and my exploration of the city.
So here’s a picture tour of Bristol at night, taken along a walk from the MShed to the Suspension Bridge.
1. Harbourside Cranes
The Harbourside Cranes are such a recognisable landmark, walked under daily by Bristol commuters. Though at night when they’re not lit, it’s easy to pass them by. This shot was taken on my first night outing with another Bristol Instagrammer Rob, who is featured in this photo (@rsbarton87). I was pleased with how this came out – it has a slightly eerie & imposing look to it. Someone said to me this image had a ‘War of the Worlds’ feel, and I completely agree.
2. The MShed
The MShed glows away nicely at night – subtly reminding you of its presence across the harbour waters. It’s always fun to photograph something that has colour and vibrance to it – so I’ve got future plans for other shots in this area.
3. MV Balmoral
Since I’ve had my camera, the Balmoral has been moored up for maintenance. It’s a great looking ship and photographed regularly in Bristol. I’m looking forward to catching it sailing this year to photograph it in action on the Avon.
4 & 5. St Mary Redcliffe Church
A stunning church, inside and out – with a rich history. Definitely worth a visit if you’ve not been inside before. I really like it’s prominence on the Bristol skyline – and it looks even better when you have perfectly still water to catch its reflections in!
A regular sight for anyone venturing into the city from the south, captured from the pontoon at night for a different angle on it. Free to visit, has a great bookshop and a popular cafe / bar! What’s not to like about the Arnolfini.
7. Pero’s Bridge Love Locks
I chose to include this purely because I love using my 50mm lens and the depth it gives – and I don’t tend to use it enough at night.
8. ZaZa Bazaar & SkyView Wheel
Another night where the waters were perfectly calm made it far too tempting a photo to resist. Framing the two together was trickier than it seemed, but I was happy with how it came out. I love the colours along the Harbourside at night – enhanced even more so by the reflections.
9. Colston Tower
Standing on a traffic island in the middle of Bristol at night with a tripod and photographing cars can get you a few strange looks. I felt the shot was worth it though. One of the few light trails shots I’ve had a go at – and not the last (I need the practice).
10. Millennium Square
Bristols sources of reflection and light at night are endless! Millennium Square gives you plenty of options with its enclosed design preventing the wind from disturbing the water too much.
11. Suspension Bridge
The Suspension Bridge is a difficult one to capture in an original way. There’s the option of getting creative with your angle and framing – or getting lucky with the lighting and weather conditions. I love seeing how other people capture it and they never cease to amaze me with their originality.
That was 11 awesome photos of Bristol at night from the brilliant Kris Avery.
Like this? Then be sure to follow @kris.avery on instagram.
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