2019 © AIRSPOTTERS.ORG

“HePic” & Björn Hellenius


Nowadays, when you hear a name for the first time, instantly you google it and wait what is going to appear. This was my case. After googling Björn Hellenius I found a very elegant website where our next photographer has an impressive set of photographs as portfolio. Most of the gallery is composed by a magnificent collection of air to air photos, where a touch of calm gets mixed with the essence of pressure of that difficult moment. Without further ado, it’s a pleasure for me to show you a little menu with an intense smell of kerosene perfectly accompanied by his own words…

Creativity has always played quite a big part in my life. Since childhood my hands have been sketching, drawing, building. Reading has also been important, and I guess that the books about Biggles and building Airfix plastic scale models in my youth kind of shaped my romantic view on aviation.

Aviation and creativity has stuck with me and biased the choices I have made in life. In my younger teens I joined the Swedish Air Force’s youth programs and among other things it was there I learned photography and got my first thorough introduction to military aviation. One true inspiration was the simulator course, were I got to fly the double delta Draken fighter jet. This was during the Cold War years and my teenage dream was to become a fighter pilot. However, trouble with my eyesight put a quick end to that dream, but my fascination for aviation never died and I kept in touch with it in several ways. Through aviation books I learned about many talented aviation photographers and I knew that that was what I wanted to do some day. But it was not until the introduction of the DSLR that I bought my own camera and my interests merged; I started my own aviation photography career. Like many others I started off at airshows and now and then a visit to an airport. But I always had in the back of my head the photos from great aviation photographers that had been my inspiration. It was in-air or air-to-air photography that was what I really wanted to do.

I find most aircraft being interesting, but for some reason the ones hardest to come by are the most attractive, ha ha. So, maybe that’s the reason why vintage and military aviation were on my radar from the outset. Beautiful design, action and nostalgia are all important to make an interesting photo. But besides the object itself, classic photographic values and rules such as composition, light, backdrop et cetera are equally important ingredients. To achieve and realize the idea of an image, I find communication and co-operation to be crucial factors to succeed. Plan the sortie carefully, make sure that everyone involved know what to do, where to do it and when, and the mission has a greater chance to be successful. And on the day you can only pray that the weather plays ball as well 🙂

Since I am not within the Air Force or an employed photographer, I freelance. That means that I find myself in very different situations from time to time. A completely privately organized photo flight differs in most aspects from a purely military mission. But, in whatever way they differ, you have to work with what you have at hand and make the best out of it. I find working with the military to be relatively easy in comparison. One of the reasons is that they are well trained teams, used to planning, co-operation and formation flying. I recently found myself in a situation that was more challenging than expected. My mission was an air-to-air photo shoot with the world champion in advance glider aerobatics. I had never shot gliders before that day, but was quite excited since I find them rather elegant. What was challenging was the combination of a motorized photoship together with an un-motorized photo object. An aerobatic glider also doesn’t glide very well, so available shooting time was more limited than usual. We were quite soon aware of what we had to master, and again planning and directing became key factors. We all did our best, valuated it and repeated what needed improvement. In the end we were quite pleased with the results. And this is a good example of why air-to-air photography never seems stop to fascinate; the challenges and possibilities are endless and therefore, the more you learn about flying, the more you can develop your photo technique and your whole aviation photography process. I love it!


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 28 mm. | 1/320 | f/7.1


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 67 mm. | 1/500 | f/8


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 95 mm. | 1/1600 | f/6.3


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 82 mm. | 1/1600 | f/7.1


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 75 mm. | 1/2000 | f/7.1


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 24 mm. | 1/250 | f/7.1


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 400 mm. | 1/800 | f/9


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 61 mm. | 1/2000 | f/7.1


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 227 mm. | 1/50 | f/32


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 88 mm. | 1/200 | f/11


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 45 mm. | 1/320 | f/7.1


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 108 mm. | 1/320 | f/10


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c) | Canon EOS-1D X | 105 mm. | 1/4000 | f/5.6


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius (c)


↑ Björn Hellenius thumbs up just before a flight in a Vampire jet. Photo taken by Frank Grealish.(c)

You can find more photos in our gallery Airspotters, Twitter, facebook, instragram, and his website Hepic.se

Thank Björn for sharing your experiences with AirspottersORG.

See you soon!!!
Keep Calm and Shoot!!


Leave a comment