Behind the lens: Gray Malin

The photographer shares the inspiration behind his aerial beach shots.

"There is something beautiful about seeing the world from above," says West Hollywood-based photographer Gray Malin. "The mundane becomes exciting and vivacious." And he should know; Malin traveled the world, dangling from helicopters in the salty ocean air to capture his A La Plage, A La Piscine series, which offers an artistic and tantalizing picture of summer from above. "I'm inspired by the shapes and patterns created by the landscapes, mixed with the sunbathers, beach umbrellas, surf boards and other colorful items in each scene." Before departing for Italy to shoot his next series, Malin shared the stories behind some of his breathtaking beach shots.

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  • Coogee Beach, Australia

    Coogee Beach, Australia

    "The weather had been rainy all summer in Sydney and when weather.com was suddenly was reporting a beautiful weekend, I decided to fly down for two nights and give it my best shot. Sure enough, it was the most beautiful weather and it seemed that all of Sydney came out for my shoot. I loved the way the Aussies spaced themselves on the beach — almost perfectly."

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  • Hamptons Montauk Navy Beach

    Hamptons Montauk Navy Beach

    "This was the very last beach we came across during my Hamptons shoot and it immediately became my favorite. The lush green foliage plays so beautifully with the hues of the ocean. Also, there were tons of surfers which were a lot of fun to photograph as well."
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  • Rio de Janeiro

    Rio de Janeiro

    "Rio de Janeiro was one of the most crowded beaches I have ever seen in my life. Our pilot didn't speak English so we had a a translator in the helicopter which was pretty wild. Rio remains my favorite beach city of all time."
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  • Maroubra Bay, Australia

    Maroubra Bay, Australia

    "This was one of the first images I photographed during my Australia shoot. We came over a bluff and a group of surfers had gathered for a lesson of sorts in Maroubra Bay. My favorite part of this image is the colors of all of the surf boards against the translucent water of the bay."

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  • Lisbon, Portugal

    Lisbon, Portugal

    "The day we flew over Lisbon happened to be gorgeous, but incredibly windy. I felt like a leaf in the wind getting blown around while leaning out capturing the incredibly vibrant beaches that sprawled all along the Atlantic coastline. Besides the wind, Lisbon was a true gem to photograph."
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  • Dubai Paddle Boarders

    Dubai Paddle Boarders

    "I came across these two paddle boarders along the famous man-made Palm Island in the center of Dubai. The emerald water was the perfect backdrop to capture the moment — something about this image is very calming to me."

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  • St. Tropez

    St. Tropez

    "If only all of my photo shoots took place in the South of France! Photographing over the famous Pampelonne Beach was absolutely stunning. The yachts in the bay were also a lot of fun to see from above. I love the repetition of the colorful beach chairs from the various beach clubs."
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  • Camps Bay, Cape Town

    Camps Bay, Cape Town

    "Wow, I cannot say enough amazing things about Cape Town, South Africa. The city took me by surprise in every single way — especially the beautiful beaches sprawling along the coast. I hope to return to South Africa many times in my life."

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