Chair, International Society for Aviation Photography 2009
I was first exposed to Claes Axstål's extraordinary work nearly a decade ago via the recommendation of a mutual friend, an aviation photographer of considerable merit in his own right. I remember well his description of Claes's air-to-air images taken at night. My friend was not one to exaggerate or misrepresent, but I also remember my reaction – which was, "...oh yeah, when I see that I'll believe it...!"
Not long afterwards, during a major gathering of the world's aviation photographers under the auspices of the International Society for Aviation Photography, I met Claes for the first time and was exposed to his amazing images. I became a believer instantly. From the moment I laid eyes on my first Claes Axstål photo I knew that he had created something special - and something most certainly unprecedented in the aviation photography community.
I like to think of Claes as a visionary. No other photographer - much less aviation photographer - on the planet has done what he has done. And that is to use his own ingenuity, money, and energy to create a photography-grade flash system capable of lighting up a viable percentage of the civilized world! This is a feat not only to be acknowledged and applauded, but also to be celebrated. It equates to having at one's disposal the equivalent light of the sun, any where, any time, any place. In the world of photography this is a holy grail and a most amazing accomplishment.
Lighting, of course, is only a part of the game. It doesn't hurt that Claes has a superb eye for composition, exposure, and subject matter. His photos, no matter what time of day they are taken, are always exceptional, innovative, and masterful. His high-end client base most certainly underscores his talent - as folks who own and operate multi-million kroner/dollar yachts and aircraft and automobiles do not suffer fools with cameras lightly...
It is not every day one has the opportunity to review the work of a serious and truly talented and genuinely dedicated artist who is unique in his field. So take the time to chew on and a savor the images you are about to see. Your eyes will not be disappointed.
Claes Axstål developed a unique technique to photograph large objects in full action with flash, everything from construction machines to superyachts and even fighter jets. In order to make his "Airborne Flash Photography" possible he had to commission and build his own flash equipment. The unique construction with two flash heads and generators has a total weight of 250 kg. The flash equipment has undergone testing at Ericsson Microwave and approved by the Defense Material Administration, "FMV", to be operated from inside aircrafts. The flash generates massive power that can illuminate motifs at 200 meters distance. "You can lighten large vehicles almost as in a studio, says Claes Axstål.
Airborne Flash Photography for the Marine- & Aviation Industry Published March 08, 2010
Airborne Flash Photography of Yachts and more Published October 09, 2009