Campus aerial photos fascinate BYU


Students, faculty and staff walk through campus day after day without much thought to how campus appears from the sky. But new aerial photographs released by BYU Magazine provide a “bird’s eye” for BYU audiences.

The photos, taken by Jaren Wilkey, manager of University Photography, were taken on Sept. 6 and 7 during and after the BYU v. Texas football game and the BYU v. Utah women’s soccer game. The photos currently appear on the BYU homepage.

Sun streams through the mountains on the east side of campus. Photo courtesy Jaren Wilkey.
Sun streams through the mountains on the east side of campus. (Photo courtesy Jaren Wilkey)

“We shot several thousand images of the campus and individual buildings,” Wilkey said. “They will be used by most every college and department on campus for years to come. They will also be available for purchase by the general public on our website in the next month or so.”

The University Communications video team also shot footage of campus for upcoming promotional films and projects. Shooting for both photo and video at the same time can be difficult, Wilkey said.

“Since we were shooting video at the same time, it was a bit difficult to get the right angles for both,” Wilkey said. “The other problem is that you are totally dependent on good weather helping you to get the best shots possible.”

These photos aren’t like photographs taken from the ground. Wilkey explained that humans are always intrigued by seeing things in a new way — especially when this view is from the sky. Val Brinkerhoff, associate professor of photography, agreed.

Campus view, looking southeast. Photo courtesy Jaren Wilkey.
A view of campus, looking southeast. (Photo courtesy Jaren Wilkey)

“The perspective from up high is very different and fresh,” Brinkerhoff said. “You essentially have God’s view of the earth, and, for religious people, there’s great value in that.”

Brinkerhoff compared seeing a 3D view of campus rather than a grounded view to a story that has ten paragraphs instead of one.

“You get a lot more information, and you can see the whole picture,” Brinkerhoff said.

Chelsea Bauer, a senior from El Paso, Texas, majoring in photography, found the pictures fascinating as well.

“I think we’re fascinated with them because we are viewing our everyday lives on a more grandeur scale,” Bauer said. “We can see where we live and put ourselves into the scene. When compared, we are tiny, insignificant, and lost amongst the scenery. It’s amazing that humans are so small and yet we have the ability to create things that are enormously awe inspiring.”

The aerial photos are currently featured on the BYU homepage and can also be viewed on Facebook.

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