Norm Li must be one of the coolest players in the real estate world. Very few people in our industry could be a Michelin-rated chef; could create incredible VR worlds; could jump on helicopters and take the most fantastic pictures; could create the visions that developers have with extreme beauty.
This is Norm, on a AirNorm, casually taking some shots of the city
Norm Li’s eponymous company creates renderings, animation and interactive experiences for his clients.
While his renderings, cooking, and VR worlds are fascinating, I think one of the coolest things that he is currently working on is AirNorm. In order to create the perfect renderings for his clients, Norm often takes to the sky in a helicopter and captures the most incredible photos of Toronto and Miami that I’ve ever seen. I am obsessed with AirNorm.
This is Norm’s mighty whip.
Norm agreed to take some time, and answer some questions about his high flying gig as an aerial photographer. Enjoy below!
Why are you doing AirNorm?
NL: AirNorm was a response to the needs of the development industry for great aerial photography. The thing about Toronto is that we only really have four to five great months for shooting, May through October.
This is our skyline.
The other issue was that often times when clients came to us for aerial photography, the weather would decide to not cooperate. And lastly, sending a helicopter up to get one or two shots of a project is a very expensive use of jet fuel. So, I decided to take a risk and shoot all the sites I knew about on spec when the weather was perfect.
Yonge and Dundas, lit.
The response has been great. Developers and designers get the shots they need year-round, on demand, and I get to fly around in a helicopter for a few weeks living out my childhood G.I. Joe fantasies. Everyone wins!
When is the best time in the day to fly?
NL: Right before or just after a storm. Those are pretty good bets for cotton candy skies. Or really early in the morning over downtown Toronto because the tower is still closed and you can pretty much fly however you want!
Is flying as awesome as it looks?
NL: Yes. I won’t lie, at this point, I’m pretty addicted to doing the shoots. I fly [with the] doors off so I can hang out of the helicopter completely. Imagine riding in a go-kart 1,000 feet in the air. That’s kind of what it’s like. And it’s amazing how different the city looks from above. You come to realize that unlike a lot of other cities, Toronto is really green.
Are you ever scared?
NL: Not usually. I think my pilots and second shooters are more scared for me than I am. I’m secured to the aircraft. The closest call I’ve had to falling out was probably over Drake’s mansion trying to get the perfect top-down shot. The pilot was trying to help by rolling the heli on its’ side to get the skids out of the shot, and my feet came right out from under me. But I managed to regain my footing just in time!
This is Norm’s feet, not scared.
Looking for some aerial shots? Head over to Norm Li and check them out.