We had a chat with Lukas. the UK based rooftop superstar
First of all, would you mind introducing yourself
My name’s Luke, and I’m a rooftop and cityscape photographer based in the UK, although I shoot the majority of my photos in Hong Kong and China.
What equipment do you use for your photos?
I’m currently shooting on a Canon 6D with two lenses - a 16-35mm wide angle and a 50mm for everything else. I also use a GoPro Hero 4 to capture all POV shots. My aerials are shot with a DJI Phantom 4 drone.
How and where do you find inspiration for your work?
A lot of inspiration for what I do stemmed from lurking certain forums starting back in 2008/09. I would see a lot of these photographs people were posting and thought to myself ‘why can’t I do this?’ So that’s exactly what I did. I started off climbing comically small buildings in my home town of Coventry, before gradually moving on to cranes. From here I progressed to Birmingham and London before finally delving into the crazy rooftopping scene over in Hong Kong and China. Nowadays a lot of my inspiration comes from Instagram and the friends I’ve met during my time doing this. I’ve surrounded myself with lots of talented people and each day I find myself getting more and more inspired by the images they post.
Do you have any favourite location to take pictures at?
Definitely Hong Kong. It has a huge rooftopping scene, thanks to it being home to 1300+ skyscrapers and lots of talented photographers. Although recently my attention is focused more toward mainland China as many of the ‘best’ rooftops in Hong Kong have been completely locked off by rooftop security. However, regardless of rooftops, Hong Kong will always be my favourite city to shoot in.
What is your all time favourite picture?
My favourite photo was taken at the top of a crane during the construction/regeneration of the New World Centre in Kowloon, Hong Kong. After making our way to the top of the building and on to the crane, we were met with a sea of clouds that enveloped the crane and obstructed views all around. The clouds remained until the sun began to rise, and at this point the view got better and better - resulting in the creation of one of my favourite images to date. The pink hues of the morning sky mixed with the turqouise waters of Victoria Harbour 65+ stories below us made for a nice scene to photograph. As well as being my favourite photo, this entire night I still consider to be my favourite explore/climb to date.
What goes through your mind whilst climbing these cranes & rooftops?
Surprisingly not a lot. Aside from the expected mix of fear/excitement before a climb, once I’m actually on the crane or roof it’s a completely different story. Something about being hundreds of metres above the ground in a city as bustling as Hong Kong is weirdly calming and therapeutic. It’s a crazy feeling knowing you’re one of the select few to experience such amazing views. And that’s what makes it all worth it. Nothing but you, a couple friends and a million-dollar-view for sunrise… …of course all of this changes when security and law enforcement are made aware of your presence. At this point everything goes out of the window and it turns into a huge game of cat and mouse, set in an almost empty skyscraper…
Big thanks to Lukas for taking his time doing this interview with us. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, to be the first to know when new interviews are online!