The view from above the Okanagan Valley

Seeing the Earth from Mike Biden’s perspective is not something everyone gets to do.

Penticton pilot and author Mike Biden in the cockpit of his single-engine airplane with a copy of his latest book of aerial photographs of the Okanagan Valley. The glossy

Penticton pilot and author Mike Biden in the cockpit of his single-engine airplane with a copy of his latest book of aerial photographs of the Okanagan Valley. The glossy

Seeing the Earth from Mike Biden’s perspective is not something everyone gets to do.

It was for that reason he decided to compile his recently-released fourth book of aerial photographs entitled North Okanagan Above.

The 80 pages of dramatic, full-colour photographs are the compilation of two years’ work featuring the northern portion of the valley in all its seasonal glory.

The publication is a companion book to his last one, Okanagan Above, which highlights some of the more southerly sections of the Interior.

“I decided to do this because I can’t describe in words to people what I’ve seen and I feel it’s so selfish flying around and burning up gas and seeing this beautiful terrain of ours,” said Biden, who did not get his private pilot’s licence until age 49 in 2000. “I think we’re living in the jewel of the Earth, I really do. The Okanagan is an amazing valley, it’s so diverse and so gorgeous.”

Having sold about a third of the initial printing of 5,000 in just two months, it appears most people who see the photos in the book agree.

Biden believes a lot of purchasers send them to friends and relatives in other parts of Canada and the world. As well, many businesses have also bought them for clients or waiting rooms.

His first two books were the earthbound editions The Penticton Fire of 1994 followed by Ironman Canadian Triathlon – the Pain and the Glory.

Self-taught, Biden developed a passion for photography many years ago and his film and digital images have graced the pages of major publications including Canadian Geographic.

However, taking pictures from the cockpit of the single-engine aircraft he owns with Dr. Carl Peters is a relatively new experience, something he started five years ago.

He compared aerial photography to a bombing run, lining up the target and handing over the controls to his co-pilot while he pushes the shutter release button.

But not every run is successful and it’s not unusual for him to make two or three passes or even to head out again another day to get the quality picture he is after.

True to character, Biden’s philosophy of life does not contain the word “can’t.”

He has travelled throughout much of the world and tried just about every means of travel imaginable from hot air balloons to jet fighters and army tanks and submarines.

Parachuting and having worked over 30 years as a ground search and rescue technician, rescue diver and rescue pilot are among his other accomplishments.

He is also an experienced survival instructor.

“Life is what you make it, you’ve got to make things happen and you’ve got to jump at the chance because the chance might not ever come around again,” he said. “I’ve been blessed because I’ve been given those opportunities and you’ve got to go through that door when it’s open.

“Unfortunately most people limit themselves, they’re afraid of failure, well so what if you fail we all fail but at least you tried.”

His favourite quote: “If you’re not living living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.”

For more information, visit Biden’s website at  www.iflyphoto.com or directly at 250-486-2112.