8 Stunning Shots by Shanghai Drone Photographer Tim Chambers

By Ned Kelly, January 16, 2024

0 0

If you recognize the name Tim Chambers, it may be because he is the man, the myth and the legend that rode every Shanghai Metro line in one go.

Or it could be from one of a number of mesmerizing, dreamlike drone videos of Shanghai he has created. 

Watch some of his footage – set to the track 'Spenta Mainyu' by Jesse Gallagher – below...

This weekend sees the opening of his debut Shanghai exhibition, 'Another Angle: Shanghai From Above,' at La Cava de Laoma, with an opening party taking place on Saturday.

We sat down with the Englishman to find out more...


How did you first get into photography?
I think we are all closet photographers, especially in the modern day. As the adage goes “What is that best camera to carry? The one you have on you.”

In other words, be prepared to capture the moment – and now with modern smart phones, we all have a camera on us all the time.

I am not a photographer by profession (I have been working in Engineering and Manufacturing here), but it is a true passion for me.

I have always enjoyed those areas where creativity and technical aspects intersect, such as graphic design, architecture, photography, and the like.

I met with the Shanghai Flickr group when here in Shanghai many years ago and am still friends with them.

And, like a number from that group, I was interested in doing things a little differently – whether that be taking photos on film, or with a pinhole camera, or 360 degree, or indeed a drone.

How do you choose where to shoot?
With drones it often is affected by the weather – Raining? Clear sky? Mist or clouds? – so very often photo taking can be quite spontaneous, especially if it’s a good sunset or cloudscape, for example.

Of course, there are also planned shoots, and in Shanghai there are certain places or buildings that are classics to shoot, like the Lujiazui area or other buildings from above.

Trying to find unique locations and angles becomes an interesting challenge. 

What do you look for in a photograph?
There are quite a lot of drone photographers in Shanghai, so the simplistic answer to this is 'something different' – but that’s too easy an answer.

The city is large, there are many locations and angles and weather conditions – so sometimes it’s a case of just putting in the time and hoping that you are lucky to catch a moment.

Favorite place to shoot in Shanghai?
Personally, I really like water shots – so to involve boats and ships, bridges and rivers... and I’m not exactly sure why. I suppose the drone can give us a perspective that we will not be able to see otherwise.

There is also a certain level of risk here; drones and water do not mix, so the closest I have ever got to losing a drone has been over water (not here in Shanghai, but on beaches – these things need to always be considered, especially with an offshore wind).


How do you find out about new locations?
I am in several drone WeChat groups and there is quite a community sharing content, so that helps.

That said, as mentioned before, it is not always about locations but weather conditions; sometimes exactly the same location may provide a totally different shot due to cloud / mist / clarity of the atmosphere, or even lack of clarity and mistiness.

Then other times it just dawns on me, "I wonder what that looks like from the drone?"

Travel is also a great opportunity. I was in Hong Kong last year, and it provided a chance to get both city and nature; it is such a dense location of both urban and natural shots.

Visitors will see some of Hong Kong in the exhibition; the city and shorelines are both fantastic opportunities, and I think there is more to be captured there.

If you could shoot one place you have not yet, where would it be?
Drones give us the opportunity to see things differently and, of course, one of those aspects is altitude; safety permitting I would like to get above the Shanghai Tower. This is a classic shot many have captured, and I still need to.

Apart from that, I would say that I would actually like to capture more nature really: more shoreline, more sea, more boats.

I think Slovenia and the Balkans are very beautiful and a wonderful juxtaposition to the urban construction we have here in Shanghai.

What advice would you give someone starting out as a photographer?
Don’t be too critical of yourself; everyone now has the tools available to produce anything pretty much (smart phones in pockets) but what’s important is a passion and sticking to it.

Think of a situation, make a plan, and go for it – make a set of photos or a video. 

What can people expect from the exhibition?
I hope visitors enjoy seeing the city from a different angle than from everyday life, and also some other areas of China such as Hong Kong and a few other more rural countries.

I hope it gives people a chance to view a different aspect of their home city.

Another Angle: Shanghai From Above


This captivating exhibition explores Shanghai's urban landscape and its ever-evolving construction from a drone's-eye-view.

The city possesses a visually striking and unyielding character, yet amidst its brutal nature, there exist moments of beauty.

A resident of Shanghai since 2011, Tim Chambers is always surprised by the diverse preferences viewers have for his photos.

Come along, have a glass of wine, and discover yours.

Opening Party, Sat Jan 20, 5-9pm; Free.

Exhibition, Sat Jan 20 to Thu Feb 22, 4-11pm; Free.

La Cava de Laoma, 1156 Kangding Lu, by Wuning Nan Lu 康定路1156号, 近武宁南路.

Here, Chambers introduces eight of the 21 photographs that will be in the exhibition...

The Classic Clouds


"This photo is probably what kicked off the desire to do an exhibition.

"I know it’s a classic photo from Shanghai, but I had never had one in my collection until the week of foggy weather we had at the end of last year.

"It took a few flights to get these exact clouds, but I’m happy I persevered – and was lucky with this balance of colors and with the sun conveniently disappearing behind the clouds."

Waibaidu Qiao


"Usually people are shooting in the opposite direction towards the Lujiazui skyline here, so to think differently I turned around to get this beautiful shot of the Garden Bridge at the head of Suzhou Creek with the old post office in the center.

"Taken in September 2018, the timing was perfect to still have a little light in the sky, but with all the bright lights – sometimes referred to as the 'blue hour.'"

Lamma Ferry


"This is the ferry from Lamma Island to Aberdeen in Hong Kong in mid 2023.

"As mentioned, for me there’s something about boats and drone photography that works well together, the different angle and danger of flying over water (remember, drones do not float!)

"I was staying with a friend on Lamma, and used this ferry to get to and from Hong Kong Island, sharing space with the inhabitants' food supplies."

Misty Morning


"I surprised myself looking at the time on this photo, taken at 6am on a July 2019 morning, because I don’t remember getting up that early for photos!

"Anyway, again I’m glad I did as I think this shot came out great with the mixture of soft morning mist and the sharp architecture of the buildings."

Vast Shanghai


"The city truly is vast, and I try to take these large vista shots in high contrast black and white to attempt to show that.

"This photo shows the circle around the old city and contrast of the generally low rise buildings against the backdrop of taller skyscrapers.

"The Bund and a hint of the Huangpu river are visible top right."

U-Bein Bridge Myanmar


"This wonderfully abstract photo is of supposedly the longest teakwood bridge in the world near Mandalay, Myanmar, whilst I was on a motorcycling trip before the current issues in the country."



"Another, different abstract – this time the colorful umbrellas over the food area of an equestrian event near the Huangpu River back in 2016."



"I don’t just shoot the city, or China – here is a valley from Slovenia from 2018, with the Triglav Mountains in the background. These mountains make it onto Slovenia’s National flag.

"I lived and worked in Slovenia for three years, and I still find it a massive contrast to Shanghai and China (obviously!) with its two million people and lovely rural landscapes."

More From Mr Chambers...


As mentioned in the intro, Tim Chambers is the legend that rode every Shanghai Metro line in one go*...

READ MORE: Meet the Man Who Rode Every Shanghai Metro Line in One Go

*Tim is very keen for us to point out that he has subsequently repeated this feat, including newly-added Line 14, in a total time of 3 hours and 25 minutes. Beat that!

Oh, and scan this QR to visit his website:


And scan this QR to visit his YouTube channel:


[All images and video courtesy of Tim Chambers]

more news

Shanghai School News Roundup: July 2024

What's been going on in the wonderful world of education!

34 Awesome Upcoming Events in Shanghai

The city is your oyster!

19 Shanghai Brunches to Hit Up This Weekend

Most important meal of the week!

Tax Free Shopping in the Heart of Shanghai

New 'Buy & Tax Refund' service at Plaza 66

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives