PRESS photographer Frank Dwyer was lucky enough to get a ride in a hot air balloon during the recent York balloon fiesta based at Knavesmire.

He captured lots of atmospheric photographs of balloons floating over the York skyline, as you'd expect.

But he also seized the rare chance to get some fresh aerial photographs of York itself, from the platform of his balloon.

"There is something very special about an aerial photograph," he says. "We're all used to the way York looks from ground level. But when you float hundreds of feet above the city in a hot air balloon, you get a very different perspective on things. Especially with the balloon drifting so slowly - that gives you a real chance to look!"

Frank's photographs certainly give a different perspective. York Minster looks reassuringly solid and elegant - especially in a close-up shot taken with a medium telephoto lens. A wider-angle view shows the street patterns of buildings clustered around the great cathedral - and the green space of Dean's Park just behind.

There's a lovely close-up of Rowntree Wharf and part of the n Hungate development; and a nice, low-angle view - taken shortly after take-off - of Knavesmire, showing the racecourse stands and curve of the race track.

Perhaps most surprising, however, is Frank's photo of the Vangarde development at Monks Cross. Whatever you think of the shops there, from the air it is un ugly mess, spreading across the landscape in grey blotches. Interesting to compare that with the beauty of York Minster when seen from the air. The cathedral, don't forget, was built in an age when no-one could have dreamed of ever being able to take an aerial photo...