Every year around late April/early May, the magazine world goes bananas for the annual National Magazine Awards handed out by the American Society of Magazine Editors, informally called Ellies (because the awards are these weird brass things that look—kinda—like elephants). One of the most coveted among those awards is the one that goes to Best Magazine Cover, and to be fair, it's usually pretty reliable for rightfully awarding the kind of thing that makes you double-take at the newsstand.

This year's award is no different, as it was just handed today to New York Magazine for the cover of their post-Hurricane Sandy feature, "The City and The Storm." The photograph was taken by Amsterdam-based photographer Iwan Bann, flying in a helicopter above New York, snapping Manhattan from the bottom of the island as half of the borough was still blacked out due to the explosion of a power transformer center downtown. 

Bann's photos were pretty incredible (check out more of them over at New York). The magazine even did a feature that tells the story of how the shot happened. In short, Baan—who often shoots from helicopters—happened to be getting to New York just after Hurricane Sandy hit, and as he tells it, called up every helicopter pilot he knew to get him above the city:

"I started to call around the pilots that I usually use, but they were already out of gas or power or on a rescue mission, so none of them could help. I finally found one about an hour and a half drive away in Long Island, but they said they only accepted cash because the hangar didn't have power. Luckily, I had also gone to the ATM before the storm and I had enough cash with me, so it all lined up perfectly."

He also explained that he took "somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 shots." And no, it's probably not a beginner's task to shoot from a helicopter, in the dark, even if he was using a $6,500 camera ("a Canon 1D X with a 24-70mm lens"). The cover won both Cover of the Year and News & Politics Cover of the Year. The other covers that won—another for New York, three for Bloomberg Businessweek, two for The New York Times Magazine, one for Garden & Gun, one for Harper's Bazaar, and one for The Rotarian—are pictured above.

For more info, check out the full list of winners over at ASME's website. And don't forget to keep in touch with all of your helicopter pilot friends. 'Never know when you're gonna need one.