George Steinmetz captures breathtaking aerial photos of the world’s deserts while dangling from a paraglider


posted Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 5:13 PM EDT


Photographer George Steinmetz clearly doesn't have a fear of heights. For the past 15 years, he's been photographing the world's extreme deserts from the sky while seated in a small, motorized paraglider. And these aren't just any deserts, they're "hyper-arid" spots where there's less than four inches of rainfall a year.

Steinmetz's aerial images of these ultra-dry and often dangerous places are nothing short of breathtaking and he's assembled his favorite shots into a fabulous new book titled, "Desert Air."

The book features Steinmetz's images of everything from China’s great Gobi Desert to the Sahara in northern Africa to California's Death Valley. There are also some gripping anecdotes in "Desert Air" of Steinmetz's crazy adventures while capturing these shots, including: having to smuggle his paraglider into Libya, getting arrested for spying in Iran, and crashing into a tree in western China (which tore up his face and required 17 stitches).

George Steinmetz photographed himself piloting a motorised paraglider over Shibam, Yemen.
(© George Steinmetz)

The book is also about persistence and Steinmetz's obsession with getting the shots no one else can. While photographing Antarctica, for example, he worked 16-hour days without a break or a shower while documenting the region from the sky.

“I can be stubborn,” he says, “and when it came to the pursuit of my hyper-arid obsession, I did not accept ‘no’ as an answer.”

An aerial shot of salt caravans crossing the enormous plain of the Ténéré Desert in Africa.
(© George Steinmetz)

Watch the video preview of the book below and see more of Steinmetz's amazing photos on his website.

Also, if you like aerial photography, check out kite photographer Nicolas Chorier's spectacular images of India in this recent IR story.

(Via The Telegraph)

(Thanks Phil!)