Desert Air: Earth Captured From a Paraglider

When we take to the air, rising far above the terrestrial plain we are accustomed to, the world changes into one of colorful patterns and unfamiliar forms. What a moment ago was everyday life is now something out of reach and almost difficult to fathom. Trains appear to be small model railways; fields become patchwork quilts; and waterways become flowing watercolors. Photographer George Steinmetz knows this far better than most, capturing the earth below him from the suspended seat of his powered paraglider with a skill honed over decades.

Steinmetz was first featured in National Geographic Magazine in 1986, and has since done 31 major photo assignments for the iconic periodical. In a world of photographers, his eye for the world is unmatched in capturing the patterns and magic of the place we live. Harnessing (or rather being harnessed in) the power of his small and portable paraglider, he travels the world, aiming down at the earth below to capture some of the most stunning images we have seen.

Now he has released the third book of his work, Desert Air. Created over 15 years of hard work, this book captures many of the world’s most remote and dry places from his unique angle. Many of the images are so unbelievable… well, they just don’t look real. A book signing with Steinmetz will be held on Thursday, December 13, from 6:00 to 7:30pm at the International Center for Photography Store in New York. Steinmetz’ collection, Desert Air, is currently on display at Anastasia Photo in New York through March 3, 2013. You can see more of his stunning work at You will find an informative interview with him on Feature Shoot.

Above: George Steinmetz, Sandstone Pinnacles, Karnasai Valley, Chad, 1998. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.
Below: George Steinmetz, Sun Bathers, Dead Sea, Israel, 2008. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Camel Caravan, Mauritania, 1997. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Salt Works, Teguidda-n-Tessoumt, Niger, 1997. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Barchan Dunes, Paracas National Park, Peru, 1999. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Evaporation Ponds, Dead Sea, Israel, 2008. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Beni Isguen, Algeria, 2009. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Adjder Oasis, Algeria, 2009. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Elephants grazing in Lake Amboseli, Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Camel caravan, Wadi Mitan, Oman. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz, Island Village near Ayorou, Niger. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.

George Steinmetz with his powered paraglider and Maasai herders who showed up after a landing at Lake Natron, Kenya. Courtesy Anastasia Photo.


Benjamin Starr

Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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