380 pages, colour photos
Desert Air is the first comprehensive photographic book on all of the world's extreme deserts (defined for the purposes of this book as those that receive no ore than 4 inches of precipitation per year), the most remote and inhospitable places on earth. It is also a visual adventure story by one of the world's top expedition photographers who has spent the last 15 years on this epic body of work. The stunning and surreally beautiful photographs are enriched with stories from his adventures in the world's most difficult places: smuggling his aircraft into Libya, getting arrested fro spying in Iran, crashing into a tree in Western China, and into the ocean off the coast of Mexico.
Desert Air is a comprehensive exploration of virtually every dune field and patch of barren ground that add up to the last great class of wilderness left on our planet. To visualize these remote places in a unique way, Steinmetz learned how to fly the world's lightest and slowest aircraft, a motorized paraglider. This experimental foot launched aircraft consists of a backpack motor and a parachute style wing that lets him fly low and slow, to take pictures of places that have never been seen before. Together, these extraordinary places are like a disparate family of co evolved landscapes each similar but uniquely beautiful.
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Best known for exploration photography, George Steinmetz has spent the past 25 years photographing the remote corners of every continent for GEO and National Geographic magazines. He has won numerous awards for photography, including two first prizes from World Press Photo, as well as awards and citations from the Picture of the Year, Overseas Press Club and the Eisenstadt Awards. Trained as a geophysicist at Stanford University, he started his career by hitchhiking across Africa for two and a half years while teaching himself how to take pictures. While crossing the Sahara on a break from college, he dreamt of flying over its vast and surreal landscapes. Twenty years later he returned to pilot his own ultra light aircraft over the Central Sahara, making that dream a reality and taking the pictures for his first book, African Air. He continued his explorations of deserts in Arabia, which were published as Empty Quarter, a rare look at the world's largest sand sea in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the UAE. Desert Air is the culmination of fifteen years of fieldwork on all of the continents.