geosteinmetz profile

George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz

Photographer for National Geographic and NY Times Magazine, creating an aerial perspective on climate change and global food supply @feedtheplanet


  • Havana
  • Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
  • Swiss Alps
    Swiss Alps
  • Pyramids!
  • Climate Change
    Climate Change
Sinop, Brazil

Photograph taken in 2013 east of Sinop, Brazil, an area that less than thirty years ago was virgin forest. The area is still being converted to farmland for growing corn and soybeans. In the dry season, burning is common practice for searing if not killing most trees. After felling the trees, the scortched wood is gathered for a second burn before the ash is worked into the soil. Most of the current burning of the Amazon is for such land conversions to meet growing Chinese demand for soybeans. The US/China trade war has raised Brazilian soybean prices, further accelerating deforestation.

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George Steinmetz 13 hours ago
Démi, Kanem, Chad

I met Muriam in a remote Saharan oasis in Northern Chad. She was sitting beside her small hut made of sticks, warming her back in the sun on a windy morning. I’ve found deserts to be some of the most beautiful wildernesses on this planet, but for their inhabitants it’s a different story. #DesertAirBook



About one third of the Netherlands is below sea level, and this engineered landscape is best appreciated from the air. In North Holland many of the villages are surrounded by peat bogs that were excavated by hand for fuel in previous centuries. The remaining land has better drainage for agriculture, with a canal network that connects to the sea for fishing and transportation. And the architecture is not too shabby either.

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George Steinmetz 2 days ago


Ma'rib Governorate

The Sanctuary of the Queen of Sheba was partially excavated in 2004, when Yemen was a more peaceful place than it is today. The legendary Sabean leader is mentioned in both the Bible and he Koran, and ruled over a center of agriculture based on a dam that controlled seasonal rains to irrigate the Arabian desert. The site was first excavated by the American adventurer Wendell Phillips in the 1950s, but has been inundated several times since by windblown sand. As seen from my motorized paraglider.

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George Steinmetz 3 days ago
Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico

The temples of Palenque are considered the most beautiful of all Mayan ruins, with some of the finest architecture, sculpture, and carvings in Mesoamerica. But with less than 10% of the complex explored, more than a thousand structures are still covered by jungle.

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George Steinmetz 4 days ago
Lakes of Ounianga

The miraculous oasis of Ounianga Serir in the Central Sahara of Chad is fed fresh water by an ancient aquifer from a time when the Sahara was a savannah. The lakes have slightly different elevations, and the higher ones are less salty. Maps from aerial surveys in 1954 show the lakes being larger and more connected, indicating that the water level has dropped. Seen here is the lowest lake, which is punctuated by ship-like islands of Nubian sandstone that were used as refuges by the local Tubu in times of attack. #DesertAirBook

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George Steinmetz 5 days ago
Bilma, Zinder, Niger

Camel caravan crossing the Ténéré Desert of Niger with loads of salt for distribution to markets across West Africa. I took this picture in 1997 from my paramotor, which allowed a new perspective on this ancient trade route. It was a year of good rains which made an unusually large number of camels healthy enough for the two month-long round trip to the oasis of Bilma. #AfricanAirBook

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George Steinmetz 6 days ago


Angel Falls

Angel Falls, at 4209 ft. is the world’s tallest waterfall. I went there at the generous invitation of @franciscosalasroche  , who had seen my pictures on Instagram and offered to fly me around Venezuela in his Cessna. How amazing is that! I don’t know if he quite knew what he was getting into, but we had an intensive week of flying in the far south of his native land. Slide right to see the second Cessna near the bottom of the falls, and swipe again to see my son @johncsteinmetz  triggering the wing mounted GoPro. #onassignment  for @NYTMag

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George Steinmetz 1 week ago


Wuxi, Jiangsu, China

Wind-blown green algae now clogs fish traps every summer in the shallows of China’s Lake Taihu. Increasing water temperatures combined with agricultural and sewer run off have turned this into a predictable summer occurrence. Not IG like-able, or well-known. @NYTMag@pulitzercenter#LosingEarth#climatechange

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George Steinmetz 1 week ago
Tîmia, Agadez, Niger

The volcanic crater of Arakao lies half-buried in sand on the edge of the Sahara in Niger. I don’t like flying this high, but I had to gain about 5,000 ft. in my paramotor to get the whole crater in the frame of my widest lens. I had taken off before sunrise, and went full power for about an hour to get this high. Suddenly my 🇫🇷 wingman François appeared in front of me, to prove that he could fly even higher than I could. Boys will be boys!

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George Steinmetz 1 week ago
Egegik, Alaska

Shore-based fishing for salmon follows the tides in Egegik, Alaska. For the commercial fisherfolk of Bristol Bay these are best of times, with both prices and catches reaching new highs, but the success of this well-managed fishery is now threatened by plans for the massive #PebbleMine  upstream. As seen last month, on assignment for @natgeo

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George Steinmetz 1 week ago

Rapeseed flowers blanket the terraces near Luoping in China. The annual blossoming has become a huge tourist attraction, with fleets of buses jamming the roads and tripod entanglements on the hilltops at sunrise. I took off with my paramotor before sunrise, and went over the ridge to have this valley view all to myself. I ran out of fuel on the way back, but this nice kid with a trike carried my glider back to the road. #carpediem

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George Steinmetz 1 week ago

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