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Baja California, Mexico - A Bird's Eye View

Charles Chandler's unique view from "up there"

Isla Partida Bahia Balandra Sand dune Playa Tecolote

San Lucas Salt marsh Herradura San Juanico

Estero El Chivo Isla Magdalena dunes Barchandunes Isla Magdalena sands

A paraglider is an inflatible, parachute-like wing. It has no rigid structure. Its pilot is suspended by lines attached to the wing. Add a backpack power unit and you have a powered paraglider. Powered Paragliding (or paramotoring) is what Charles Chandler does, particularly in exotic Baja California, Mexico. He often brings along his camera. We see the results of his superb aerial photography here, and a few of his spectacular sand dune images taken at ground level.

"Paragliding is the simplest form of flight, no plane, no windows, just you floating on air," says Charles. "Equipped with a paramotor, the propeller provides thrust, letting you fly where you want to."

A main advantage of a powered paraglider compared to other ultralight aircraft is its excellent portability. The wing can be packed in a large backpack. The motor can usually be broken down to a package the size of a large suitcase. Some disadvantages are its slow speed (around 25 mph), the possibility of canopy collapse in turbulence, difficulty taking off in still or very light winds, and the problem of landing safely in strong winds.

"I am relatively new to photography and self taught," says Charles, who hails from Canton, Connecticut. "In December 2007, I took my first digital SLR (a Nikon D40X) with me to Baja California. Soon I was taking my camera on every powered paraglider flight, spending hours shooting at sunrise and at all hours of the night. My slide shows were enjoyed by my fellow campers."

I travelled Baja with my paramotor and camera until May, 2008. While I enjoy aerial photography, I also enjoy landscape and wildlife photography as well. I have now upgraded to a Nikon D300 and a collection of lenses. My Baja slideshow has improved. I am learning as I go, constantly striving to improve my work.

I plan to photograph new places and hope to increase my sales of prints and licenses. I haven't been published but I am hoping that will happen soon.

Charles Chandler, in Baja California, strapping on his powered paraglider.
Charles Chandler, in Baja California, strapping on his powered paraglider.