Specializing in aerial photography, George's latest book New York Air explores America's largest city. Autographed copies available at
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Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Fishing boats stained with algae line a tributary of Lake Taihu near Wuxi, China. I was coming in for a landing after a long flight, with a low battery beeping for landing, but I had to take just one more…. Serendipity and bad weather are a photographer’s best friend.
@geosteinmetz and 15 year-old @nhsteinmetz taking photographs and video of camels crossing the dunes of the Kubuqi Desert last week in Inner Mongolia. Drones certainly make taking low altitude aerial pictures a lot easier! With thanks to @liqiaor for the BTS photo
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz A herd of bactrian camels crossing the dunes last week between the fresh water lakes of the Kubuqi Desert of Inner Mongolia. An extensive revegetation program here has virtually stopped the sandstorms that once plagued Beijing.
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz A tidy grid of crosses and white fences blanket the cemetery in Ilulissat, Greenland. Leif Eriksson introduced Christianity to Greenland around 1000AD, but there wasn’t even a trading post here until the 1700s. Today the atmosphere here is still very native, with about as many sled dogs as people. #onassignment for @ntymag
Self-portrait by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz This is the last copy of a post card I sent out 34 years ago, when I was trying to get my first job as a photo assistant in San Francisco. #itworked!!! The phones have changed, but the energy is still the same!
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Facebook’s old headquarters on the edge of San Francisco Bay, with HACK written in tiles on the courtyard of "hacker square". From the upcoming book #SeeingSiliconValley
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz A rare close up of what local helicopter pilots simply call “the lady”. She’s holding up quite well, 131 years after a dedication by fellow New Jersey native, President Grover Cleveland. #JerseyGirl@newyorkairbook
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz It was a curious experience to return to Stanford University last month. Some 37 years after I graduated the place felt different yet the same. The old buildings and informal atmosphere are still there, but the campus is now buffed out with the growing wealth of the information age. I couldn’t get over how the entrance has been relandscaped into a mecca for foreign tourists with dueling selfie-sticks. From the upcoming book #seeingsiliconvalley
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Red algae bloom in the salt works of South San Francisco Bay, one of just two sea salt works in the United States. Silicon Valley has some of the highest real estate prices in the country, and such low land-value industries seem an incongruous relic of California's 19th Century gold rush. From the upcoming book #SeeingSiliconValley
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz The mix of money and digital obsession is visible everywhere in Silicon Valley, even at the equestrian facilities of Portola Farms. Their covered exercise arena is on land that was once part of Leland Stanford’s stock farm. From the upcoming book #SeeingSiliconValley
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Aerial view of The Quad, the historic heart of Stanford University, where so much of Silicon Valley's talent was nurtured. It was fun for me to explore my alma mater with the latest in drone technology, and visualize something so familiar in an entirely new way. For the upcoming book #seeingsiliconvalley.
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Looking like a set for sci-fi movie, Apple’s new spaceship-shaped headquarters in Cupertino is nearing completion. With 2.8M sq. ft. for 12,000 employees, it is so huge that the Pentagon would fit within its outer walls. From the upcoming book #SeeingSiliconValley
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz I'm in Washington today for the final presentation of a story on China's food supply and caught one of my favorite editors @kurtmutchler trying to get the kinks out of both a story and his back at the same time. #beingthere
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Terraced fields of wheat climb the slopes of a small volcano near the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda, continental Africa's most densely populated nation. Land scarcity was a significant contributor to Rwanda’s genocide in 1994. To see more about the global food supply, go to @feedtheplanet
Video by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz@feedtheplanet
The Wei family threshing and winnowing wheat in front of their home in rural Ningxia Province, China. They separate the seed from chaff with a fan powered by their three wheeled truck, which is a lot faster than waiting for a windy day. Most of their harvest will be for family use as bread and noodles, and this year corn will be their cash crop. #onassignment for upcoming story for @natgeo on feeding China
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz@feedtheplanet Much of China’s fertile land is difficult to cultivate or mechanize, like these terraces on the Loess Plateau in Ningxia Province. The terraces were cut by bull dozer, but most of the farming is still done by hand on small family run plots, which are typical in China where the government owns all the land. The wheat is golden in this aerial photo, and the ripening corn is green. #onassignment for @natgeo
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Last glimpse of #BohemianRhapsody by drone, before I head home tomorrow. Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, over 750,000 sq. ft., and dates back to the 9th Century. It houses the presidency of the Czech Republic, and has displays that are an amazing window into the medieval world of Central Europe. #defenestration
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Took my little drone up for a look at the old town square in Prague this morning. At 5AM on a Sunday morning, I felt like the only sober one to see the sunrise in this exquisitely preserved medieval metropolis. #beingthere
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Side view of lettuce flourishing with aeroponics, the latest development in indoor farming. Central to success is feeding the roots with a nutrient-rich spray as they dangle below the germination mat. I took this photo two years ago at @AeroFarms in Newark, New Jersey, when they were refining their technology. They optimized results by varying computer-controlled temperature, nutrition, and length of “daylight” with an optimized spectrum of LEDs. With the technology sorted out, AeroFarms is now ramping up production, and selling aeroponic agriculture in my local supermarket as "Dream Greens". To see how plants respond to LED lighting check out @feedtheplanet
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Rotating solar panels being installed this spring in an expansion of 200MW field in the Kubuqi Desert near the Yellow River. Plans are to build it out 5 times larger. China is the world leader in installed solar, with 25% of world capacity, and expanding rapidly.
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz The conversion to sustainable energy won’t be stopped by presidential decree, as you can see in this Kansas wheat field where an innovative program has farmers leasing their land to wind power companies. Wind is expected to account for 50% of the electricity generated in Kansas by 2018. Although wind power is only 6% of the U.S. electric supply, it is also the fastest growing source of new electricity. As Bob Dylan said back in '65: You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows… #subterraneanhomesickblues
Time-lapse video by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz This is lunch time in one of the many cafeterias at Foxconn, the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic products, in Shenzhen, China. The workers here are known for their fast hands, so I compressed an entire lunch hour into 18 seconds. Not only is China’s diet changing rapidly, but so are the ways that they are consuming food. To see more about the challenge of meeting humanity’s expanding food needs, follow @geosteinmetz working #onassignment for @natgeo
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Americana runs deep in upstate New York, where the apples were in bloom last week. George Beak and Andrew Skiff planted apples on this hillside near Syracuse in 1911, and five generations later, they have 600 acres in a range of varieties, mostly for juice and now hard cider.
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz This was the last steam locomotive to cross China's Gobi Desert, which I photographed with my motorized paraglider seventeen years ago. It was a hairball flight — hands off pilot controls for a picture while chasing that loco across the desert. The dunes flanking the tracks were covered with a grid of straw forced into the ground to stop migrating sand from causing a derailment. I was back in the neighborhood last week, and had a chance to document how they are stabilizing sand dunes today. It’s still a lot of work… see for yourself with the last post on @geosteinmetz.
Photographs by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Beijing got hit by a major dust storm yesterday, but the frequency of sandstorms has been greatly reduced in recent years by intensive plantings in Inner Mongolia. The nearest dunes to Beijing are in the Kubuqi Desert, where I took these photographs of sand stabilization last week. It’s done by breaking up the sand with a narrow spade and then forcing short sticks of desert willow into the dunes by hand. They plant the willow on one-meter grids, which stops sand movement, as most sand grains are carried in the lowest part of the air column, near the ground. These grids are a very effective but labor intensive way to stop dunes from migrating onto key pieces of infrastructure, like roads and rail lines. To see how they do it, scroll across the five pictures.
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz
Last panels go up in the new 200MW solar power farm of Elion Resources in the Kubuqi Desert of Inner Mongolia. China has rapidly become the world’s biggest producer of solar power, and the buildout continues. After this solar grid is completed, they will plant drought-tolerant licorice beneath the panels to help to stabilize the sandy soil, and feed their candy factory. #tasty
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Whenever I get out of the big cities here I often feel like the first foreigner in China, as everyone wants to have their picture taken with the long nose. This group of Mongolian singers were no different, and made me feel like Brad Pitt …for about 5 seconds. #onassignment in the Kubuqi Desert of Inner Mongolia.
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Spring comes late to the Kubuqi Desert of Inner Mongolia, and herdsmen take their flocks into the dunes to search for the first grasses of spring. This part of China has seen something rare in the desert, a comeback of greenery, the result of intensive plantings to reach groundwater and soil that lie beneath the sands. This revegetation has helped reduce the dust storms that used to plague Beijing, some 400 miles downwind.
Photograph by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Last night the salt works of the Kubuqi Desert in Inner Mongolia resembled a glacial labyrinth, but they have a tee-shirt climate in the summer. Exploited since the Han Dynasty, they now provide industrial salts for China’s booming economy.
Selfie w drone by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz Was scouting out locations today in China’s Kubuqi Desert when the local trash collecter saw my drone and followed it with his personal three-wheeled car to where I had just landed it. He was as fascinated with my little ride as I was with his. As the Air China stewardess said today as we taxied into Bayan Nur, "Have pleasant stay in the new future!"