Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A Flying Thing

The Marcoux's house is the highest one in this photo.

Here is a photo that I took this morning. And to get that view I had to get off the ground. Courtesy of William Raffin of Envie d'Ailes at Sainte Marie d'Alloix I was taken up over our village to get some aerial photos.
The ultra light machine we flew in is very simple. At first glance one wonders how it could fly.

Me in the back, with William Raffin as pilot.

But when the contraption is teamed with a parapente sail, the aerodynamics are right and it flies like a bird - only without flapping its wings.
The photography was not easy - I didn't have a lot of time, and there was a bar that was in the way right where my natural camera position would be, and a helmet blocking the view directly in front. Looking through the viewfinder was difficult because of the vibrations caused by the motor of the machine, so I did a lot of pointing and shooting in the general direction (next week I'll have my new EOS 5D mkII with live view so I will no longer have to look through the viewfinder all the time). After a few minutes in the air my fingers began to freeze. I have soft leather gloves which are great for manipulating the camera (and tieing shoelaces and doing up kids' zips) and have been plenty warm enough in all other situations. But today they failed me and my fingers got painfully cold.
Despite the cold I loved the flight. The view was magnificent. And it was fun. I started thinking about getting one of those things to fly around in at home. A two-seater so Roger could fly while I take photos...

Looking over Sainte Marie d'Alloix, towards the Chartreuse.

The winter landscape.

After my flight it was Roger's turn, so I took some photos of him in the air too.

Can you see that smog? Weather conditions have trapped the air in the valley, causing pollution to peak. The speed on the motorway has been limited to 70km/h to try to limit the pollution while the weather conditions keep the smog trapped.

Roger coming in to land.

There were army guys doing training while we were there, and the things they fly in are even more fantastic. Sort of like a big fan strapped on their back - no wheels.


Leesa said...

Brillant photos!! Looks like it was a blast! What a whole different perspective from above...

Fragola said...

Wow! You went up in that Caro! Great photos. Can't believe those things fly. Love to catch up sometime when you get back.

love C
PS Am envious about your new camera...