This Photographer Brought Her Camera Paragliding And The Photos Are Incredible

Jody MacdonaldParagliding in Namibia.

For the last eight years, photographer Jody MacDonald has spent her days jetting around the world, finding the highest points she can, and jumping off of them. Luckily, she brought her camera around for the ride.

An avid paraglider, MacDonald has made a living off photographing the sport and its athletes for the likes of National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Niviuk. In the last five years, she’s traveled to more than 50 countries, including such exotic locales as Morocco, Mozambique, and India.

MacDonald posts a ton of her photography on her website, but she shared some photos from some recent trips with Business Insider.

MacDonald began paragliding in 2002 when her brother, a pilot in Alaska, bought a second-hand paraglider. This shot is from Alaska, where they learned to fly.


MacDonald's paragliding adventures have brought her all over the world.

Azores, Portugal

MacDonald was a photographer before she began paragliding. She says it was only natural that she would merge the two interests.

Azores, Portugal

It can be difficult to photograph and pilot the paraglider at the same time. Often, she will ride tandem to free her hands for the camera.

With the right weather and wind conditions, paragliders can remain in the air for several hours at a time and travel long distances.


She often flies in a group, which can make it easier to fly as you can see how other flyers are fairing ahead of you.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Different terrains provide different types of air. Knowing what type of terrain will produce what type of air is crucial to flying safely.


There isn't a lot of room for error when paragliding, especially if you are close to the ground.


MacDonald says that her favourite trip was flying across the Mozambique channel from Madagascar to the Bazaruto Archipelago.

The 20-mile dune they discovered (pictured) made for extremely special flying. It was the first time the dune had ever been flown.


Dark coloured surfaces like sand dunes can produce 'thermals,' upward rising columns of hot air. Thermals can be key to staying in the air for a long time, but can also be dangerous.


Coastal, 'laminar' air is the most stable to fly.


MacDonald says there was no one anywhere near this stretch of Mozambique when they flew it.

Flying in the early morning and late afternoon is not only the safest way to fly, but also makes for the best photographs. This shot was taken from 3,000 feet.

Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

Sometimes, paragliders can get up to heights of 20,000 feet. Temperatures at that height are well below zero and it's very hard to think clearly.


Figuring out how to manage both the camera and the paraglider is a lot of trial and error.


Here, a paraglider does a spiral dive into the 'dead marsh' of Namibia.


In 2012, MacDonald documented a cross-country paragliding expedition to traverse the entire Sierra Mountains in California, 500 miles in total.

The team brought everything they needed to survive, including food, water and camping gear. The trip took 19 days in total.

MacDonald has taken a break from travelling for the time being, but she's already getting the itch again. 'There's so much to see,' says MacDonald.

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