Lavender in the winter - Thousands of lavender plants covered in snow. The Valensole plateau, some 800 square kilometres, is essentially planted with lavender. The flowering period is from mid June to mid July. In winter the plateau is cold, windy and when I flew there it was snow covered. In the flowering season not only are the fields purple coloured but the air, even up in the air flying, is perfumed with lavender. Photo taken under a cloudy sky just before it began to snow again.
Valensole, March 2018

Flying gear - Left: 10 litre Jerry can of unleaded petrol, oil for fuel mix, funnel, telescopic wind indicator, tool and repair kit with a few spare parts, spare two part propeller,  26 metre square paraglider wing in a the red bag. Center: On my back a Miniplane TOP 80 paramotor 2 stroke 80cc engine with wooden propeller, wind proof clothing, strong shoes, gloves, helmet with integrated microphone, VHF two way radio, altimeter, watch, knife, flying insurance documents, flying licence, machine and wing ID.
Camera gear- Right: Canon 5d mark3 with a 24-105mm lens, memory cards, batteries, gopro with different accessories, gimbal for gopro stabilisation, telescopic pole for gopro, telephone and camera bag.
Depending on the outside air temperature I wear more or less clothing. The more you gain altitudethe colder it gets. When you add up the petrol (7 to 12kg) , the camera gear, the clothing and helmet that makes quite a lot of extra take off weight.
Aix en Provence, March 2018

Mirrored worlds - It was -8ºC up at 300 metres altitude when I took this photo. The clouds and snow were moving in, there were only a few pockets of blue sky left, I flew straight to the lake to get the relection of the blue sky. The lake of Sainte Croix (Lac de Sainte Croix) is a man made lake formed when the Sainte Croix dam was build in 1973. The dam, which generates 142 million kWh of electricity per year, is 94 metres high, 7.5 metres thick at its base and 3 metres thick at its crest. The Verdon river flows into the catchment area. The reservoir holds a maximum of 761 million cubic metres of water. The village that can be seen to the left of the small island (Island of Coste Belle) is Les Salles-sur-Verdon, the original village is now completely underwater.
Lac de Sainte Croix - March 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJoCmIaPFpU

Flying in the cold - A short video clip of a flight at the Valensole plains where it was minus eight degrees Celsius. The cold slowly crept up on me during the flight, specially my hands that could have been better protected. I was forced to cut the flight short due to the extreme cold. The Valensole plains are know for their purple lavender fields, in this season everything is covered with a blanket of snow. During the 30 minute flight I did manage to get a few amazing shots and video of this cold moment. Click on the photo to see the video
Valensole, March 2018



Black truffle grove - Part of an irrigated truffle farm under the snow on the Valensole plain in the south of France. Some oak trees have lost their red/brown leaves while other still have their leaves, the darker leafed trees are green oaks. A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean fungus and they are usually found in close association with tree roots. The black truffle grows under oak trees and are harvested in late autumn and winter.
This flight was a cold one, the air temperature was minus eight degrees Celsius and lower. Flying in these cold conditions was hard. Even with several layers of gloves my fingers began to freeze forcing me to land after about 30 minutes of flight time. I was fortunate to be able to capture a few great photos.
Valensole, Feb 2018

Face - This picture was not originally taken from this perspective but from 90 degrees anticlockwise. In turning the picture around I discovered this face, something I did not see at the time when I was flying over this spot. It is interesting when the view point changes how everything changes. As the delta forms and the level of the lake goes up and down this face will transform and eventually disappear. Photo of a a small mountain stream delta that flows into a man made water reservoir for human and agricultural consumption.
Haute Alpes, 2018

The peninsula of Sirmione - It's around 11 am and the fog has just started to clear over the southern most part of lake Garda in Lombardy (northern Italy). The peninsula of Sirmione protrudes into the lake and disappears into the fog. At the end of the peninsula is the beautiful medieval town of Sirmione. I could not fly any further than this point as there were no more places to land in case of an engine failure and I was not really looking forward to a possible swim in the cold winter waters of the lake.
Sirmione, Italy, Jan 2018

 A surprise in Tuscany - The white beach or "La spiaggia bianca" - This beautiful white sand beach on the Tuscan coast south of Livorno is what one would expect to see in the Caribbean. I discovered the beach via a photo on the internet and absolutely had to see this spot. I arrived at the area after a long drive, the weather report announced rain for the following day so I had fly straight away. It was late in the afternoon on a cloudy damp day, the sun was low in the sky, I didn't have much time to fly before nightfall. I had to prepare fast for the flight if I wanted a chance to get a picture of the beach.



Above a sea of fog - Near lake Garda, about 15 kilometres south of Sirmione, in northern Italy. After taking off with my paramotor I do the usual horizon scan to see where I am from above, also to check on the advancing fog that is moving in my direction. To my surprise  I see this very tall tower rising above the fog layer, there was only this tower, a sea of fog and the blue sky. Breath taking.....
Arriving at the tower the fog below started to become denser and a slight wind was bringing more fog to my take off area, so after 10 minutes I backtracked to where I started from and landed. If I had stayed too long up in the air I would no longer be able to land! There are a lot of things to manage during a flight.

The tower of San Martino - The tower rises 64 metres over the highest hill in San Martino, a town not far from the beautiful village of Sirmione and lake Garda. It was built to remember King Vittorio Emanuele II and those who fought for the Italian independence and union throughout the campaigns between 1848 and 1870. Construction began in 1880 and it was inaugurated on 15 October 1893, in the presence of King Umberto I, Queen Margherita, ministers, members of the parliament and a large crowd coming from all the Italian provinces.
San Martino, Italy, Jan 2018

Beautiful Noli - Seen from 300 metres up in the late afternoon. I have been wanting to do this flight for years It was the question of being there at the right moment with the right wind conditions and the right space to take off from. Today was that perfect day with a slight sea breeze and a take off zone in a nearby village that was free of cars and people. In these coastal areas there is little flat open space to take off from or land on. The only security landing spots are the beaches and in these areas the beaches are not large!



The seaside front of Noli. A small semi fortified medieval town in Liguria some 50 kilometres west of Genova. Once a republic of its own. The modern day name "Noli" was certainly derived from a form of "neapolis" which means "new city" in Greek-Byzantine. Noli's origins go back to roman times and beyond. The old part of the small town has changed little over hundreds of years. Nestled between two mountains and opened to the sea it is a real gem.
Noli, Italy January 2018

Blue - Water and trees in the Bimont water reservoir near Aix en Provence. The Bimont dam was finished in 1951 and this natural valley was then flooded for water storage. The trees are a reminder of what once was. The water reservoir now supplies water to Aix en Provence, surrounding villages and Marseille.
Aix en Provence, 2017



Inversion - Flying above Viareggio on a beautiful day is like eating cake ! A real pleasure. To one side there are the snow tipped mountains and to the other the sea. In between is the densely  urbanised town of Viareggio. Being a popular summer holiday destination the town grown considerably during the summer months. In winter however the beaches and seafront roads are deserted. Image created by copying and inverting the landscape part of the photo.
Viareggio, Italy, 2017
the blue sea at Ventimiglia in Italy aerial photo by Gaetan Hutter

Texture of the sea - always changing, always different. This photo was taken at about 300 metres altitude just of the coast of Venitmiglia in Italy. The whitish turquoise colour is due to the turbulent stormy weather that occurred the day before, mixing sand and sediment with the water. The texture comes from a slight easterly wind blowing on the top of the water.
Ventimiglia, Italy, 2017
Trees in Provence by Gaetan Hutter

Pine tree forest - Tree tops are lit by the rising sun
Aix en Provence, December 2017

Entanglement - Motorcross bikes leave abstract patterns in a field.
Monteriggioni, Italy 2017




Different weather conditions - The port of Viareggio taken at the same time of day two days apart. The first photo: a crystal clear sky with a south east sea breeze and high visibility. The second photo: a cloudy sky with moderate to strong inland winds blowing towards the sea and turbulent conditions near the cloud line.
Viareggio, Italy - December 2017



Beautiful Tuscan coastline - Blue water and sandy beaches... Nature at its best.
Cecina, Italy - December 2017



Patterns of trees - Cyprus trees, olive trees, and pine trees are lit up and cast long shadows in the late afternoon winter sun.
Montelattaia, near Roccastrada, Italy - December 2017



Afternoon surprise - Young deer slowly crossing a field, curious of me flying around but not scared.
Rocastrada, Italy - December 2017



Preserved coastline between San Vincenzo and Cecina - This long beach is part of the 400 km of Tuscan coastline.
San Vincenzo, Italy - December 2017




Wheat fields in Tuscany - South of Sienna lies kilometers of rolling hills, essentially planted with wheat. In autumn most of the fields have been plowed and replanted with winter wheat.
Sienna, Italy - December 2017

Flying north west of snow covered Mount Amiata - A once active volcano some 300,000 years ago. Mount Amiata is the largest of the lava domes in the Amiata lava dome complex located in the southern Tuscany region of Italy. No eruptive activity has since occurred but thermal activity continues at a geothermal field near the town of Bagnore, at the SW end of the dome complex and many hot springs can be found near the mountain.
Siena, Italy - December 2017



Siena is located in the central part of Tuscany, in the middle of a vast hilly landscape between the Arbia river valley (south), the Merse valley (south-west), the Elsa valley (north), the Chianti hills (north-east), the Montagnola Senese (west) and the Crete Senesi (south-east). The city lies at 322 m above sea level.

 

The Siena Cathedral (Duomo), begun in the 12th century, is a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. The original plan called for an ambitiously massive basilica, the largest then in the world, with, as was customary, an east-west nave. However, the scarcity of funds, in part due to war and plague, truncated the project, and the Sienese created a subdued version from the original plan's north-south transept. The east wall of the abandoned original folly of a nave still stands; through an internal staircase, visitors can climb for a grand view of the city. 

The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as Basilica Cateriniana. The church was begun in 1226-1265, but was enlarged in the 14th century resulting in the Gothic appearance it has now. However, aspects of the Gothic structure were subsequently destroyed by fires in 1443, 1456 and 1531, and further damage later resulted from military occupation (1548-1552). It is a large edifice built, like many contemporary edifices of the mendicant orders, in bricks, with a lofty bell tower on the left (this was reduced in height after an earthquake in 1798). The church contains several relics of St. Catherine of Siena.
 

The Torre del Mangia is a tower in Siena. Built in 1338-1348, it is located in the Piazza del Campo, Siena's premier square, adjacent to the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall). When built it was one of the tallest secular towers in medieval Italy at 102 meters.

Siena, Italy - December 2017



Sea Sherpard's MV Brigitte Bardot docked at Viareggio - MV Brigitte Bardot (formerly Gojira and Ocean 7 Adventurer) is a unique high-tech 35 m (115 ft) stabilized mono hull twin diesel engine powered vessel designed by Nigel Irens. Construction of Ocean 7 Adventurer began in June 1997 and she was launched on 16 March 1998. The official naming ceremony took place on 3 April 1998 in London's West India Dock. Originally named Cable and Wireless Adventurer she was built for the purpose of circumnavigating the world in less than 80 days.
In the third picture you can just make out the Australian flag as the port of registay is Fremantle, Australia.
For a full history of this boat click here
Viareggio, Italy - December 2017 




 

 


 


Viareggio -  It is known as a seaside resort as well as being the home of the famous carnival of Viareggio. It is an active industrial and manufacturing centre; its  luxury yacht shipbuilding industry has long been renowned around the world and its fishing and floricultural industries are still fundamental sectors to the city's economy.
Viareggio, Italy - December 2017



Il lungo mare - Viareggio - The 10 kilometer long beach is deserted in the winter months. Private beach clubs line the prime position near the sea.
Viareggio, Italy - December 2017
 

Ventimiglia - The coastal border town just after the French/Italian border on the Italian side, is some 130 km  southwest of Genoa and 7 km from the French-Italian border. The Roia River divides the town into two parts. Ventimiglia's urban area has a population of 55,000.
Ventimiglia, Italy - December 2017

Photo aerienne Blog

Photographies aérienne haute définition prisent en France et en Italie par Gaëtan Hutter