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Paraglider Soaring Over Torrey Pines State Beach

Sunday, May 08, 2011

 Paraglider Soaring Over Torrey Pines State Beach

The Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of the premier locations in the world for paragliding enthusiasts. With San Diego’s mild climate it operates year round but spring and summer are when things are really in full swing. On summer afternoons, many gliders will be in the air together soaring from the northern end of Torrey Pines State Beach, south to La Jolla.

After opening their wing shaped parachutes into the wind, pilots launch simply by stepping off the top of a coastal cliff above Blacks Beach. From there they ride the updrafts caused by consistent onshore winds that are forced up and over the cliffs.

Photographing paragliders actually proves quite challenging. It’s normally midday by the time wind conditions are at their best which results in harsh lighting conditions. You would think getting a slow moving subject like this lined up would be a slam dunk but they rarely align right where you would want them in the frame. This shot with a glider close enough in the foreground to nicely form the central subject captured what I was looking for.

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Paraglider Soars over Torrey Pines State Beach
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