Nearly 3,000 feet in the air, with few precautionary measures beyond a seat belt, climber and photographer Renan Ozturk—seen here behind pilot Chris Dahl-Bredine—captured Utah’s unmistakable Monument Valley in October of last year. The pair flew over the valley with four cameras in tow, including a Sony A R III attached to a mount on the wing of their ultralight, recording every second of their flight—though the images are serene, the expedition was not without its dangers. “You’re facing 60 mph winds,” says Ozturk, who flew multiple trips through the area, “and dropping anything in front of the propeller can bring the glider down.”
The flights were part of a campaign to document nearby Bears Ears National Monument, 1.35 million acres of unspoiled public lands that have become a political flashpoint because of actions by the current administration to shrink it. “These landscapes inspired me as a kid out of college, hitchhiking with other climbers,” says Ozturk of his connection to the area. “It helped me find my way to climbing, and seeing it from above was the first adrenaline rush I’d felt in a while.”
Below, more of Ozturk’s brilliant photographs from Bears Ears.