Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Image Set #1 from Pierce Ranch
Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California

Claudia flying kite at the water tank shed - our launch site, November 1995 (link shows actual photograph, 25K jpg)

go to location mapThe images were taken at the north end of Pt. Reyes National Seashore near Tomales Point. Pierce Ranch is a former dairy ranch that has occupied its site since the late nineteenth century. It remains a quaint gathering of frame buildings protected by a windbreak of mature Monterey Cypress. A natural harbor on the Tomales Bay side of the point once allowed deep water boats to anchor and take on dairy products for transfer to San Francisco via the Pacific Ocean. The area is now a habitat for Tule Elk and a fine place to hike.

Pierce Ranch Watertank (54K jpg)

This image is from my first roll of aerial photographs and shows the small shed roof protecting the ranch's water tank. My wife Claudia and I are leaning against the roof's south edge.

Monterey Cypress at Pierce Ranch, June 1995 (40K jpg)

The day was turning grey as I took this image of one of the Monterey Cypress trees planted as a windbreak. Fog is visible in the upper lefthand side of the photograph. The ceiling quickly lowered to end the day's session.

Monterey Cypress at Pierce Ranch, June 1995 (41K jpg)

Another image of the Monterey Cypress windbreak. I was flying the kite between a gap in the trees and panning to either side. It was a steady wind so the trees did not seem too threatening (despite their kite eating reputations.)

Pierce Ranch, June 1995 (50K jpg)

This shot was taken from the Pacific Ocean side of Tomales Point looking toward Tomales Bay (roughly east.) The bay is visible in the background. There is a challenge to framing your image in kite aerial photography. It is largely a matter of dead reckoning, a skill that should develop with experience. I've seen reference to the use of airborne video as a sort of electronic viewfinder. So far I fear the additional complexity of this approach. My dead reckoning in this case just missed framing the ranch and its windbreak in two frames. So the image presented is a two photo Hockney-inspired montage.

Lupine at Pt. Reyes, June 1995 (49K jpg)

Every spring the wildflowers at Pt. Reyes put on a spectacular display. This photograph shows the trail leading through chest-high lupine.


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All rights reserved. Revised: Thursday, July 18, 1996