Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Images from the Marin Headlands
Marin County, California

The Marin Headlands as seen from 200' above the Berkeley Waterfront, July 1995 (link to source photo, 32K jpg)

go to location mapThese shots were taken on a grand Sunday outing with my son Thomas Benton. It was one of the few delightful days in what seemed an endlessly rainy Spring. The Marin Headlands are an undeveloped greenbelt space with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the rolling hills of West Marin. It is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, a remarkable natural resource within minutes of San Francisco and Berkeley. The panoramic images were taken with the Minolta Freedom Vista point-and-shoot 35-mm camera while the normal format are from the Yashica T4.

Gun Emplacement at the highest point in the Headlands, May 1995 (39K jpg)

This gun emplacement at Fort Barry, on the highest hill of the headlands, provides a fine perch. The hilltop's image from a couple of hundred feet reminds me of the renderings in Myst. I was very proud that Brooks Leffler selected this image for the "aerial gallery' section of the Aerial Eye (Vol. 1, No. 3).

A view of Fort Barry one year later, May 1996 (32K jpg)

I've returned to Fort Barry on several occasions but have not had much luck taking images. This view was one of two shots taken on a windy Spring afternoon. The Sutton Flowform 30 would only fly at a very shallow angle - the kiteline was almost horizontal at times. It must have been the air flow field wrapping over the top of the hill.

A second gun emplacement in the Marin Headlands, May 1995 (59K jpg)

These gun emplacements are out toward the lighthouse and right off the road (visible in the upper right of photo.) The kite flew well here as the sun was getting low. The light warmed up for a nice set of colors.

Surf line, May 1995 (46K jpg)

This image was taken with the kite in a position close to the point from which the image above was taken. In this case the camera was pointed straight down and the height of the bluff (~200 feet) was added to the height of the camera. The haystacks at the point in the image are about thirty feet high. I tried to time exposure with a crashing wave.

After the kite launch, May 1995 (47K jpg)

Here I am with son Thomas right after we launched the camera rig. It is on its way up to the position from where the first image in this series was taken. Thomas is controlling the kite while I'm handling the radio control transmitter. It really helps to have a partner.

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