Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery
Our blufftop launch site at Santa Cruz, November 1995 (link shows actual photograph, 40K jpg)
These images were taken on a fine October outing with my sons Charlie and Thomas. The weather forecast called for the cold, cloudy, windy conditions so typical for the coast. Instead we emerged from Berkeley fog to find the coast cloudless, warm, and calm. For the first half of the day there wasn't enough wind to loft my lightest kite much less the camera rig. So we kept driving south until we reached Santa Cruz. There we found an interesting coastline and a modest breeze.
The images in this set were taken with the Yashica T4 point-and-shoot camera. I originally launched the Sutton Flowform 16, a relatively new kite in my quiver. The breezes were too light for the 16 to loft the camera rig so I tried a Sutton Flowform 30, a birthday gift from the week before. This was the first time I used the Sutton 30 to lift the camera rig and it worked well - a nice stable kite.
Santa Cruz Bluff, October 1995 (41K jpg)
This image shows my flying site in more detail. In the jpeg version you can just make out Charlie and myself on the park bench that served as the kite's anchor. To launch the Flowform I had to walk to the upwind edge (and I mean the very edge) of the bluff to get above a turbulent recirculating eddy caused by the bluff itself. Once launched, the kite flew well in the stable air above the eddy. The mind shudders about the possibilities lying below this clean air.
Sutton 16 over Santa Cruz, October 1995 (42K jpg)
Here I have the Sutton 16 flying below the camera and the coastline of Santa Cruz stretched below it. Santa Cruz has an interested cityscape with elements of ocean, bluff, pathway, road, lawn, and house separated by only a few yards each. This flying site allowed me to fly the kite out over the ocean so I didn't have to worry about overflying pedestrians (only the cruel sea below.) The day turned somewhat grey on me as I took the images then the sun came out just as I finished. Go figure.
Oceanside Guitar , October 1995 (54K jpg)
Although this photograph loses something in the scanning it turned out to be a fine shot. It is a view essentially straight down showing the trace of a wave as it crashes against the bluff that runs along the left side of the image. A person, playing a guitar, is just visible at the 9 o'clock position and he gives the image scale. I was aware the person was there but never heard a note over the sound of the ocean.
Wave and Ice Plant, October 1995 (38K jpg)
This image captures a breaking wave as it travels parallel to the bluff face. Charlie and I are just visible atop the iceplant that lines the blufftop.
San Mateo Coastline, October 1995 (39K jpg)
On the way to Santa Cruz we stopped at a small beach on the San Mateo coast. Blessed by a brief spell of wind I sent up the Sutton 16 and took a few shots. This one captures the tan sandstone of the area with a shallow cove to the south.
Sunset Party at the Berkeley Waterfront, October1995 (66K jpg)
During summer evenings a crowd gathers at the Berkeley Waterfront for Sunset Parties. This view combines two prints for a wide angle view of the early crowd. I can attest that folks in an altered state think the KAP rig is particularly neat.
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All rights reserved. Revised: Thursday, July 18, 1996