Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Limantour Beach
Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California

Satellite image of the Pt. Reyes Mt. Vision Fire
4 October, 1995 (12K jpg)

go to location mapThis was our first trip to Pt. Reyes after a major wildfire burned a section of the park in early October 1995. The fire burned for several days ultimately consuming 48 homes and scorching 12,000 acres (1/7th of the park.) We had been somewhat reluctant to visit and confront the fire's aftermath. And while the fire was significant the damage was not as complete as we had feared. The great majority of the National Seashore is untouched and new growth is already appearing in the burn zone.

The fire occurred during the high-risk days of dry, off-shore winds that plague us in Autumn. The kite aerial images on this page were taken at Pt. Reyes' Limantour Beach which is directly underneath the smoke plume in the adjoining satellite photograph. The fire burned to the edge of Limantour Beach and scorched ground can be seen in the image below. I will probably return in the next month or so to photograph the fire areas directly.

Limantour Beach (facing west), November 1995 (45K jpg)

This view shows from left to right: the waters of Drake's Bay, south-facing Limantour Beach, a strip of grassy dunes, a burned zone from the fire, and the waters of Limantour Estero (an extension of Drake's Estero) in distance. The road through the burned area marks a developer's activities in the 1960s (happily aborted when the area became parkland.)

These shots show our Sunday picnic spot as occupied by the families Arens and Benton. The wind was blowing a steady 18 mph with gusts to 26 mph so we sought shelter in the lee of the dunes. Even here blowing sand soon covered everything.

Picnic on Limantour Beach, November 1995 (left 71K jpg, right 66K jpg)

Author with Eric and Edward Arens, November 1995 (57K jpg)

Ed and Eric came along during this shooting session. Eric is looking into using a KAP system to document the starts of International 14 races.

Charlie Benton in control, November 1995 (45K jpg)

Son Charlie Benton has been controlling the radio for many of my recent shots. We've evolved a method where I fly the kite and Charlie controls the camera rig. We stand together, discuss the shot's framing, and then take the shot. It really helps to have two people and their four hands. In this photo Charlie is going solo.

The ground crew (Claudia) works on a soft landing, November 1995 (45K jpg)

Here is another shot of the ground crew at Limantour Beach. If the wind is particularly gusty I'll often ask one of my companions to catch the camera rig as it nears the earth. My companions are invariably useful in kite aerial photography (beyond their intrinsic merits as company) and are generally happy to mind the kite, pass the transmitter, etc. God bless them all.

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