Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

University of California, Berkeley
The Campanile

The Campanile (Sather Tower) and the red speck of my kite, December 1995 (link to source photograph, 44K jpg)

go to location mapFrom my first musings about kite aerial photography I imagined the Campanile at UC Berkeley to be an ideal target. Designed by John Galen Howard in 1912, this handsome, 307-foot-tall bell tower is one of the principal landmarks of the CAL campus, dominating the campus skyline as well as surrounding neighborhoods. I live a few blocks to the north of the tower and "big clock" was one of the twins' first phrases.

Taking these photographs was something of a challenge. Flying kites from the hollow to the north of Doe Library is clearly more difficult than my earlier experiences in clean rural air. It took a bit of fussing (running, multiple tries) to get the kite above ground level turbulence and a wind shift of over 90 degrees. However, flying solo I was able to get the camera rig lofted by both the 7.5' rokkaku and the Sutton Flowform 30. The other principal challenge was gauging the relationship between camera and Campanile from a vantage point a block away. This is more difficult than you might think. Kite and camera are floating against a generally featureless sky and depth perception is a challenge. One fantasizes about fouling the kite on the Campanile lantern (top). What are a steeplejack's going rates? I plan to purchase headset walkie-talkies so that my support team can go stand below the camera and report relative positions.

The Campanile and Stephens Hall, December 1995 (42K jpg)

This view shows the Campanile from above, a vantage point that reveals doors and a walkway above the tower's 61 bells. I took quite a few shots from this height that were level with the horizon as opposed to downward viewing. They were generally unsatisfying for they revealed little of the campus and showed instead a distant horizon. By pointing downwards this view captured the Faculty Glade and Stephens, Morrison, Wurster, and Kroeber Halls.

The Campanile, Barrows Hall, and Telegraph Avenue, December 1995 (50K jpg)

This view seems marred only by the presence of blockish Barrows Hall. Telegraph Avenue, seen receding in the distance, establishes an axis that seems to terminate at the Campanile. This view is taken from the north of the Campanile looking south.

A view of the North Elevation, December 1995 (55K jpg)

In the large version of this photo you can see the Campanile's bells and the railing on the far side. The kite was reported to be flying above the Campanile (by a comfortable distance.)

The Campanile's Midsection, December 1995 (38K jpg)

Here we have the thin mass of the Campanile slicing through an otherwise normal aerial perspective. I find it a whimsical image.

View toward Strawberry Canyon, December 1995 (45K jpg)

This lower altitude view shows the campus stretching toward the east. My department's building, Wurster Hall, is directly behind the Campanile. Memorial Stadium is in the distance.

Campanile Plaza, December 1995 (left, 47K jpg) and May 1995 (right, 57K jpg)

This view shows the pollarded sycamores of the Campanile Plaza just north of the Campanile. In the left image the trees are bare and the flanking building is LeConte Hall (view is toward the southeast.) In the right image the trees are in full leaf and the flanking building is Bancroft Library (view is toward the southwest.) Additional images of the plaza are available in the next page.

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