Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

More Images from the Berkeley Waterfront
Berkeley, California

J24s at the Olympic Circle Sailing Club, January 1996 (link to source photo, 20K jpg)

go to location mapTo tell the truth it seems like I already have a lifetime supply of aerial images from the Berkeley Waterfront. The waterfront is my kite and camera testing range due to its wide open spaces, nearby convenience, and clean consistent winds. This is where I took my first kite aerial photographs and where I return to try something new.

Thomas and I went to the waterfront on a hazy, light wind day to test a new kite (10' double delta conyne). After finishing that pleasant task (it flew well) I began to admire the light associated with a moist, very hazy atmosphere. The moisture was somewhere short of fog but still quite tangible. As the short winter day played out the light became warmer and we decided to shoot a roll at the marina. The wind was quite light, from the north at about 7 mph (I didn't measure), so we sent the Sutton Flowform 30 aloft. It lifted the camera rig comfortably but without too much power to spare. Thus I had a nice soft line as recommended by Craig Wilson in the Aerial Eye (V1:N3).

The photographs capture the atmosphere of the day. The light winds provided a still surface on the marina's waters and there was adequate light for ASA 400 film. At I shot the roll the wind faded. It was an interesting experience. The kite slowly lost altitude from around 200' to about 50' over a ten minute period. I was able to continue shooting through this slow loss of lift because it waned quite consistently. I'd take a shot, pump the kite up a bit by retrieving line, take another, and so on. I would never have tried this 6 months ago, particularly over a sea of kite-eating masts, so I guess I'm gaining confidence. (BTW I intend to drop Neophyte from the masthead at the site's one year anniversary in May.)

Moored boats and the Berkeley Yacht Club, January 1996 (30K jpg)

This view, from the north side of the marina, shows the Berkeley Yacht Club on the basin's southern side. Also visible are the entrance to the marina (on right) and the Berkeley Pier in the distance (stretching into San Francisco Bay).

The docks on a hazy day, January 1996 (29K jpg)

This view toward San Francisco Bay (west) shows the seawalls protecting the Marina entrance in the hazy distance. The still waters of the marina stand in counterpoint to the usual wind-shaped water textures of kite aerial photography.

Docked boats, January 1996 (36K jpg)

This plan view of the pier and moored boats was taken from a point at about 150% of the mast heights. The camera stayed there quite nicely. When it did decide to settle I could regain altitude by retrieving line.

Two boats at marina entrance, January 1996 (38K jpg)

I had a difficult time getting a good scan of this one. The original shows nice patterns in the water from the sailboat in the upper left and more detail from the boat in the shadows.

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