Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Battery Mendell in the Marin Headlands
Marin County, California

Point Bonita as seen from high above Battery Mendell. Point Bonita marks the northern end of the opening and forms a small peninsula that springs from the Marin Headlands toward the south. In the large image you can see the road leading through tunnel and bridge to the Point Bonita Lighthouse (a future KAP target). In the lower center of the large photo are the ruins of an old lifeboat station sited in the lee of the peninsula, May 1996. (link to source photo, 39K jpg)

go to location mapNot too long ago I corresponded with Michel Dusariez of Belgium. Michel is the president of the KAPWA Foundation and he sent a copy of their most recent newsletter. I'd promised to post the KAPWA Newsletter as a WWW page and did so not long after its receipt. Since the resulting page was rather text heavy I asked Michel if he would send some images to balance it out. After a few weeks I received a diskette of Michel's KAP photos and these enlivened the pages very nicely.

In looking at Michel's images I was struck at how they differed from my own. In general his images were taken from a much higher altitude than mine. I guess I'd fallen into a pattern of photographing with the camera near the ground, say below a hundred feet. My general thinking was that higher altitude photographs were reminiscent of airplane shots and thus not particularly special. Michel's fine images led me to reconsider and I shot my next roll with a minimum of 500 feet of kiteline out and often close to 1000 feet. These images are from that outing. I am generally pleased with the experiment and will fly high again.

Battery Mendell

The images in this gallery page mark a return to Battery Mendell in the Marin Headlands just north and west of the Golden Gate Bridge. From 1905 to 1943, Battery Mendell's two circular pits boasted 12-inch guns on disappearing carriages. They have now stood empty for a half century. The battery is located atop a 200' sheer bluff at the Pacific Ocean end of the headlands, near the Point Bonita lighthouse. Other images of Battery Mendell can be found on Gallery page 16. On the day of these images we'd had a sleepy family picnic in the Headlands and I decided to take a few quick images at Battery Mendell, the only place I found wind that day. I flew the Sutton 16 to loft the Yashica T4 camera.

A view of Battery Mendell from around 200 feet, May 1996 (47 K jpg)

Battery Mendell sits on a south-facing bluff around 150 feet above the adjacent Pacific. The beach you see in the photograph is below the bluff and inaccessible. The drop from the battery to beach seems almost vertical when you are standing there but is not quite that steep. In the larger image you can see the wire fence established by the Park Service to keep visitors away from the edge and the trail that parallels it in defiance at the bluff's edge.

Battery Mendell from a greater height, May 1996 (50K jpg)

This view shows the battery from about twice the height of the previous image. The difference between bluff and beach is more difficult to discern. The camera rig performed well at this height and it was not to difficult to see its orientation. The metal tube that carries the antenna directly behind the camera provides valuable orientation clues.

Plan view of Battery Mendell, May 1996 (57K jpg)

I enjoy this image of the battery and surrounding paths. See if you can find the five people in the upper quarter of the photograph.

Plan view of battery and bluff, May1996 (54K jpg)

This photo compresses the vertical element of the bluff into a thin horizontal zone. I particularly like the color gradation in the bluff from sand (upper region) to stone (lower region).


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