Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

University of California, Berkeley
The Campanile on an Overcast Day

The Campanile and its esplanade (June 1996, 46K jpg)

go to location mapOn Father's Day Thomas, Charlie, and I went by campus to fly kites. It was a cold, overcast day with a high of 55 degrees. I would hardly have believed such a thing possible during my childhood in Georgia. I was hopeful that the overcast would break but it never did so we shot a couple of rolls in the grey. The winds were the best in several weeks, coming steadily from the southwest. I launched the Sutton Flowform 30 near Doe Library and walked it the Campanile from there. For most of these shots I was standing between South Hall and Bancroft Library.

It is interesting taking photographs under a overcast sky. While photographing one forms the impression that the images will be grey and lifeless - much like the grey clouds overhead. However, the view downward is different. Objects have interesting colors and textures under this diffuse light. On overcast days skylight comes equally from all points of the compass and the sky directly overhead is about three times brighter than the sky at the horizon. The amount of light reaching each location is determined by its exposure to the entire sky hemisphere as a whole rather than its relationship with the sun and compass. This is clearly a different regime than the normal sunny day photos.

In keeping with this month's experimentation with photographs from higher altitudes many of the images on this page were taken from around 300 to 400 feet high. The Campanile Esplanade becomes nicely abstracted at this distance with the scene seeming like a model. The pollarded sycamores look like small boxwoods while in reality they provide a shady canopy for strollers.

A high view of the Campanile with Stephens and South Halls beyond (June 1996, 43K jpg)

This higher view captures the slenderness of the tower. I think the downward viewing shots are more successful than my earlier level images of the Campanile. The near landscape is just more interesting than the horizon and the sense of height is, well, heightened.

South Hall, Wheeler Hall, and Dwinelle Hall viewed from near the Campanile (June 1996, 39K jpg).

This view shows the southwest quadrant of the CAL Campus. In addition to the courtyard of Wheeler Hall the large image shows the student center, Zellerbach Hall, and Eshelman Hall.

A view of the entire Campanile from above (June 1996, 43K jpg).

From the beginning I've been trying to capture a view of the entire Campanile from above (no Freudian appraisals please). I finally succeeded during this Sunday outing. The kite flying was tight and I had little room to maneuver but with persistence I eventually captured several of these images. Charlie said it was radical kite flying and I'll admit I was proud of the achievement.

The Campanile and South Hall from a steep angle (June 1996, 41K jpg).

Another view that captures the slimness of the Campanile, this scene is taken at a steep angle. In the larger view your can see me flying the kite from the middle of the roadway.

The Campanile and Birge Hall (June 1996, 33K jpg).

A quirky view of the Campanile with a dark surround and almost the entire Birge Hall roof.

Closer view of clock and gallery (June 1996, 45K jpg).

This closer view of the Campanile is similar to one I posted in January. Viewing both of them allows you to compare a cloudy diffuse image to one taken of the shady side of the Campanile on a sunny day.

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