Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, California

The Monterey Bay Aquarium logo and an overhead plan view of the original building (July 1996, 44K jpg left and 46K jpg right).

go to location mapDuring July 1996 my sister Carden Rice and her daughter Sara came to visit. One of the fun things about living in the Bay Area is the chance to become a tourist now and then. Over a four-day weekend we saw San Francisco's sights including Alcatraz, the Marin Headlands, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf and Land's End. We also made a day trip to Monterey and Santa Cruz. After visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium I found a few moments to loft the kite and take the images that grace this page.

Built in 1984 with a $40 million grant from David Packard of Hewlett Packard fame, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a state-of-the-art facility. Packard and his Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation combined non-traditional aquarium architecture with high technology exhibits to provide an fine educational experience. The exhibits are focused on the local ecosystems of Monterey Bay, a rich and diverse marine habitat. Both the original facility and a recent major addition were designed by the architecture firm Esherick, Homsey, Dodge and Davis. The aquarium incorporates many new and experimental construction technologies, including specially designed display tanks like the three-story Kelp Forest exhibit and the world's largest single aquarium exhibit, a million gallon tank behind a 55' x 16' acrylic window, situated in a dark auditorium-like room.

The west elevation begins at the shore (left) and provides an aviary further out in the bay (July 1996, 43K jpg left and 35K jpg right).

The aquarium building was designed to resemble the industrial buildings of Monterey's former fishing industries - a setting immortalized in Steinbeck's Cannery Row. The design features varied architectural massing and weathered utilitarian finishes. The floating structure visible at the left border of the left photo houses sea lions that are being trained to carry underwater cameras to photograph whales. How's that for a specialized photographic pursuit?

The outdoor exhibit area (left) and the roofscape of the new Outer Bay wing (July 1996, 47K jpg left and 55K jpg right).

In the left image you can see the outdoor "tidepool" created by a ring of boulders and flanked by stadium seating. The circular form immediately above the seating is a display tank for sea otters. In the righthand image you can see the recently-opened building housing the Outer Bay exhibit. The roofs in the lower left belong to the original building.

The working area on the roof surrounding the top of the Kelp tank (left) and a view of the tank from the building's interior (July 1996, 49K jpg left and 29K jpg right).

Among many nice displays, my favorite is the Kelp Forest tank. This deep tank can be viewed on two different levels and has a machine at the top that produces wave surges. The photograph provides a view of the off-limits roof space surrounding the polygonal plan shape of the tank. Also visible are two smaller circular tanks (one is empty) and the shed roof that covers an exhibit of old cannery equipment (on the left.)

Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Research Field Station (July 1996, 43K jpg left and 46K jpg right).

This final pair of images shows the aquarium's neighbor, Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Research Field Station, and another view of the aquarium's west side. In both images you can see the clear water of Monterey Bay. I understand it was unusually clear for this time of the year. Altogether these were fun images for the brief time invested.

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All rights reserved. Revised: Thursday, July 31, 1996