Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Coyote Hills Regional Park

Views from above the Coyote Hills ridgeline looking north (left, 25K jpg) and south (right, 25K jpg).

go to location mapOn a clear day, as I drive over the Bay Bridge from Berkeley to San Francisco, I can look 20 miles down the bay and see the Coyote Hills. These hills seem to be an anomaly as they rise out of the South Bay wetlands near the eastern anchorage of the Dunbarton Bridge. They are now part of a 1,064 acre park near Fremont, California that is in turn part of the East Bay Regional Park System. I've been coming to the Coyote Hills for years to fly radio-controlled sailplanes. Winds leaving the bay encounter the hills and provide great lift as they rise to clear them. More recently, Charlie, Thomas, and I made a Sunday visit to take kite aerial photographs. The winds were modest and our Sutton Flowform 30 would just barely keep the 1 pound, 3 ounce Yashica T4 rig in the air.

Another north-facing ridgeline view (August 1996, 45K jpg).

This view shows Charlie Benton and your author as we walk the kite northward on the ridge trail. Thomas was off looking for coyotes. The hills are wearing their summer mantle of dried grass and dusty earth on curves that provide a subtle visual counterpoint to the surrounding flatlands. Though flat, the surrounding terrain is also quite varied with marshland on the inland side and tidal flats to the bay side. I looked around the Internet for background information on the Coyote Hills geology and found one interesting paper that suggests they are related to an island 30 miles north near the Richmond Bridge (Quaternary Deformation Between Coyote Point and Lake Merced on the San Francisco Peninsula: Implications for Evolution of the San Andreas Fault by James V. Hengesh of Dames and Moore.)

Wetlands on the San Francisco Bay side of the hills (August 1996, 49K jpg left).

This view toward the northwest picks up a glint of the late afternoon summer sun as it strikes the tidal flats. San Francisco Bay proper is in the upper portion of the image.

The Coyote Hills parking and picnic area (August 1996, 32K jpg).

This view from above the ridgeline shows the parking area and a sheltered picnic zone. This is generally the leeward side of the hills and remains quite pleasant even when the sea breeze is honking. You can see the marshland, an important wildlife area, in the upper part of the image. To the far left is a patch of white. This is the dry mudbed featured in the next gallery page.

Dry lakebed with grass (August 1996, 54K jpg).

This image is also a segue to the next gallery page. It shows the white surface of a dry mudbed nestled into the leeward side of the hills. You can follow the string down to see me and Charlie. You can also see the tall (8 foot high), tawny grass that grows out of the mud.

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All rights reserved. Revised: September 9, 1996