Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Pigeon Point Lighthouse
San Mateo County, California

The Pigeon Point lighthouse tower as seen from the ground (23K jpg).

go to location mapOn a fine October weekend Claudia and I drove down Highway 1 to pick Charlie and Thomas up from a Boy Scout camping trip. We allowed extra time to stop and take a few KAP shots. The trip marked the field debut of my new KAP rig #2, a camera cradle built around a Canon Rebel X with a 24-mm lens. When we stopped at Pigeon Point the fog had just cleared from the shore to reveal the late afternoon sun. Out came the Sutton Flowform 30 which flew well in a 15 mph breeze. The new rig performed well and we shot a quick roll in the thirty minutes available.

The Pigeon Point Lighthouse located between San Francisco and Santa Cruz (47K jpg left and 62K jpg right).

Perched on a bluff on the Central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 110-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. The associated keepers' housing was restored as a hostel by HI-AYH, California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the U.S. Coast Guard. We're talking cheap rates here, and a private hot tub on the tip of Pigeon Point (details at the hostel web site). From the boardwalk behind the fog signal building, you can watch for gray whales on their annual migration between January and April. This is vintage, beautiful California. The hostel has gender separated rooms plus some private ones that are booked months in advance!

You can find additional lighthouse information at the Lighthouse and Lightships Pointers Page.

The 110-foot-tall lighthouse tower as seen from about twice that height (57K jpg).

It was great to get the new rig in the air. As it turns out this was also the first flight for a new spool of black 200# dacron kiteline. As the wind began to pull the Sutton 30 with vigor I started to appreciate the irony of conducting my first flight over salt water on new line. Happily, the flight was a success as knots, line, and cradle performed well. This shot shows the lighthouse and the south edge of the point.

View of the ocean's edge to the north of the lighthouse (53K jpg).

Land near the lighthouse is productive farmland. Here the fields extend almost to ocean's edge which makes for an interesting coastline. Our Plymouth van is the furthest car visible in the image. We launched kite and camera from the iceplant strip between road and beach. Power lines paralleled the road as did the wind so we took care to keep well clear of this hazard.

A view showing our flying position on the bluff. Claudia and I are visible in the middle of the left edge of the image (61K jpg).

In this closer view of our flying site you can see the transition from crops to road to iceplant, bluff, beach, and ocean. My new rig provides, as a first for me, the capacity to take vertical format oblique shots. I first saw this use of a fourth radio channel in Wolfgang Bieck's rig last summer. You will probably be seeing quite a few vertical format shots in the next gallery pages as I explore this new feature.

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All rights reserved. Revised: Saturday, June 26, 2010