Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Bolinas Ridge Road #1
Marin County, California

A ground-level view of the landscape from the Bolinas Ridge Road looking north and taken just after sunset (47K jpg, T4 Super, January 1997).

go to location mapOne of my favorite spots in the Bay Area is Bolinas Ridge Road on the western flank of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, about 10 miles north of Pt. Bonita and the Golden Gate. The road lies in the Mt. Tamalpais State Park which in turn is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). The park would have us refer to the road as "West Ridgecrest Boulevard" but I much prefer the original Bolinas Ridge Road since the road runs along a ridgeline that hovers 2,000 feet above the Bolinas Lagoon where it meets the Pacific Ocean. It is a particularly scenic stretch of road as evidenced by its frequent use for automobile commercials.

This particular outing occurred at the end of a wet Christmas break. For two weeks we had rains of biblical proportions and many areas of California suffered serious flooding. The worst of it for us was a bad case of cabin fever. So when the sun finally came out I took off for the coast to get a kite in the air. The images on this page and the next were taken between 2 pm and 5 pm at two locations along the four-mile Bolinas Ridge Road. The winds started out light so I used KAP Rig #3 supported by the Sutton 30. Later, as the winds increased, I sent up KAP Rig #2 and the Canon Rebel with its 24-mm lens.


The ridgeline from the air (47K jpg, Canon 24-mm, January 1997).

The road winds along the north-south ridgeline, sometimes to the east and sometimes to the west. In this scene the late-afternoon sun lights the western slopes while the road runs in the shadows of the east slope. I should note that these images really look much better in their larger jpg form, some of the ground texture detail is very interesting. I'm visible in the bottom right corner. I flew solo on this outing as the boys had engagements with their friends.

Two oblique views of the road (46K jpg left and 63K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, January 1997).

In these oblique views the road is at the top of the image. In the lefthand image you can get a sense of scale from the road. Automobiles are parked on the righthand side, near the Laurel Dell trailhead, and a single person has spread a picnic blanket on the sunny slope in the lower righthand corner. I selected the righthand image because it communicates the steepness of the terrain. Using the nominally-level roadway as a reference you can see the rather dramatic slope of the grassy hillside as it falls down toward the tree and beyond. Also visible are the ubiquitous tracks left by the park's many deer as they traverse the hillside. A more distinct trail near the road is used by humans.

Nicely abstracted plan views of the hillscape (53K jpg left and 49K jpg right,Canon 24-mm, January 1997).

I find these straight-down views of the convoluted hillside particularly entertaining. On the left you can make out a small stream running into the shadow of the trees. The image on the left is one of my favorites from the session. In it you can see straight deer trails going down a ridgeline, contour-following deer trails crossing the hill, and a trail for humans in the upper-left corner.

The roadway in its hilly context (53K jpg left and 61K jpg right, T4 Super, January 1997).

These photos were taken earlier in the day and provide closer views of the road. On the left you can see down the hill all the way to the Bolinas Lagoon. The lagoon is situated in a valley that marks the return of the San Andreas Fault to the Marin Coastline -- altogether proper given the convoluted landscape.

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