Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Richmond Yacht Club, Assorted Boats
Pt. Richmond, California

Rigging the El Toros to start the day (a ground based shot, 31K jpg, Canon 28-105-mm, November 1997).

go to location mapI enjoy my flying sessions out at the Richmond Yacht Club. As my regular readers have no doubt surmised, I'm intrigued by the visual aspect of boats. When viewed from above boats, and particularly sailboats, reveal shapes born of function and generations of empirical and theoretical refinement. Yet overlaid on this functional beginning are often other considerations related to class rules or intended use. Cruising boats clearly differ from their lean racing-only cousins. So far, my boat photographs have been largely based from land. I am eager to begin a series capturing sailboats under sail, the results could be stunning.

A view of "B" Dock from around 300 feet up and boats on trailers in the parking lot (32K jpg left and 29K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, November 1997).

For now I am entertaining myself with images of boats taken from land. The view of "B" Dock above was taken from about 100 meters above the ground. This is about as high as I send the camera rig these days. I'm in the center of the image. This shows up clearly in the prints but not in the scans. Recently, when the kite has flown very well, I've taken to tying it off to an anchor and then walking around to help compose the view. In this case the Sutton 30 was flying quite nicely so I tied the kite off to the roof rack of Claudia's car. I then spent 15 minutes walking about (for instance, on the dock in the image) composing my photos. This technique has worked fine but it does require a stable kite and a secure anchorage.

In the image of boats on trailers (above) I am working in my usual mode of walking around with the kiteline in my hand. Here I eased the camera rig toward the boat mast until it was just adjacent and a little above the mast. I like the resulting three-dimensional character provided by a foreground object.

The big boats at "A" dock with a complement of El Toros for scale (31K jpg left and 32K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, November 1997).

Here are a couple of lower level shots taken near "A" dock. In the image to the left the camera's relationship with the boat mast sets up a nice three-point perspective. The yawl and its neighbor in the right image provide a fine color scheme of white with blue nautical canvas trim.

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