Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Pt. Bonita Lighthouse Bridge
Marin Headlands, California

A close view of the lighthouse's handsome fresnel lens (25K jpg, Canon 24-mm, August 1997).

go to location mapThe original lens room, but not the building below it,   was moved from the 1855 cliff-top site to its current location in 1877.    The former site was near the radar tower shown in a previous gallery page.  This original site, a breath-taking 306 feet above the sea, was chosen for the lighthouse by the 12th District Lighthouse Inspector, Campbell Graham. On the East Coast, taller sites were better sites for lighthouses. However, this rule of thumb didn't fit the West Coast where taller means foggier. By the 1860s, the local fog pattern had been discovered. At 300 feet above sea level, the lighthouse was often covered by high fog so dense that its lens was invisible from the straights below.

The lens room contains the second-order, French-built lens with a "fixed" characteristic (light was on constantly, no flashes). The lens was purchased in Paris for $7,000. A lighthouse is often identified by a unique pattern of light flashes, separated by periods of dark. But in 1855, Point Bonita's light was unique to the area so there was no need to distinguish it from other lights.  That came latter for this light. Point Bonita shares a feature with the Frallon Island light, both have iron gargoyles in the form of American eagles at each of the rain spouts.

The suspension bridge (41K jpg each, Canon 15-mm left and Canon 24-mm right, August 1997).

These views of the suspension bridge sport a fine, midday color scheme of grey, ochre, and deep blue. Below you can sense the change in character between the ocean side and the calmer waters of the straight. The Park Service limits the bridge to five pedestrians at a time.

The end of Pt. Bonita separating Pacific Ocean surf from calmer waters (29K jpg, Canon 24-mm, August 1997).

More shots of the connecting suspension bridge (42K jpg left and 46K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, August 1997).

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