Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery
A view of the narrow peninsula that forms the east end of Pt. Reyes' southern double-point. The Pacific Ocean is evident on the left as is Drake's Bay on the right. The trail leads (downward) toward Chimney Rock. The building along the Drake's Bay shore once housed lifeboats when this point was home to a rescue team for ships in trouble. (32K jpg, Canon 24-mm, March 1998).
These are end of the day shots taken during a Spring trip to Pt. Reyes. We arrived at the seashore to find they had temporarily closed the road to the point and were operating shuttle buses to the lighthouse and Chimney Rock. So, we stayed at Drake's Beach for much of the afternoon and drove to Chimney Rock when the road reopened at 5 pm. This left me about 45 minutes of light for KAP purposes but nice light it was. As the family hiked out to the end of the trail I set about getting a kite up.
This fisheye image was taken at sunset on a previous trip. In it the camera is near the lighthouse, on the western end of Pt. Reyes' southern double-point. The Pacific Ocean is visible to the left (10 Mile Beach) and right while Drake's Bay is a sliver in the distance. Chimney Rock is toward the upper right corner (35K jpg, Canon 15-mm, July 1997).
I was a bit wary about flying a kite at all because the wind was blowing around 25 mph at ground level with gusts to 35 mph. However, the light was so nice I decided to chance it and up went the Sutton 16 with plenty of fuzzy tail. Why don't I start carrying that tiny Sutton 8? Since I was working alone I pulled out a carabiner and tied off to a metal signpost then laid the kiteline out using a figure 8 belay device. Even though the kite was pulling like a mule I sent up the Canon rig with a 24-mm lens. It bobbed around with some vigor so I had to be careful when selecting the moment of exposure. It is a little disconcerting to have that much hardware depending on a single knot while hanging 400 feet above the ocean.
In the lefthand image you can see the eroding Pacific bluff with the lifesaving station in the upper right corner. The righthand image looks down from above the bluff toward a handsome but inaccessible beach (36K jpg left and 38K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, March 1998).
On the left is a near plan view of bluff, erosion, and surf. The small specks on the beach are birds. The righthand image shows a near sunset view toward the east and Chimney Rock. In it the small specks along the trail are hikers. (38K jpg left and 35K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, March 1998).
All told I was able to loft the camera and complete a 24 exposure role of film in around 35 minutes. I used Kodak MAX ASA 800 film for this shoot. I have now tried several rolls of this film and have been pleased with the results. On a gusty day like this I think the additional shutter speed pays dividends in reducing motion blur.
A final shot of trail, bluff, and an eroding landscape (40K jpg, Canon 24-mm, March 1998).
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