Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Return to Wurster Hall
University of California, Berkeley

uccc03.gif (44015 bytes)Wurster Hall, home to Berkeley's College of Environmental Design, houses my office and laboratories.  The ten story concrete building is visible in the upper left corner of this image taken from near the center of campus (39K jpg, Canon 24-mm, April 1998).

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These images are from a quick roll shot during late afternoon in cloudy conditions.   I was near school and stopped by to take a look at wind conditions.  There being a modest wind I sent the Sutton 30 aloft followed by the Canon SLR rig.  I might note that I almost always use the Canon these days instead of the Yashica rig.   Though heavier to fly, the Canon produces better images.  Flying from the west side of Wurster is difficult due to a constrained launching site and turbulence from upwind buildings.  Once aloft I had to nurse the camera to keep it flying, tricky but satisfying.

wurster13.GIF (38404 bytes)wurster16.GIF (41063 bytes)Views of the Wurster tower from the southwest.  On the left you can see the projection of Room 1000 -- the Dean's conference room -- and a balcony overlook above it.  On the right are the south-facing shading devices that protect the studio floors from the sun (28K jpg left and 28K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, April 1998).

Wurster Hall, a large concrete structure (the style was called Brutalism), serves over 1,000 people associated with the College of Environmental Design.  Like most campus buildings, Wurster is not air-conditioned and relies instead on sun shades and thermal mass to keep cool.  The sunshades are a serious affair, being made of concrete slabs.  The building is sited within a couple of hundred yards of the Hayward Fault and is due for a major seismic retrofit.  This cannot happen too soon for me.

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A cropped view of  the west facade and a close view of the south side shading devices.  The building's main entry is in the lower right of the left image. My rig's batteries were running low and the HoVer servo adopted a distinct tilt toward the end of this roll.   (34K jpg, Canon 24-mm, April 1998).

It occurred to me as I shot this roll that I would not have attempted to fly here a year ago.  The tricky aspect of launching the kite and guiding it through trees to the building would have been too daunting.  Now it seems more challenging than scary.   This makes me wonder if I am getting overconfident.  One receives many questions while taking kite photographs and a frequent one is: how many cameras have you lost?  I have now taken around 275 rolls of aerial images (involving at least that many hours of cameras aloft) without damaging a camera and this surprises folks I tell them it is because I am generally cautious and they laugh.  Time will tell.

wurster15.GIF (40919 bytes)A view down the shading devices from near the ninth floor (28K jpg, Canon 24-mm, April 1998).

The sunshades have a different texture from the concrete building because they have recently been painted.  This really changed their material presence.

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