Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Battery Mendell Revisited
Marin Headlands, California

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Views of Battery Mendell taken after a rainy winter.  On the left, delightful shadows from low, scuddy Springtime cumulous clouds. On the right, the low sun reveals earthworks that flank the battery proper. (41K jpg left and 46K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, March 1998).

go to location mapOccasionally I have folks who ask to come along on a KAP outing so that they can "see one those KAP
contraptions actually flying through the air, and taking pictures!"  I generally don't mind the company at all but it is often difficult to coordinate.  This trip to the Marin Headlands provides an example of why. The problem is the extemporaneous nature of my outings. When I have enough time to get a kite up I often just head out the door, look at the wind, and then decide what to do. On this day there was little wind in Berkeley but things looked more promising out over the bay (you can tell by the water's color.) So I drove westward seeking wind.  No wind in Richmond, none in Larkspur, or Sausalito.  Further west I drove to the Marin Headlands.  No wind at Hawk Hill nor at the Battery Rathbone-McIndoe.  Finally I reached Battery Mendell and the literal end of the road leading west.  Here, next to the Pacific Ocean, was the slightest of breezes.  Up went the Sutton 60 and I was in business.  This explains why I have so many images of the Battery Mendell area. Any why it is hard to predefine where one will be taking photographs -- it is quite dependent on conditions of wind, light, and terrain.

mendel11.gif (39759 bytes)mendel10.gif (42188 bytes)On the left, a view south toward the Point Bonita Lighthouse -- visible in the attached jpg.The land in the distance is the San Francisco on the other side of the Golden Gate Straight.  Also visible on the left is the radar tower and flying site from an earlier KAP gallery page. On the right, a view north toward Fort Cronkhite and Rodeo beach. (34K jpg left and 43K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, March 1998).

On the day of these images the wind slowly built in and I eventually downsized to the Sutton 30.  It was great to have a kite up and I spent time with the kids playing with our newest KAP accessories - Motorola TalkAbout family channel radios.  I shot images of the admittedly handsome landscape hoping that shadows from small, low cumulous clouds would make the familiar scene interesting.   I think they did.  All in all it turned out to be a fine day.

mendel23.gif (32644 bytes)mendel21.gif (36756 bytes)On the left, a high plan view of Battery Mendell including son Charlie and his friend Chris May on the apron above the gun mount location.  On the right, Charlie, Thomas, and Chris are atop a lookout hut while I am visible behind them and two floors down. (23K jpg left and 27K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, March 1998).

The decrepit Battery Mendell near Point Bonita was built in preparation for World War I and featured 12" land-to-water guns designed to blast enemy ships attempting passage into the Bay. The guns were mounted on disappearing carriages and the seaward aspect of the battery offers little for the invading ships to see.  The guns were never fired in anger.

mendel14.gif (44200 bytes)mendel15.gif (49432 bytes)Here are a couple of shots to illustrate erosion from our abnormally rainy winter.  On the left is an oblique of the battery and bluff edge.  Note the official trail along the bluff (inland of the fence line) and a roughly parallel track running right at the bluff edge.  The latter path is missing in several places where block of earth have let go.  In the plan detail on the right you can see one of these blocks - it has subsided about three feet. Vertical distance from the trail to the gray beach below is approximately 150 feet.  (46K jpg left and 51K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, March 1998).

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