Photo sites

As part of our initial correspondence in setting up my volunteer agreement with the GGNRC, John Martini nominated a list of sites to photograph. These have become my more immediate objectives in photographing the defense works. John’s nominations:

Map of initial KAP targets

As it turns out I have visited most of these sites and have aerial images of many from previous years (summary roster here).

1) Hill 640 fire control stations, Stinson Beach

I did not know about the Hill 640 site until John suggested it as a subject. As the coastal defense guns got larger their range grew as well. The 16″ guns at Batteries Davis and Townsley (WW II) could lob a 2,100 pound explosive projectile 25 miles. Now that is an impressive feat by any measure but producing a useful effect at that range also required extremely precise aiming. That is where the Hill 640 Fire Control Stations, as well as others up and down the coast, came into play.

Hill 640 is open to coastal breezes and is an open, undeveloped site – ideal for KAP.

2) Landslide north of Townsley

I have come across this landslide, and it is huge, in my armchair exploration using Google Earth. Claudia and I took a hike there maybe ten years ago and I think it will be an interesting KAP target. It might also be a tough one since the winds are predominantly from the west and the predominant access is from the east. I will have to try this one when we have a breeze from the eastern side of the wind rose.

3) Battery Townsley, Fort Cronkhite

battery Townsley is quite accessible although the windward side (during the prevailing westerlies) slopes downward quite rapidly. My one session flying there found winds that were confused by the topography making for a difficult flight. The battery’s concrete work is stained in a strong pattern, which will make for slightly odd photographs methinks.

4) Batteries Alexander, Smith-Guthrie & O’Rorke, Fort Barry

This line of batteries is placed in gentle terrain favored by steady sea breezes. An easy subject for KAP requiring only that one avoids fog.

Battery Smith-Guthrie      Battery Smith-Guthrie

An aerial views of Battery Smith-Guthrie from 1999. The source is color negative film. At some point I will make to time to scan these older sessions.

5) Battery Spencer & ‘Ridge’ Battery, Fort Baker

This pair of batteries shares a dramatic and intimate relationship with the Golden Gate Bridge. Therein lies the challenge for KAP for I steadfastly avoid flying over or near major highways for fear of distracting motorists (who seem amply distracted already). This site will require a breeze from the eastern side of the wind rose.

Map of initial KAP targets

A fisheye photograph of Battery Spencer taken back in April 2000 when I was shooting 35-mm film. This shot came from a session with the breeze out of the northeast.

6) Hawk Hill / Battery Construction 129, Fort Baker

Hawk Hill, and the remarkable Battery Construction 129, are the highest of the recommended sites at 820 feet above sea level. As often happens atop a steep peak the winds are peculiar for kite flying. I have flown here on a couple of occasions (once right as I was starting KAP in 1995) and on each occasion the winds were difficult. The site is a bit barren in the current day due to a recent project removing all of its trees.

Hawk Hill

This image of Hawk Hill dates back to my neophyte days as a kite aerial photographer – taken during my 4th KAP session May 1995.

7) Batteries Marcus Miller, Boutelle & Godfrey, Fort Scott

This line of batteries, just west of the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza, is a new site for me. Flying from the western end of the site, some 1,500 feet distant from Highway 101, should work reasonably well. The batteries are at the top of a steep bluff so it will be interesting to see how the winds work.

8) Battery Crosby, Fort Scott

The Battery Crosby site is also new to me. Situated on the bluff side (as opposed to top) halfway between Battery Godfrey and Battery Chamberlin it looks like an interesting enough target.

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