Northern California - aerial photo heaven!

A quick post from Michael L's kitchen (where hummingbirds stop by outside the window to grab some nectar!)

I've been treated to a visual feast here in northern California and look forward to sharing more on this thread over time once I get home and get time to sift through the thousands of pictures I've taken on my short visit.

A lot of miles have been covered thanks to Michael, Cris and an old school friend who has lived in SF city for a decade. (My concentration gets disturbed by a hummingbird turf war a few feet from me!!) We've been north to the Point Reyes peninsula, south as far as Pacific Grove to visit Brooks, around Monterey Bay to the Santa Cruz Mountains and then up the coastal Route 1 highway along some stunning Pacific coastline.

Yesterday, I spent a rewarding day with Cris who showed me some of the fantastic Marin headlands territory where he is doing a visual art project as an art center affiliate. We walked out to Point Bonita lighthouse, saw some of the war batteries in the immediate area and generally enjoyed the relative quiet of the area.

A day and a half left to explore some more with Michael. Some interesting inland targets on the agenda today. It's gonna be a warm one....

Below is a shot from the Bedwell Bayfront Park salt marsh/pond area. Crazy natural architecture.



  • Say hi to the guys for me. Great place to be. Makes me yearn for more KAPiCA's.
  • Jealous.... :-)
    Greetings & Enjoy!
  • Say hello to the West Coast KAPers!


  • Though I've been to California many times over the years, I managed to miss every KAPiCa. Let's have another one!
  • Amazing and beautiful shot, Ningaloo!
  • Great KAPers to fly with, this reminds me of A mini Kapica in the spring of 2009

    At Bollinas Ridge
    imageRoad to Bolinas Ridge" />

    And Cris maxi Dopero flying out of the fog at Battery Mendell
    imageMaxi Dopero 3/3" />

    But the salt ponds must be a real treat. Agree with Simon and Dave : Michael, Cris, Brooks when are you launching a new KAPica ?
  • Nice collection of brains and beauty ! Even if you don't mind making others envious .....
  • KAPiCA 2016..... sounds appealing.....


  • edited September 2015
    Brooks territory!

  • Ahhhh, the lighthouse. Be good to be there again, from my T-shirt.
  • I'm aware that organising a KAP conference is a lot of work - arranging accommodation, booking conference facilities, organising food and drink, as well as scheduling talks and KAP trips. More work than the KAPers in the Bay Area are prepared to undertake I suspect.

    Perhaps there's an alternative that would satisfy those like me (and Simon?) who'd like to KAP in California next year. I'm wondering if a more informal arrangement might work. A "KAP California" week with a schedule of sites to visit during the week and possibly some evening get-togethers arranged.

    Attendees would be responsible for finding and booking accommodation for those days they wished to attend. All (!) the organisers would have to do would be to produce the timetable of when the various sites would be visited, be on hand for those sites they were prepared to host and perhaps make some evening or lunchtime restaurant bookings. With enough attendees (10-20 say) shared transport from site to site would not be a problem. While there probably wouldn't be any organised talks, there'd be plenty of opportunity to share ideas and demonstrate hardware and techniques during the KAP sessions or over a beer in a bar in the evenings.

    Does that sound attractive?

  • That does sound attractive. I don't even think it has to be a big group. If people are available to meet on an agreed week then let's do it.
  • KAP fail near the AT&T baseball park. Should have taken the FF30 with me instead of the FF16.

  • Here is a East Coaster that would love to come out to Cali and KAP with some of the best KAPers in the United States for a week with no hesitation.
  • Dave, I like the idea. What would be the best period of the year ?
  • I'm totally flexible Pierre - just a couple of weeks in the year when I really couldn't make it.

    Guess it really depends on who locally might be able to guide us around.

  • Hi Pierre, Dave, and others.

    i have been watching this thread with interest and a modest amount of apprehension ;-)

    I delight in the prospect of spending time with other KAPpers and would be happy to provide a modest amount of tour guide / coordination service for a gathering in Northern California. I did this for a very pleasant one-day miniKAPiCA gathering five or so years ago - Pierre was a participant.

    My apprehension? It stems from the superb job that Brooks Leffler and Peter Bults did in organizing the full scale KAPiCAs in Pacific Grove. These fabulous multi-day meetings had dozens of attendees and a complexity two orders of magnitude greater than my little miniKAPiCA. During the 1990s for several years running I organized summer faculty workshops of a similar scale - transportation, housing, meeting venues, dietary preferences, speakers, AV equipment, deposits, permits, awards, etc. I have a good sense for what it takes to pull such a gathering together and I am not in a position undertake an effort of this scale. I am to this day very appreciative of Brooks' and Peter's service in doing so for the previous KAPiCAs.

    Dave's suggestion of a self-organized gathering is an interesting alternative. If it goes forward I would be happy to lend a hand at the scale of my earlier miniKAPiCA event. This follows Dave's scenario of a local person "producing a timetable of when the various sites would be visited, be on hand for those sites they were prepared to host and perhaps make some evening or lunchtime restaurant bookings."



  • edited September 2015
    There are others of us around in the bay area -- but I think with even less experience on the event-organization front. I'm certain it gets incrementally harder with larger groups. 10 versus 20 versus 30 would be very different things. I'd be willing to help out, but I agree with the idea of something casual and maybe splitting off into smaller groups if necessary. It seems like it might be nice to secure a meeting space at least one night or day though.

    As to seasonal climate things are relatively boring in coastal N. California.

    December through March -- we're expecting big storms and a lot of rain with extremely clear weather and sun between them. February, March, April flowers. Wind will be variable direction and intermittent associated with storms.

    April through early June -- grass slowly turns brown depending on drought status and elevation. Actually starts as early as February on some rocky soils.

    April-September -- offshore wind picks up and is relatively consistent, peaking in June/July. With the wind, can come localized fog along the coast.

    May - September -- driest, clearest weather with intermittent periods of stagnant heat and haze when the wind fails at lower elevations. July, August, early Sept. are typically driest months.

    In my experience, having good KAPing weather in the summer can mean being flexible in terms of moving laterally or up in elevation. Sometimes you get lucky with regionally consistent winds and weather, but other times SF is in the fog or there is considerable heterogeneity in wind over short distances. Being mobile over ten miles or fifty miles is a good thing.

  • It sounds like this might actually happen! I have a long list of places I visited in my pre-KAP working life that I'd like to go back to with KAP gear - all the way from the Frank Lloyd Wright Marin County Civic Center (that I know Cris KAPed) down PCH to Monterey, Carmel and even as far south as Santa Monica. But I suspect I'll have to restrict myself to just a handful.
  • A lot can be achieved in a week if you have someone willing to put the mileage in!

    Here's my list of stops during my very recent visit with Michael and seeing Cris and Brooks:

    Port of Richmond (Point Potrero)
    Pierce Point Ranch (Point Reyes peninsula)
    Marin County Civic Center (San Rafael?)
    Point Pinos lighthouse, Pacific Grove
    Agricultural land near Watsonville
    Santa Cruz hills/mountains (at our Friday night stopover with Michael's friend)
    Shark Fin Cove south of Davenport on Route 1
    The former Cemex production plant, north of Davenport
    Waddell Beach (a bit further up route 1)
    Bedwell Bayfront park, near Palo Alto/Menlo Park
    Small bayfront park opposite AT&T baseball field
    Park in city centre (KAP fail, too gusty)
    Point Bonita lighthouse, Marin Headlands (no KAP allowed but Cris walked me out there - beautiful spot)
    Wallace Battery, Marin Headlands
    Rodeo Beach, Marin Headlands
    Discovery Bay
    Massive wind farms near Montezuma and Birds Landing
    Giant corn maze near Dixon

    I estimate my total mileage for the week with all drivers to be between 900 to 1000 miles. And I'd do it again to see many other places.

    If I was going to pick a time of year, I'd probably go for June to have the most available daylight hours.

  • Needless to say, those 'couple of weeks in the year when I really couldn't make it' are in June - key family birthday get-togethers.
  • Dave, you're the firestarter on this idea, so propose some dates!
  • Well, given tgran's weather summary, I could make any time in May, July, August or September - just not June. But others here have jobs and kids so for them vacations are not so flexible.

    One other issue is the cost of flights and accommodation - I'd guess that school holidays are going to be more expensive, which probably rules out August.

    We could always synchronise it with WWKAP Week 2016 - this year it was around the UK Spring Bank Holiday in May. If we do the same next year the bank holiday is Monday 30th May. To avoid my June commitments we would have to fit KAPiCa 2016 in between Saturday May 21st and Tuesday May 31st say. But I'm flexible (except for June!).
  • End of May covers UK half term week but that would be my choice on a selfish level (I have France lined up for July and possibly August).

    Anyone else want to share your thoughts on timing this adventure?
  • Cris' gear in action.

  • edited September 2015
    Looking back in time, it appears KAPiCA 2002 was in November, KAPiCA 2003 was in October, KAPiCA 2006 was in October, and miniKAPiCA 2009 was in late March.

    I really don't know if there's a terrible time to visit California as far as the weather goes. We get nice weather year round, and as someone who came from further north, I always think it feels a bit like a 3 month spring and a 9 month summer. Green hills vs. brown hills is more of the choice. There's even the period in between when you can see the geology through the grass. Our new-world equivalent of crop marks. That will probably be May.

    These will be our busy travel weekends next summer:

    May 28-30 is our Memorial Day weekend
    July 2-4 is Independence Day weekend
    Sept 3-5th is Labor Day weekend

    Locally -- these might matter for hotels and camping spots:

    March 19-27 is UC / Stanford spring break.
    May 16th UC graduation

    Off-season (non-summer) might be cheaper for hotels and less busy for scenic areas.

  • Looks like that late May week (coinciding with Memorial Day) is not a good idea!
  • SueSue
    edited December 2015
    It looks like this KAPiCa might actually happen. I'd love to visit America. The Rockies and the Grand Canyon are what I'd like to visit but I note that the Grand Canyon at least it's quite a long way from California.

    The French KAP Week I went to last year was fairly informal. Accommodation was provided by the Notre Dame De Monts council and they hosted a short welcome with the Maire at the town hall and gave us a meal at the wonderful pizza house with a blank cheque on our last evening. There was a competition judged by the Maire and councillors. The prizes were that the winning 10 photos were printed large and are displayed along the promenade during this year. Unfortunately I won't see mine while it's there
    The outings were made in discussion with others either on the previous evening or most times, after the rain stopped at 4pm.
    On the First (fineI) day we had to put up or photos in the KAP tent and the photo competition was on the second fine day after it had rained for 3 day. Such is life.
    We ate together most evenings in the accommodation and Jean-Daniel was a fine cook
    The rainy days gave us lots of opportunities to compare rigs and cameras and CDHK was explained and properly installed on at least one camera.

    KAPiCa? Yes! Count me in!

    Fly High

  • - Last week of April
    - Last 2 weeks in May
    - Mid August
    Would be ideal for me, the rest of the year may still be possible but I will need to plan my calendar no later than Early october 2015

    Berck sur Mer 2016 is 9-17 April, Dieppe (France) Festival Mid september, Notre dame des monts KAP Festival is first week in May, Fanoe in Denmark is 16-19 June, Weifang Festival in China is April 20-25 and there are quite a few other Festivals around the Globe !
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