Poster image locations in Google Earth

It is fitting to use Google Earth as a vehicle for showing the location of these salt pond images for I have spent many a pleasant evening scouting photography missions using this remarkable resource. If you do not have Google Earth, you can download it from Google without charge. If you do have Google Earth then click on an image in the poster below and you will “fly” to the spot where it was taken. I have put a few notes below the poster about use and interpretation.


Colors – I am often asked if the colors in my salt pond photographs are real. This ends up being a complicated question because different cameras, film and sensors will portray the same color in different ways. Furthermore, the color changes with the type of light and, particularly in this landscape, the time of year. As salt water is moved from one pond to the next and as we go through our wet and dry seasons the same pond will take on different colors. You may notice this in comparing the poster photographs to their Google Earth counterparts. In general, Google Earth’s colors seem washed out. In processing my images, I have adjusted contrast and exposure in Photoshop but I have not overtly manipulated color.

Framing – For many of these Google Earth placemarks I have tried to recreate the framing of the photograph. This may place you too near the ground to get a sense of the location within the salt pond complex. In this case just use the Google Earth controls to back away from the earth’s surface until you get your bearings.

Interface – The poster links to KMZ files for each of photograph in the poster matrix. When Google Earth responds with a dialog asking whether you want to save the KMZ file or send it to an application (Google Earth). I elect to send it directly to Google Earth and check the lower box that this should be the default action. Now I do not see that pesky dialog anymore. I was puzzled for a while about getting two labels for each point. It turns out I was double clicking when a single click would do.

Note to Safari users: From what I can tell Safari downloads the KMZ files but does not send them to Google Earth. You have to manually click on them in the download window. I am trying to figure out to fix this – suggestions welcome.

Tour – You can download a Google Earth KMZ file containing the locations of all of the photographs in the poster. Once this is loaded select Tools > Play Tour in Google Earth and the program will take you through the poster image locations in a row by row sequence. This feels a bit like visual bungee jumping (try it and you will see what I mean.) In these placemarks the poster is divided into columns (represented by the letters A to G) and rows (represented by the numbers 1 to 8).

Permissions and acknowledgments – The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, has provided patient counsel and, importantly, a Special Use Permit to take kite aerial photographs in the refuge. More recently, the California Department of Fish & Game has granted permission to photograph.

Finally, the sharp-eyed among you may notice that a couple of the images are the mirror reverse of what you see in Google Earth. Here I confess to taking a bit of artistic license in trying to arrange the shapes within the poster.

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