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Notes on Frameworks article

I have posted an Artist’s Statement including thoughts on the South Bay work and descriptions of equipment and technique.

From this page you can visit the locations of the Frameworks article photographs in Google Earth where you can “fly” above the South Bay and dip down to see where these colors were captured — all from the comfort of an armchair.

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 gallery pages below and you will “fly” to the spot where it was taken. I have put a few notes below the pages about use and interpretation.

NOTES:

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, colors change 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. When processing my images, I adjust exposure and contrast in Photoshop but I do 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 article’s image matrices. 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. After selecting this option 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 article plus a few more. 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 in sequence. This feels a bit like visual bungee jumping (try it and you will see what I mean.) In these placemarks the article is divided into columns (represented by the letters A to C), rows (represented by the numbers 1 to 4), and pages represented by the numbers 1 to 3.

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.

Interesting resources on the South Bay for the armchair explorer:

SFEI Maps for 1858 T-sheets:
http://maps.sfei.org/tsheets/viewer.htm

David Rumsey Historical Map collection for 1878 Thompson & West Atlas of Alameda County
http://www.davidrumsey.com/

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration site for 1928 Aerial Photos
http://www.southbayrestoration.org/

The Hidden Ecologies Project blog:
http://ostro.ced.berkeley.edu/~crisr/he/

Benton’s photo.net gallery:
http://photo.net/photodb/member-photos?user_id=404845

Benton’s general Flickr photostream:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kap_cris/

Acknowledgements

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.

The Exploratorium, in particular Senior Artists Peter Richards and Susan Schwartzenberg, provided safe harbor during my 2003 Sabbatical and ongoing encouragement to pursue the aerial photography more seriously.

Dr. Wayne Lanier has been a steadfast companion and collaborator in exploring the South Bay.

UC Berkeley’s Committee on Research has provided modest support for project expenses.

One Response to “Notes on Frameworks article”

  1. Bruce Ricker Says:

    GREAT WORK……..HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED TWO CAMERAS MOUNTED ON YOUR “WINGTIPS”TO GIVE YOU STEREO
    VISION? .. . . . . . . . . .HAVE YOU CONSIDERED THE FACT THAT IF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE TWO LENSES IS TWO AND A HALF FEET. . . . THEN THE DEPTH PERCEPTION IS ROUGHLY A DOZEN TIMES STRONGER THAN VIA THE NAKED EYE.

    ALSO,IF YOU SHOOT WITH ,OR REPRODUCE ONTO 2 1/4 X 2 1/4 FILM FORMAT THEN YOU CAN USE AVAILABLE MOUNTS AND VIEWERS To VIEW. . . . . . .HIGH RES 3D.

    ALSO,HAVE YOU EVER MOUNTED YOUR PRINTS ON THE BACK OF PLEXIGLAS WITH NICE POLISHED EDGES ?…………
    …….A VERY CLASSY PRESENTATION FOR YOUR IMAGES . . .I CAN SEND YOU A SMALL SAMPLE IF YOUR’E INTERESTED..

    Bruce Ricker (Berkeley ’71) 831-674.5196

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