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Above It All

The Aerial Photography of Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell remembers: “This was shot shortly after sunrise in June of 1979. I was hired to cover a footrace sponsored by the San Francisco Art Institute. If you look closely, you can see the runners on the bridge pedestrian walkway and some warning cones on Alexander Avenue.”

All photos by Robert Campbell

As one strolls through fields of bright wildflowers near Chimney Rock or peering westward into the Pacific from the windswept edge of Tomales Point, it’s hard to imagine a place more beautiful than the Point Reyes Peninsula. Yet Robert Campbell has found one—above the Point Reyes Peninsula.

The western edge of Marin County, from Tomales to Bolinas, has been a favored subject of the renowned Bay Area aerial photographer for decades. His new book, Point Reyes and the San Andreas Fault Zone, contains the most stunning of those images.

It celebrates the color wheel of nature—oceans azure, farmlands verdant, summer hills golden. It schools us geographically—exploring the crumpled rift of the San Andreas from the Pacific to Stinson Beach. It marks human intrusion—boatyards of Marshall, oyster beds in Tomales Bay, the tiny cemetery in Olema.

Individually, each page reveals a familiar scene in a way not seen before (at least by the earthbound). As a whole, Campbell’s photographs are a mesmerizing reminder of our good fortune to live amid such beauty and of our responsibility to preserve it. As an added treat, he reminisces with us in the accompanying captions. -- Tim Porter

“This photo of the Point Reyes Headland and Lighthouse (opposite) was taken in 1970 while I was a student at San Francisco State College (at that time it was a college). This page image was taken in July 1999 as I was flying to Mendocino. I saw the potential shot when I was near Jenner and detoured to take the photo. I took two or three frames with the Hasselblad and continued up the coast to Little River.” 

"A shot of the Drakes Esterochannel at low tide."

“I knew that I wanted to take this picture for over a year; however, it wasn’t until I flew out to Tomales Bay very early one morning that the light was right. My intention that morning was to shoot the classic cliffs in Drakes Bay at sunrise, but the air was too hazy for that shot.”

“Ranches and farms are often intriguing when seen from the air, especially during the harvest.”

POINT REYES AND THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT ZONE is available at select bookstores throughout Marin County including Point Reyes Books, Book Passage in Corte Madera, Borders in San Rafael, Toby’s and Station House Gifts in Point Reyes Station and Stinson Beach Books. It can also be purchased directly through chamoismoon.com.

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