New book features stunning photos of California coast from the air

book cover

Gary Griggs, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, has written many books about the California coast. The latest is California Coast from the Air, a collection of stunning aerial photographs of the state's coastline with captions by Griggs and architect Deepika Shrestha Ross.

Most of the photographs are by local residents Kenneth and Gabrielle Adelman, who have taken thousands of high-resolution digital photographs of the entire California coastline and posted them online through the California Coastal Records Project ( Griggs, an expert on coastal geology, has been collaborating with the Adelmans since he first learned about their project.

The new book features 150 of the best photographs from the Adelman's collection of more than 80,000 images, as well as some from several other aerial photographers. "We decided to pull together some of the best of these photographs, write a brief description or some history about each of the locations selected, and put these together in a book," Griggs said.

The photos provide a view of the coast that few people have an opportunity to see. As Griggs and Ross wrote in the book's preface, "Our normal view—standing on a beach or driving along the Pacific Coast Highway—is decidedly limited, giving us only a tantalizing glimpse of this fascinating and often fragile edge of ours. From the air, you see distinct, complete landforms, as well as the shifting interface between nature and human development. The bird's eye view gives a more expansive perspective."

Griggs said the photos are artistic as well as scientifically valuable as a record of the changing coastal landscape. After the Adelmans first photographed the coast in 2002, Griggs worked with them to add a collection of nearly 14,000 color slides taken of the coast by a state agency in 1972 and 1979. The Adelmans have since flown the California coast another seven times in their helicopter, taking new photographs of the coastline and adding them to the web site.

California Coast from the Air: Images of a Changing Landscape, published by Mountain Press, is now available at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center gift shop.