An Aerial View of Geology
Photographer Michael Collier and his Cessna 180 bring North America's coastal landscapes into focus.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, November 17, 2009
It looks almost like a celestial map from another century, swirls and loops gracing a page of parchment. But in reality, those lines and whirls are tracks from all-terrain vehicles marking the shoreline of California’s Salton Sea. “Any animals that might once have nested on these sands have long ago been driven away,” writes Michael Collier in his new book Over the Coasts: An Aerial View of Geology (Mikaya Press, 2009).
In this book, third in a five-part series, Collier once again combines geology and aerial photography, hoping to give the layman “at least a passing acquaintance with the essence of geology, and how to see the stories that are in landscapes.”
Collier’s first attempt at flying would have discouraged almost anyone else. Using a secondhand hang glider—and having no hang-gliding instruction—Collier decided to jump off a 200-foot cliff near Point Arguello, California. “The first and final sortie,” he writes, “involved multiple crashes at 40-foot intervals on my way down the cliff.”
Click on the images to the right to see more of Collier’s photographs, and to read excerpts from our interview. To learn about National Geography Awareness Week, and events held at the National Air and Space Museum to promote interest in geography, click here.
All photographs by Michael Collier; used with permission from "Over the Coasts: An Aerial View of Geology," by Michael Collier, Mikaya Press 2009.