Re-photographing George Lawrence’s “San Francisco in Ruins”

Kite Aerial Photography

Just three weeks after the 1906 Earthquake, professional photographer George Lawrence snapped his famous photograph, “San Francisco in Ruins,” from a 49-pound camera raised 1,000 feet above the bay with a train of Conyne kites. To honor George Lawrence's feat, as well as celebrate the advancements made in earthquake study and awareness, the Drachen Foundation sponsored Kite Aerial Photographer (KAPer) Scott Haefner, USGS geologist, to re-shoot Lawrence's photo using contemporary kite aerial photography techniques.

George Lawrence's kite aerial photo of San Francisco

“San Francisco in Ruins,” by George Lawrence, documents the damage caused by the April 18, 1906 M 7.9 earthquake on the San Andreas fault. Photo from the Library of Congress.

High-resolution, zoomable version of “San Francisco in Ruins”

Modern Day Photo

photo of the boat and surroundings

Photo by Scott Haefner, USGS

The new photo was taken from the bow of a boat in San Francisco Bay near Treasure Island.

The Crew