Kite Aerial Photography (or KAP to save bandwidth) is the eccentric quest to photograph the world from a birds perspective. By pulling a camera (one your not too attached to) into the sky using the lift of a kite, you can discover a whole new world of photographic opportunities.
Some KAPers are photographers who just want to try something new, some are kite enthusiasts who want to see what it looks like from their kite’s perspective. I came from the photography camp and found out about KAP totally by accident. While doing a WWW search for some photography information, I found Charles Benton’s KAP site and thought it was pretty much “out there” (no pun intended). I thought “I must do this!”, the Gods sang, the clouds parted, the vision was complete.My Experiences So Far
Well, so far, my first KAP attempt has taught me many things such as:
- Your face will sunburn quite unevenly when you stand facing the same direction for three hours
My first step was to buy a suitable kite. I ended up with a basic Box Delta (picture to come soon). Taking advantage of all the days where it was both windy and not prohibitively cold, I took the kite up a few times and managed gain some confidence that I wouldn’t end up like Charlie Brown with a wrecked kite wrapped around my head. I bought a camera mount, a mechanical timer and a disposable camera (with an emphasis on disposable camera!)
The first few runs were slow and clunky, but I got into the groove after some practice. The main problem to solve now is blurry pictures (See below). The kite (and therefore the camera) tends to whip around enough to cause an unacceptable amount of blur. Possible solutions I’m considering are:
- Using O-rings and dowels above and below the camera mount to absorb line vibration.
- Using faster film (800 speed Kodak disposable camera)
- Using my old compact automatic camera (assuming it will have a faster shutter speed)
- A more stable kite
These photographs turned out ok…
Kite: Box Delta
Camera Mount: A basic aluminum mount purchased from “Into the Wind”
Camera: Fuji Disposable (currently)
Timer: KPT dethermalizing mechanical timer
Charles Benton’s KAP site - The largest source of KAP information on the web.
Kite Aerial Photography 1999, a set on Flickr.