A few more clumsy attempts at KAP

Kite Photography

A few weeks ago we spent a wonderful week at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. I don’t get to the beach often, so I usually come with a lot of things I want to do. It’s hard to get to all of them.

One of the projects for this year was to get some more Kite Aerial Photos (KAP). My KAP camera, a Canon Powershot G1, is not an ideal camera due to its weight and lack of an intervalometer (which permits multiple exposures based on a timer). What I’ve been doing is setting the 10-second timer on the camera and then running it up once for each exposure. That gets old fast, and puts a limit on how high you can get the camera before it shoots the picture.

Kite Photography

Last fall I happened upon a website for guy in England who makes infrared LEDs to trigger cameras. One acts as an intervalometer. They’re not super cheap, but a lot less expensive than upgrading to a new camera. So I bought one. I didn’t get a chance to work with it much until this beach trip. I basically wired the LED to a small battery pack of two AAAs, attached the pack to the camera with rubber bands and taped the LED to be near the infrared sensor. It was ugly, but the LED triggered the camera successfully every few seconds.

The first day I tried it, the wind was howling down the beach, creating miniature sandstorms inches off the ground. Seemed like a good day to fly, so up the kite went. But the kite wouldn’t stabilize, and kept making dives off to the left. Despite attempts to reel the kite in, the kite and camera crashed into the sand with a pretty good thud. The camera lens was popped out of axis and covered in sand. I thought we were sunk after the first flight, but the lens popped right back in place, and the I cleaned off the sand carefully.

Kite Photography

I’ve been clipping the camera directly to the ring where the strings that attach to the flowform kite meet, so that’s what I did this time too. The pictures from the first flight were all blurry. The camera moves a lot when the kite shifts just a little. At some point I’m going to have to build a proper Picavet suspension for this camera and run it up the line only after the kite has hit some stable air. But for this trip, fixing the camera just below the kite was all I could do.

After a few more tries in lighter winds, adjusting the camera exposure settings, I got a few usable shots, shown in this entry.

My KAP gallery is here…so far they’re pretty poor but I hope to get better photos in the future.