Kite Aerial Photography

With cameras having been around for over 100 years now it is getting harder and harder to get that unique and original composition. In New Zealand photographers are to an extent limited to taking photos from walking routes, roads and view points unless permission is granted from the land owner. In Scotland there is more freedom and many of my compositions are unique. One thing that often gets in the way is gravity - keeping me on the ground and limiting the views I can capture.

I have always been keen on aerial photography but couldn't ever justify paying for a flight just to take photographs. Even if I did there is no control over where the planes goes, and then there are the plastic windows to contend with, and the fact that electronic devices 'interfere' with the in-flight navigation system.

That's why I decided to get myself a sutton flowform 16 and give kite aerial photography a shot.

Using a kite to get a number of new potential angles on a subject unfortunately opens up a whole new set of problems.

So many things have to be right - the light (it has to be bright), the wind (it has to be constant), no rain (difficult in Scotland), the position of the camera (or you end up taking photos of the sky). After many failed attempts I started to get results that were almost useable. Below is the equipment I use. It is not quite in as good condition now given the bashing the camera has had over the last 18 months.

Autokap is one of the easiest way to get started. It takes the hassle away from having to control the position of the camera and when to take the photo. It does this all automatically shooting every 10 seconds then rotating until the memory card is full of batteries run out. It's nice to see what you've got at the end of a shoot.

Here are a few photos I have taken with the above setup.

Bucklands beach, Auckland

Scolty Tower, near Banchory in Royal Deeside.

The Victoria infirmary from Queen's park, Langside, Glasgow.

I have put a full set of photos from my hometown, Thornhill, in the gallery. It is probably of more interest to locals than to general viewers although some have come out fairly well.