Kite Aerial Photography - KAP
Inexpensive design
Directional control - an aluminum frame was made that allows the camera to spin 360° on two
different axes giving the camera the freedom to point in any direction.
Trigger mechanism - A clothes pin was wire tied to the camera and the frame.  The clothes pin
has been modified to allow a bolt at the pincher end of the pin to extend through the pin and contact
the camera trigger button.  The other bolt is used to press against an ice cube.  As the ice cube
melts the clothes pin closes and the camera is triggered.
The rock - The rock between the ice cube and the bolt is the adjustment in the timer.  The bolt
alone has a small cross sectional area and melts into ice cube rather quickly.  The rock gives a
large cross sectional area for contact with the ice cube, thus a slower timer.
Plastic cup - the plastic cup is used to keep the ice cube in place.  I found that ice cubes can be
slippery and difficult to hold between the frame and the bolt (or rock).  The cup is secured to the rig
by a short length of kite string and is held in place by the force of the bolt. Ice cubes are frozen in
the same plastic cups so they fit in perfectly.
Kite - I had to make the Rokaku kite, the cheap department store kite didn't have nearly enough lift
to hoist my rig.
Kite Aerial Photography
To get elevated pictures a kite is used to hoist a camera into
the air to take pictures.  The point of my rig was to see if I
could get pictures from a kite without spending much money.  
I partially succeeded, I got pictures from the kite.  I did spend
a lot less than many people.

The people with fancy rigs use RC controllers to run servos
to point the camera, click the trigger and advance the film if
necessary.  Many of them are using pretty fancy cameras to
have several hundred feet in the air.  I do know how these
things can get carried away.
What did I learn?
  • Cheap kites don't have enough lift, it needs to be a pretty big kite.
  • Use the flash that way you know when the picture has been taken.
  • Don't reel the kite in.  Tie it to a substantial object, using a leather
    glove walk the line down until you get to the camera.  If you put the
    camera down string from the kite by 100' or so you can keep the kite
    flying while you reload the camera.
  • After you walked the line down and reloaded the camera don't simply
    let go of the string.  What happens if funny and very stressful if you
    don't want to wreck your device or camera.   The kite climbs rapidly
    and lifts your rig very quickly.  When the line goes taut it stops
    instantly.  Your rig and camera does not.  In fact it passes the string
    at a high rate of speed and makes about six quick revolutions around
    the string.  I was luck nothing was wrecked and this was very funny
    memory from this project.
  • When your done flying your can reel in the line the hard way or the
    easy way.  I like the easy way, have someone walk the kit to the
    ground and the other person real.  That way you don't have to fight
    the pull of the kite, which has to be 10 to 20 pounds in with this kite
    and high wind.
  • If you have a kite that makes the string very taut, you can hear the
    string whistle in the wind
  • If the ice cube falls off the bolt while your loading the camera, you get
    picture of your chin at close range or the ground.  I have a few of
  • Disposable camera pictures don't work well after they have been
    under water - the photo shop person will ask questions like 'did you
    spill coffee on the camera?'
On the Inverhuron (Canada) shore looking south.  In the distance you can see Lake Huron
looking toward Kincardine.
Here is a picture of the cottage we stayed in during our week in Inverhuron.  This was not an
easy shot to get, there were trees between cottage and me and I was trying to estimate the
correct angle for the camera when suspended from the kite.
Self portrait of me sleeping
Another self portrait.  I am red tshirt where the kite string appears to be pointed.  The log
on the shore is more than 30 feet long.  
Wooden Sunfish Restoration
Igloo camp out
Custom wall pictures
Portable garage strength
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