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Active kapers in 2023

I was recently asked by a friend, on the number of active kapers in 2023. Hard to say, but I have the impression the number is decreasing year after year.
Maybe we should first define what is an active kaper and then try to make a count of this endangered specie !
What do you think ?



  • Pierre,
    I'm humbly applying to this specie ;-)

  • Drones have destroyed what was special about aerial photography for me. And I say that as a 10-year veteran of the 'DJI era'.
    I have not KAPed this year, but I will change that before the year ends - quite possibly tomorrow if the wind forecast improves.

    An additional reason for no KAP this year is that I have reached saturation point on taking photos locally. There's only so many times I can productively fly around my small island. Combine that with ease (laziness) of throwing the DJI Mini 2 up anywhere I fancy (legally!) and the interest factor has waned.

    When I do away on holiday, I'm generally on a mission to fly in as many places as possible and the convenience of DJI is too easy to ignore. It realistically triples my productivity in comparison to KAP. Holiday time is too short and so maximising photo opportunities is a priority. If I ever get to retire then time pressures greatly reduce.

    What makes an active KAPer? If we were to quantity it, then I would say a monthly outing on average would be a minimum. I assume the majority of us are all more active in the warmer weather.

  • edited December 2023

    I agree with Pierre, the KAP community is a dwindling species!
    My guess... less than 50 active KAPers world wide (defined as flying and KAPing at least 2 X per Quarter) .

    I still fly kites about 1-3 X per week... just for fun... KAP not as much..... ~ 1X per month....

    I did get into drones for aerial photography and got my commercial pilots license. I find I use a mix... go sailing, put up a kite and then put up a drone to get photos from above.

    Actually I am flying more KAV (Kite Aerial Video) shooting 4K or 5.3 K and then pulling stills from the video if I need them. Main reason.... Love the stabilized motion videos along with capturing the audio which is hard to do from a drone! Would be interested in a new project if anyone wishes to join in.... suspending a microphone with a light weight recorder with a long thin line suspended from a drone above.....

    Reaching out to the group to see if there is any interest in a winter KAPiZoom meeting in Jan or Feb 2024?

    See a few KAP/KAV examples below!

    Keep flying kites and taking pictures!



    Alligator Reef Lighthouse - Pictures from a Kite

    Kite Above Sand Island Chesapeake Bay

  • Thanks Michel, Kevin & Jim, this is interesting and yes, Jim I think you should launch a KapiZoom sometimes in JAN or FEB, this would also probably answer part of my question : How large or small is the KAP community !

  • Yes, I 'm still with KAP activity (started in 1996)
    I publish very little of what I'm doing; my key point is remembering a place, a day, people with me....

    SMAC from Italy

  • I just went to break my KAPing duck for the year. Near perfect conditions to fly my HQ 11ft delta. One major problem - no spreader.

    Normally, it wouldn't be a major problem as I'd just go back home (only 3 minutes in the car) and retrieve the missing piece. What is different about this time is that my HQ delta had until today been sat in a plastic extendable art tube since April when we took a family holiday to Mallorca. It was never removed from the tube which means that the spreader never travelled with me for the holiday!!

    So the major problem remains - where has it gone? My kite stuff lives in my car or in one of two small rooms in my house. Total floor area to search is maybe 12 square metres. Can I find it? Can I f$*&!

    I had hoped to share a photo or two on this thread today but I have to hope that the wind increases enough tomorrow so that I can fly one of my fishing deltas. Frustrating afternoon. :#

  • I for one still enjoy KAP. I am not as active as others, nor as professional in my results. However, I enjoy the various challenges it presents. My friends are always amazed at what I am able to show in terms of a unique photographic perspective.

    I usually undertake a construction project each year to advance my competency. Last year I built a new controller using plans from Dave Mitchell, adapting them to my hand and eye. This winter I will finish a new rig, expecting it to be smaller and lighter than the one I built two years ago. Other KAPers have better controllers and rigs, but I enjoy the production process still.

    On the kite side of the ledger I have three kites I would like to build, two for KAP and one for the challenge. SMAC’s Kiwi Delta and ROKKER are attractive designs that I want to build for KAP. A giant Hata kite looks to be a fun project but it will not be a part of my KAP kite arsenal.

    Keep me enrolled in the KAP community, and let’s keep this community active! I do miss the days when this forum had new content nearly every day; it was hard then to keep up with the threads.


  • I think there are more KAPers out there than it meets the eye ... most are "active" in the sense of flying cameras with kites, less so on social media and the web. I'd say there is at least a couple of thousand people doing KAP right now, and every day newcomers are discovering the joy of it ....
    KAP is not just about aerial photography, and drones are slowly retreating into a "professional" sphere, with all the restrictions and registrations and regulations. A couple of years back everyone had a drone, now only pros and hardcore enthusiasts still fly them.
    So, in my opinion, KAP is not an endangered hobby ... it is true that recruiting of new KAPers is rather random and unfocused and people mostly stumble into KAP by themselves, but that just means that with a coordinated PR / advertising push a lot more could be ensnared :wink:

  • I am still active, because of my healt problem I now fly mostly in summer, but all year around I am busy rebuilding a better cradel.
    As of now I am also learning Lightroom and Photoshop.
    Following this site and Photocerfvolant, yes there is a lot less activity compare to 10, 20 years ago.

  • edited December 2023

    OK, How about an end of year KAP challenge to get the KAP juices flowing again.

    Rules: Simple - Fly a kite and take some KAP images and post here, on flickr or both by the end of the year.

    I may try to fly tomorrow for the winter (summer) solstice.

    If you are in for the challenge, reply here.

    Also reply here if you are interested in a KAPiZoom session sometime in January or February 2024.


  • I'm in. KAP forecast not great until Sunday though. Even then it is Bft 5-6. Might finally get to fly my new PFK super delta.

  • Sure, I am in as soon as it stops raining....and I will join a KAPizoom in JAN or FEB with pleasure.

  • OK, can I jumpstart with a picture of last Sunday ??

  • edited December 2023

    For some reason, I’ll always been known as a non KAPer. Even though I had a successful KAP session last year, it doesn’t seem to count. I feel that even if I had multiple KAP sessions over a period of time, they wouldn’t be considered valid. Additionally, I’m also viewed as a non active kite flyer despite me flying my kite many times. I have made many posts with details about my various flights that I have had with the 9ft delta kite but apparently, they don’t count either.

  • Dragonblade, please join Wind watcher KAP challenge : fly a kite and take a picture before dec 31 !

  • edited December 2023

    Oh gosh, before Dec 31. That's a tight deadline! We haven't had good conditions here for a long time. There is wind here right now but it's a bit gusty and picks up a bit strong now and then - possibly too much for the Levi Delta. Though I do have a particular flying location in mind for some aerial photos.

  • Peter, that's an awesome image. I like the moat surrounding the old European buildings.

  • @dragonblade Don't overthink it. If the conditions are workable then fly. If they're not then c'est la vie, conditions were out of your control! Digging up the fractious past posts doesn't help. People will welcome seeing some more of your part of Australia.

  • I still love to KAP, best wishes to all for 2024! This year has been one of my slowest in many a year. I even purchased a new KAP kite this year. Fantastic trip to Hawaii in April 23 - had many a great KAP session, I highly recommend taking kit with you if you can make it over there. The included image was shot last Saturday using a Dan Leigh R8 and my usual RC rig. I will attend the meeting in January or February. Great to see the response thus far from an endangered species!

  • Near KAP Disaster Avoided…. Very lucky indeed.

    Flying kites with cameras attached can bring unexpected excitement.

    The day started off on several good feet (of my grandkids) as we put a kite up into the air at Noon on a cold winter solstice day.
    Winter Solstice - Kite Aerial Photography

    Even at high noon we had long shadows from the inclination of our planet Earth … 23.5 degrees 2X = ~ 47 degrees….

    The winds were mostly light blowing 5-10 mph out of the North above the Wind Watcher proving grounds. North winds take my kites out over very tall trees downwind…. that have sometimes been temporary homes to several of my kites….

    The grandkids and I bundled up against the cold 25-degree Fahrenheit air and we gathered my Stratospool, a kite, Levitation delta with an experimental (new) Dynamic Spreader and KAP rig. The wind seemed sufficient to lift a light weight KAP rig with the Levitation delta kite…. Was thinking of using my 8-foot Blue Kite Team ROK but settled on the delta for this flight….

    The Levitation delta kite flew quickly into the sky with my grand kids (future KAPers) helping out.

    Next up was getting the camera and KAP rig ready. I selected my light weight KAP rig with a simple auto KAP BBKK controlled by a CAMremote controller. I selected my Go Pro Hero 10 Black camera to capture the 5.3K video and selected a slow pan / tilt setting (with about 30 seconds between movements).

    A few minutes later the KAP rig was on its way to the bright blue sky above Wind Watcher proving grounds.

    10 minutes later the kite and KAP rig were at altitude and doing a great job of staying in the sky and grabbing 5.3K kite aerial video (KAV).

    Winter Solstice Kite Aerial Photography

    I turned my focus to my grandkids who were all over the backyard playing with my two dogs.

    I kept an eye on the kite and KAP rig as spent a few minutes with the grandkids.

    A few minutes passed, when I suddenly noticed the kite was low in the sky and the kite line was fully in the top of several trees! I could not see the KAP rig…. I could see the kite flying just barely above the trees.

    I ran to the tie off point on my back fence and began rapidly pulling in the slippery Dyneema kite line with my bare hands. The kite line came in freely with no tension…. until I felt a big jerk on the line.

    I pulled and pulled but the kite line was firmly captured by the multiple trees. The kite did rise up and seemed to be going higher in a brief puff of air.

    I tried again pulling hard on the slippery Dyneema kite line from a different angle…. And after some work part of the kite line got freed from the trees and the KAP rig popped out and shot up into the sky. I experienced both relief and shock at the same moment… I had not realized the KAP rig was in the tree in addition to the kite line…..

    Winter Solstice Kite Aerial Photography

    Free but …. Not free. The KAP rig was now free of the tree and the Levitation delta kite had enough wind to keep it in the air and out of trouble…. But the rest of the kite line was still tangled in several trees. Battle #2 started immediately desperately trying to free the kite line from the tops of several trees before the wind died completely followed by dropping everything back into the trees. A few more tenses minutes passed and after a few more hard yanks on the line at different angles the kite line finally pulled free of the last tree and the kite pulled everything safely high into the sky…. For a moment. The wind was softening and dropping under 5 mph (my minimum for this kite). I was also fighting a few overflies...on the retrieval effort.

    I noticed that after the KAP rig battle with the tree.... the auto KAP sequence changed from a 30 second movement (which I use for video (KAV)) to a rapid 10 second movement pattern (which I use for still auto KAP). Not certain how this happed in mid flight in a tree.... Figure there was either a momentary power interruption and or an inadvertent push on the mode button on the CAMremote unit....

    Winter Solstice - Kite Aerial Photography

    I now had a bunch of Dyneema kite line piled on the ground. I carefully played out the line and slowly raised the kite so I could get back on my Stratospool and quickly retrieve the KAP rig and kite.

    After a few more minutes, I quickly reeled in the KAP rig and kite and got everything safely on the ground…. just as the wind died for the day….

    The KAP rig with the Go Pro Hero 10 camera shooting the 5.3 K video Kaptured all the fun.

    Reference the YouTube video below….. The spell with the tree starts at around the 16-minute mark. Just click on the image below to play the video on YouTube. Enjoy!

    The video shows how you can go from a fun KAP session to trouble in just a few minutes! This is not the first time I have entangled my kitting efforts in the tall trees in my neighborhood! Enjoy a couple of past stories below!


  • edited December 2023

    WW, yikes. That must have been quite a battle to retrieve your kite and KAP rig. And crazy how that looks like a mushroom cloud at 16:20.

  • This is as close as I've got to KAPing so far due to the crap weather (latest forecast in last picture).
    I have cut new spreaders for my two new PFKs - carbon to replace the traditional wood. I have solved the missing spreader problem for my 11ft delta (purple case). It turns out that the spreader for my custom Dan Leigh fits exactly despite the wingspan being about 2 feet narrower on the DL.
    Cameras are all charged and ready to go. Just waiting for a hint of sun or at least not the dark low cloud that is blowing across my view of the garden.

  • I wish I could say I'm still an active KAPer, but I haven't even flown a kite this year. Somehow the tiredness that followed a bout of radio therapy for prostate cancer and the accompanying hormone treatment three years ago has left me lacking the desire to get out there.
    Maybe a New Year Resolution at the start of 2024 will do the trick.
    In other news, I have been happy to pay the fees for hosting this site - paid up until mid 2026, but after that I think you remaining KAPers will have to take over ownership and fees.
    Merry Christmas to you all and have a very Happy New Year!
    Dave Mitchell, admin

  • For those interested, the image I forwarded before is the Castle Rechteren. It is located near the City of Dalfsen, Overjissel NL.
    It is in Private Property, and in impackable state.
    It was taken with an iPhone SE2 in small Auto KAP Rig, build around the Spigen Tough Armour Casing.

    The Kite I used is a Jalbert 7.5, that I build in 1981 from the Pelham Book of kites. The total of the Spool, Kite and Rig is so small, that we can take it easely with us, when on tour with the Train and our Bromptons ( Foldable Bicycles ) .

  • Dave, sorry to hear that treatment has left you out of action. While you may not be getting out with kites, I am sure that you are still keeping busy in your man cave!
    You are welcome to send me any info related to website fees so that the forum has continuity.

    Peter, pairing KAP technology 40 years in age difference is pretty unique :) .

  • I'm renewing my application for active status ;-) weather is somehow quite awful in Normandy, but I had today the same bit of sun shown on Kevin"s forecast ! but the wind was really not friendly: not easy to keep the rig steady !
    When packing down, I had a visitor coming to visit a member of our endangered specie. Kap is not really ideal for animals, and zooming in this wind was quite a challenge to keep the subject in frame here is a crop in picture
    Kappy new year to all !

  • edited December 2023

    I confirm what Michel2e just wrote. At the end of the day, the sun makes a brief appearance over Normandy. The wind was gusty but I also went out with a kite to take some photos of my village before the end of the year.

    The north side of the village

    The south side of the village

  • Well done Michel & Yves. Michel is it a seal or a seagull ? I still have to lauch a kite and KAP soon to remain an "active" KAPer !!!

  • I'm surprised to see a seal so far inshore. Well done for spotting it.

    Tomorrow morning looks like my best chance to become active again in 2023. After that we enter 'not so much fun' winds again with occasional lightning forecast for Sunday 31st.

    On that subject, has anyone considered flying with a thunderstorm incoming? I have - to film a potential kite sacrifice from a distance.

  • Yves nice sunset on your place.
    Pierre, a seal ! the funny thing is that I was closer on the ground than the distance with the kite ! We are very close to the sea and they often visit the estuary to benefit from the micro climat here ;-). I already had a couple of them on pics, but this is the first time I saw it laying on mudflat at quite high tide. so close. probably a teen ager posing for selfy.
    @Kevin: huummm I don't clearly see your sacrifice project ?? do you apply for active "Franklin" in 2024 ? I faced once some unanticipated electric discharges, in a beautiful sunny weather, and I would not like to test more on my side ;-)

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