A forum about Kite Aerial Photography - cameras, rigs, kites, techniques, meetings etc.
A place for discussions about anything
Absolutely, the sea can be a pain! Most of the time though the software will do a reasonable job of merging if there are no references points. It's rare to have more than 1 image that has no reference points.
This was the end result from yesterday. Far from perfect, but the wind was gusty - blowing from 14 to 22 knots - so for a first try I am ok with it. I could spend more time fixing things but there are probably another 7 or 8 full 360s to create from the images collected.
Seems like a lot more work than just using one of those 360-degree cameras, but the results speak for themselves. Looks great!
That "result from yesterday" image is amazing - looks like your new rig is going to be busy!
If that's a "first try" then I'm keen to see what the second and subsequent ones are like!
Thanks for the positive comments. I've just stitched and shared the 2nd location from my short walk last weekend. It's literally about 100m away from the first 360 image. I reduced the number of files to stitch down to 42. PTGui handled the stitching process much more efficiently and left me with just 4 or 5 obvious flaws to try and correct in Photoshop with my mediocre skills. I think this set up has some mileage in it!
Ningaloo: “Absolutely, the sea can be a pain! Most of the time though the software will do a reasonable job of merging if there are no references points.”
Ive used ICE to stitch my panoramas but it never does a good job of the ocean. It always spoils this part of the pano.
Your latest panoramas are amazing. Great work.
I managed to have a relatively short kite flying session today. Once again, I had some trouble getting my Levi Delta into the air. This has been happening a lot lately despite the wind blowing strong on my way to the flying location. Not sure if the time of the year has anything to do with it. The wind is blowing in a different direction these days. Anyhow, it only took me three tries today to get the kite into the air.
Today, the wind was blowing from the East. And on the Eastern side of the oval, there is a row of tall trees. I wonder if those trees are part of the problem (making it so hard to launch the kite these days)? Though those trees wouldn't create a total wind shield as there is some space between them. And when my kite was on the ground when I was setting up, it was blown over about three times by the wind. So clearly, the wind is getting through these trees. Yet when I try and launch the kite, I have great difficulty these days. Sometimes what does help is having the kite upright and vertical with a fair bit of line out and giving it a sharp tug. That sudden boost can help but not always. That very thing did work today.
Though there is another issue with the wind direction. As previously mentioned, it is blowing from the East and there are some wooden rails on the Eastern side of the oval which I could tie the line off to for future KAP sessions. However, those rails are extremely close to those tall trees I mentioned. Probably too risky (I don't want any line entanglements.) So I'll have to think of something else to tie the line to (something portable.) I notice some people use a dog stake and others tie the line to themselves with a harness. Has anyone tried tying a line to a backpack? My backpack is of a fair weight but I'm not sure if it would be heavy enough.
Actually, I think I'll tie off to myself. I do have a climbing strap which I ordered through eBay which should be good for this purpose. And I'm a lot heavier than my backpack!
dragonblade: The wind may blow through the tall trees at the edge of the field, but having done so it will be turbulent and almost unflyable. You need to be a long way from the trees to find smooth wind - I've seen one suggestion that the effect of an obstacle such as your trees is only fully negated at a distance of seven times the obstacle's height, which would probably be impossible to achieve unless your field is very big.
You need to find yourself an area that is free of obstacles if you are going to have more success. A beach with an on-shore wind is ideal, of course, but not always possible to find.
If your intention is still to use your kite for KAP, you need to think seriously about the possibly much more tricky places where you would want to fly your kite for that. If it's so hard to fly your kite anyway, perhaps you would be better to abandon thoughts of KAP and consider (dare I mention it?) a drone! Actually, it seems as if many KAP enthusiasts are now adding a drone to their armoury and using a kite only when it is particularly suited to the occasion.
Your persistence in trying to fly your kite is to be admired, but sometimes our ambitions don't quite work out as we would wish.
NZFlier, very good points in regards to those tall trees upsetting the flow of the wind. Yea it might be tricky getting enough distance from them at this flying field. Though there is a location right next to this oval that I want to photograph with KAP. So it's definitely worth the effort to keep trying here. And usually, I do succeed sooner or later. I think what I'll have to do more often is stand the kite on the ground vertically and give the line a sharp tug. That often seems to work better these days than holding the kite up above my head and letting it go. But sometimes even that long line release is not enough.
With regards to drones, I have flown quadcopters for a number of years. I will fly them when the conditions are calm. But right now, I don't have any quads that are suitable for capturing photos or video. Though there are a few that I use for FPV.
And since I'm based on an island, there is a beach very close by I could try launching the kite from. I like the idea of flying a kite at a beach but there's one experience I had a few years ago which really put me off this idea. I was trying to shoot some aerial video with a GoPro attached to a home made camera mount tied to the two lines of a dual line stunt kite. I was at the local beach trying to get into the air with the GoPro and rig attached. I kept trying but I had 0 success. The kite and camera rig kept falling back on to the sand. It was a real nuisance because sand was everywhere all over everything including the GoPro's water proof casing. It took quite a while and some careful cleaning to get rid of all the sand.
Another potential risk is that there's a road which is quite close to this beach. And the beach is not particularly wide. Though depending on which direction the wind is blowing, I guess that risk might be minimised. I might be lucky if the wind is blowing from the East again because the ocean is to the North and the road is to the South. So if the wind comes from the East, the kite line should be parallel with the road. Might still be a bit risky.
Yesterday, I managed to thread my picavet with the help of a family member. So I'm getting closer and closer to starting KAP. Not long now. Though it was a calm day today so no kite flying. The next time there is some wind, I might attach a water bottle to the kite line to get used to handling a payload. I might have a few sessions like that over a number of days.''
When I start KAP, I might use a GoPro and stick with that for a while. Later down the track, after lots of practise, I'm thinking of using my Panasonic G2 M4/3 camera. Regarding lenses, I'll probably use an old manual film lens with an adapter. The kind of lenses that were fitted to 35mm SLR cameras from the 1970s and early 1980s.
NZflier: "If your intention is still to use your kite for KAP, you need to think seriously about the possibly much more tricky places where you would want to fly your kite for that."
Out of curiosity, what kind of challenges would one face at the 'tricky places'?
NZflier: "If it's so hard to fly your kite anyway, perhaps you would be better to abandon thoughts of KAP"
I'm puzzled why you think it's so hard for me to fly my kite in a general sense. The setbacks at the local oval are only a temporary hindrance due to the change in wind direction at this time of the year. And the issue only applies to that particular location anyway. Perhaps doing long line launches would get the kite into the air quicker at that particular spot.
Generally, I find kite flying very easy. I don't think there's anything about it which I consider 'hard.' So no, there aren't any plans of mine to abandon KAP. Sorry to disappoint you.
By the way. conditions have been very calm lately with little to no wind. There was a very windy day not long ago but it was pretty ferocious. Likely too strong for my Levi Delta. It did improve later in the day when the wind dropped to a more manageable level. But it didn't last long. The wind dropped even further and it became a no wind day.
Yesterday morning, the conditions looked good for kite flying. Not long after, my family and I headed to another part of the island where there was a brewery. Just outside of this brewery are some open paddocks which you can freely walk around. I brought along my Levi Delta as well as a climbing strap I recently purchased and some carabiners. The plan was to attach a water bottle to the kite line. This would be the first time that I would hang a payload from the line. But by the time we had arrived at the brewery, the conditions had changed completely and the wind had mostly gone.
Today was mainly a very still, calm day with a very light gentle breeze. And yet I was still able to fly my Levi Delta. I used a long line launch to get it into the air. The reason why I chose to fly it on a calm day like this was because some family members were over with their children. And most of them had not seen my kite in action. I think they were suitably impressed.
However, when I gave the line a tug (when launching it) I don't think the reel was parallel with the line I had laid out. Must have been at a bit of an angle. I felt some kind of big, sudden jolt and it didn't feel good. I think the line went over the edge of the reel pretty hard. I'm using one of those plastic generic reels that line is usually supplied on. A little later on when I was winding the line in, I noticed two rough patches fairly close to each other. I'm not sure if one of these was the part of the line that contacted with the edge of the reel. They feel rough when I slide my fingers over them. And I can see what looks like loose string fibers in these two areas, giving a kind of fuzzy appearance. I think I'll cut the line and get rid of those rough patches. Better safe than sorry.
It was actually the reel that I tugged when I did the long line launch. Perhaps I should change my technique when I try this again in the future. Maybe I should tug the empty line that's in front of the reel with my other hand.
dragonblade: I'm happy to learn that you find kite-flying "very easy", and that "I don't think there's anything about it which I consider 'hard". That is certainly not the impression many of us would have gained in the six and a half years since you bought your delta, and from the many problems you have described since. But clearly you have learned from experience, and it's good to know your troubles are at an end. I hope you will now, at long last, have a lot of fun lifting your camera and taking photos. I hope the kangaroos don't get in the way, as I remember they did on a previous occasion!
NZFlier, well any issues that I reported in the past were only temporary since I was relatively new to kite flying. I was certainly new to single line kites. When they were sorted, they weren't really issues anymore. I only recall a few issues anyway. I thought it was pretty clear from my reports of most of my flights in this thread that things were usually trouble free.
Gosh, has it been six and a half years since I bought the Levi Delta? I didn't realise it had been that long. However, for most of that time, I haven't been flying kites at all. I withdrew from the hobby after the first flight with the Levitation Delta all those years ago. I admit that maiden flight was enjoyable but also extremely short and frustrating as well. The frustration came from a damaged spar which caused the kite to seriously deform in the air. Within a very short space of time, the Levi Delta became pretty much unusable.
I returned to the hobby many years later. It was only this year that I discovered your video of the Levitation Delta on youtube which I found very useful in setting it up. This was after I had pulled the kite out of storage with renewed interest in the hobby. So really, my flying experience with the Levi Delta has only been a few months.
Ah yes the kangaroo incident. That was a strange sight - seeing kangaroos drag my kite and line through the long grass as they hopped away. That would have been my two line stunt kite. Not as many kangaroos at this current location so much less chance of that happening again.
Wind conditions were quite good today. I headed out to the oval again and used a long line launch to get my Levi Delta into the air. After watching the kite soar for a while, I attached a water bottle to the line and sent that up into the air. This is the first time that Ive added a payload.
Though looks like I need a better method of tying off the line. Mine wasn't that secure. I had tied a rock climbing strap to myself and added some carabiners. The wind was blowing from the East and there was some wooden railing in that direction which potentially would have been good to tie off to but it was too close to tall trees. So I had no choice but to tie off to myself. I am considering getting a cleat to make the line more secure. I have seen a youtube video on KAP where someone uses a cleat with good success. A figure of eight around the cleat should be nice and sturdy.
Ive just come back from a night flying kite session with the Levi Delta. The lights were on at the local oval so I had some decent illlumination. Despite it being winter here, it wasn't too cold.
I ordered a cleat online last week for properly tying off the line. According to eBay's calculations, it should have arrived last Friday. It's still not here. Though I know that eBay's estimation times for deliveries are very rough anyway.
Actually, Ive checked the e-mail again. The cleat should have arrived Monday - Thursday last week. Ive just checked the post office and it's still not here.
I like this thing that this guy used at 1:29. It's a cleat attached to a piece of alluminium with a carabiner. I'd like to do the same with a block of wood and the cleat that Ive ordered online.
That's a "Henry's Handle" - named after Henry Jebe who originated the idea. See https://flickr.com/photos/lenny_meriel/20962996/
Ah a "Henry's Handle." Good to know who invented it. I look forward to making mine when my cleat arrives. Don't know why it's taking so long to get here. According to the tracking information, the last update was 17 June.
Finally, the cleat has arrived. Though it might take a while to get into the main town to get some wood, bolts, nuts and washers.
Recently, I was on the mainland and there was a Covid lockdown just about to take place. I headed out to a park to fly my Levitation Delta shortly before the lockdown started. There were a few other people there enjoying their last moments of freedom. Conditions were good for kite flying. And there was a huge flock of birds which investigated my kite. They flew right up to it and surrounded it. Like an army of birds. I was hoping that they weren't going to attack it but they didn't seem to make any physical contact with it. There were also a few people interested in the kite like a mother and young daughter. I brought the kite down and headed back to where I was staying with just a few minutes to spare before lockdown.
I was also planning to go to a hardware store for parts to make a "Henry's Handle" but a few Covid cases forced the state to go into lockdown. I'm going to have to wait a bit longer.
Are you not able to make your first foray into KAP without a Henry's handle? Most people don't feel the need for one, I believe. With your experience of flying the kite over all this time, you should be able to handle the next step without such a device, and show us what you are able to do with a camera in the sky. Spring is not far away, so perhaps you'll get more opportunities to fly in the near future.
NZflier: "Are you not able to make your first foray into KAP without a Henry's handle?"
Well Ive already ordered and received the cleat so I may as well put it to use. Shouldn't take too long to make. Plus I like the whole principle of the "Henry's Handle" and how it works. Lockdown is going to end shortly so I should be able to make a visit to the local town soon to get the parts I need.
Love the wad of Osmo Action cameras- interesting KAP set up and wonderful images.
James and Wolfgang would be proud!