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First KAP of 2021

edited January 3 in General

There is a lake near where I live that I have been wanting to photograph for awhile. It is called St. Mary's Lake, which is in St. Mary's River State Park in Maryland. The park was closed for several months due to Covid and renovations.

The day started off a little disappointing, because the weather report called for 7-10 mph winds in the morning, but it actually ended up being less than 5. During the afternoon, the wind picked up to about 10 mph for a little while, so I decided to take the chance to head over there and see if it would hold. When I got there, it seemed pretty calm again, but I hiked over to the place I planned to fly with my kite bag, rig, and bag-o'-rocks that I use to hold down the reel while I attach and detach the rig. Thankfully, there was still just enough wind (about 5-7 mph) to get my big barn door kite into the air without any trouble. Soon I had attached the camera, started the intervalometer script, and it was away. It turned out my timing was just right, because by the time I was done flying about 40 minutes later, it was almost completely calm below treetop level.

The gentle breeze made it a very relaxing session. The kite was not pulling too hard, which meant it was okay that I had forgotten to bring gloves (woops), and many of the 400 pictures turned out level and in focus since it was nice and stable. Unfortunately, since I was shooting towards the line this time, a lot of the pictures ended up focused on the line, but I still got plenty properly focused on the landscape. Plus, that made it easier to choose which ones to delete.

I didn't bring my good camera to take pictures of the kite, so this is the only one I got of the kite in the air. It was taken with my phone while the kite was out on 700 feet of line, but if you zoom in you can see the blue and yellow kite way up high. The big kite got a lot of positive comments from hikers going by, especially kids. I'm sure it was visible from a long distance, if they happened to look in the right direction.

Here are a few of my favorite aerial photos from the session. This first one is from low altitude, showing the flying site, hikers, and my kite bag on the ground.

Probably my favorite one of the session, looking towards the west end of the lake.

The north end of the lake with me in view. By this time the wind had died down at ground level, producing nice sky reflections in the water.


  • Nice! Always good to hear someone had a relaxing KAP session ... no crazy pull crushing hands, no trees trying to eat the kite, no sudden dives into the water ...

    Cool photos and the 2021 season is now officially open! :-)

  • edited January 3

    Yeah, it was very welcome considering the last time out my kite was pulling so hard that it took me an hour to get it up (not even to the end of the line), another hour to get it back down, and the winder almost slipped out of my hands more than once! Let's hope this is a sign of good things to come this year.

  • My first KAP session was also above water - Sand Island, Chesapeake Bay. Access via a fun frostbite sail down the Susquehanna River to the Chesapeake Bay. Fun day with a sailing and KAPing.


    Hobie Island Frostbite Sail

    Kite Over Sand Island

  • edited January 4

    Nice one! Seems like a fun, albeit cold, adventure. The wave patterns around the island look cool. Here's one from the other end of the Chesapeake Bay where it's warmer. :) Technically, it doesn't count as 2021 KAP since it was taken a few days before the New Year.

  • montagdude Can you not set your camera's focus manually on infinity and avoid the problems with it focusing on the line? All of your photos are at infinity or as near as makes no difference.

  • It does. I was looking for that setting before, but in the wrong spot. I'll probably give that a try next time I shoot towards the string.

  • Witney, Oxfordshire, England. I had a brief KAP session on 2 January, under darkening skies with barely enough wind to keep the 2.4m rokkaku in the air, I flew a cheap actioncam as a test, thinking about a new rig. A large c.200 year old Cedar of Lebanon tree has recently been cut down in the churchyard, opening up the view of the medieval church from the from the south, something I'll look at closer with a better camera on a nicer day.

  • Good to see people out and about.
    I'm getting softer as I get older and can't face winter KAP (unless it is snowing, then I'll make the effort).

  • So after saying I was too soft for winter KAP, today I went out!!! Below is a screenshot of a partial 360 view. Click this link for the full Kuula experience.

    It was a rare outing for my custom Dan Leigh delta which meant I also needed my lightest line which happens to be on my KAPiFrance winder. The wind averaged just 4-5 knots according to the airport stats. The result was a gentle rollercoaster of ups and downs as the kite struggled to keep about 200g (Theta Z1 plus picavet) in the air.

    Now I've got a first flight out of the way, I'm going to try to KAP once per week. The fresh air was great and Guernsey winters don't tend to stay too cold for too long.

    KAPi France 2013 Winder in 2021
    Tower 4 - KAP 01-2021

  • For my second KAP of the year I took some pictures of my neighborhood. I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but with the places I have to fly the conditions have to be just right for it to work. My mini dopero braved gusts over 20 mph to get this picture. That's two sessions in two weeks for me, and four in three weeks. I doubt I will keep up this pace all year though.

  • My rig rebuild needed a test so this shot is more to do with finding a quiet spot with a good clear fetch:

  • I did a short session in the street next to my house (Kapelle, Netherlands), on New Years day 2021. I admit it's not a very original subject. But very convenient. Caught a lot of attention with the 2,4 meter Rokkaku. "Whats the thing hanging under your kite?"

  • Nice one! Looks like you have a little bit more room to fly in your neighborhood than I do in mine. Also, nice green grass. Mine was still somewhat green on New Year's Day but has since turned yellow from the cold weather.

  • Great photos. And Cor, that's a really nice image of your neighbourhood in the Netherlands. And Wind Watcher, I like the water ripples in your KAP image.

    And the 360 panorama is awesome. Great work! Out of curiosity, did you use a wide angle or standard lens for the 360? I assume you used a rig that rotated automatically while the camera clicked frames at predetermined intervals? Though I admit I'm completely new to 360 KAP so I'm still scratching my head at how you captured the top and bottom views for the sky and ground. I don't suppose your rig tilted 180 degrees at some point? I'm also really impressed at how your stitching software handled movement in the scene (eg the clouds and water.) Ive tried stitched digital panoramas myself and they're often ruined by the movement in the ocean (ripples etc) even on a calm day.

  • I didn't have decent KAP weather until the end of January. This is looking north from Redmond, Oregon. Our local TV station used this shot in a segment on snowy weather last week.

  • dragonblade Just search Google for 360 cameras and you'll find the answer to your question. There are several brands and models available, and they are in common use these days, giving an all-round view with no need for multiple shots or stitching and all that "old-fashioned" stuff!

  • edited February 14

    NZflier, yes I have known about 360 cameras for some time. I guess we'll have to wait for Montagdude to confirm whether he used a 360 camera or a regular camera with an auto rig. I was assuming that a regular camera was used (with digital stitching) because of the impressive image quality. I was quite impressed with the picture quality. From what Ive heard about 360 cameras, the image quality is not exactly stellar. I also had the impression that these kind of specialist cameras had pretty small sensors and limited manual exposure control. So perhaps not suited to serious photography. Though that's more or less the conclusion I came to a few years ago. I guess things may have changed in the meantime. Perhaps the producers of 360 cameras have upped the quality in recent years.

    The other thing is I assumed that 360 cameras only captured a 360 view on a horizontal plane. Whereas this awesome KAP panorama is effectively 360 x 180. I didn't realise that 360 cameras also captured the top and bottom views as well. So now I'm curious as to how a 360 camera could record a top view like this of the sky when it's likely obstructed by a picavet etc. Perhaps the camera rig was removed from the scene digitally?

  • I use a Canon PowerShot S100, but I'm not sure if you meant to mention me, because I didn't post any panoramas.

  • Montagdude, sorry. I meant Ningaloo's 360.

  • Finally, some decent wind here in Slovenia ... :-)

  • Beautiful scenery!

  • This past winter was what a good “old-fashioned” Wisconsin winter typically looks and feels like, complete with lots of snow and a continuous string of below freezing temperatures, unbroken for months. We suffered week-long stretches, trapped in the grip of the polar vortex. Extended conditions of below-zero daytime highs combined with strong winds challenged the resolve and stymied the intentions of even the most avid and committed kite flyer. It was, however, a good winter for snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, outdoor hockey, and driving your 4-wheel drive pickup out onto the frozen lake to ice fish.

    But a true kite flyer can wait only so long before that itch to fly just needs to be scratched. By late January, I was getting pretty itchy. I charged up the camera gear, grabbed my kites and headed out to Winnequah Park. I had heard about a group of local curlers who had built an outdoor curling rink at the park because the Covid pandemic response had closed all of the indoor curling rinks. That outdoor rink proved to be the perfect motivation for me to face the cold and get a kite and camera out of the bag.

    I almost always try to include people engaged in some sort of activity in the aerial photos I make with my kites. This rare, maybe one-time opportunity to fly my kite over a working curling rink, was more than enough motivation to face the cold and get back in the game.

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