Lessons Learned

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KAP in low light conditions

I made myself a light-weight rig inspired by the Filalu design by Christian Becot. I am happy with it, it packs small and it is not easily damaged during transport. I wondered if I could get sharp shots using slower shutter speeds than I normally use; 1/500 instead of 1/1000. I had a KAP session just before sunset with some clouds. I ended up with an acceptable amount of shots without motion blur. I am not happy with the colours though. Next time I will start a little earlier. The Kapelse Moer is a peatland nature reserve, practically pristine since 800 A.D. It is an important breeding site as well as a fouraging area for migrating birds. You can only fly a kite here in August or September without disturbing birds.
The cows were totally unimpressed by my kite.


  • I thought the cows wanted to come and hold the line!

  • cool shots! :-) ... love the moor, looks very interesting.

    Sensors are now so sensitive you probably don't have to trade light and shutter speed (maybe keep it at 1/1000 and raise the ISO?)...

  • KAPing in low light can be challenging .... but with some persistence .... it surprising what you can do....even down to 1 second shutter speeds....
    See this thread (Squeezing photons): http://kapforum.org/discussion/discussion/5859/squeezing-photons


  • Given the right conditions you can achieve some pretty slow shutter speeds. If your camera has the capability and you have suitable software then shooting raw files will also help battle low light situations.

  • Thanks for the advice and for the link to the squeezing photons thread. Interesting stuff. I do shoot RAW-files. Tonight I tried some different settings in the same spot, same hour of the day. A lot less wind today. My Genki just managed to lift the camera. When experimenting, it is important to change 1 variable at a time, then check results. Of course I didn't. I shot some pictures in shutter priority (Tv mode) with ISO 80 and 1/800

    Then I shot some pictures using ISO800 and 1/400.

    I prefer the pictures with ISO80. In future, I will stick to low ISO values for this camera and choose slower shutter speeds.

  • Hy Cor,
    The kind of rig is not essential regarding the low light conditions. Roitelet rig is relativly light but a ultra simple cradle with a Picavet is even lighter.
    But the stability of (the wind and) your kite is one of the principal factor if you want to use low shutter speeds. Horay, generaly, in the end of days, the wind is more gentle, more quite.
    Another good way to achieve "low light kap" is the kind of camera, especially the size of the sensor. Bigger ones manage much better high iso settings than small ones.
    Very good point, you use RAW format, in post-prod, you have more chance to keep the result you want.
    I didn't find what kind of camera you use.

    Emmanuel (in love with low light and night kap)

  • Hi Emmanuel,
    In my case, the new rig was an improvement over my old one, which tended to rotate, causing motion blur. I use a Canon Powershot S100. Of course, there are better cameras with larger sensors. The S100 is affordable and light which allows me to use relatively small kites and low wind speeds. I like to transport my equipment on a bike.

  • Yes Cor, I really hear your pro's about Powershot S series, I use several S110 for kap (and sometimes a Lumix GM1 (Micro 4/3). Night kap is possible with S110, here's an example, not really the sharpest, but at midnight... :
    imagePhoto aérienne par cerf-volant. Notre-Dame-de-Monts (Vendée)""" alt="" />

  • Nice one , Emmanuel. I will try night KAP once I find an interesting subject

  • I often shoot KAP with my Panasonic GM1 in Auto Bracket mode without resorting to higher ISO's.
    With a fixed aperture on a manual lens the camera must vary the shutter speed at each of the bracketed positions. The bracket possibilities extend from an EV bias of -3 to +3.
    So, for example at an EV bias of 0 the shutter speed might be 1/500th of a second for perfect exposure
    At an EV bias of +1 the exposure will be longer at 1/250th of a second resulting in a brighter image.
    At an EV bias of -1 the exposure will be shorter at 1/1000th of a second resulting in a darker image.
    If the faster shutter speed is required to freeze the camera movement I brighten the image in Lightroom.
    Obviously there are limitations to this technique but on a sunset KAP session I will set the Auto Bracket to cover EVs of -3, -2, and -1.

  • edited October 2021

    Or try using an electronic flash:

    this was made in 1997 using the bulb settings on the camera

  • cool! :-)))

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