Tuesday, 13 November 2012

KAP or Kite Aerial Photography

This what you get when you add kites, cameras, radio controls, simple electronics and lots of shed tinkering time.

Capturing images from a kite produces a rarely seen perspective. These low level aerial images are on a more intimate or human scale than traditional aerials from aircraft.

There is a very active world wide online community of KAPers and some seriously clever inventors producing electronics, rig control scripts and mechanical bits for KAP rigs.

Big stable kites are needed to lift the camera and rig. KAPers usually have a range of kites to cover different wind speeds and camera rig weights. More about that later.

The lighter the better obviously. GoPro, Canon compacts and even SLRs are popular and mirrorless large sensor cameras are starting to feature too.

Canon compacts can also be enhanced via CHDK (Canon hackers development kit) and SDM (Stereo Data Makers) firmware changes. I'll write more about these later but basically some very clever programmers have written firmware enhancements which add functions such as intervalometers, RAW, HDR and bracketing.

KAP rigs
There are many different styles of KAP rigs but these are the main divisions.
RC KAP - using full radio controlled rigs with shutter, pan and tilt control.
autoKAP - using modules like AuRiCo (automatic rig control - preprogrammed electronics replacing the radio control receiver)
Manual KAP - where you set the camera orientation before launching

My KAP shots

KAP flickr group

KAP shop - Oh yes, there is one

This is such a big topic I have started a new blog just for KAP.
Kite Aerial Photography by Andrew Newton