March 6th, 2009

Kite Aerial Photography

Kite Aerial Photography

On Feb. 28th, D. and I attended a kite photography demonstration at the wildlife refuge in Alviso, and our friend A. joined us there.  UC Berkeley professor Cris Benton has been using aerial kite photography to document the environmental changes in the South Bay salt ponds and wetlands.  Cris first presented a slide show on the history of aerial photography, as well as some of his current work.  Then we went outside for a live demonstration.

First, here are D.'s pics:

Kite Photography Demonstration at the wildlife refuge!    Fly your camera on a kite and take aerial pics!  How cool is that? 

Cris launching his 8' Rokkaku kite in the almost-still air, getting it up to about 100'.

The special cradle Cris designed for his camera, using many re-purposed parts.  It allows the camera to be maneuvered in three dimensions (up/down, left/right and landscape/portrait).

The kite up at a suitable altitude, Cris now attaches the camera to the kite cord.

Cris prepares to help the kite rise higher to keep his camera out of the salt pond by running down the trail.

Kite and camera aloft.

Cris with his rigged-up camera and remote control unit.  The glove protects his hand from the kite string.

Cris and his camera.

Looking northwest across New Chicago Marsh into the late afternoon clouds.

❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧

Here are my pics:

I would not want to look out my window to behold this device looking in. 

Salt pond A16 looks lovely on this mild late winter day.

And here are some of Cris's images from his Hidden Ecologies blog (click 'em to make 'em bigger):

pic no. 1
I'm in more or less the middle of the group, behind a man in a white baseball cap and bright blue windbreaker.  D. is way on the left, in black, with camera.  Our friend A., in white sweater, is facing my back.

pic no. 3
D. is in the left foreground taking a pic of the rest of us.  The black kite cord is visible coming down into the image to Cris, holding the blue kite cord spool in one hand and working the camera's radio controls with the other.

pic no. 4
D. (in black with camera), me (sunglasses, purple jacket) and our friend A. (white sweater, holding jacket)