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Kite Aerial Photography 183

Posted by chrisd
from the less-funny-than-knife-aerial-dropography dept.
SethJohnson writes "People have been attaching cameras to kites for quick-and-dirty aerial photographs for almost a hundred years. Hobbyists have progressed the art far beyond it's quick-and-dirty origins to produce stunning results. NASA even has a fairly detailed how-to using a disposable camera. Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids."
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Kite Aerial Photography

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  • by the_other_one (178565) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:19AM (#4666173) Homepage

    Over the nudist beach!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Seriously, this sounds like an incredible boon for the paparazzi.

      Surely it's much less obtrusive than hiding in the bushes. Plus it must give you a far better chance of getting away from any nearby bodyguards should they realize what it is that you're up to.
    • Wide-angle or zoom lens?
      • by the_other_one (178565) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:50AM (#4666283) Homepage

        Both

        1. Wide angle for targeting

        2. Zoom lens for...

      • Re:Quick and dirty! (Score:4, Informative)

        by fyonn (115426) <dave@fyonn.net> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:50AM (#4666890) Homepage
        Wide-angle or zoom lens

        while I've never done KAP, I have flown kites before (ie, big kites) and you need quite a big kite to hoist a decent camera. the reason disposables are so often used is because a) they're cheap and b) they're light.

        the kind of camera's that have zoom lenses are heavy beggars, and how do you control the zoom? wires? remote control? thats all more weight. now a big power/traction ktie can carry alot but it's hardly secure.

        with a light camera you can tie it down so that as long as you keep the kite steady then it should be good. with a heavier parcel then the weight will be harder to tie down as although a bi kite can undoubtedly take the weight, it's all concentrated in one spot which is bad news for a parawing style kite.

        you can of course use something like a big delta too, but they are harder to carry around.

        I'm no expert a KAP though, I have to admit, I did some reading on it a few years ago but never tried it. some of the KAP images I've seen in the last have been pretty stunning though.

        dave

        PS. current kites: pbsk warrior and VP (favourite 2 line kites ever flown), spirit of air omega xs, elliot ekko 2.8, revolution EXP (would love a speed series one day, esp if resailed by peter betancourt), a nice Rok and a few others
        • while I've never done KAP, I have flown kites before (ie, big kites) and you need quite a big kite to hoist a decent camera. the reason disposables are so often used is because a) they're cheap and b) they're light.

          How about c) they're disposable.

          I have a team Hawaiian (well over a pound) that would seriously cause injury to any victim standing beneath it in a power dive. And it has shown that it is perfectly capable of dragging my 200+ pound butt across a plowed field.

          While I believe it would have no problem hoisting my old Pentax with its hefty ancient Tamron zoom lens (3 pounds total camera+lens weight) I'm not sure I'd want to risk either damage to the camera or to any innocent bystander if either should decide they suddenly want to drop from the sky.

          Also, if I were to duct-tape some kind of jury-rigged timer to a camera, it'd be nice if someone else had to clean off the duct-tape glue when I was done with it. :-)

    • by augros (513862) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:06AM (#4666345)
      Wouldn't that be kite aerial pornography?
    • Bringing new meaning to the product name...

      Although given X-10's marketing strategy, I'm not sure if it is really a new meaning...
  • nifty! (Score:4, Funny)

    by MoceanWorker (232487) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:21AM (#4666180) Homepage
    now all i need are a couple of hot models to move in next door and sun bathe naked for test objects and i'll be good to go!!

    oh wait.. that's the whole purpose of my roof ;-)

    plus it's november.. so i guess i better put this idea off..
  • by Quaoar (614366) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:21AM (#4666183)
    I have a feeling many cameras will be returned to the store for "spontaneously fragmenting."
  • by AntiPasto (168263) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:27AM (#4666198) Journal
    Check out my house! [fortunecity.com] This was done with the LASS system... [fortunecity.com] VERY satisfying hobby, and I encourage more to do it! Kite stability (an oxymoron for those who fly kites, as the fun is that they go all over) is really key. The line has a lot of vibration, and it can be scary seeing your investment bobbing around in the sky, or heading for the ground!

    Those along waterfronts know that daily patterns of onshore and offshore breezes can aid in getting good wind.

    Brooks Leffler pioneered the art with a magazine (!!!) that he still has back issues of. He even sells stabilizing tails. The most stunning pictures in my opinion have been by the vastly-experienced Chris Benton [berkeley.edu]... he inspired my finally getting into this. $100 for the kite, $80 for the camera, $100 radio+misc, and you're up and going.

    • For an outsider like me, it seems that the risk of ending with a totally broken camera is high. How often does it happen ?

      I've browsed the pages and they dont seem to mention digital cameras. Is it because they are too expensive to risk them ? (my aim is NOT to reopen the passionate discussion about digital/conventional cameras !)
      • You know if you got a little CCD camera (~$50) which runs off a battery pack (~$5) and goes to a generic transmitter (~$50)... it's all very small stuff, solidly made. If you put it in the middle of a good-sized -- say five foot span -- delta stunt kite (I dunno what kind of kite you'd actually want to use, I'm only talking about what I know and haven't read the article) it would be pretty unlikely to break it. The nose of the kite will always hit first and you just have to mount it in such a way that it is not *directly* connected to the main nose-to-back spar which will absorb most of the damage.

        That's just for video though. A cheap-ass digital camera (no moving parts, soldered memory) will probably be plenty reliable. The passionate discussion about digital/conventional cameras IS worth opening here though; I've flown an ordinary boring diamond kite of about normal size to the limit of the string; ~500 yd. It was up pretty high, too. At the kind of heights we're talking about the amount of information you'll get back from a digital is pretty paltry.

    • Make a foam enclosure for it, like this [68.96.149.199]. I rigged that holder with a 9 volt battery, a flashing christmas tree light and a solenoid moved piece of music wire to push the button. Action Movie! [68.96.149.199] (Yeah, yeah, my cameras put out crappy AVI files.)The camera used was very light and made of reasonable plastic so crashes like this [68.96.149.199] did not ruin it. My second holder was built for a Sipix, which takes compact flash and has 2.1M pixels. I opened that up and soldered in an earplug jack which proved more reliable than the music wire, but was not too ugly. See how here [68.96.149.199].

      You slashdotted your cable box, you bastard!

  • For as long as I can remember I've alwase thought that this was a cool idea but somthing that I thought would be also realy fun was sailboat cameras. While not as use full they would be tons of fun you would be able to take picutres of your family on the beach, of other boats in Central Park's pund, and for my all time favorite, if you removed the mast you would be able to send your camera on a boad tied to a string down the sewers to take pictures of aligators.

  • ok, I'm done laughing. But that has to be the funniest looking picture I've seen in awhile. It's like looking at someone's family album.
    "That's your Uncle Bort."
  • balloons? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by orangeaaron (614222)
    how about a timer-controlled camera on a helium balloon. it could take a picture every 10 seconds or something... the only tricky part would be getting the camera back after it had floated off. maybe you could promise whoever found it that you would send them reprints :)
    • A lot of people use ballons (or blimps) for similar low-altitude pictures. Helicopters and remote control airplanes... whatever coincides with your other hobbies ;p
  • Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dolo666 (195584) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:31AM (#4666213) Journal
    I don't want to think about all the lawsuits that could arise from a curious kid with a camera on a kite! *shudder*
  • dad ==> kid (Score:5, Funny)

    by the way, what're you (591901) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:33AM (#4666221)
    ...for those dads out there with kids.

    As opposed to... ?

    • How about moms?

      You didn't say "dads with sons" so presumably being old and female is the handicap? I went to school down the road from MIT and met plenty of women gifted with the geeky arts. ;-)
    • What the... Hey! Science Fair Projects are for the KIDS to do! The KIDS! Not the DADS! jeez, you don't want to raise a cheater, do you? (Besides, everyone knows mothers do better work....)
    • by scott1853 (194884)
      As opposed to... ?

      A pimp-daddy.

      You know the pirates around here do some slave trading on the weekends. Gotta supplement the ol' VCD business in order to support that luxurious case-modder lifestyle with the $400 a month video card habit.

    • by Rolo Tomasi (538414) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:14AM (#4666368) Homepage Journal
      As opposed to... ?

      Dads whose kids were killed by 40 pound kites with sharp metal parts attached falling out of the sky.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Terrorists in our own backyards!! We must immediately ban kites and imprison kite owners without trial. God only knows what these religious fanatics were trying to survey before destroying. I'm glad we caught them before they actually did something. God Bless America.
  • We even take down government sites.
  • by Rayonic (462789) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:36AM (#4666234) Homepage Journal
    ...but how will all those cameras affect Charlie Brown's kite-eating tree? I'd imagine they're not too healthy.

    Okay, that wasn't funny. It's late. Night night.
  • by tevenson (625386) <tevenson@gmAUDENail.com minus poet> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:39AM (#4666244) Homepage
    Remember when you used to play wargames as a kid? Now you can do it with your very own Spy Satellite.

    "Now you'll know all of your enemies moves; where they're keeping the water ballon stash, how many they have, and if that teenage girl in the house across the street is sun bathing topless again."
    • Remember when you used to play wargames as a kid?

      Yeah, my big brother always made *me* be the grenade. I especially hated it when he pulled my "pin" out.
  • Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids.
    What about all those dads without kids?

    oh...
  • Estes Rocket (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SirCrashALot (614498)
    There is/was an estes rocket that did this. Two of my friends had them... One never recovered the rocket(typical of our launches) and the other pictures came out great!
    It's not as controlled as a kite, but you get great landscape pictures.
    • Re:Estes Rocket (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AntiPasto (168263) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:47AM (#4666266) Journal
      I looked into these, radio controlled airplanes, and others. Kites are a) very cool b) very broad in design c) what spawned aircraft. It's also fairly cheap combined with the amount of control. You can go up to SLR cameras (any may do) and I've seen enough sadness in my dad's RC plane buddies to know that losing a plane *and* a camera would be devistating. Kites of course need wind, and in lack of wind there's always balloons, but I felt in my study of all of this that it was less risky than other low-altitude photography.
    • Re:Estes Rocket (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, i had one of those as a kid. Fascinating how it worked. You put a small camera in the nosecone with a parachute. You send the rocked up. When the engine burnt out, a small explosive charge blew the nosecone off, which floated down to earth with the camera pointing down. A small mercury switch and RC timer made the camera go off around 4 seconds after maximum height.
    • I had one of those as well. It did a good job. Really need to find the pictures. I still have the rocked all ready to go. It's been launched a few times. I forget the details about it since this was ages ago. I seam to remember the film being some wacky formate, so that could be a problem.

      Ah yes model rockets, experaince being nasa. they explode, go off course, don't work, catch a breeze and go a mile off course. get the wings on wrong the spiral at you. shoot them with the wind at 45degrees and never see them again. Also the branch hobby from this rocket powered anything else. Rocket boats were fun. Those engine work under water to. Seeing your boat go under water and a glow then pop up out of the water like a missile from a sub is fun to.
    • Actually, Estes used to make a movie camera called the "Cineroc". You can see both of them here [ninfinger.org].

      I always wanted them both, but never had the cash. By the time I had the cash, they were gone :(

  • Nice Kite: $100 New Digital Camera: $400 Crashing it into the ground on your first try: Priceless (And thats why I don't even try ;) )
    • Re:Priceless.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fyonn (115426)
      Nice Kite: $100

      $100? hohoho, spot the guy who doesn't fly em :)

      if you're making it yourself then thats 10 times too much, and if you're buying a nice kite from a shop then thats not enough :)

      my pbsk warrior standard was over $300, although, to be fair, thats a damn nice kite.

      if you're talking commerical parafoil's (ie the ones that look like james bond style controllable parachutes) then really you're talking up to and over $1000 depending on how big and what make, although the second hand market can get you some good deals, my best friend recently bought an 11.8 metre (yes, metre) wipika waterkite for a few hundred quid

      dave
    • Re:Priceless.... (Score:2, Informative)

      by CharlieO (572028)
      Nice Kite: $100

      Not if you get a good quality proper kite, maybe if you buy from Toys 'R' Us. A Revolution 1.5 or FlexiFoil 10 is around 200UKP/300USD - course these arn't great for KAP, but its what I fly currently and serves to show that kiting is not as cheap as you might expect (cos you go and get kites for different conditions and challanges) but it is serious fun :)

      New Digital Camera

      And thats why people use simple 35mm autowinders, or cheapo all in one CMOS digitals to start with.

      Crashing it into the ground on your first try

      And thats why you practise until you become and expereinced kite pilot before you take up KAP to extend the enjoyment of your hobby.

      Seriously you'll find the kite is probably the most expensive part of the rig.
  • We've sent our little 35mm's up to 112,000 feet! try that with a kite!
  • "Okay, I'm getting a signal now. Wait. Is this a screen-saver image?
    It looks like an under-water sce.......DAMN!"
  • Kite are advancing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stonezone (460503) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:47AM (#4666265) Homepage
    Kites have become the sport of choice lately, not only with photography, but with wakeboarders, surfers and skiers. Take a look at the popularity of kitesurfing on water and snow. Kites have evolved a long way in 20 years, from paragliders, to leading edge inflatables that relaunch when you drop them in the water.I have heard that guys are getting 50m high and 30sec air on skis now in the alps, and here in hawaii, kitsurfing in the winter surf is pretty nuts. Guys around here have been flying kites over the waves to take photos for at least 5 years, although rarely.

    huh?

  • by AmigaAvenger (210519) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:47AM (#4666268) Journal
    We've sent our little 35mm's up to 112,000 feet! try that with a kite!

    High Alt Balloon Group [space.edu]

    • That is truely amazing! I've thought about balloons for days when the wind was not blowing. They could be just as easily controlled as kites. Every do much hobby at all, or you just mainly scientific? Either way, it sure it cool.
      • It is entirely a hobby for us, everyone is 100% volunteering for it, most of us do it for the thrill of the chase! (imagine the Twister scene, looks about the same...) We do carry scientific missions also, most recently upper atmosphere mercury sampling.

        Wind doesn't matter too much, the balloon isn't tethered, and has gps and radio telemetry on it for recovery. EVERY package except for #1 has been recovered, and that one was more of a platform test/throwaway anyway.
    • At the risk of a -1 Redundant, thanks for the link. That was really interesting and very cool. And ... on topic!! Surely this spells the end of Slashdot!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's not the altitude that is important in KAP. Most practitioners of KAP fly well under 500 feet and the really interesting pictures are taken below 200 feet. As KAPers we are not trying to take pictures that can be used for geological surveys, but pictures that show objects and scenes from an unusual perspective. The majority of KAPers are use KAP to produce artistically pleasing photographs, some have even won photography contests competing against ground-based photographers.

      For those not interested in KAP for its artistic merits, KAP is being used in archeology, in the earth sciences as a supplement to satellite images to resolve finer details, to help study plant and animal habitats, and as a tool for crime scene investigators.

      KAP is definitely a nerdy endevour. For the most part all equipment is made by hand and involves a modest level of mechanical and electronic skills

      David Hunt
      Editor, KAPER [kiteaerial...graphy.net]

  • Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids.

    What about all all of those moms out there with kids? Are they not allowed to geek it out too?
    • Naah, us chicks can geek out too. We just can't go mentioning it here on SlashDot, or we'll get responses like this one [slashdot.org]... (grins, and goes back to compiling ALSA)

      AAACK! I MENTIONED GEEKING OUT! ;) OK, start the barrage ;)
  • by lingqi (577227) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:51AM (#4666287) Journal
    real-time video feed from kite

    sure is a lot cheaper than a remote control helicopter. =)
  • What I plan on implementing is a wireless 802.11b camera/camcorder hooked up to a kite.

    here is a link to one vendor who currently supports offers the 802.11b camera
    http://www.dlink.com/products/DigitalHome/DigitalV ideo/dcs1000w/ [dlink.com]
  • for the predator [af.mil] BTW, I wonder if anyone's attached an Hellfire to a kite?
  • Most interesting is the rigging! [fortunecity.com] This suspention reduces flopping about as the whole thing would have to lift and spin to tip sideways. Ingenious! Although, a very old idea...

  • From a kite flyer (Score:5, Informative)

    by MxTxL (307166) <mlutter.gmail@com> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:01AM (#4666330)
    I run a kite site and am fanatical about the sport, so i should hope to have a little authority on the subject. While i haven't done any KAP myself, i've read extensively on the subject. There are some amazing photos coming back from people lofting cameras on their kites. There is also some interesting tech going into the works too. I've seem plans for radio controlled microcontrollers that will depress the camera trigger, hold it till a beep for the camera to focus, then press the trigger harder to take the photo. There are setups using small video cameras and transmitters that allow the user to see what he's about to take a photo of. There are a bunch of pan-rotate-zoom setups using servos and the like. It's mostly R/C tech, but still quite cool.

    My fav site for KAP is here. [fortunecity.com]
    My website (in sig) doesn't have much for KAP resources, but it is useful to look at to see some of the other spiffy stuff.

    By the way, the kite obelisk folks are still at it, planning an even bigger lift, and with period materials. Should be exciting, but I don't have the full scoop, they are keeping it quiet until they pull it off.
  • by nkrumm (625879) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:14AM (#4666366)
    At my high school (http://rhs.seattleschools.org [seattleschools.org]) we have an after school club that builds rigs for kite arial photography. The trick is making the rig lightweight, yet strong enough that it doesnt suddenly snap 500 ft above the surface. Our mentor will be traveling to Antarctica this winter, and he will be taking a few of the rigs we have built. The Drachen Foundation [drachen.org] has more info.
  • I see this one (the tiny l'espion camera [firebox.com]), but see no supplier in the U.S. (anyone know of one?), which appears inexpensive and very light (40 grams!).

    There's also the SiPix StyleCam Blink, which is about $40, and slightly larger but takes higher-res pictures, too.

    What other tiny ones would be suitable for tossing on a kite (whether or not the two I've named would be), and what would be the best way to trigger them?

    timothy
    • by MxTxL (307166) <mlutter.gmail@com> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:22AM (#4666396)
      While it's a good idea to keep things light, it's not the over-riding factor. The kites being used for KAP are usually capable of lifting considerable weights. There are quite a few kites out there (in the $300 or more price range) that need about 250-300 pounds of sand anchors to be safely operated. I've heard of large inflatable show kites that will pull two dumpsters full of sand across the beach.

      As for control, it's all R/C servos. It can be done with as little as one servo to pull the trigger but most people like to be able to at least pan some, so that's another servo. There are also some triggers out there that are just timer based... you set the timer, and hope you can get the rig up to altitude and pointing at the target by the time the trigger goes off... not flexible, but cheap and effective.
  • 'earth from above' (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jean-Pierre (81373)
    yann arthus-bertrand's absolutely tremendous photography was on display in chicago late this summer. yann took his images from a helicopter so i can imagine they are a bit more costly than its little brother kite. these images are nothing short of amazing.

    chicago department of cultural affairs: earth from above [chi.il.us]
    elexon presents: earth from above [earthfroma...hicago.org]
    fujifilm presents: earth from above [fujifilm.com]
    yann arthus-bertrand [yannarthusbertrand.com]
  • by pm (11079) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:20AM (#4666387)
    I attach a small, cheap, 1.3MP digital Pencam to my R/C planes for aerial shots. Aiptek makes a 1.3MP "pencam" that weighs about 50grams. (without batteries) that works pretty well. The pictures out of the CMOS sensor and the cheap lens aren't as nice as conventional photographs - even from disposable cameras - but you can take a lot of them, and the really bad ones don't cost anything to develop.

    The camera is ~US$60-70 at Walmart and Circuit City.

    The official Pencam web site [aiptek.com.tw]

    And a picture taken with my pencam from my R/C plane [rcgroups.com]
  • by Blimey85 (609949) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:27AM (#4666406)
    This sounds like a great idea. I've done something similar using model rockets but had pretty lousy results. With model rockets there is exhaust vapors that you have to contend with and since the camera was aimed down the tube, most of the picture was blurry/smokey. I have two kites and I could mount a camera on either one pretty easy as they both have strong frames.. the only problem is that I've no success getting them to fly. Either it hasn't been windy enough or I'm doing something wrong.

    I used to fly kites a lot as a kid (was also when I did the model rocket photography) and never had a problem but now that I have these so called stunt kites, all that I'm ever able to do is a nose dive.

    The more I think about this, the more I like the idea though. If I get a better kite (that's a lot easier to fly and requires less wind), and I use a small wireless camera transmitting to my laptop, I wonder what kind of images I could get... could be quite impressive.

    How come all of the good ideas involving the outdoors seem to come around when the rainy season hits? I live in Seattle and the rainy season is upon us... I'll have to wait until the beach has some people worth photographing and then I'll give this a try. What's a very cheap wireless camera that can survive slamming into the ground repeatedly when the kite crashes? Any ideas?

    • If you are having trouble, you are in luck living where you do. There are a large number of kite flyers living in Washington state. One of the best [prismkites.com] stunt kite makers are based out of Seattle. There are quite a few kite flyers in that area and an active kite club [wka-kiteflyers.org] as well. These people will be more than happy to help you figure out what you are doing wrong, and better yet, will lend you there kites... the best of friends.

  • by Grip3n (470031) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:33AM (#4666425) Homepage
    Looks like NASA has finally declassified it's old 1960's reconnaissance techniques...
  • Me sending my $800 Canon digital up into the sky to photograph scenes I would otherwise have to get from a low flying plane. Imagine the savings :-)
  • by SystematicPsycho (456042) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:42AM (#4666460)
    don't laugh, some 3rd world countries are using this technique for air reconassance.

    In modern countries, ppl are using it to spy on there neighbors. Must we wait before there is a kiteonacamera.com ? "Kites flown over hollywood celebrities residences, 100% legal. For $5.95 a month you can have 24hr aerial vision of a hollywood supermodels".
  • by g33kgirl (571248) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lrigk33g]> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @02:57AM (#4666498) Homepage

    Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids.

    *ahem* And moms. :p


    • Totally deserved gripe. Sorry about excluding the moms out there. I got caught up in the reference after reading the Charles Benton's site (linked in the original post) where he talks about building a KAP rig for his son's science fair project. I know a lot of moms are out there also doing their children's science fair projects for them. They're just as guilty as the dads. I thought it was pretty ironic that Benton was essentially doing his son's science fair project and he's a professor of Architecture @ UC Berkeley! No knock on him, though. He did a tremendous job on his site and is an accomplished Kite Aerial Photographer.
  • Maybe the military would be interested if you just add a bomb under it and have a longer wire.
  • Omigod, slippery slope! Quick, someone
    call ACLU! Who knows how long until they
    start using kites with cameras
    to snoop on everybody!

    (In ye olde days, an obFUD would be included
    here. So it is, by implication :)
  • Note that Charles Benton (The guy who runs the first site listed [berkeley.edu]) is offering a particular geeky barter: exchanging photos for slide rules [berkeley.edu])
  • by NerveGas (168686) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @03:59AM (#4666668)
    There are also plenty of people who take pictures and/or videos from high-power rockets as well - and I'm not talking about the cheap Estes camera rockets. The preferred way to get still-shots is to use a decent-enough "point-and-shoot" with auto-advance, and wire a timer to the contacts of the button which takes the picture, although others use a servo to actuate the button, like this [v-serv.com] example.

    It seems like even more people take videos, however - everything from a tiny "X10"-style camera with a transmitter to the full monty, where multiple digital video cameras are mounted inside the rockets. One of the founders of Xircom, Dirk Gates, has some very high-quality DV videos of his rocket flights at http://gbrocketry.com/movie_theater.htm [gbrocketry.com].
  • There's also Photoplane who published similar works (taken from a motorized model plane) on GNUArt.net [google.com]
  • This hobby could pay for itself. People like having photos of their houses from the sky; especially rich people with nice houses and land.

    If you get the owners with their dogs in there, I bet they'd pay double!

  • by Kaz Riprock (590115) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @04:46AM (#4666759)

    Are there any camera/trigger combo mechanisms which could take more than one picture per flight? I mean if I let a kite out for 6 minutes, it's going to get a great shot from really high up...but then I have to reel the kite back in to take another picture.

    Anybody have any ideas on a fairly easy way to hook up something like an RC button to both shoot the picture and advance the film...or maybe a lightweight camera that auto-advances...so the RC motor only has to hit the exposure button...?
  • I swear to God, at first I thought this said aerial kite pornography.

    And the scarier thing is - I was intrigued.


  • Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids."

    Editors modification: those responsible dads

    Otherwise, our publication will be sued when the inevitable mishap occurs.

    You know the one, that starts innocently like

    "Gosh, dad, the camera won't stay on straight and it's hard to control up there from down here!"


    "Hmmm. You're right, son. Here, you hold the camera.

    This is a pretty good-sized kite - how much do you weigh, again?

    I can't run very fast, but the car can..."
  • by Cy Guy (56083) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:02AM (#4668151) Homepage Journal
    People have been attaching cameras to kites for quick-and-dirty aerial photographs for almost a hundred years.

    Either this story has been in the queue for way too long, or you need to verify your sources.

    Kite Aerial Photograhy began at least as early as the late 1880's [berkeley.edu] with the work of Arthur Batut in Labruguiere, France - including this 1889 image of the city [berkeley.edu]. He went so far as to use an altimeter to automatically adjust the focal length of the camera

    ~~~~~~

    KAP seems like a great application for one of those X10 wireless cameras. Outdoors they have a range of maybe 200 feet and that could probably be enhanced with a directional antenna.

  • by bear_phillips (165929) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:28AM (#4668398) Homepage
    I have been doing kite aerial photography for a while. pictures here [chadphillips.org].

    After 911 the cops have given me much more problems. On more than one occasion I have the police come up and ask me what I have hanging from my kite. Usually after I explain things it is cool with them, but I have heard stories of people having the cops pull guns on them thinking they are distributing anthrax or other badness.

  • by dcigary (221160) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:04PM (#4669238) Homepage
    Phillipe Hurbain, a fellow panoramic/spherical panoramic photographer in France, has a site up on how he took a full-spherical panoramic picture from a kite. He's obviously much braver than me to put a $800 camera hanging underneath a kite!

    Pretty cool, and the panoramas are literally like you're floating in mid-air.

    http://philohome.free.fr/kitephoto/kapp.htm
  • Wait, NASA actually has a page for rigging a cheasy disposible camera to a kite, but nothing along the lines of an X10? China IS going to beat us back to the moon at this rate...

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