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Kite aerial photography

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Kite aerial photography
« on: 06 / February / 2011, 01:55:05 »
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With CHDK and my Canon SX210 IS, I'm planning to buy a kite and start to build the support using a picavet mount:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Picavet.gif

I'm a little afraid of the damage a fall could produce to the camera. So I'm planning to make some kind of box to soften a hit against the ground. Anyway, I don't think the camera can be damage-free, regardless the protection of that box.

What do you think? Is there anyway to minimize the chances of damaging the camera? What about using a parachute?

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: 06 / February / 2011, 01:56:47 by sironitomas »

Re: Kite aerial photography
« Reply #1 on: 06 / February / 2011, 09:46:16 »
I'm a little afraid of the damage a fall could produce to the camera. So I'm planning to make some kind of box to soften a hit against the ground. Anyway, I don't think the camera can be damage-free, regardless the protection of that box.

What do you think? Is there anyway to minimize the chances of damaging the camera? What about using a parachute?

Armchair opinion from someone who has never done this :

Seems to me that these cameras themselves are pretty light - a wrapping of 1" size bubble wrap should work pretty well in free fall even onto concrete.  All comes down to the bubbles being able to compress just enough to deaccelerate the camera before it hits a hard stop on the ground.

The bigger challenge from my kite flying days long ago is when the kite inverts and the wind accelerates it into the group.  Maybe your idea about a small drag chute hanging below your rig to at least slow things down has some merit ?

Having said that, you might thing about using something like the A480, which sells for about 1/2 the price of a SX120 ?

Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: Kite aerial photography
« Reply #2 on: 06 / February / 2011, 12:22:48 »
I'd suggest you go over your plans in a KAP forum, such as this one:

http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/discuss

The guys there are very experienced and very helpful.  You also need to get suggestions on getting the right kite.

I don't think there's a way to completely protect yourself from camera damage.  If the winds are not well-behaved, a kite can suddenly nosedive, or just fall from the sky in a sudden calm.  Also, if you come down in a tree (yes, it can happen) or over water, there's nothing that can really save you.

But I think generally you won't have a problem if you don't try to fly in bad wind, and proceed carefully.  You'll be attaching the Picavet 100 feet or more below the kite, so you'll have the opportunity to see how the kite flies for a few minutes before sending the camera up.

Also, I would strongly recommend that you practice with a dummy weight before sending the camera up.  That will let you learn how your kite behaves under load.  Baking soda comes in convenient sized boxes that usually fit on the Picavet platform.

I haven't heard of anyone using a parachute.

Re: Kite aerial photography
« Reply #3 on: 06 / February / 2011, 14:41:05 »
Some older cameras, like my A620, accept a metal lens accessory adapter tube.
That provides quite a good degree of protection.



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Offline zeno

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Re: Kite aerial photography
« Reply #4 on: 07 / February / 2011, 04:20:32 »
In practice a fall is very, very unlikely in KAP. Since the rig is not attached to the line until the kite is well up in the air (in much less turbulent air than at ground level), a fall only happens when the line breaks. And since most of us use line that is much stronger than needed (e.g. 150-250lb breaking strain) a break is usually the result of not checking line for wear.

What is much more likely is damage to the extended lens by casual bumps when the rig is at ground level - as David says, an adapter tube (like the one attached to my A570 here http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_mitchell/2298136554/#in/photostream/) are a very good idea.

Flying over water is another hazard - modern cameras get ruined by even a brief spell under water. If you plan on doing that a waterproof camera is not a bad idea.
A570, S100, Ixus 127
Author of ASSIST, STICK, WASP, ACID, SDMInst, LICKS, WICKS, MacBoot, UBDB, CFGEdit

Re: Kite aerial photography
« Reply #5 on: 08 / February / 2011, 03:16:58 »
Thanks for the respones, I'll check in a specialized forum then.

@zeno: How well up in the air is the kite when the rig is attached?

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Offline zeno

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Re: Kite aerial photography
« Reply #6 on: 08 / February / 2011, 04:08:20 »
@sironitomas

As a rough guide, you need at least 50' (15 metres) or more of line between kite and rig. Not only does this mean the kite is already up in more stable air but it also means the rig moves around less when the kite starts wandering around the sky.

It's also worth saying that you need to have the kite up in the air for a few minutes to test the wind before attaching a rig (particularly when flying somewhere new or where there are large obstacles such as trees or buildings that cause turbulence).
A570, S100, Ixus 127
Author of ASSIST, STICK, WASP, ACID, SDMInst, LICKS, WICKS, MacBoot, UBDB, CFGEdit

 

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