Friday, July 20th, 2018

KAP – Kite Aerial Photography

The device pictured above is called a Picavet mount (pronounced pickavay). It is a self-leveling suspension developed by Pierre L. Picavet in 1911. Kite aerial photography (KAP) enthusiasts started using this design in 1988 to suspend their cameras in the sky. When I stumbled upon this hobby I knew it was something I wanted to explore, but I also wanted to do it by spending as little as possible. The key was finding a cheap camera that continuously takes pictures at set intervals. My first attempts at KAP were with a small refurbished Nikon that had an interval mode (but lacked an adequate shutter speed). With my second setup, I bought a Canon A570 and used the Canon Hacker’s Development Kit (CHDK) to capture photos at different intervals. In addition to the camera, I also researched and bought the right kite for this project. I acquired a Sutton Flowform (invented by Steve Sutton as a by-product of his experiments to create a better parachute during the 1970s). The camera rig is attached to the line about 100ft below the kite for stability reasons. I’m on my 3rd-generation KAP rig, a Brooxes mount that rotates the camera a few degrees after each shot. I’ve also added a second kite for lower-wind flights called a “9-foot Levitation.”

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