"I use kite-lofted aerial photos (KAP) to obtain a new perspective of largely familiar subjects that frequently look drastically different when viewed from above," says Scott Haefner, San Francisco-based photographer. "Although I have about 750 feet of kite line, I rarely use all of it; I tend to fly my camera only 20-100 feet above the ground."
"I house my Nikon Coolpix 5000 digital camera in a hand-built rig made of carbon fiber, which hangs from the kite line approximately 50-100 feet below the kite. Like most KAPers, I use a Picavet suspension to attach my camera. The Picavet is a cat's cradle-like device made up of string threaded through tiny pulleys. It is a self-leveling system that stabilizes the camera by dampening motion and by inhibiting the camera's ability to twist."
"I shoot in aperture-priority mode and stop down the aperture as much as possible while still maintaining relatively fast shutter speeds. In stable winds, I can obtain sharp pictures with shutter speeds as slow as 1/200 second, but I prefer to stay in the range of 1/750-1/1000 second or faster. To command the camera, I use a four-channel FM radio controller designed for a model airplane. I stripped the paint off the lens barrel of my camera, creating a large silver area on an otherwise black body and rig so that I can see which direction the camera is pointing. Although some KAPers use a video downlink to assist in composition, I prefer relying on my "mind's eye" to imagine what the camera sees when I compose the image. This has proven quite reliable, and I am getting better with practice.
You can see more of Scott's aerial pictures at his personal site.
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