Here are 12 of my favourite shots of 2011. These are as much a record of kite flying as they are of significant landscape. They fall into 2 categories.
1 ‘Fun KAP’ at good places and times to fly a kite (open space, uncluttered horizon, free of trees, powerlines, poles, roads, people and livestock downwind, sunlight in any upwind quarter) that happen to have something interesting to photograph from above; and
2 ‘Tough KAP’ against the odds or the the reverse of the above, really interesting things that are NOT in good places or times to fly a kite!
These shots are on my 2012 KAP calendar which I was asked to caption, but I didn’t as Vistaprint, who make getting the thing formatted and printed easy, don’t make it easy (or at least not easy enough for me to figure out how) to add caption text. For those who got one over the festive season here they are:
January : The Church of St Leonard, Leverington Cambs. (Kite flown by Clive Hollins) An experiment in spire photography. They don’t work too well as nadir shots, so it’s all about finding the oblique angle that works best.
Febuary: The Romano -British cemetery at Bartlow Cambs. I was thrilled to see the mass of these things emerge from the shadows, the Bartlow Cemetery is a wonderful and much overlooked monument. Definitely a case of 2 above.
March: The boat yard at Felixstowe Ferry, Suffolk. (Kite flown by Clive Hollins). I just love the mix of stuff in this frame, you can almost smell the salt! This is a lovely place to fly a kite so it’s in the ‘fun’ category.
April: Wicken Mill, Wicken, Cambs. 1st success with DSLR which has been something of a hit and miss business. By trial and error I’m finding the heavy camera works well in summer southerlies or as the flow smoothes into the evening: it’s definitely not something to fling into the wind and hope for the best. This would have been fun but I made it tough by insisting on flying the heavy camera, so this is an example of self inflicted ‘tough’ KAP.
October: Ely Cathederal, Cambs. I shall return to this, as the building and its location make something of a micro climate that’s not very kite friendly. It’s a challenge that I’m learning my way around carefully. Clearly in the ‘2’ category!
With the exception of the shot of the cap at Wicken Mill ( Nikon D5100) they are all taken with a Leica X1.
3 kites were used for these shots:
Lessons of 2011:
1.I’d say light winds (Bft 2-3) are the nicest to work with, but take the greatest patience. Having a selection of kites, line and camera is better than trying to make do with ill matched wind and kit.
2. Patience with light pays off. A low Sun angle almost always beats a high one.
3. Keep it low. It’s easy to get ‘carried away’ with height, but often the best shots are from well below the 60m mark.
4. Persistance pays. I have had to walk away from many places I’d love to fly my camera over because the wind or light was not right but I have always found these KAP ‘fails’ are all part of getting to know what has to be right for things to work, and the next attempt benefits from the experience gained from the last.
With thanks to all who have helped and supported my KAP enterprise (you know who you are!) and of course to my patient family.
Wishing you all a pin sharp, rotor free, happy new year!