In preparing content for the KAPwiki it transpires advice on method is needed. One way of organising the options is to look at the rig and what it is likely to be used for:
Kite choice. The lifter will be down to what’s available based on the wind forecast and a bit of guesswork as to what the wind will be doing at the flying field. Kite choice comes down to a 3 way split between the PFK Nighthawk in Bft 4 and above, the ITW Levitation in Bft 3 and the Jones 8′ rokkaku for the light stuff. Of these by far and away the best to fly is the big rok, especially in evening wind fades when it will float in the upper levels of laminar flow with a smoothness I yearn for on rougher days. On serious bike days I have now taken to the Didak Explorer 2.7 and 16 for their compact ‘travel-ability’ I have to accept they are a pain to launch in tight spaces and the flying angle will be low.
Right kind of wind. I reckon there are more kinds of winds than you can put a name to but the wind is either kite friendly or not. It doesn’t take long to find out what happens when a kite is overblown but it can take an age to decide when its under blown, it’s hard to give up when even the lightest air lifts the kite a little, but won’t raise the camera: the no-fly decision on light wind days is much harder to make than the ‘I’m not flying in that!’ call in Bft5.
Camera choice is based on my sense of windfear. If things are swinging about up there on a tugging line I feel as if I’m walking on thin ice and either feed more line into the sky to see if it gets smoother (a reasonable prospect if I’m flying in wind shadow) and risk a robust auto rig or reel in and go home. If the kite is pulling hard and steady then it’s going to be either a heavy rig and camera to match or a chance to fly my heaviest DSLR set up. If the wind has holes (by which I mean yanking the line one minute and dumping slack the next in it the whole photographic agenda shifts from ‘let’s shoot that’ to ‘what can I get out of this’ and the lightweight autoKAP option kicks in.
Wide cover or tight frame. If there’s a a steady pulse to the wind giving 5 or 10 minutes of consistent pull between lull or gust there’s a good chance a panoramic sweep is possible. To get the best of the opportunity I use a ‘high speed’ portrait aspect pan rig on a fixed tilt.It smashes away taking 2 shots every second and I have got it up to 60m, done 3 sweeps and got it down between rain squalls. I reckon I got the best out of the situation:
For tight framing 2 axis control is going to catch the most from the scene below the kite. If it’s rough, and I’m flying over busy detail I’ll try my luck with clickPanPro driving and hope for the best: it works but never quite as you’d expect:
In Bft 3, provided there’s space and the pull is smooth I like to fly 800g worth of video relay RC rig, watching the view from above as my weight is balanced by the lift from above: it’s like walking on air, it feeels like you can float the camera anywhere!
With the subject facing down wind an overfly was required to see it. If the camera view is upwind there is always a problem with shooting the kite line never mind the problem of getting enough height to clear the monument.
Even with ideal wind and light KAP won’t always let you get what you want…