In looking at aerial photography as a group activity the ‘KAP walk’ is an option that brings participants into the landscape and develops a topographic record that is both repeatable and revealing, it gives an opportunity to get large scale ‘carpet’ and panoramic photo-cover whereby the sweep of the landscape is made visible, particularly for a landscape where raised viewpoints are rare.
The idea is to let AutoKAP do its thing and, instead of working the kite over a chosen detail simply let the walk take its course and see what happens. A repeat of walks season by season should record shifts in colour as vegetation follows its cycle.
I have had many memorable kite walks, walking with a kite fixes the mind on wind, sky and landscape in a new way, a familiar walk can become new just by attempting it with a tugging line in the hand and an eye on the sky. A bright colour in the sky, a waving tail in the breeze, a humming line are all seaside memories for many and the exhilaration of flight captures the imagination like nothing else. Walking with a kite forces its own pace and rhythm as the tension on the line must be kept up or the kite will drop, walk too fast into the wind and the kite will hold you back, your motion is forced into a new balance between gravity and the unfamiliar pulling from the sky: get lucky and you experience a feeling of walking on air!
By spacing kites out as walkers move off down wind with a camera aloft a procession of nadir and panning cameras record the duration of the walk as a swath of both nadir cover and a series of horizon pans with any number of incidental shots along the way.
A group of kites at different heights should produce a nice mix of results leading to a rich record of 400 years of civil engineering achievement across the seasons at the Ouse Washes. Living on the edge of the Fen as I do I am very aware of the value this seasonal reservoir in keeping flooding at bay. The story of the Washes is a story of constant care, the system of new cuts, land improvement, the optimism of the Adventurers and the determination of the farming community are written in the pattern of fields and drains below:
Starting at Sutton Gault, an uniterrupted kite walk can be taken all the way to the Causeway Bridge at Mepal. Finding an optimum camera for the task is a challenge: the lightweight 16mp A2300 (above) is nowhere near as sharp as the Leica Dlux 4 :I was lucky with the light as I walked the Catchwater Drain near Wardy Hill…but the way of the kite is blocked by tall trees in the first mile. Next the Canon EosM is walked from Mepal 3.5 miles with a clear sweep in a Sou-westerly to Welches Dam:
where my progress was impeded by site management and overhead wires. Clearly lighting has a role to play but my hopes for a fleet of A2300’s delivering good quality imagery might be optimistic. To keep a pan rig turning slowly over the hour it takes to walk the bank will require a revised method, the rubber band power SP rig does 20 mins at best.
There are very few places in lowland Britain where a kite can be walked for more than a short distance before obstructions are met, the Fens are criss-crossed with wires and most lanes free of traffic are blocked by hedgerow. Working alone I can cope with weaving the line to where I want it but a group walk needs a snag free path.