One More Try at Lancaster Park

I decided to return to Lancaster Park again. If you read my last post, you’ll know that I had a lot of lessons learned. The purpose of this session was to try to incorporate some of those lessons. Plus, I knew from my first time out that looking north from this park had the potential to produce some nice views of the Patuxent River and Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge crossing the river, so I’d use this session as an opportunity to take pictures in that direction.

The main thing that I wanted to try this time was attaching the camera after that kite was already flying steadily, rather than attaching it to the line on the ground. I had learned by now that having the camera hanging very close to the kite makes it less stable, and trying to launch and land the kite with the rig still attached is just asking for trouble. (Read my previous two posts for all the juicy details. πŸ™‚ )

The wind was from the west this time, so I flew my Mini Dopero kite from a soccer field on the north side of the park, which runs east and west lengthwise. The wind strength was marginal for this kite, and it took me a couple attempts and bridle adjustments to get it in the air, and I was thankful that the camera rig wasn’t attached during the failed attempts. Finally, it was in the air flying pretty smoothly on about 100 feet of line. I didn’t have a way to secure the line while I attached the rig, so I resorted to putting the winder on the ground and standing on it. That was a little awkward, but eventually it worked. (For future sessions, I filled a duffel bag with rocks to take care of the line-holding duties.)

With the rig now attached to the line and the KAP UAV intervalometer script running, I grabbed the winder again and began letting out line to lift the camera higher. It was slow going. Besides the wind being just barely strong enough, the bridle might have been adjusted with the tow point a little too far forward still, because the kite just wasn’t pulling very much. I eventually coaxed it to a few hundred feet in the air, but with the weight of the rig and the line already out, it wasn’t going to get any higher than that. This was one day that would have been perfect for a bigger kite like the Barn Door, except I hadn’t built it yet!

View looking north from Lancaster Park, with the Patuxent River and Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge in the distance

This certainly wouldn’t be a day for high-altitude pictures, but I was still very pleased with the results. The new things I had tried worked. Attaching the camera well below the kite and using a faster shutter speed resulted in a high percentage of the photos being sharp and close to level. Angling the camera view down a little bit resulted in having more ground in the frame while still being able to see off to the horizon, and the exposure was correct in most of the shots. The picture above is probably the best one of the bunch. It’s not that high, but it’s level (I rotated it just 2.5 degrees in GIMP), sharp, and shows a little bit of the park and also the surrounding area, including the Patuxent River and Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge. It’s the first of my kite aerial photos that I think is deserving of the watermark down in the corner. πŸ™‚

Are you getting bored of this park yet? I am. Next time out, I’ll try somewhere else.

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