Smooth Winds at Point Lookout

It was late November, almost four months after my first KAP session. Nearly all of my outings to this point had been two different parks, and mostly just trying to get the kite really high to take a picture of the landscape. I decided it was time for some variety, so I headed down to Point Lookout, the very end of the western peninsula of Maryland. There is a lighthouse at the end of the peninsula, and I was excited to have an actual subject for my photos this time.

Unfortunately, when I got there, I soon realized that was not to be. The last couple hundred yards of the peninsula were blocked off, as renovations of the lighthouse and other buildings were in progress. The wind was blowing from the east (across the peninsula instead of along it), so there was no chance of flying the kite over the lighthouse to take pictures. I could have still aimed the camera that way, but then it would have been pointing into the sun, and the pictures probably wouldn’t have turned out that great.

So instead, I decided to take pictures back up the coastline to the north. There was a boat close to the shore that should look nice, if it would stay there anyway. Besides, then I could see what the beach area, which I know well from the ground, looks like from the air.

With the wind coming from the east, there was only a very small area to launch a kite. The edge of the beach is covered in rocks, but there was a space with some sand where I could set up. Some fishermen were in the area, casting their lines down into the water while I hoped to keep mine up and out of it! There is a picture of the area where I was flying below, taken by the KAP camera when it was only about 10 ft off the ground.

The wind was about 10 mph and pretty steady, so I selected the Mini Dopero for the flight. I prefer this kite when there is enough wind, since I can set it up and have it in the air in just a couple minutes. It turned out that having such a small launch area was no problem at all. With the smooth sea breeze, flying the kite was as easy as setting it up and letting it go! No long-line running launch was needed to contact stable air as is often the case inland. In fact, if there is one term to describe this session, it is easy! Flying over the water was a new experience for me, but the wind was so smooth that there was never a concern about losing the rig. I should fly here more often!

With such a smooth breeze, I was able to attach the KAP rig less than 50 feet below the kite. I knew from past experience not to put it much closer than that, since it can cause stability issues and make for “interesting” landings. I didn’t bring my good camera for taking pictures from the ground, but I was able to snap the one you see on the left with my phone while the kite was still pretty low. Everything was soon up and away with little effort.

Like I said, the flight was very smooth, but that doesn’t mean the camera didn’t swing around a bit. One thing I like about an AutoKAP rig (in my case, just a fixed rig with an intervalometer) is that the swinging can actually be a benefit; though most of the time it results in pictures that are blurry, poorly composed, or with a severely tilted horizon, every once in awhile it turns up some good ones. Take, for example, the pictures below. Luckily for me, the boat remained nearby the shore for almost the whole flight, which added a nice extra element to some of the pictures. In these ones, the camera was swinging downward just as the shutter went. As a result, the boat became the main subject, even though that wasn’t planned.

There were also a few times during the flight when the wind reduced by one a mile per hour or two, the kite stopped pulling, and the line became a somewhat slack. It wasn’t enough to be concerned, and I was ready to wind it in very quickly or even run the other direction if needed, but it never ended up being a problem. A slightly more forward tow point would have helped. Eventually I got all 700 feet of line out, let it take some pictures, and then started winding it in again. Here are a couple more of my favorites.

The boat did end up being a nice element in a lot of the photos, like the first one above. The second one shows the beach area, which is shielded by some man-made rows of rocks out in the water, presumably to reduce the impact of waves and currents on swimmers. The fishing pier, a Civil War-era fort, and several other buildings are also visible from this altitude. Point Lookout actually has a rather interesting — albeit somewhat morbid — history dating back to the Civil War and even before. You can read more about it here:

Point Lookout State Park History

I’m looking forward to flying here again. Hopefully next time the renovations will be done, and I can take some pictures of the lighthouse and the other buildings at the tip of the peninsula.

2 thoughts on “Smooth Winds at Point Lookout

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