High Above Chancellors Run Park

It was a hot afternoon with a steady breeze, and I had a couple hours available, so I decided to head to Chancellors Run Park. It is a site I have flown at many times before, but I haven’t taken good aerial photos there recently. The last time was with my old PowerShot SD1400IS, which is a decent camera, but far below the image quality of my new Sony RX0. So it seemed like a good time to go back to this park and try to get some photos of the Lexington Park and California, MD area from nice and high.

Since the wind was on the lighter side, it was definitely time for another session with the venerable (albeit new) Rokker kite. Rather than flying from my normal spot at this park — one of the four baseball fields right in the middle — I decided to fly from a soccer field in the corner. The goal was partly just to get a new vantage point, and partly because the I intended to photograph the areas north of the park rather than the park itself. However, the wind in this corner was swirling all around, which made the launch more challenging than expected. After a couple attempts, the kite was flying high enough that I could attach the winder to a stake, attach the KAP rig to the line, turn everything on, and…watch as the kite came back down again. And just to make it more frustrating, the kite line got tangled up with the picavet suspension for the rig, forcing me to take more time to untangle it. The next attempt met a similar fate, except that the lines didn’t get tangled this time. Finally, the third time was the charm, and the kite and camera were finally up and away.

The rest of the flight went pretty smoothly. There were moments with lulls and stronger gusts, but the Rokker handled them with ease. This kite is supremely stable and inspires confidence, even when flying over trees like I was doing on this day. About halfway through the flight, with almost all 700 ft of line already out, it got into a strong thermal, taking it very high and almost directly overhead. The picture below was a result of that thermal. This was the view that I had in mind for the session, with parts of Lexington Park and California, as well as the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge and Calvert County, visible several miles away. Actually, if you zoom in on the full size image, you can even make out land 15 miles away on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay. Thermals are always a little bit nerve-wracking since there is the possibility of the kite over-flying and/or the line going slack at the end of it, but this time it just gently floated downwind and continued flying normally after several minutes. (If the picture looks blurry in the preview, click to view it full size instead.)

It’s kind of a toss-up for me which picture I like best, either this one or the one at the top of the page showing the park. Both are interesting to me since the show my local area, but of course they’re not as picturesque as some other areas in Southern Maryland. Here are a couple more images below that I found interesting. The first one is one that I normally wouldn’t have kept, since it is focused on the line rather than the landscape, but this time the line was so close to the camera that the background was quite blurred, which made for what I think is a kind of cool effect and an aerial photo that is unique to kites. The next one just shows another view of the park and an adjacent neighborhood. You can see all my pictures taken from this location at the Chancellors Run Park Aerial Photo Gallery.

Bringing the kite back down was no problem, since the wind was not that strong and actually decreasing in strength. As is often the case, winding the kite in quickly pulled it up to a high line angle. I think it happened to get into another small thermal around the time I removed the camera from the line, because it ended up just floating straight down from 100 ft to end the flight. Another successful KAP session in the books! Next time I’ll try to find another more scenic location, maybe a new one or one that I’ve only photographed in the winter.

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