It’s been a while since my last KAP session. The wind has been pretty calm during these last couple months of summer, and between that and my schedule, I haven’t had any chances for KAP. Finally, this weekend, there was some decent wind, and it was blowing from the southwest, just the right direction for a subject I’ve been waiting to photograph with my kite: the fishing pier at Point Lookout.
If you’ve ever been to Point Lookout, the fishing pier would be hard to miss. It is 700 ft long and, on nice days like this one, full of people fishing. The pier turns at the end, forming an L-shape. I figured this pier would look most interesting from directly above, so I did something unusual (for me) and pointed the camera straight down. The autoKAP rig was still set up to rotate, so I would get pictures with the pier in all different orientations.
I set up along the shore to the southwest of the pier, with the intention of flying the kite out over the water past the pier and hanging the camera directly above it. The plan was to get it high enough to capture most of the length of the pier, including the L-shape at the end. It can be hard to judge distances from the ground, but I did the best I could and was pleased to find out after getting the pictures back that the plan worked out. The map below shows the approximate locations of me and the camera with nearly all of my 700 ft of line released.
Even though there was enough wind, launching the kite was surprisingly challenging. Below 100 ft, the wind was really turbulent, and on several launch attempts the kite zoomed all around before eventually losing lift while I did my best to work the line. The turbulence must have been because of the trees behind me, but it was still a little surprising just how turbulent it was. It didn’t help that there wasn’t that much room to move around or do a long-line launch. I encountered the same turbulence while bringing the kite down; as soon as the kite reached about 100 ft above the ground, it became very difficult to fly, and it actually took a dive and a loop at one point after I had already detached the rig. Thankfully, the Rokker kite eventually found smooth air and was its normal stable self again. I attached the rig about 150 ft of line below the kite.
Once the rig was attached, I let out the line quickly to get the camera over the pier, also moving back and forth along the rocks in an attempt to always keep it in the right place. I spent about half of the 33-minute shooting session at high altitude trying to get as much of the pier in view as possible and the other half bringing it back in to try to get some closer shots. Winding the line in was hard work with the moderate breeze at altitude, especially since I had a time limit and had to go fast. As I wound it in, I also moved closer to the pier along the rocks. My distance estimating skills turned out to be pretty good, because most of the shots had the pier in view, and plenty were directly over it. My three favorite shots, from high, medium, and low altitude, are shown below.
The most striking thing about these images is the green hue of the water, which I was not expecting. It was not nearly as noticeable from the ground, but it looks really nice from the air. Also unexpected were the quite visible turbulent wakes of the bridge supports extending down into the water, which are more brownish in color due to the dirt and sand that they entrain. Each of the images shows the popularity of this fishing spot on a nice Labor Day weekend, and the umbrella in the last two makes for a nice accent to the photos. This KAP mission was as much of a success as I hoped!
After the session, I drove down to the end of the peninsula to check it out. The last time I came to Point Lookout, the very end was closed due to lighthouse renovations, so I wanted to see if it was open again. It turns out that it was. I’ve been wanting to do some KAP of this place, so I’ll put it on my mental KAP to-do list. I think it will look good from a couple hundred feet high with the camera offshore past the end of the peninsula. Here’s a picture of the lighthouse that I took from the ground, and also, just for fun, a picture of the big fly that landed on my window (these things are all over the place at Point Lookout, and they seem to love cars).
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