Last year I did some KAP at Elm’s Beach Park, a beach on the Chesapeake Bay. One of the subjects was an interesting row of posts out in the water. I couldn’t get as close to it as I wanted at that time, though, and I also decided it looks better in a vertical (aka portrait) orientation, but the rig I was using at the time was not capable of that. My new radio-controlled KAP rig can be switched from horizontal to vertical orientation, so I decided to take another shot at this challenging subject.
The forecast called for a west wind around 10 mph, which should be perfect for flying out over the water with my Rokker kite. At the beach, the wind seemed much more unstable, with infrequent gusts that must have been close to 20 mph, and many thermals. I had to adjust the bridle twice and add a drogue to get the kite flying in a way that seemed steady enough to risk attaching the rig. After those adjustments and letting out 200 feet of line, it was ready for KAP. I attached the rig and started wading out into the water, equipped with a bathing suit to get as far as possible.
Thankfully, once the kite got away from the beach, the wind was steadier, so there were only a couple scary moments where I feared the rig would come down in the water and had to take action. Unfortunately, with the R/C transmitter hanging near my waist, I couldn’t wade too far without risking getting it wet. One mistake that I made was forgetting to remove the lens cap from the micro FPV camera that provides the video downlink for composing pictures. It is translucent, so it was still possible to see what the camera was pointing at, but not easily, especially since the picture on the monitor is sideways with the rig in portrait orientation. After about 45 minutes of KAP, I decided to head back to shore and bring it down.
Here is the best photo of the posts I got from the session. It ended up not being as close as I was hoping, and I had to crop quite a bit to get it, but I still like how it came out. At times when the prevailing wind direction was west, it also tended not to be that strong, so the viewpoint is not that high.
This may not be a “portfolio piece,” (not that I have a real portfolio, but it probably won’t go in the Favorites gallery), but I have some ideas for improving it. Next time I’ll use a shorter strap for my R/C transmitter so I can wade farther into the water, and I’ll attach the rig closer to the kite and let out as much string as possible to get the camera closer to the posts. Regardless, this was a fun and rewarding session!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy some video footage of the kite, camera, and wildlife below.