This past weekend I headed back to Point Lookout for some more KAP. The main mission was to get another picture to put on my wall. I’ve recently printed out several of my favorite landscape photographs, including two KAP shots, and hung them, but, as you can see, I have an open spot for one more (the large one is 12×18″ and the smaller ones are 8×12″).
My original plan was to take another aerial photo of the Point Lookout fishing pier from directly above, getting as much in the shot as possible without requiring any cropping so that it could fit a 12×18″ frame properly, probably with the pier lined up diagonally across the frame. It seemed possible based on the south or southwest wind that was forecast. It was supposed to be at least 8 mph all day, and increasing as the day went on, eventually with gusts above 20 mph, so I decided to go early to get the softest light and least gusty winds.
When I got to the location, I encountered a few problems. First, the wind was quite unsteady and seemed to be frequently below the forecast 8 mph. I had just finished framing up my workhorse Rokker kite, which is also my best kite for light winds, when I encountered the second problem: one of the ferrules joining the three-piece carbon fiber main spar had come unglued and slid into the center tube of the spar, rendering the kite useless. Thankfully, I also had my Mini Dopero with me, so I had no choice but to go with that one. By this point, there were periods of stronger winds, and based on the forecast I thought this smaller kite might actually be a better choice anyway.
After getting the kite ready to go, I was able to get it in the air after a few tries. However, the wind was still a problem, as it remained unsteady and went through frequent periods where it was below the kite’s minimum limit, requiring me to constantly work the line to keep it in the air. Eventually, I had released about 150 ft, which is about the most I wanted to do before attaching the camera (the planned shot really needs as much altitude as possible), but I still wasn’t confident enough in the wind to do so. I flew for a while longer and decided it wouldn’t hurt to to test the wind at a higher altitudes while I waited for it to hopefully become more reliable. Before long, the wind died almost completely, and the kite came down. This is when the third problem arose: I had to hastily pull in line and leave it on the ground, and it ended up hopelessly tangled. My prospects of achieving the planned shot were dropping quickly now.
I spent several minutes trying to untangle the line before deciding it was just not going to happen. To salvage a chance at some photos, I removed the first 200 ft of kite line, which had been spliced to an additional 500 ft of line with a double fisherman’s knot. Since the tangle was all in the first section of line, this operation left 500 ft to work with. Even though this would likely not be enough for the shot I wanted, I decided that after all this trouble, I might as well at least try to fly some more.
My luck started to change at this point, as I ended up with a good 30 minutes of fairly steady, albeit relatively light, wind. Soon, my radio-controlled KAP rig was attached about 50 ft below the kite and I was letting out more string. I captured as many images of the fishing pier as I could, but it was clear that the lack of line wouldn’t be the only problem with my plan; the wind was just not in the right direction to take the kite out far enough over the pier. This at least made me feel a little better about not having the extra 200 ft of line. I decided to also take a couple shots in other directions just for the sake of seeing some different views. Here is one of them, looking north up the peninsula:
It’s not wall-hanging material, but it’s still a nice view. By now, it was clear that the direct-overhead shot wasn’t going to work, so I decided to go to Plan B: walk down the shoreline to capture more of the pier from an angle. The best of these was one of my last, which is at the top of this post, and I’ll put it here too:
I’m really quite fond of this shot. I love the mix of brown, green, and blue colors in the water, the X shape formed by the pier and sand bar underneath, and the quite satisfying composition with all elements fairly well balanced. Is it worthy of hanging on the wall? Maybe. If anything, I may print it out in the smaller (8×12″) size and promote one of the others to the remaining 12×18″ slot. But I will wait and see if I get anything better before winter arrives.
The flight ended abruptly as the wind dropped below the kite’s minimum speed again for a prolonged period. Thankfully, I had plenty of room to move down the shore, and I managed a soft landing for both the KAP rig and kite through a combination of running and winding. Upon reflection, it was a good KAP session — certainly better than I expected after running into so many problems — and an enjoyable way to spend a cool autumn morning. Now to fix that Rokker spar and plan my next session.