Kite Aerial Photography E-Resources

Basics/ Kites /

Flying Characteristics

Behaviors noticeable after attachment of cradle to kite line.

Frequently individuals who are interested in KAP, but have never flown a rig, have false expectations about the stability of a flying KAP rig. A KAP rig is almost constantly in motion because of small changes in wind speed and wind direction. The periods where the KAP rig appears fixed to one point in the sky only last for a few seconds.

Yo-Yo Effect
The wind constantly changes speed. The amount of pull on the kite line will also be constantly changing, producing the yo-yo effect. The KAP rig will gain and loose altitude with every small change in wind speed. The magnitude of this effect varies with different style kites, and some locations may have steadier winds than others.
(see Basics/"How Much Weight Can My Kite Lift?"for more information)


Lateral Swing
A picavet and a properly designed pendulum will keep the rig level as the angle of the line changes, however neither will prevent lateral swinging caused by the kite constantly changing horizontal direction.
(see l'arc stabilisateur below for a solution)
Most KAPers wait to trip the shutter when the swinging motion has subsided and the rig is level to prevent motion blur and to achieve a nice level composition. In high winds this problem is more persistent.


l'arc stabilisateur by Christian Becot
Christian Becot published this solution to lateral swing in the aerial eye  (4:2). Two small sails are placed on a bowed horizontal spar. This creates a dihedral between the two sails which helps dampen the lateral swinging motions. Notice that the crosspiece is mounted high on the pendulum near the kite line, this keeps the stabilizer from pushing the pendulum back from vertical. Brooks Leffler used a variation on a picavet mounted stereo rig (the aerial eye 4:1)


Camera Distance From The Anchor Point
This is an overhead view of a person flying a kite with two cameras attached at different locations on the line, the camera furthest from the person moves a much greater distance in the same amount of time than the camera closer to the person. The furthest camera is therefore moving faster than the closer camera. This faster speed will cause greater lateral swinging. The combination of increased swing and greater lateral speed could cause blurred photographs. In turbulent winds moving the camera closer would lessen the chance of blurred pictures.