Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Background

Background Information
Table of Contents

Author with Monarch Hand-Launch RC Glider (10 oz.! - 33K jpg)

My interest in kite aerial photography (KAP) started when I was approached by Anne Rock of Berkeley while flying a radio-controlled sailplane at the Berkeley Waterfront. Anne inquired about the radio frequency I was using, a question common from one about to use a radio, but did not appear to have an airplane in the bag she was carrying. I asked what was up and she offered a brief description of kite aerial photography complete with a look a her rig and a small portfolio. Anne's clear enthusiasm for the hobby made the introduction compelling.

Over the ensuing weeks (summer 1994) I found my thoughts wandering to KAP during idle moments and I decided to try and gather additional information on the topic. Since I was in the first flush of getting to know the internet I figured learning about an esoteric topic like KAP would be an interesting test of the information highway. This Background Section summarizes much of the information I gathered in my research and provides pointers to sources for additional information. I hope it helps your search.

Brief Notes on the History of Kite Aerial Photography - These pages provide an idiosyncratic look at the development of aerial photography and the role of the kite in that interesting history. It is a story of imagination, balloons, kites, rockets, pigeons, and airplanes. You can find futher information specific to the history of kite aerial photography at the excellent WWW site of Andrea Casalboni.

Aerial Perspectives Real and Imagined
The Beginnings of Kite Aerial Photography (in progress)
An Age of Discovery and Invention (in progress)
The Airplane Takes Command (in progress)

KAP on the Internet - When I first searched the internet for information there was a lone set of archived e-mail files on an FTP server in Hawaii. Now you can information on equipment, technique tips, and sample images on literally hundreds of WWW pages spread across over a dozen sites.

Links to other Internet KAP Resources

KAP Associations / Newletters / Events - I learned quite a bit in my exploration on the internet. There are a number of people around the word interested in KAP, many with a good deal of experience. I had been lucky to bump into Anne, who is both prominent in the internet postings and generous with advice. I learned that there was a worldwide organization of folks interested in kite aerial photography (KAPWA). As I began my research KAPWA was thought to be defunct. I've since been in contact with Michel Dusariez who related the news that KAPWA still lives, now as the KAPWA Foundation, and that they have recently issued a new book on kite aerial photography. Michel forwarded their Spring 1996 newsletter via email and I've attached this as the three WWW pages referenced below.

Through the newletters I read descriptions of twenty different approaches and rigs for KAP. And from the internet I learned that a group of KAP devotees was about to issue the first volume of a new newsletter, the Aerial Eye. Its now almost three and a half years later and editor Brooks Leffler has produced 13 issues of the Aerial Eye. Its been a five-star resource for those interested in kite aerial photography.

KAPiCA 2002 Conference Report

Aerial Eye Introduction and Availability Update
Aerial Eye Covers - First Year
Aerial Eye Covers - Second Year
Aerial Eye Covers - Third Year
Aerial Eye Covers - Fourth Year
Aerial Eye Covers - Fifth Year

Spring 1996 KAPWA Newsletter, Part 1
Spring 1996 KAPWA Newsletter, Part 2
Spring 1996 KAPWA Newsletter, Part 3


Questions and Answers - This section provides links to a venerable but still useful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) writeup by Anne Rock, the beginnings of a Q&A series by your author, and finally a link to this site's discussion page where you can pose your own questions to a knowledgable readership.

Questions & Answers No. 1

Notes on KAP Safety No. 1
Notes on KAP Safety No. 2

A 1993 KAP FAQ by Anne Rock

Pointers to Occasional Explanations of Technique
Notes on Positioning the Camera

The "Notes on Kite Aerial Photography" Discussion Page


Resources in Print - There are many fine sources of KAP-related information available in hard copy form. This section will add a guide to books and magazines to the already developed catalog page.

A Bibliography (in progress)
KAP in the Magazines (in progress)
A Guide to Selected Catalogs


Notes on Kite Aerial Photography Applied - My early activities in kite aerial photography involved compositional objectives. Of late, I am becoming increasingly interested in applied uses for our techniques. This thread of interest to date involves discussions of manatees, dune zonation, ancient Roman roads, and computer animations. My first example the application of KAP images in developing a three-dimensional computer model of the Berkeley Campus.

The Campanile Project - Introduction
The Campanile Project - Preparatory Work
The Campanile Project - Cloudy Day Shoot
The Campanile Project - Flying from the Top


Miscellaneous - Well, I'm at the end of my list and it looks like I need a grab bag category. But don't let that be offputting -- I think some of these pages are among the most interesting in the site due to their quirky nature.

A Day in the Life of a KAPer
Bay Area Wind Reports 
Incidental Portraits
The World's Most Specialized Barter System
The What's Not So New Page
My KAP Curriculum Vitae


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Comments to author: . All content, graphics and
images contained throughout are Copyright (C) 1995 - 2005 by Charles C. Benton
and are protected by United States and International copyright laws.
No text, graphic or image may be used whole or in part, individually,
or as part of a derivative work without express written permission.

All rights reserved. Revised: 25 June, 2010

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