Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

A Trip through the American Southwest
Canyon de Chelly


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This ground level shot provides a view of the sheer canyon wall on the left. For a sense of scale look at the size of the house just to the left of the bright green (Cottonwood?) tree. On the right is a tailgate view of Deswood's deuce-and-a-half as it rolls down the canyon floor.  (25K jpg, Canon 28-105-mm left and 38K jpg, Canon 15-mm right, June 1998).


We arrived at Canyon de Chelly after a long afternoon's drive across northern Arizona. Traipsing across the Painted Desert during a wind storm makes for a memorable experience. With building anticipation we drove through the Chinle Wash to Chinle Arizona, the gateway to Canyon de Chelly. The landscape provided little to prepare us for the gripping beauty of the narrow canyons. It was easy to see the great appeal of this landscape and its attraction to inhabitants over the last 2,000 years. I was mesmerized. On the advice of friends we signed up for a day-long tour of the canyons. The was good advice. Canyon de Chelly is entirely owned by the Navajo Nation. Upkeep and interpretation are joint responsibilities of the Navajo Nation and the National Park Service. The practical consequence of this arrangement is that access to the canyon floor is available only through Navajo-led tours. This is a great arrangement for all concerned methinks. 

A view of my kite flying site near sunset and the rim of a side canyon looking southeast. The canyon's sheer sandstone walls are around 800 feet high at this location.(30K jpg left, Canon 24-mm and 41K jpg right, Canon 15-mm, June 1998).

My one chance to fly the kite at Canyon de Chelly came at the end of our day-long tour of the canyon floor. A the sun was quickly setting I drove along the South Canyon Rim Road. Racing the sun I made my way to a canyon rim overlook and launched the kite into a blustery wind. I guess it comes as no surprise that wind at the canyon's edge was turbulent and after watching the kite fly for ten minutes or so I sent the Canon Rebel up. The images on this page are from the quick roll of film I shot. It felt good to finally get a KAP roll taken after being on the road for five days.

A two-image montage of the canyon floor taken when the kite veered over the edge of the cliff (38K jpg, Canon 24-mm, June 1998).




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