Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala
Mad Dogs, Englishmen, and Benton

In May 1999, I went to Guatemala for a week at the invitation of Professor Davide Garda of the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala City. This was a delightful trip. I gave several lectures and seminars during the visit including a presentation and exhibit on kite aerial photography. In addition to seeing the teeming Guatemala City I was also able to visit the impressively serene setting of Antigua and later the lake city of Flores and the striking Mayan ruins at Tikal.  

On the left is a view of Volcán Agua, one of three volcanoes visible from Antigua. I could spend a couple of weeks in Antigua just photographing windows and doors. The city's walled streets offer a stunningly rich visual essay on the transition from public to private using an architectural palette that spans three centuries (23K jpg each, Canon 24-mm, June 1999).

My schedule in Guatemala left altogether little time for KAPing and when time was available it seemed the wind often was not. I was finally able to end the drought when Davide and I visited the small community of Ciudad Vieja in the coffee-growing countryside outside Antigua. Our kite flying coincided with the vertical sun and tangible heat of the noon hour (thus the mad dogs and Englishmen reference.) While the local residents where sensibly tucked away under convenient sources of shade I ran a maximum stress test of my deodorant by combining activity and exposure to the sun. Regrettably, the fitful winds were barely adequate to fly the Sutton 30 and the village square was surrounded by electrical lines (each, I am certain, eager to snatch my camera for keeps.)

The cathedral in Ciudad Vieja (old city) just outside of Antigua. This church, begun in 1534 is the oldest in the region (31K jpg left and 24K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, June 1999).

With coaxing I was finally able to get the camera high enough to take the images shown on this page. This ended up being quite a bit of work but I was determined not to haul all of my equipment to Guatemala without taking at least one roll. By the way, I did arduously haul the gear to Tikal despite the fear that winds in the jungle would be even more capricious. It turns out that there was adequate wind, however, securing permission to fly in the park was virtually impossible without prior arrangement. Pity that.

A view of the central square in Ciudad Vieja, my flying site and an impromptu noonday gathering of musicians in honor of the gringo's kite (41K jpg left and 38K jpg right, Canon 24-mm, June 1999).

A plan image of an umbrella- shaded native crossing the square (was I ever envious of the shade) and your author flying under the protective gaze of the Blessed Virgin -- note the low angle of the kiteline as my camera rig hovers above an inconveniently placed electrical transformer (32K jpg each, Canon 24-mm, June 1999).

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