Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Edwards Track Stadium
University of California, Berkeley


A lone runner on the newly-refurbished track surface. The fisheye lens will capture a straight line as a straight line if it goes through the exact center of the image. I positioned the camera to make sure the aluminum edge rail would be straight. (Canon 15-mm, April 2000).

These photographs were taken during  my second trip to Edwards Track Stadium for KAPing that week. I shot two rolls on an earlier excursion that did not come out very well. I had been chatting with a passerby who, after examining my camera cradle, asked why the focus was set at 0.3 meters. Good question! Somehow the camera lens had been switched to manual focus and I had the poor fortune of the fixed focus being set to its near limit. 

As a rule I have been very pleased with the performance of my Canon's automatic focus when the camera is in flight. I had imagined early in my KAP experience that it would probably be better to tape the lens focus to infinity before sending a camera aloft. Instead, I just rely on the autofocus. Now it seems a good idea to tape the autofocus on/off switch in place.


Manual focus at 0.3 meters in what is a low KAP shot by any measure  (Canon 24-mm, April 2000).

Pity about the photographs I lost due to the fixed near focus. The light that day was rich and low while the wind was very stable. This is what comes from being out of practice. Still, I find that my last few outings have been time well spent. It is just plain fun to have a kite aloft. 

A view northward to the Eucalyptus Grove (left) and southwest to the Tang Health Center (Canon 15-mm, April 2000).

I have not been flying the fisheye lens much of late but decided to give it a spin at the track stadium. The images that came back were fun. My general tendency to fly wide angle lenses is driven by a desire to keep my kite relatively low. I would estimate the camera's altitude to be around 200 feet in these shots. 

Plan views of the track. The left view, taken from a fair height, shows the shadows of two athletes as they hop their way up the stadium benches. On the right is another low-altitude fisheye view of the track (Canon 24-mm left and Canon 15-mm right, April 2000).



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