Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Bryce Canyon Abstractions
Southern Utah


On the last page I described my less-than-adroit landing of the camera rig 200 feet down the face of the Bryce Canyon wall.  The one asset I seemed to have was the limp 220-pound-test kiteline connecting me to the camera cradle and the kite beyond. After scouting the lay of the land with binoculars and several trips up and down the rim trial I started to pull in the kiteline. I did so with the technique of one catching blue crabs on the Georgia Coast. Very slowly, finger width by finger width, I pulled the line toward me. With binoculars Charlie Benton could see that the camera was sliding on its back -- a much better circumstance than lens down. At one point he reported that the lens hood fell off. The front element of the 24-mm lens was now exposed as there was no UV filter. A half-hour later the camera cradle was back in my hands. By some stroke of good fortune it had not become entangled on brush or trapped in a crevice. Remarkably, it was hardly even scuffed up.  

A young Charlie Benton (left) and his dad (right) on our quest to retrieve the Canon lens shade in the incredibly colorful light of Bryce Canyon. This was a fine adventure hike but alas the lens shade still enjoys the light in the canyon (Canon 24-mm, June 1998)

An hour later and I had the Sutton 30 in hand. It too survived the slow trip up the cliff face albeit with a cargo of about five pounds of sand and rock. The only casualty of the incident was the lens hood that was knocked off. Charlie and I later used this as an excuse to do a little off trail wandering to find it but we never did. All in all, I felt as though I had dodged a bullet.

A quartet of views taken while flying from the canyon's rim (Canon 24-mm, June 1998).

Ah, after recovery the fantastic array of brightly colored pinnacles, windowed walls, pedestals, fins and spires eroded from the Pink Cliffs layer of the Tertiary Claron formation regained their former charm.  I guess the story serves to point out that wind patterns can vary considerably from location to location. Flying in unfamiliar circumstances offers the thrill, and risk, of exploration. I am quite pleased with the aerial images and particularly happy that they did not come at a higher price.

A near plan view and an oblique view of the bluff in shadow  (Canon 24-mm, June 1998).



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All rights reserved. Revised: Saturday, June 26, 2010


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