WP doesn’t allow uploading of video any more for some reason.
Here’s a link to YouTube, which still does;

Let’s see if that works!

Ok, it’s been a while, I know. Things to do people to see.
I apologise for my absence. But yes, I have been out and about in the mean-time with the kite and camera.
Just last week, for instance, on a blustery summer’s day in the land of Holl.

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This big lump of earth on an industrial estate just outside of Arnhem provides a great kiting platform.

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This is the view 180 degrees the other direction, it’s the Bunzl warehouse and offices, where my partner Anja works.

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And this is a way further down the road, near Nijmegen, where I spend a lot of my week gathering tokens that I can swap for kiting and camera equipment!

Just bought a new 7ft delta that I’d like to try in stronger winds. But it’s chucking it down outside right now. Maybe, just maybe there’ll be a window in the weather later this afternoon.

Vliegerfest Gemert

Posted: 15 August 2011 in Uncategorized

The Free Fun Flyers, from Gemert, NL put on their annual Kite festival last weekend.

Weather was rubbish, low winds and showers on the Saturday, heavy rain on the Sunday. We went down there, got a couple of kites into the air, got wet and watched a demonstration by the 4-man kite team “Air-4-ce”.

Vliegerfest Doetinchem

Posted: 10 July 2011 in Uncategorized

This weekend, just down the road from me in a field outside Wehl, the Doetinchem Kite-festival 2011 was held.
Of course, I had to go along to that!

I met Cees Kuppens! One of the best KAPers in NL!

Out in the field there were dozens of camper-vans, caravans, large tents. These guys take their kite-flying seriously!
Actually it’s really nice, like camping with a common-cause. A bunch of like-minded people, all extremely nice and friendly, setting up camp in a field, hoisting a kite into the air, staking it to the ground, pulling up a folding chair and just chillin’ for the weekend.

Some had trailers, fitted out with racks and shelves full of kite-building stuff, a travelling workshop really.
This image is a 5-shot composite image, taken with the N96 under the 6,5ft Rokkaku.

A couple of stall-holders selling all-things-kite set up there too, some really interesting stuff there.

Quite a busy sky! This one feller had a whole string of Seals, a big Walrus-like thing at the top, going smaller and smaller down to little white baby seals at the bottom.

So I got stuck into the fray there, elbowed my way into a reasonably clear bit of sky and staked my claim.

The wind was pretty much perfect, 3bft and constant, no scary surprises, so I attached the rig & Pen to the line and sent it up. Just a question of keeping alert as to what the other lines were doing, walk off to one side or the other if they got too close. No multi-liners in this field, they have a section of their own.

Pictures were ok, 1000/sec shutter priority set, all nice & sharp. only the 17mm lens on the Pen really isn’t wide enough. I only captured bits of the show-ground, never the whole thing, even at max height. I’ll try stitching a few of them together and see if I can get a decent panorama from them.

Some great line-laundry out there too. This huge fish is hanging on a line that is suspended by a carrier-kite, way higher up in the air.

And I made a film! Sent the N96 back up there under the Rok set to “movie”. I wasn’t expecting much, to tell the truth. I imagined it getting shaken about so much up there that watching a video of it would make you sea-sick. I edited it down from 17mins to just 6, cutting out any really shaky bits and adding a music track.

(all ground photography by my very capable assistant, Anja !)

Salford, retro-technology

Posted: 5 July 2011 in Uncategorized

Last night I went over to the newly developed Salford Quays with a mate of mine who’s from the area. Down near the Lowry centre, the Imperial War Museum of the North and where the BBC has set up camp.

There was very little wind, 1-2 bft, max,  and the location is enclosed on most sides by high buildings. I left the Olympus Pen and the Brooxes rig behind and just took the home-made lightweight set up with me;

Better a lo-tech solution with lesser quality images than nothing at all, right?

Actually the launch went quite well, there’s a lot of open water around there and a bit of a breeze was being concentrated, channelled, between the high buildings so we managed to get the Rokkaku airborne and attach the camera, shooting straight back down the line so wherever I was standing would (roughly) be where the camera was taking it’s shots (on a 10 second intervalometer).

Getting quite a few admiring and inquiring looks from bystanders around there. Then a camera-club turned up, dozens of them, and I ended up explaining about eight separate  times what it was all about. I should get information flyers printed!

So here’s one of the Imperial War Museum of the North, an impressive ultra-modern building made of, what looks like, stainless steel. There’s an even more impressive pyramid-shaped tower just to the right, out of shot that makes me want to return with a better set-up, something with a bit more control, but I’m here fairly often so that should happen, on a day with a bit more wind.

A little further up the Quay is this copper-mirror clad building and a pretty unique lifter foot-bridge. By walking along to where I wanted to be photographed the camera just kept shooting straight down the line to where I was standing and therefore the subject I wanted in shot. It’s a pity I couldn’t cross that bridge, some good stuff on the other side of the Quay, but manoeuvring the line between those towers would have been a bit of a trick, and even then I’d only get halfway across before it closes in above. Could always climb over the arches though, hey, maybe an idea for next time.

There are security cameras, on high posts, dotted about all over that area, we would hear a noise, look up and they were tracking us as we went about our perfectly normal activities.

Well, all in all a successful KAP outing, good to see my mate Anthony again. Pity there wasn’t much wind but I think we made do. The evening sun was a bit of a let-down too. when there’s a bit of a sunset-show going on that copper-clad building really shines. I’ll be back for more in the near future, no doubt.

Can anyone recommend a lightweight “point & shoot” pocket camera with a decent picture quality that has an intervalometer built in?

I go through Hoek van Holland probably 100 times per year, across to Harwich, or back from the UK.

I knew there’d be a great KAP opportunity from nearby there so this Sunday I went an hour earlier so as to have time to give it a go.
There’s a good example of the Netherland’s “water management” expertise just a little way up the river from the docks. It would look great from the air, I thought.
It’s called the “Maeslantkering” and would protect the Port of Rotterdam if there was a storm-surge.
Here’s a photo of a scale-model of it (Wikipedia);

So, I got there early, great winds that afternoon for the Flow-form, flew straight from the hand and sat stable at 15m waiting for me to attach the rig. And up it went, no problems, all the way out to 150m of line, at a 45 – 60 degree angle, so what’s that? about 60 – 80 meters off the deck? Perfect. The wind direction too, putting the kite & rig out over the water and down towards the storm – surge barrier.

I was joined by a couple of colleagues who’d seen the kite high in the sky and guessed it was me, up to something daft again.

While we were stood there waiting for the rig to do its thing an old feller from the other side of the fence asked me if I too was waiting for the historic Holland-America line ship to come past. I knew nothing about it. Apparently it’s the 40th anniversary of these great cruise ships crossing to New York and today one of the originals will leave Rotterdam bound for NYC, just like in the old days.
Well, there’s a bonus, I thought!

So, the camera’s up there, clicking away, rotating, tilting, doing its thing nicely, and along comes this bloody great cruise-liner, not 50m from where we’re standing, people on the open aft-deck cheering and waving at us.

And the camera’s up there doing a great job of photographing the surroundings. The DSM chemical works next door.

The odd passing motor cruiser.

Remember, this is all automatic, settings fixed from the ground before launch, 0,5 secs rotate – picture, 20 degree tilt – picture, 45 degree tilt – picture, rotate – picture, and so on until the batteries die or the SD card is full, or I’ve had enough and bring it back down.

So, there I am, happy as Larry, anticipating great shots of the storm barrier and the added bonus of a massive cruise liner from close-up and above.

I bring the rig down, after the ship has passed and is out to sea.

Check out the images on the back of the camera, my two colleagues looking over my should and, have you guessed yet?

A cruise ship, as big as two apartment buildings passes by just a few meters from my fully functioning, automated, rig and the bloody thing’s looking the other way as she went by!! Taking lovely shots of some scabby chemical works in the other direction!! And no sign of the storm barrier either! initial angle of shot was 20 degrees, too low for where the subject was!

This shot was the nearest I came to getting a shot of the cruise ship, its wake as it passed.

Time for a remote control set-up and a video link I think.

Not a totally wasted session, I now know exactly where to go next time and I’m here very often.
Now, where’s that KAP-shop website again . . . . Peter! I need more stuff!

. . . . . is a windmill!
Not just any old windmill but the “Buitenmolen” is the second oldest windmill in The Netherlands. The oldest is in the neighbouring town of Zeddam. It was built between 1440 and 1450.

I started with the Rok but it wasn’t behaving itself too well, even with a drogue added (which helped lateral stability enormously) I didn’t trust it not to dump my camera & rig into someone’s back garden.
More experience with the 6’5ft crocodile necessary I think, or just save it for lesser winds and develop a lighter rig/camera to go with it. The Foil worked great, near perfect winds, if a little scary in the gusts.

As you can see it’s situation isn’t exactly ideal for flying a kite – there’s a busy international rail route behind me, tall trees next to that, buildings, gardens, a major crossroads, but luckily – a quite large car-park next door (empty on this bank holiday Monday) and the wind (4bft) coming in from over the rail line so no danger there.

Got some great views into some neighbour’s back gardens. The church-spire in the distance is right in the centre of town, one day, when the wind’s blowing straight down the highstreet I’ll KAP that too!

So there you are –  De Buitenmolen, Zevenaar, 100m from my front door.

Solid as a Rok!

Posted: 6 June 2011 in Uncategorized

Treated myself to a new Premier Kites 6,5ft  Rokkaku at the weekend;

How pretty is that?

I love the “ethnic” styling and she flies like a bird, straight from the hand.

A lightweight lifter for the lighter wind-speeds. I’ll be putting together a lightweight rig to go with it, the Kodak camera is 1/3 the weight of the Pen, for when the wind is really down. Adapting the Brooxe’s set-up “in field” to take the Kodak isn’t really an option, too much fiddling. I’ll build a lightweight simple rig that will be set to a fixed angle & direction, perhaps straight back down the line so I can stand next to or in amongst my subject and get the shots, walk around a bit for different views.

I could do with some advice on setting it up. The horizontal tension-lines across the back, how much of a bow should I stretch it to, and in what conditions? More for lighter winds, less for stronger? And what kind of wind-range are we talking? low, ok, but up to about what top-end?

Back in the land of Holl.

Posted: 14 May 2011 in Uncategorized

A lovely early-summer’s day back here in the Netherlands.
I got no response from other Dutch KAPers concerning any get-together for KAP-week so I went out myself.
A surprised/confused cyclist rides under my rig.

Another couple of cyclists being spied-on from up behind the trees. A couple from Arnhem doing the “Betuwe route”. I think I may have been spotted though, the enormous red/white/black kite may have given my position away.

I wanted to get some aerial shots of a nice old farm building near here but the wind was swirling around every whichway close in the the (tall) building. I had to go way out into the fields for some clean air and walk it back in, once I’d got some hight, past some very tall Poplars, lampposts, across this roundabout to get in a decent position near my taget.

A quite large housing complex to the rear of my position. Holland is actually very crowded. You’ll almost always be on someone’s land, in danger of crashing in someone’s garden, next to a motorway/railway/pylon line. Very few easily accessible areas with an interesting focal point at hand. There’s an excellent 400 year old windmill just around the corner from my house but it’s in the middle of town and right next to a railway.

This is the building I was trying to get, slightly off-target here but close. The wind was very gusty so the rig was rising and falling quite a bit, not good for stitching a series of overlapping images together, the aspect is too varied.

Here’s a fairly decent one though, showing the farmhouse and gardens. It was sold a few years back for one Guilder, on condition that the new owners restored the listed building to it’s current standard. I think it’s for sale again now, for considerably more, I presume.

Huis Aerdt, Molenhoek 2, Herwen. NL

Built in 1652 as a family home, used today as a wedding venue and private party rooms.

A fairly windy day in Perth WA, we all met up down at the tea-house and had some great fish & chips from across the road. watched the sun go down over the Indian Ocean.
Good venue, good winds, good food, great family afternoon out.

We went out on a rocky breaker, the wind was blowing along the coastline and I needed to get “out there” to have the kite/camera in the right bit of the sky.
It proved really tricky to launch, the wind was being forced up & over the breaker, swirling around above my head. After a lot of flapping about I managed to get some hight.

Nova, my cousin’s daughter, was fascinated by it all.

KAP over sea can be a liittle scary, especially when the wind drops.

Certainly pleased with the results though.