Category Archives: KAP

How To: Beach winds for KAP

So my little Powershot n tragically died because I rode my luck a few times too many with off-shore winds. The lesson to learn is to stick as much as possible to nice clean on-shore winds.

Why? Because off-shore wind usually is traveling over buildings, trees, sand-dunes etc. which all affect the flow and make for more swirly and inconsistent flow. Whereas, on-shore wind flow is generally much cleaner and less prone to looping or dragging the kite sideways and then into the ground.

if you can get up high enough, sometimes the off-shore wind is fine, but the danger zone, and risk, is always closer to the ground when you are reeling out or in.

Replacing the Powershot n

So the little 590nm modified Powershot n finally came to a destructive end from mother nature and, on reflection, my ill-considered kite flying – I should have flown a kite more stable for bigger gusts on the day. We learn.

walking to a broken camera

The lens took most of the impact and will now not extend or retract. I guess it could be repaired, but it is not worth it and I would like to change it for something less fiddly. It has been good as a light-weight flyer, but I have struggled at times, especially while holding the line, with the small touchscreen and CHDK settings.

Next, it is a Canon Powershot SX240, as I decided to continue using CHDK for access to RAW files and interval timer scripts; saving the weight of an external interval-timer unit. The SX240 is still light-weight, inexpensive to buy used and convert. It also has a shutter priority mode, unlike the Powershot n, which should help with swinging around on the end of a pendulum.

I looked at a few other compact cameras, like the Olympus TG (tough series) but could not find anything inexpensive to buy, with a built interval-timer that supported short intervals around 1-5 seconds and unlimited shots (until the card is full), which is what CHDK scripts will do. I also looked at using older GoPro models, which can now be converted for IR, however, don’t like the smaller sensor images and fixed wide angle – fly too high and the images are too wide losing detail.

The Canon A series (good optiA810, A1300-1400, A2300-2600, A3300-4000are generally cheaper than the SX series to buy used and lighter, however, they don’t have helpful options like shutter priority. 

Canon a2600

Canon a810

Infraredy (the ever excellent and helpful Andy) are already converting the SX240 to 660nm and it should arrive for the weekend. I decided on 660nm just for something different from the Powershot n’s 590nm and did not want the more color-limited options of 720nm, 850nm etc.

Images: Croyde Beach KAP 2

The final flight of the little modified Canon Powershot n – rode my luck with on-shore winds one time too many off-shore winds and the kite and camera crashed. The kite, an ITW Triton, survived but the not the camera.

On reflection, I should have flown the foil, which is happier in heavier winds. The Triton was stable but got hit by a big gust as it was being hauled down and had no chance to recover.

Monochrome 590nm images, processed at 2400K.

Croyde beach 1 590nm

Croyde beach 2 590nm

Croyde beach 3 590nm

Croyde beach 4 590nm

Croyde beach 5 590nm

Surfers carrying boards off the beach as the weather worsened.

Croyde beach surfers IR590 590

Into the Wind Triton

ITW Triton


KAP: Wildcard and Whirlwind

The eagerly awaited new Dan Leigh Wildcard delta arrived, so I headed off to the park this afternoon with the promise of reasonable 9mph from the weather apps….. and, as usual, in the park it was something less than an asthmatic fieldmouse blowing out miniature birthday candles. 🙁

Tried to fly the Wildcard, but in the end only the delicate Carbon Whirlwind would play ball; not even my son’s fun pterodactyl would play with us. Fingers crossed for more wind over the next week so I can give the Wildcard a good tryout.

Dan leigh Whirlwind

Dan leigh Whirlwind

Dan Leigh Whirlwind

Dan Leigh Whirlwind


KAP Images: Shoreham by the Sea

After some nice early diving in the morning, out on Buccaneer, I managed to get the kites up for a short while on the beach in the afternoon.A nice easy location, with a wide beach right by the old fort. The off-shore wind was a bit temperamental around 8-12pm, with occasional lulls, but sufficient for the Triton and Rokkaku.

The Rokkaku over Shoreham

The Rokkaku

Rokkaku up high

Rokkaku up high









A day where the temperamental Rokkaku showed why it is worth persevering with. The Triton lifted to a reasonable height, but did not like the lulls and came down gracefully (one of its qualities). The UltraFoil 15 would not play and just hung around and sulked – this is a kite that likes strong wind. And the Rokkaku showed them all up, straight up, pulled like the usual train and nailed itself in the sky, twice as high as the Triton. Very impressive; I love this temperamental kite more and more.

Shoreham Fort - 660

Shoreham Fort – 660

Shoreham by the Sea - 660

Shoreham by the Sea – 660

Shoreham by the Sea beach - 660

Shoreham by the Sea beach – 660

The beach & houses - 660

The beach & houses – 660

Sailing Dinghies coming home - 660

Sailing Dinghies coming home – 660

Shoreham Harbour Wall - 660

Shoreham Harbour Wall – 660

Camera & Rig Settings

Infrared modified 660nm Olympus e-PM2 & Panasonic 12-32mm lens

  • ISO: Auto, capped at ISO800
  • Format: RAW
  • Mode: Shutter priority @ 1/1000th
  • Focal Length: 12mm (full-frame equiv = 24mm)
  • Intervalometer: 15sec delay start (saves pointless initial lifting shots), 2 second interval.
  • Rig Pan: 20degree steps
  • Rig Tilt: H-45-N

Location: Shoreham by the Sea Beach


KAP: Kites for Wind Gusts

Occasionally I find the weather forecast is for decent winds, but with potential for big gusts.

Met Office App

Met Office App

One option is to not fly a kite, probably the most sensible option, however, sometimes I feel brave and foolish and put a kite up. There are, however, only a few kites I would trust with the risk, those with a wide enough wind range, predictability and robust enough to take it.

The ones I would trust are my:

  • Trooper – I think it can take just about anything
Dan Leigh Trooper

Dan Leigh Trooper

  • Cody 30 – always stable, as long as there is someone there to help assemble it.
The Cody 30

The Cody 30

  • UltraFoil 15 – it can collapse, but recovers predictably and floats well.
UltraFoil 15

UltraFoil 15

The ones I would keep in the box are my Rokkaku, enough of a fight inside its comfort zone and don’t fancy it in a more stressful environment, the Whirlwind, just a bit too delicate, and Triton.

KAP: Walking down the Rokkaku

An interesting experience this evening in the Old Deer Park, with the wind being very variable and the rokkaku refusing to come down.

As I am learning with my urban parks, a typical experience really – the forecast was for 9mph winds, with no gusting; at ground level the anemometer showed 6pm, however, when I put the Triton up with the anemometer attached it came down reporting 18mph ! Which explained why it was unhappy and tried to pull my hands off – the first time I have ever had that with the normally mild Triton. Tried to put the camera up on it, but the winds then died and it dumped the camera (thankfully gently). Not going to complain too much, given the Triton held itself together well outside its comfort zone.

As the winds picked up again I tried the UtraFoil15; but, in big contrast to the weekend by the sea, it was not having any of it. It either did not want to fly in protest or just wanted to go sideways ground skimming. This is a kite that just does not like anything urban or anything other than constant clean wind. Wrapped it up and put it back in the bag, in the naughty corner.

Finally put the temperamental rokkaku up and it love it, straight up, nailed up there in the sky. Camera clicked merrily away. Trouble was the rokkaku loved it too much and decided to stay up and pull my arms out of their sockets for fun. A right old power battle. Thankfully there are some rugby posts in the park and I was able to tie off the line and walk the camera down.

Of all my kites the rokkaku is the one that can be the biggest battle and create the tautest singing line (Dacron Black 110daN). Great lifting in medium winds, but winding it in can sometimes be a lot of stress on the line, reel and my arms. Time for a better walk it down technique. Time to dig out the old Mini Eight, from Rock Exotica (which is hiding somewhere in the house or storage) and allow me to easily tie off the taut line and fasten it down to some fixed park item and then walk the kite, and camera, down. Not sure about wearing a climbing harness in a park, but it might come to that.

Mini Eight Rock Exotica

Mini Eight from Rock Exotica

Loop, Carabiner & Tie-off Eight

Loop, Carabiner & Tie-off Eight

Images: Aerial Infrared Richmond

Really nice to have the light evenings. Got a chance to put some of the kites up in The Old Deer Park, Richmond.

Richmond 1 - 660

Richmond 1 – 660

Richmond 2 - 660

Richmond 2 – 660

Old Deer Park 3 - 660

Old Deer Park 3 – 660

Old Deer Park 2 - 660

Old Deer Park 2 – 660

Old Deer Park 1 - 660

Old Deer Park 1 – 660

Views of Richmond upon Thames, Isleworth and Brentford (and the A316). Colour/channel-swapped 660nm infrared images from a modified Olympus PM2.

All image rights reserved.

Camera & Rig Settings

Infrared modified 660nm Olympus e-PM2 & Panasonic 12-32mm lens

  • ISO: Auto, capped at ISO800
  • Format: RAW
  • Mode: Shutter priority @ 1/1000th
  • Focal Length: 12mm (full-frame equiv = 24mm)
  • Intervalometer: 15sec delay start (saves pointless initial lifting shots), 2 second interval.
  • Rig Pan: 20degree steps
  • Rig Tilt: H-45-N