Aerial photography research part II: Kite flying

Last week I traveled to Stroud to meet artist Neville Gabbie, one of the artists to be accepted onto the now defunct British Antarctic Survey Artists and Writers Programme. In 2008/09 Neville spent four months traveling to and at the Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice shelf, the most southern British base in Antarctica in 2008/9. A place that you can only go in the summer months and even then is pretty inhospitable. Whilst there he used a kite to record the landscape; I decided that we had things to discuss... 

Flying a kite with a camera across the landscape is a performative act and is also as much about drawing over the landscape as capturing it on film.

Neville very generously talked to me about the experience, the kit he used and what I need to consider. I will need a kite capable of lifting a camera and one that I am capable of controlling.

So I decided that I needed to talk to kite expert and sellers .... and went in search of kite shops - which is more difficult that one would think. Kite flying is not popular at the moment. However I have struck lucky and found  

This is a great shop in Weston-Super-Mare - with extremely helpful and very experienced staff (Dom has spent many years in the kite industry; a national stunt kite champion, competing on both national and international circuits, a national kite buggy racing champion. Barry is an open class champion in racing kitebuggies).

Tuesday found me in Weston-Super-Mare and in UFO kite shop discussing options and learning about the different types of kites - starting with the single line Cody Box kite - developed by Samuel Franklin Cody.
A wild west showman and early pioneer and manned flight Cody is most famous for his work on the large kites known as Cody War-Kites that were used by the British in World War 1.  
Cody Box Kite

Then on to 2 string, 3 string and 4 string kites - some with frames and others without - and which include power kites and ones used for kite surfing on water and land......


Then it was off down to the beach while the tide was still out, to learn how to fly a kite.. and I have much to learn, but I had a very patient instructor!

I don't look quite as stylish as Cody! 
Really enjoyed the experience of using 3 string and four string kites, but I'm going to need masses of practice if I am going to be able to control a kite without it crashing to the ground, and especially one with a camera attached if the camera is to survive! 

Next week will see me back in Weston-Super-Mare and flying more kites - weather permitting...  watch this space..


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