KAP 2011-1: Petrie Island, Ottawa, Ontario – January 16, 2011

Winter Scene at Petrie Island on the Ottawa River.

Winter Scene at Petrie Island on the Ottawa River.

This was my first KAP session (Kite Aerial Photography) in many months for various reasons and I was feeling a bit rusty. It was also my first session for the 2011 calendar year. I was fighting a cold/flu and the temperature was very cold (-27C with wind chill). Nevertheless, there was a Camera Club of Ottawa outing planned for Petrie Island in the Ottawa River and I enjoy the club outings with or without kite aerial photography equipment. Also, I’d recently had a request from a Carleton U. journalism student who was interested in a KAP demonstration for a school project. Check out the resulting video clip she prepared in a separate blog post titled Kite Aerial Photography – a report on yours truly.

I KAPped for about an hour and a half using my Fled kite and the fully remote controlled rig using my Dunecam system. Technical issues were on hand with cold batteries and the like but I did manage a few interesting shots. Most of my shots were of the ice fishing huts in the bay just downstream of the islands and off the beach. I had to reel in the equipment several times to restart the remote shutter even though the batteries were operating well enough in the cold to shoot pictures. I’ve found even on warm days that if I fire the shutter too rapidly between consecutive shots there is a breakdown in the link between the camera and the ground remote. This seems to be amplified by the further away the camera is and/or by how low the battery charge is. Although I have used the system to over 600′ on a summer day with strong batteries, on this day I was having problems with sending the camera more than 150′ away, presumably because of the cold effect on the camera batteries. The batteries for the rig and the remote seemed to respond fine.

Lots more possibilities in terms of subjects and angles were on offer but we bailed out with enough blood flowing in the hands to allow for the time it takes to retrieve the equipment. We joined up for coffee with the rest of the outing participants at Orleans Mall.

In hindsight, I might have done better with autokap gear on this day, and perhaps there are some lessons for future really cold days:

1. My autokap rig would have been quicker to set up, exposing my hands to the cold for a shorter period of time (I wear sailing gloves with the end of the thumb and forefinger exposed to allow me to deal with the intricacies of setting up the camera and rig).

2. I could have done most of the session using the sheepskin type mitts that I sometimes slip over my gloves to warm up my hands which are pretty useless for controlling the remote control but with autokap I would simply have to hold the spool.

3. My issues with losing communication between camera and my remote due to low battery power would have been eliminated. Although the batteries suffered from the cold, the camera would probably have lasted much longer by itself on the autokap rig than with it having to communicate with earth in the remote controlled rig. I wouldn’t have had to wind in to restart the remote shutter function, losing time and getting colder in the process.

Ice Fishing near Petrie Island on the Ottawa River.

Ice Fishing near Petrie Island on the Ottawa River.


You can see additional pictures in the Kite Aerial Photography Gallery – Petrie Island In Winter – January 16, 2011.

©Rob Huntley

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