Kite Aerial Photography Camera Rigs
The primary function of the kite aerial photography (KAP) rig is to hold the camera and provide a method of attachment to the kite line. Rigs can be simple boxes to hold a disposable camera using a timer to trigger the shutter to complex devices designed to accomidate single lens reflex cameras with electronic shutter controls.
My first rig was built by attaching an old Yashica T3 35mm camera to what is essentially two U-shaped pieces of 1-1/4 inch alluminum stock.
A three channel model airplane radio contol system was used to control the pan, tilt and shutter.
Following a dozen or so rolls of film taken with my first rig, I came across plans for a significantly different rig. In KAP circles, Brooks Leffler is one of the most innovative of the bunch. He published plans for his Monopost III in the summer 1998 issue of the aerial eye.
Pan is handled by controlling a servo that has been modified for 360-degree rotation. The servo is then attached to a set of 1:4 reduction gears to better control the rotation.
The tilt is controled by a full-sized servo while the shutter is tripped using a sub-micro servo.
The whole rig is attached approximately 150 feet below the kite using a self-leveling Picovet suspension.
Using about 30 feet of kite line, attach a snap swivel to one end of the line which will be point A. Point B will be a second snap swivel and R is a metal or nylon ring. Lace the line through the swivels and ring following the pattern A, 1, R, B, 2, R, A, 3, B, 4, A. The snap swivels are then attached to rings about 2 feet apart on the kite line below the kite. Excellent results can also be obtained using the quick-release valet key type key chains. Just be certain that they are locked firmly. The idea is to get the kite up into stable winds then attach the rig.