Marion Shopping Centre
'Marion Shopping Centre' is spelled the Aussie way, since it's local!
After having this particular KAP shoot in mind for quite a few weeks
now, a few months even, the time finally arrived this morning. The
session almost didn't get started, however...
A large ride-on lawn mower was stopping and starting all over the
main football field that had been singled out as the best flying spot
close enough to the big shopping complex.
On driving around
the big club buildings to the other grassed area, it seemed a school
sports class was in progress. The thought had been to at least pull out
the Fresh Wind Sled and fly it on a shorter line in order to post something today!
with not a lot of time to spare, things did turn out OK...
location was only a couple of streets away from the subject, unlike the
first attempt several months ago. Being East of the subject, the camera
direction required a morning time slot to avoid glare from the sun.
On this site, there's more kite-making info than you can poke a stick at :-) Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads - printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.
Every kite in every MBK series.
Skies over the Marion Shopping Centre were largely cloud-free earlier in the morning. Even towards midday, as these photos were taken, there was plenty of sun with only a few shots showing areas of shadow across the ground below. A cool breeze was blowing, in the low to mid teens in terms of kph. Higher up, there were gusts into the low 20s it seemed.
No panoramic photo to show this time, since I forgot to bring the small chair. Without it, or some other suitable bit of hardware, it's nearly impossible to keep the three frames aligned for the shot.
Despite Winter being close, the sunny conditions resulted in plenty of gentle thermal activity, which moved the kite to higher line angles from time to time.
MBK Fresh Wind Sled lifter
Lifter: The Fresh Wind Sled kite, which is almost always flown
with drogues. For KAP, drogues can only improve the shots anyway, by
providing steadier line motion for the KAP rig.
See my e-book Making Dowel Kites, for more big but cheap kite designs useful for KAP.
Bamboo skewer cradle, suspended from a light Half-Picavet line. Camera
pointing more-or-less sideways on this occasion. A circular-polarizing
filter was attached over the camera lens for the first flight, then
removed for the second. Due to the position of the sun, the polarizing
effect was fairly subtle. The camera direction was tweaked for the
second flight, since it seemed off a little.
Pentax Optio WG-2 with built-in intervalometer. Focus was fixed on
infinity and EV accidentally left on 0.0 for the aerial shots. Oops. At
least the presence of the filter dropped the brightness of the image by a
stop or so. The usual ISO at 125 - 200 was used. However, the clouds
and the filter resulted in a variety of shutter speeds from 1/640th
right up to 1/1250th. I hope I have picked the sharpest images,
Click on the thumbnail images below to see them much larger. The first three were cropped to remove the tip of the wooden cloths-peg which held the polarizing filter over the sports-camera lens! One day I'll get a real camera...
On arrival at the football club complex, the main oval was not available due to grounds work being done. Eventually, running out of time, I returned once more to what seemed the lesser flying location, on the other side of the club buildings. Coincidentally, it was also closer to the subject matter of the photo shoot, which was a bonus.
The school kids were gone, and... the Southerly wind direction was perfect
for using the full length of the area! It wasn't so constricting after
all. I hastily connected the KAP rig, inserted the camera and got the
kite up. Being a Sled, rig time was zero of course.
first time, the camera was peering through a polarizing filter. The plan
was to take a sequence with the filter, then remove it for another
sequence of shots.
Due to trees upwind, the kite needed plenty of
encouragement to climb into clear air, but soon it was away. The photos
showed that I had used most of the initial 4-minute timer delay doing
this, since the first few frames were from below tree-top
height! After that, the climb-out was easy. The Fresh Wind Sled was
biting into just enough wind speed to pull firmly and rise steadily...
Near the top of the climb, the distant water of the Gulf came into view
behind the Marion Shopping Centre complex. Sunlight glinted brightly
off the camera casing as the rig swayed gently about, high above the
damp green grass.
People were coming and going to and from the
club buildings. They were treated to a fine neck-bending view of the
large blue Sled doing it's stately thing, trailing twin orange drogue
'chutes. The drogues were staying untangled for a change. Perhaps this
was because the kite was enjoying a very comfortable range of wind
With the kite near the bottom of its wind range for
much of the time, bringing it down to get at the KAP rig was easily
done. No gloves or carabiner required. After a minute or two to remove
the polarizing filter and tweak the direction of the camera, up it went
again. This time, the 4-minute delay did not run out until the rig was
at full height. Mind you, thermals and wind changes were coming through
all the time now, so the height of the kite and rig kept changing from
minute to minute. As did the tension in the line.
Having moved to one side and a considerable distance away from the hose-reel holding the line, nearly all
the 200 pound braided Dacron had come off. Somewhere around 500 feet
that would be, although the kite was just over 300 feet up, on around
400 feet of line. The last job of the session was winding all that line
back on, which was ... uuhm ... back-aching work!
So, the Westfield Marion shopping complex had been 'done' from a reasonably close location at last. To get really great shots, you would need to fly from the far corner of the property itself. Risky, and probably against a few local by-laws!
The story or stories above document actual flying experiences.
My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!
As mentioned earlier, there's more kite-making info here than you can poke a stick at :-)
Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads - printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small...
Every kite in every MBK series.