Kite Aerial Photography!
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Aerial camera takes off!
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Golden Gate Bridge in the background

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Welcome to my kite aerial photography site. Take your time to browse through the photos and video clips I've made of local kite and model airplane enthusiasts.
 
Please excuse the clutter. This webspace, still unfinished, has been hastily published so that the kite owners can download any images of their kites, for their own use. So for now, this site is little more than a filing cabinet, until everything gets organized and spruced up.
 
If you see one of your kites in this site, feel free to email any interesting notes and background information and I'll gladly post it. 
 

The Lore of Kite Aerial Photography:

Panoramic view after the San Francisco Earthquake
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Kite aerial photo taken in 1906, by George Lawrence

Dr. Alexander Graham Bell (telephone inventor), Samuel Franklin Cody (wild west show), Glen Curtiss (pioneer aviator), Benjamin Franklin (statesman), Guglielmo Marconi (wireless telegraph), Major Baden F. S. Baden-Powell (Boy Scouts founder), and Orville and Wilbur Wright (first in manned flight).

What did these dissimilar  -yet instantly recognizable, historical characters have in common?  Answer: They were all pioneers in the development of kite technology. They also set the foundations for kite aerial photography.

While the beginnings of serious kite aerial photography was short-lived, having being first documented as late as 1887-1888, it was still an exciting and innovative period that continues to amaze and fascinate the world today.

Three 89 foot octopus kites over Cesar Chavez Park
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USS Hornet CV-12 Aircraft Carrier
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Kite aerial photo taken at Pier 3, Alameda Point, Alameda, California

To view this picture in 3-D:

  1. Viewing your screen at normal distance, hold up a sharpened pencil, with the point at the center of the white area between the pictures.
  2. Looking directly at the tip of the pencil point, slowly move the pencil towards your nose. A third image will seem to appear in the middle.
  3. Keep slowly moving the pencil (still focusing on the pencil point) towards your nose until the middle image is the same width as the outer pictures.
  4. Holding the pencil steady, turn your thoughts to the aircraft carrier Hornet until it appears to lift off the screen, sharpens, and becomes 3-D and virtual.

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Kite aerial video clip of a vertical shoot, to the very top, of the radar mast of the USS Hornet.
 
The USS Hornet CV-12 earned 9 battle stars for her service in World War II. Commissioned in 1943, the Hornet served 16 continuous months in action, always in forward areas of the Pacific combat zone and sometimes within 40 miles of Japanese home islands, and supported nearly every Pacific amphibious landing after 1944. In 1945, she launched the first strikes against Tokyo since the 1942 Doolittle Raid.
The Hornet valiantly repelled 59 enemy attacks and was never hit. Her aircraft destroyed 1,410 Japanese aircraft and destroyed or damaged 1,269,710 tons of enemy shipping. Air strikes from the Hornet scored the critical first hits in the sinking of the super battleship Yamato.
In 1969, the Hornet recovered the Apollo 11, the first men on the moon, as well as the Apollo 12 astronauts.
The USS Hornet was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991. In 1998 the USS Hornet opened to the public as an aircraft carrier museum in Alameda, California. The USS Hornet was designated a State Historic Landmark in 1999.

3-D View of the NBC Channel 11 News Van
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Kite Aerial Photo taken at Alameda Point

3-D Stereo View of Frog Kite - Berkeley Marina
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Note bright colored stunt kite, passing underneath.

3-D View of 9ft Delta Kite at Berkeley Marina
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Wide-angle lens from above

Cicada kite from above
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Oblique shot

Video Clip of Frog Kite
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15 foot long frog kite facing west, into a prevailing Pacific wind.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fish kite over Cesar Chavez Park
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Looking south, towards Berkeley Marina

22-1/2 foot long fish kite, designed by Juergen Ebbinghans, world renown kite designer. Facing west, towards Golden Gate Bridge.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cody Kite
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Cody kite, a striking design from the victorian era, still never ceases to attract attention, due to it's complex shape and stately flight characteristics.  This particular kite is facing into a westerly wind and viewed by the kite camera from above, and from the west.

The "Cody kite", patented in 1901 by Samuel Franklin Cody (The Wild West Show!), was essentially a double-celled Hargrave box kite with extended wings. Samuel Cody produced large scale versions of the kite, in the early 1900s, for the daring exploration of manned kite aerial photography.

In 1904-05, Cody's kite aerial photography team achieved a record height of 2,600 feet for manned kite flight, a feat that remains unsurpassed today! Also during that time, Samuel Cody himself ascended to a height of 400 feet!

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25 foot long dragon kite facing west, above Cesar Chavez State Park. Flown by a mother-daughter team, the dragon kite and kite aerial camera collided moments after the video clip was made and plummeted to the ground in a tangled mess. All of us running up to the scene on the ground, their first question was "Well, did you get a video of the crash??"  It took all of us several minutes to untangle everything, and both kites were soon airborne again. 

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Radio controlled slope soaring model airplane above the east bay shoreline. Three radio control enthusiasts eagerly attempted closeup fly-bys to the kite camera, but only one was aggressive (daredevil?) enough to risk our toys and produce suitable video footage. In fact, the slope soarer collided twice with the kite camera as both of us struggled to frame an action-packed video clip. This type of video photography will definitely require more practice as all of us try again for even more closeup shots. Stay posted.

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White canard kite with an 8 foot span, designed by world famous kite designer Carsten Domann. Facing west, over Cesar Chavez Park, the kite camera collided several times with the stable kite in attempts to get closeup video footage.
 
 

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Parafoil kite with a 15 foot span, facing west, over Cesar Chavez Park. Sporting twin tube streamers, the video gives a closeup view of the open front and internal baffles.
 
 
 
 

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World war II fighter plane styled kite. It's parafoil wing and windsock body provide inherently wild and fast-moving flight characteristics that are always a real crowd pleaser.
 
 
 
 

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Three 89 foot long giant octopus kites, facing west, over Cesar Chavez State Park. Developed in 1990, by Peter Lynn, the legendary kite designer from New Zealand, he went on to produce a series of huge inflatable kites in the shape of various creatures.
 
 
 

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Giant 40ft Cat Kite
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Parafoil stunt kite over Cesar Chavez Park
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Aerial camera takes off!
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Fish kite over Cesar Chavez Park, looking north
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Note frog kite and a second fish kite