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Kite Aerial Photography

chrisd posted more than 11 years ago | from the less-funny-than-knife-aerial-dropography dept.

Technology 183

SethJohnson writes "People have been attaching cameras to kites for quick-and-dirty aerial photographs for almost a hundred years. Hobbyists have progressed the art far beyond it's quick-and-dirty origins to produce stunning results. NASA even has a fairly detailed how-to using a disposable camera. Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids."

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Quick and dirty! (4, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666173)

Over the nudist beach!

Re:Quick and dirty! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666184)

Or maybe even your neighbors backyard?

#/> Pomp

Re:Quick and dirty! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666197)

Seriously, this sounds like an incredible boon for the paparazzi.

Surely it's much less obtrusive than hiding in the bushes. Plus it must give you a far better chance of getting away from any nearby bodyguards should they realize what it is that you're up to.

Re:Quick and dirty! (2)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666256)

Wide-angle or zoom lens?

Re:Quick and dirty! (4, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666283)


1. Wide angle for targeting

2. Zoom lens for...

Re:Quick and dirty! (3, Funny)

the way, what're you (591901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666329)

2. Zoom lens for... sausages?

Re:Quick and dirty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666331)

...close-up of pussyhair!

Don't lie. I know that's what you meant!

Re:Quick and dirty! (5, Funny)

augros (513862) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666345)

Wouldn't that be kite aerial pornography?

Re:Quick and dirty! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666552)

No, this [] would be aenial pornography.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666590)

in case anyone was dumb enough (like me) to click on that link...

Re:Quick and dirty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666582)

Hmmm... Would it be wrong to mod up a comment only because the sig is funny? Definitely a good example of what /. humour could be.

Oh yeah! (-1, Redundant)

dirkdidit (550955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666176)

Hehe, Aerial photos and a beach, hmm, that could be fun. :)

Re:Oh yeah! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666195)

you mean areola photos?

nifty! (4, Funny)

MoceanWorker (232487) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666180)

now all i need are a couple of hot models to move in next door and sun bathe naked for test objects and i'll be good to go!!

oh wait.. that's the whole purpose of my roof ;-)

plus it's november.. so i guess i better put this idea off..

Re:nifty! (5, Funny)

Rolo Tomasi (538414) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666347)

You know, there's a thin line between "Score:5, Funny" and "Score:-1, Pervert".

Re:nifty! (2)

MoceanWorker (232487) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666382)

heh.. i just got all "excited" when i read this article..

wait.. that didn't sound right..

Re:nifty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666601)

Six points isn't a very thin line.

Return Policy... (5, Funny)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666183)

I have a feeling many cameras will be returned to the store for "spontaneously fragmenting."

Don't get left behind!!!!!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Benjamin McFree (603343) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666185)

9. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 9. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15. Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16. Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17. And the way of peace have they not known: 18. There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30. Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 12. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13. (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16. In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Cool: Kite flying will be hip again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666193)

Bow! Bow! Wow! Bow! Wow! Kite flying will be hip again.

Our friends Laura and Chris... (0, Offtopic)

955301 (209856) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666196)

So I assume someone has done there duty and that Laura Betterly and Chris Connell are signed up for the Kite Photography mailing list? :)

I've done it... it's easy (5, Informative)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666198)

Check out my house! [] This was done with the LASS system... [] VERY satisfying hobby, and I encourage more to do it! Kite stability (an oxymoron for those who fly kites, as the fun is that they go all over) is really key. The line has a lot of vibration, and it can be scary seeing your investment bobbing around in the sky, or heading for the ground!

Those along waterfronts know that daily patterns of onshore and offshore breezes can aid in getting good wind.

Brooks Leffler pioneered the art with a magazine (!!!) that he still has back issues of. He even sells stabilizing tails. The most stunning pictures in my opinion have been by the vastly-experienced Chris Benton [] ... he inspired my finally getting into this. $100 for the kite, $80 for the camera, $100 radio+misc, and you're up and going.

I'v alwas thought that this was an amazing Idea (1)

outofpaper (189404) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666199)

For as long as I can remember I've alwase thought that this was a cool idea but somthing that I thought would be also realy fun was sailboat cameras. While not as use full they would be tons of fun you would be able to take picutres of your family on the beach, of other boats in Central Park's pund, and for my all time favorite, if you removed the mast you would be able to send your camera on a boad tied to a string down the sewers to take pictures of aligators.

Figure 9:test picture (1)

LittleBigScript (618162) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666200)

ok, I'm done laughing. But that has to be the funniest looking picture I've seen in awhile. It's like looking at someone's family album.
"That's your Uncle Bort."

balloons? (2, Interesting)

orangeaaron (614222) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666210)

how about a timer-controlled camera on a helium balloon. it could take a picture every 10 seconds or something... the only tricky part would be getting the camera back after it had floated off. maybe you could promise whoever found it that you would send them reprints :)

Re:balloons? (2)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666232)

A lot of people use ballons (or blimps) for similar low-altitude pictures. Helicopters and remote control airplanes... whatever coincides with your other hobbies ;p

Scary (3, Insightful)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666213)

I don't want to think about all the lawsuits that could arise from a curious kid with a camera on a kite! *shudder*

Re:Scary (3, Funny)

jimson (516491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666309)


You mean shutter......

Don't you mean... (3, Funny)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666320)

*shutter* ?

dad ==> kid (5, Funny)

the way, what're you (591901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666221)

...for those dads out there with kids.

As opposed to... ?

Re:dad + mom == kid [various] (2)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666273)

How about moms?

You didn't say "dads with sons" so presumably being old and female is the handicap? I went to school down the road from MIT and met plenty of women gifted with the geeky arts. ;-)

Re:dad + mom == kid [various] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666340)

You missed his point, if you're a dad, that means you have kids. The original quote is redundant, because of this.

Re:dad == kid (1)

GrimSean (545405) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666290)

What the... Hey! Science Fair Projects are for the KIDS to do! The KIDS! Not the DADS! jeez, you don't want to raise a cheater, do you? (Besides, everyone knows mothers do better work....)

Re:dad == kid (3, Funny)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666296)

As opposed to... ?

A pimp-daddy.

You know the pirates around here do some slave trading on the weekends. Gotta supplement the ol' VCD business in order to support that luxurious case-modder lifestyle with the $400 a month video card habit.

Re:dad == kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666305)

The dads whose kids are DEAD, you heartless BASTARD!

Timmy.. where are you timmy.. daddy's here.. *sniff*

Re:dad == kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666354)

then you wouldnt be a dad anymore, so no

Re:dad == kid (2)

the way, what're you (591901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666373)

the way, what're you goin' didactic [] on yo ass!

Re:dad == kid (4, Funny)

Rolo Tomasi (538414) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666368)

As opposed to... ?

Dads whose kids were killed by 40 pound kites with sharp metal parts attached falling out of the sky.

My god, you're right! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666229)

Terrorists in our own backyards!! We must immediately ban kites and imprison kite owners without trial. God only knows what these religious fanatics were trying to survey before destroying. I'm glad we caught them before they actually did something. God Bless America.

Re:My god, you're right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666343)

are you kidding? This let's you see right into your neighbor's yard! what a great tool for surveillance! We can use this to FIND TERRORISTS!!

Get your kites up boys, we'll find those rag-heads yet. Everyone is suspect!

Get off your computer and SPY ON YOUR NEIGHBORS!

Welcome to Slashdot (1, Troll)

headbulb (534102) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666231)

We even take down government sites.

Nevermind my browser must be on crack (1)

headbulb (534102) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666243)

Looks like its up. My oops

Sounds all well and good... (4, Funny)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666234)

...but how will all those cameras affect Charlie Brown's kite-eating tree? I'd imagine they're not too healthy.

Okay, that wasn't funny. It's late. Night night.

Introducing.... (4, Funny)

tevenson (625386) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666244)

Remember when you used to play wargames as a kid? Now you can do it with your very own Spy Satellite.

"Now you'll know all of your enemies moves; where they're keeping the water ballon stash, how many they have, and if that teenage girl in the house across the street is sun bathing topless again."

bugger it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666245)

I had a really cool troll song - a parody of 'american pie', but I couldn't get it through the lameness filter. Any fellow trolls know how to get past the minimum character per line limit?

Re:bugger it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666298)

Ummm, you might try using filler chars such as periods,,, really though don't be a dipshit, we all know that really long lines (like 400 periods in a row without spaces) will break /. so just be a nice troll and use reasonable judgement and normal length lines, we all (at least most of us) enjoy a good troll song, so I decided to help you out, but please don't be an ass, just troll and be happy.

Re:bugger it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666375)

thanks - I'll give it a go for the next fp...

Re:bugger it the fP gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666533)

Ever notice how all the FP people have small penises?
I did.

I don't usually look, but it is hard not to when they run around naked yelling, "I'm an Ass hole with a small dick." I just wanted to confirm that they were not an Ass hole, and that their dick was smaller than mine, and it didn't take long to see that both were true.

Dads with kids? (1)

Dylan2000 (592069) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666248)

Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids.
What about all those dads without kids?


Re:Dads with kids? (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666333)

Or kids without dads

Estes Rocket (2, Interesting)

SirCrashALot (614498) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666249)

There is/was an estes rocket that did this. Two of my friends had them... One never recovered the rocket(typical of our launches) and the other pictures came out great!
It's not as controlled as a kite, but you get great landscape pictures.

Re:Estes Rocket (4, Interesting)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666266)

I looked into these, radio controlled airplanes, and others. Kites are a) very cool b) very broad in design c) what spawned aircraft. It's also fairly cheap combined with the amount of control. You can go up to SLR cameras (any may do) and I've seen enough sadness in my dad's RC plane buddies to know that losing a plane *and* a camera would be devistating. Kites of course need wind, and in lack of wind there's always balloons, but I felt in my study of all of this that it was less risky than other low-altitude photography.

Re:Estes Rocket (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666278)

Yeah, i had one of those as a kid. Fascinating how it worked. You put a small camera in the nosecone with a parachute. You send the rocked up. When the engine burnt out, a small explosive charge blew the nosecone off, which floated down to earth with the camera pointing down. A small mercury switch and RC timer made the camera go off around 4 seconds after maximum height.

Re:Estes Rocket (2)

UniverseIsADoughnut (170909) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666392)

I had one of those as well. It did a good job. Really need to find the pictures. I still have the rocked all ready to go. It's been launched a few times. I forget the details about it since this was ages ago. I seam to remember the film being some wacky formate, so that could be a problem.

Ah yes model rockets, experaince being nasa. they explode, go off course, don't work, catch a breeze and go a mile off course. get the wings on wrong the spiral at you. shoot them with the wind at 45degrees and never see them again. Also the branch hobby from this rocket powered anything else. Rocket boats were fun. Those engine work under water to. Seeing your boat go under water and a glow then pop up out of the water like a missile from a sub is fun to.

Re:Estes Rocket (2)

MsWillow (17812) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666550)

Actually, Estes used to make a movie camera called the "Cineroc". You can see both of them here [] .

I always wanted them both, but never had the cash. By the time I had the cash, they were gone :(

Priceless.... (1, Funny)

ball-lightning (594495) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666257)

Nice Kite: $100 New Digital Camera: $400 Crashing it into the ground on your first try: Priceless (And thats why I don't even try ;) )

Kite, we don't need no stinkin' kite (1, Redundant)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666258)

We've sent our little 35mm's up to 112,000 feet! try that with a kite!

Scenario 46 (2)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666259)

"Okay, I'm getting a signal now. Wait. Is this a screen-saver image?
It looks like an under-water sce.......DAMN!"

Kite are advancing (3, Interesting)

stonezone (460503) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666265)

Kites have become the sport of choice lately, not only with photography, but with wakeboarders, surfers and skiers. Take a look at the popularity of kitesurfing on water and snow. Kites have evolved a long way in 20 years, from paragliders, to leading edge inflatables that relaunch when you drop them in the water.I have heard that guys are getting 50m high and 30sec air on skis now in the alps, and here in hawaii, kitsurfing in the winter surf is pretty nuts. Guys around here have been flying kites over the waves to take photos for at least 5 years, although rarely.


We don't need no stinkin' kite! (5, Interesting)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666268)

We've sent our little 35mm's up to 112,000 feet! try that with a kite!

High Alt Balloon Group []

Re:We don't need no stinkin' kite! (1)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666302)

That is truely amazing! I've thought about balloons for days when the wind was not blowing. They could be just as easily controlled as kites. Every do much hobby at all, or you just mainly scientific? Either way, it sure it cool.

You sexist pig! (2)

updog (608318) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666272)

Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids.

What about all all of those moms out there with kids? Are they not allowed to geek it out too?

Re:You sexist pig! (1)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666358)

Naah, us chicks can geek out too. We just can't go mentioning it here on SlashDot, or we'll get responses like this one [] ... (grins, and goes back to compiling ALSA)

AAACK! I MENTIONED GEEKING OUT! ;) OK, start the barrage ;)

Re:You sexist pig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666522)

You could geek it out by scientifically deducing the equilibrium between meal flavour and cooking time, for those hard working kite flying boys! ;)

how about X10 (5, Funny)

lingqi (577227) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666287)

real-time video feed from kite

sure is a lot cheaper than a remote control helicopter. =)

Re:how about X10 (2, Informative)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666313)

Yup! They do it too! [] ... of course not x10 specifically, but still cool. What is nice is using video through the view finder (or close thereof) to get better still photos from the camera on the rig.

Re:how about X10 (4, Interesting)

Rolo Tomasi (538414) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666449)

This guy [] has some interesting info & footage.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666297)


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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666576)

You sir are clearly a gay Canadian.

Just look at your preocupation with homosexuality, and Canadian subjects.

I think you need to move the Montreal very soon, if you are ever to be happy.

Go fly a kite too you knob.

why not have an 802.11b camera?? (1)

rveno1 (470619) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666311)

What I plan on implementing is a wireless 802.11b camera/camcorder hooked up to a kite.

here is a link to one vendor who currently supports offers the 802.11b camera ideo/dcs1000w/ []

Kite photography is just one tool (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666316)

that the US will use on Osama and Saddam.
Surrender now you heathen bastards.

And I thought they could get a patent (2, Funny)

wiresquire (457486) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666317)

for the predator [] BTW, I wonder if anyone's attached an Hellfire to a kite?

Interesting Rigging for Stability (2, Interesting)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666322)

Most interesting is the rigging! [] This suspention reduces flopping about as the whole thing would have to lift and spin to tip sideways. Ingenious! Although, a very old idea...

From a kite flyer (5, Informative)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666330)

I run a kite site and am fanatical about the sport, so i should hope to have a little authority on the subject. While i haven't done any KAP myself, i've read extensively on the subject. There are some amazing photos coming back from people lofting cameras on their kites. There is also some interesting tech going into the works too. I've seem plans for radio controlled microcontrollers that will depress the camera trigger, hold it till a beep for the camera to focus, then press the trigger harder to take the photo. There are setups using small video cameras and transmitters that allow the user to see what he's about to take a photo of. There are a bunch of pan-rotate-zoom setups using servos and the like. It's mostly R/C tech, but still quite cool.

My fav site for KAP is here. []
My website (in sig) doesn't have much for KAP resources, but it is useful to look at to see some of the other spiffy stuff.

By the way, the kite obelisk folks are still at it, planning an even bigger lift, and with period materials. Should be exciting, but I don't have the full scoop, they are keeping it quiet until they pull it off.

Re:From a kite flyer (2)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666351)

For those of you who don't remember the kite obelisk project [] , slashdot has run a couple of stories about it. It's basically an idea that ancient egyptians *could* have used kites to do some of their heavy lifting for them.

Kite photography at my High School (3, Interesting)

nkrumm (625879) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666366)

At my high school ( [] ) we have an after school club that builds rigs for kite arial photography. The trick is making the rig lightweight, yet strong enough that it doesnt suddenly snap 500 ft above the surface. Our mentor will be traveling to Antarctica this winter, and he will be taking a few of the rigs we have built. The Drachen Foundation [] has more info.

What camera would you suggest attaching? :) (2)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666372)

I see this one (the tiny l'espion camera [] ), but see no supplier in the U.S. (anyone know of one?), which appears inexpensive and very light (40 grams!).

There's also the SiPix StyleCam Blink, which is about $40, and slightly larger but takes higher-res pictures, too.

What other tiny ones would be suitable for tossing on a kite (whether or not the two I've named would be), and what would be the best way to trigger them?


Re:What camera would you suggest attaching? :) (4, Informative)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666396)

While it's a good idea to keep things light, it's not the over-riding factor. The kites being used for KAP are usually capable of lifting considerable weights. There are quite a few kites out there (in the $300 or more price range) that need about 250-300 pounds of sand anchors to be safely operated. I've heard of large inflatable show kites that will pull two dumpsters full of sand across the beach.

As for control, it's all R/C servos. It can be done with as little as one servo to pull the trigger but most people like to be able to at least pan some, so that's another servo. There are also some triggers out there that are just timer based... you set the timer, and hope you can get the rig up to altitude and pointing at the target by the time the trigger goes off... not flexible, but cheap and effective.

Penguin kites (0, Offtopic)

vortix (194112) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666378)

Look at the penguin kites: pg []

Re:Penguin kites (2)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666398)

Try this. []

'earth from above' (2, Interesting)

Jean-Pierre (81373) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666379)

yann arthus-bertrand's absolutely tremendous photography was on display in chicago late this summer. yann took his images from a helicopter so i can imagine they are a bit more costly than its little brother kite. these images are nothing short of amazing.

chicago department of cultural affairs: earth from above []
elexon presents: earth from above []
fujifilm presents: earth from above []
yann arthus-bertrand []

Pencam - much smaller, lighter, and easier (4, Interesting)

pm (11079) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666387)

I attach a small, cheap, 1.3MP digital Pencam to my R/C planes for aerial shots. Aiptek makes a 1.3MP "pencam" that weighs about 50grams. (without batteries) that works pretty well. The pictures out of the CMOS sensor and the cheap lens aren't as nice as conventional photographs - even from disposable cameras - but you can take a lot of them, and the really bad ones don't cost anything to develop.

The camera is ~US$60-70 at Walmart and Circuit City.

The official Pencam web site []

And a picture taken with my pencam from my R/C plane []

Re:Pencam - much smaller, lighter, and easier (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666509)

Hmm I fly R/C planes too. How did you control the camera?

Custom controller circuit?

If only my kites would fly... (3, Interesting)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666406)

This sounds like a great idea. I've done something similar using model rockets but had pretty lousy results. With model rockets there is exhaust vapors that you have to contend with and since the camera was aimed down the tube, most of the picture was blurry/smokey. I have two kites and I could mount a camera on either one pretty easy as they both have strong frames.. the only problem is that I've no success getting them to fly. Either it hasn't been windy enough or I'm doing something wrong.

I used to fly kites a lot as a kid (was also when I did the model rocket photography) and never had a problem but now that I have these so called stunt kites, all that I'm ever able to do is a nose dive.

The more I think about this, the more I like the idea though. If I get a better kite (that's a lot easier to fly and requires less wind), and I use a small wireless camera transmitting to my laptop, I wonder what kind of images I could get... could be quite impressive.

How come all of the good ideas involving the outdoors seem to come around when the rainy season hits? I live in Seattle and the rainy season is upon us... I'll have to wait until the beach has some people worth photographing and then I'll give this a try. What's a very cheap wireless camera that can survive slamming into the ground repeatedly when the kite crashes? Any ideas?

Re:If only my kites would fly... (3, Interesting)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666441)

If you are having trouble, you are in luck living where you do. There are a large number of kite flyers living in Washington state. One of the best [] stunt kite makers are based out of Seattle. There are quite a few kite flyers in that area and an active kite club [] as well. These people will be more than happy to help you figure out what you are doing wrong, and better yet, will lend you there kites... the best of friends.

OUCH !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666408)

That guys thumbnails in his gallery are 35k gif's... Talk about ASKING for bandwidth issues with slashdot.

De-Classified (5, Funny)

Grip3n (470031) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666425)

Looks like NASA has finally declassified it's old 1960's reconnaissance techniques...

Comparison (0)

First_In_Hell (549585) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666444)

This was the Taliban equivalent of modern satellite imaging & targeting. If it wasn't for that they probably wouldn't have lasted as long as they did.

Ha! I thought he said KIKES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666451)

Then I realized Jewish people can't fly!

Orthorectification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666452)

The company I work for can orthorectify those cheapo shots for you, esp if you shoot a mosaic of these...

I can see it now... (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666457)

Me sending my $800 Canon digital up into the sky to photograph scenes I would otherwise have to get from a low flying plane. Imagine the savings :-)

cheap form of air reconassance? (3, Funny)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666460)

don't laugh, some 3rd world countries are using this technique for air reconassance.

In modern countries, ppl are using it to spy on there neighbors. Must we wait before there is a ? "Kites flown over hollywood celebrities residences, 100% legal. For $5.95 a month you can have 24hr aerial vision of a hollywood supermodels".

Re:cheap form of air reconassance? (3, Informative)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666475)

Even first world countries have long used kites for reconaissance. A lot of kiting development has taken place for military applications. Check this page [] for more details.

I Like This! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666492)

"Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids."

Now, logically if you're a dad, you have kids, therefore if you have kids, you are a dad. What else could make a man a dad if he didn't have kids?

Re:I Like This! But I don't like you (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4666518)

A man with DEAD kids you Ass hole.
It's a little hard to play with a corpse, you knob!

Obligatory feminist gripe... (5, Funny)

g33kgirl (571248) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666498)

Looks like a fun science fair project for those dads out there with kids.

*ahem* And moms. :p

It's too bad... (1, Informative)

newestbob (589866) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666526)

...that the editorial staff of Slashdot suffers from some form of dementia.

Day after day, week after week, I tell them that the word "ITS" is the possesive form of "IT," and the word "IT'S" means "IT IS."

Despite my best efforts, the editors come up with phrases like:

art far beyond it's quick-and-dirty origins

What can we--Slashdot readers who wince when we see our mother tounge mangled--do to make them stop?

Predator kite (2)

Cheese Cracker (615402) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666547)

Maybe the military would be interested if you just add a bomb under it and have a longer wire.

Slippery slope! (2)

DEBEDb (456706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4666574)

Omigod, slippery slope! Quick, someone
call ACLU! Who knows how long until they
start using kites with cameras
to snoop on everybody!

(In ye olde days, an obFUD would be included
here. So it is, by implication :)
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