Yesterday we came across a photo of Gas Works Park that looked like it was taken from a bird’s view. Close — it was from a kite.
We got in touch with the photographer, Rod Hoekstra, to learn more about his fascinating photos.
The photographs of Gas Works Park were taken via camera lofted by a kite, this technique is called Kite Aerial Photography, or KAP. The technique is this: You launch a kite (some kites are much better for this than others). When the kite reaches a stable height, you attach a camera to the kite string by means of a device called a picavet cross. The camera attaches to a harness located beneath the picavet cross, and stays relatively stable, and pointed in the same direction. Then you simply let out more string, and the camera gains altitude. I have modified the camera I shoot with, I’ve caused it to take photos at 3 second intervals. On average, I typically have the camera in the air for an hour and a half, and I usually end up with somewhere around 1000 images. The kite I use is a “Rok” which is short for Rokkaku, a kind of Japanese fighting kite.
I have been doing Kite Aerial Photography for about a little over a year and a half, wanting to get an aerial photograph of the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley was one of my primary influences. Since then I have been doing KAP all over Seattle, including the International Fountain at the Seattle Center, Gasworks Park, Golden Gardens, and the conservatory in Volunteer Park. A bit further afield, I have also flown on top of Mt. Constitution, several locations in Southeast Wisconsin, and most recently, the Burning Man festival in Nevada.
You can see much more of Hoekstra’s KAP work on his Flickr site. Here are a few more of his favorite Gas Works photos from several outings: