Dumb KAP Mistakes

edited July 2010 in Lessons Learned
Starting this thread to share some of the dumb KAP mistakes we occasionally (hopefully) make.....so we can all learn from them....

Mistake: I will start with a simple one...after flying for a long KAP flight over Rome...I brought down my KAP rig with no issues....next the kite....no problems....took apart my Dopero kite.... grabbed the kite line to un-clip the kite....and realized to my shock that the swivel clip was left open for the whole flight!

Learning: Double check everything prior to launching the kite!

Please share your special moments!



  • During KAPiNED/10 when kaping windmills at Kinderdijke, the light and wind were just perfect for an autoKAP session with the Nikon D40x everything was as planned except for the focus which I had set to manual but not to infinity (need one these broccoli band) and all images were perfectly exposed but all of them were out of focus!!!

    I agree Learning: Double check everything prior to launching the kite
  • How about getting to the field and discovering that you left the camera behind. Duh
  • On a windy day, I left the camera on "P" mode, and all the pictures turned out blurry. To top it off, I left the LCD screen On and the battery drained before I bring the camera down. Learning: ditto.
  • Also at KAPiNED/10 and Kinderdijk I sent my rig up for an autoKAP session with an almost full memory card!
  • Make sure you have got all your gear when you leave a KAP site...

    during World Wide KAP Week 2009 I took my rig and camera off the line and put it safely under a tree, then brought my kite down went back to the car and drove off. At my next KAP location and I couldn't find the camera/rig.
    - - - - > I now carry a small camera bag which the small KAP rig easily fits into.

    A few weeks ago, I had a nice KAP session photographing a new Gas pipeline winding its way across the Cotswolds. But left my halo winder on the side of the road.
    = 50mile round trip the next day to pick it up - it was exactly where I left it.
  • After getting the kite up in the air, attaching the rig to the line and checking the camera and setting the chdk script variables correctly, I discovered the tripod screw was still at home on the living room table....
  • Turning the camera off after running CHDK and forgetting to run CHDK again after turning the camera back on. Turning the battery box switch off while making adjustments and forgetting to turn it back on before flying.
  • +1 on the tripod screw. Since then, I always carry a few spares in my backpack
  • edited July 2010
    I intended to do some KAP while the Tour de France was passing my hometown (Goes) this afternoon.
    The past few days i've done some recon to find nice flying spots along the route, considering various wind directions.
    This afternoon, all suitable spots were crowded with people watching the passing bicyclists, leaving no room to launch my kite safely. Other spots were rendered unreachable due to traffic control / road blocks. I returned home disappointed...
  • I've secured my tripod screw to the bottom bracket of my rig with some picavet line. I *knew* I'd lose it, otherwise. :-)
  • edited July 2010
    I left behind {or lost} my one-and-only GentLED2 for my KAP rig before {or during} a camping trip in E. Central Virginia back in April of this year. {I've posted about that elsewhere here on the forum.} My more-or-less main reason for going on the camping trip *was* to do KAP & KAV.

    That trip was going to be the first time I "flew" my rig with my new{er} Canon A570 using GentLED. I previously used a Sony digital camera with a shutter servo. I removed the shutter servo when I switched to the Canon camera. The Canon has a different 'configuration' than the Sony, so remounting the old servo shutter wouldn't have worked without 'major surgery' to the rig. And while I took a BUNCH of tools & stuff on the trip, I didn't have enough to do that kind of 'major surgery'.

    I still haven't found the GentLED2 yet. When I lose stuff, I REALLY lose stuff. Around the same time that I lost the GentLED2, I also lost a belt-clip for an iPOD MINI that my Daughter gave to me. {About 1/3 to 1/2 of my electronics are "hand-me-ups" from my Daughter.} I suspect that when I find the belt clip, I'll find the GentLED as well....

    On a positive note, I did get a CHDK intervalometer script working on my A570 yesterday. "R/C AutoKAP"...?

  • edited July 2010
    Hey Ed, what about the many helicopters that held the airspace occupied close to where the bikers where...?

    Oh, what about having 4 pairs of NiMh AA's to feed the camera. And all appear to be flat...
  • In the early days of Rok ownership I had just finished assembling it and had bowed the bottom spreader. I moved around to bow the top spreader and accidentally stood on it while it was still on the ground. Crushed carbon. Session over before it began. Even worse was the fact that I did it in front of two friends who were happening to pass by and were watching me set up.
  • edited July 2010
    @Ramon, yes these would have created a dangerous situation too:

    Many helicopters above Goes during Tour de France

    Some of those copters flew very low (providing live footage for TV)
  • edited July 2010
    Yup, Lots of heli's out there. We had to stop flying (rc-heli, mikrokopter) for the same 5 heli's in the photo in the above post. they landed very close to our little flying field, flying almost directly over our field. (Zwartewaal, about 15 min after the start in Rotterdam)

    Apart from the tripod screw, I usually forget a little bit of unimportant gear every time, making Kaping not impossible, but just a little harder. Think ground stakes, carabines, thicker lines with lots of wind, thin lines with hardly any wind...
  • I've done the "Wind Watcher", leaving the snap-swivel open.

    I've also done the "Hamish", but I put my own twist on it; I leaned my first Levitation Light Delta - in the case - against the side of my truck after it's first real KAP in Joshua Tree, then drove away without remembering to load it. I hope a kid found it, and flew it. When I was a kid, I would have been excited to find something like that.
  • Slip a 3/16 rubber or neoprene washer over your 1/4 - 20 "tripod screw" where it comes through the frame and
    you'll have to try hard to loose another one. The washer also adds "anti-slip" where the camera bottom meets
    the rig frame, to reduce twist. I also use another nut on the other side of the frame. The sequence might look like: "tripod screw" / bolt -- nut --(bolt goes) through the rig frame hole -- rubber washer -- camera bottom. Adjust the nut so that you tighten the head of the bolt to snug, then tighten the nut for a very snug fit to the bottom of the frame piece.
  • I feel much better now nowing that I'm not the only one, I spent an hour on my hands and knees looking for that stupid screw in the grass...I now use the same "O" ring Paul describes.
  • Realizing after hiking/climbing to the summit that I had everything except the flying line.
  • Night before a session, check all batteries are fully charged. Test the RC TX and RX and put everything away. Arrive at site next day and find the TX is still switched on - batteries dead and spares at home DOH!
  • Every thing checked before launching the rig and camera and it works fine. The only thing I didn't check was the camera lens of these was clear. There was a hug finger print on just in the center. So nice pictures with a finger print in the center.
  • Like others here, I often forget to check the camera is in the right mode. On New years Day I had a long session where all I took was a set of (unwatchable) movies and in Portugal last month my first session at the Tavira salt pans I had left the camera in playback mode and took no pictures at all!
  • walking backwards and standing on the unbreakable halo/hoop spool
  • edited July 2010
    I am told that the physicist Niles Bohr once said, "[a]n expert is someone who has made every possible mistake in a narrow field of expertise." I'm not yet a KAP expert, but I'm working my way through a long list of mistakes. I too have made several already mentioned including camera settings, forgotten equipment, and insufficiently tightened apparatus. As part of my quest to eventually develop an expertise in KAP, let me see if I can come up with some mistakes I've made that have not yet been mentioned.

    First mistake that comes to mind: I was standing on top of a very steep Andean hilltop fort, my winder was on the ground. I was watching the kite intensely, and at some point I knocked the winder with my foot. This sent the winder over the side of a steep precipice. In shock, I watched the winder roll and bounce all the way down the hill--unwinding line all the way. I got the kite down and released the lark's head. My colleague descended the mountain and re-wound the line. Tragedy was narrowly missed. Now when I'm near cliffs, ledges, or other steep features I either keep the winder attached to my body or in my hands.

    Second mistake that comes to mind: I've been KAPing daily for several months, and I (falsely) believe I know what I'm doing. In the narrow box canyon where I am trying to photograph an Archaic mound, the winds are coming in fickle light puffs and are actually swirling about quite a bit. In the morning, the winds were so low that I'd waited until 2pm to put up the kite. The early part of the day was devoted to PAP. Finally I feel like the winds picked up enough to loft a camera. The kite goes up quickly. Out of inpatients and a false sense of expertise, I go directly to putting the camera on the line and skip the "beta bottle" step that I had been using to test all questionable KAPing situations. The winds are with me and the camera rises quickly as hoped. A few moments later, the winds again die, the soft kite folds like a bag, the camera descends faster than I can pull in line, and the lens eventually plows the sand--gently--but enough to put grit into the lens. Now I realize that use of the beta bottle isn't defaulting to reliance on training wheels, the bottle can serve as an independent and impartial means to verify the feasibility of KAPing when the conditions are questionable and my hunger to "get the shot" is insatiable. The bottle is a valuable empirical test of whether or not it is a good idea to send up the camera. Sure there is pressure to get the shot today, but with a broken camera there may be no shots tomorrow or the next day or the next. Again, I came away lucky and the camera was repairable. However, there is dirt visible in the images (particularly when stopped down) and I have to manually open the retractable lens shutter. This damage could have been avoided by realizing that the bottle is not a crutch, it is a tool. Arrogance was my mistake.

    I'm sure there are other original mistakes that I can think of, and when I do I'll post them. In the mean time, it has been very useful to read about the experiences of others. This is a really valuable thread. Great idea to start it, and thanks to all who contributed. I'm off to Paracas for a two week long camping/KAP campaign to map some archaeological sites. I sure do hope I don't leave any equipment behind...
  • Paul, I hate to be a pest but is there any way you can post a picture of the washer configuration you are talking about? I'm sorry to say, I'm having a tough time envisioning it. The attachment method seems like an improvement, one I would like to implement, but I have to admit that I'm a bit baffled.
  • FCB
    edited July 2010
    A nut tightened against a rubber O-ring has "spring" pressure against it that keeps the bolt from rotating free easily on its own. Like a resilient lock washer. It sounds like Paul's configuration can be stored tightened against the nut so it won't fall off in an inopportune place.

    Careful with those cliffs (and roof tops, etc.). Way too many kiters break legs or necks looking up and focusing on the kite. The hoop falling off was sending you a message.
  • The best set of images I've ever shot was at the wooden cathedral on Kizhi Island in Russia, which has something like 28 shingled onion domes. Perfect wind and light, plenty of room to launch and fly, but a little tight on time.

    Back on board the departing cruise ship, I found that I had neglected (despite instructions written on the back of the rig) to set my Pentax on IR mode. Only then did I discover User mode.

    re: lost tripod screws, a short length of elastic cord works just fine to attach it to the rig.
  • @Nathan: kicking the winder off a cliff is a rather extreme way to find out if the line is attached to the halo ;)
  • That line over the cliff made me chuckle. The same heights weren't involved but back in March I watched my winder unhook itself from a railing on the lighthouse breakwater and roll over the side into the harbour. Luckily the tide had just fallen enough for me to descend some steps and retrieve it from rocks inches above the sea.

    Imagine the carnage that hundreds of feet of loose line could cause in a busy harbour.
  • My latest mistakes on my latest KAP outing:

    1) Forgot to make sure the RC transmitter was charged.

    As a result, I decided to set the camera at a fixed tilt (nearly level), turn on the servos and let the pan servo drift for an AutoKAP session.

    2) However, I set the camera on Program exposure instead of Shutter Priority at a high speed, which probably would have given better results since the camera was constantly moving. I still managed to get a few decent shots, so am not too disappointed.

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