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James S. and Susan E.W. Aber

Table of Contents
Introduction to KAP Fundamentals of KAP
Gallery of photographs Applications of KAP
KAP equipment KAP camera rigs
Weather and lighting High-altitude KAP
More information on KAP KAP consulting

Recent KAP locales
Bottomless Lakes State Park, New Mexico (1998 – 2023)
Green-energy tour, Denmark (August-September 2023)
Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas (August 2023)
Wind energy, southeastern Colorado (July 2023)
Mt. Calvary Cemetery and Sunflower wind farm (May 2023)
Rio Vista, Tucson, Arizona (February 2023)
Upper Verde River, Arizona (February 2023)
Kansas windscape (2022-23)

Introduction to Kite Aerial Photography

Kite aerial photography (KAP) is a form of remote sensing—collecting information about an object from a distance. Aerial photography from kites is, in fact, one of the oldest forms of remote sensing of the Earth's surface. Kites were utilized to take aerial photographs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for many purposes—military reconnaissance, disaster assessment, scientific surveys, etc. KAP images from above the surface gave new perspectives for how people visualized the world, both from practical as well as aesthetic points of view. The development of powered flight gradually put an end to the golden age of kite aerial photography by the 1930s.

kite stamp More on KAP history.

Early aerial view of Rome, Italy.

Since the 1990s, kite aerial photography has experienced a renaissance for commercial, scientific, and popular purposes. The rebirth of kite aerial photography is based on several factors.

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Kite (English), vlieger (Dutch), latawiec (Polish), lohe (Estonian)
Aquiloni (Italian), cerf-volant (French), cometa (Spanish)
Drachen (German), drage (Danish), drake (Norwegian)

Selected kite aerial photographs
View over the city of Skagen, northern Denmark. The historical lighthouse, "Hvide Fyr" (white light), appears in lower right corner. Note typical red tile roofs of Danish buildings.
Small town of Liebenthal in the prairie of west-central Kansas. St. Joseph's Church (right) is built of native chalk stone. Water supply tower to lower left; sewage treatment ponds upper left. Trees in the background follow Big Timber Creek, a tributary of the Smoky Hills River.
Closeup view of the dam, outlet gates, and spillway at Fall River Reservoir, southeastern Kansas. Constructed and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and recreational purposes.
Vertical shot of tennis players, Loose Park, Kansas City, Missouri. Numerous tennis balls are scattered about the court.
Fishing camp set up on the beach of Padre Island, South Texas. Various tents, vehicles, small boats, and fishing equipment. Preparing for a major fishing tournament.
Tundra landscape and one-lane road meandering over the island of Magerøya, northernmost Norway. The farthest north place we've done KAP at approximately 71° N latitude.

Home states in which we do most of our aerial photography.
Other states where we have conducted aerial photography.

Beyond the United States, we have acquired kite aerial photography in Saskatchewan, Canada as
well as in Europe—Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden.

Map composed with source code by Ben Markowitz at Stately
with assistance from Jeremy Aber at MTSU.

Free Wind, as the sign says, whether for flying kites to take aerial photographs or for spinning turbines to generate electricity. Mount Maestas in the background, near La Veta, Colorado.

The Great Plains aerial photography is presented for general public enjoyment by James S. and Susan E.W. Aber.
All rights reserved; text and images © by the authors (1996-2023). For more information, contact J.S. Aber.

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This webpage was established in 1996 and
moved to its present URL in March 2002.
Last update: October 2023.