Melissa did a video that chronicles my difficulties putting a camera (and eventually in frustration, a computer) up on a kite string to shoot an aerial photograph. I needed a different angle on the Moai of Easter Island because they have been photographed to death. There are so many ways to get a camera up in the air these days. You can look at Nick Nichols’s Field Test in National Geographic about flying helicopters over lions, but you have to realize there are many people and a lot of time and money involved in that. This was not the case. I went through my equipment closet before I left and the guys in photo equipment at NG went through their equipment closet and we patched together a bunch of stuff that MIGHT WORK. I don’t even own a kite. NG sent me a “fighting kite” they had left over from an arctic assignment that would be good for cutting the strings of someone else’s kite in Lahore in a fight, but not to carry a camera. Luckily my 85-year-old father is still paragliding and he arranged for his instructors and their friends to help me get a kite big enough to carry a camera and a computer. I had to get a camera up in the air quickly, so this ended up being a “seat of the pants” experiment that only netted one photograph. One is all you need, however, and that photograph was in the layout for awhile, but disappeared with some later decisions. This aerial-by-kite was a side-note to my main mission, which was to photograph the place and the culture. I was particularly interested in the people because there are direct descendants left on the island and I did a search through all the agency and photo sites before I left and there were 30,000 photographs of the statues and about two of the people in their homes living their lives. But in the middle of the real work, if the light was good, and if the wind was good I would run out with my little team and try to make a kite photograph.
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Flying a Camera on a Kite over the Statues on Easter Island
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Kite Camera Easter Island
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Random Journal Excerpt From a Remote Location
machine gun prop
Our driver, Tamasz, is helping me and goofing around. He is juggling some kind of fourth century pig cup and pretending he is being hit in the head with these catapult rocks. He’s convulsing as if he is dead on the floor. Even the student archaeologists are looking sideways at him. He and the security guard help me secure a light to a chair using scraps of rags and various fourth century munitions, but the light really isn’t stable until the guard pulls a part off his machine gun to use as a brace.
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