Los Angeles Times August 16, 2005

This is a short piece that appeared on the back page of the Outdoors Section on August 16, 2005.

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Whirled View

By Janet Cromley

Call it a bird’s-eye-view. With the help of a steady breeze, Scott Haefner dangles a camera from a kite to shoot pictures like the Point Bonita Lighthouse, above, and a Bayfront Park salt pond, below right, both in the San Francisco Bay Area. He suspends an $800 camera 50 to 100 feet below the kite, to a height of 20 to 100 feet above the ground, and snaps pictures by remote control. Sound simple? All you need is the following:

  • Nikon Coolpix 5000 digital camera, with wide angle lens and fisheye lenses
  • A picavet device, a cat’s cradle-like system made up of string threaded through tiny pulleys that stabilizes the camera.
  • Sutton Flowform kites, (his workhorses), 16 and 30 square-feet
  • Japanese Rokkaku kite
  • Dopero kite, designed especially for kite photography
  • A four-channel FM radio controller designed for model airplanes, modified with controls for tilting and panning the camera, changing from landscape to portrait mode and snapping the shutter

There’s also a practical application to Haefner’s art. A geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who does computer-based mapping. Haefner is exploring the use of kite photography to find and document faults in Southern California. It’s an idea that just might fly. For more information go to www.scotthaefner.com.

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