The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

Archive for May, 2011

Scissors Revisited

Posted by Tom Benedict on 30/05/2011

We’re doing a bunch of house cleaning in preparation of having family visit.  This is a big deal for us since we live on an island: it’s hard for us to visit them, and it’s hard for them to visit us.  Having family on-island is reason to celebrate.  It’s also reason to clean house like rabid weasels, but that’s another story.

In the process of cleaning my side of our room, I found the binder I keep all the film and developer data sheets in.  Inside that binder was my 18% gray card.  My room was torn apart, I had magazines and books sorted on a folding table waiting to be put away, and…

Of course I stopped work to play!

Back in 1996 when I had just finished building the large format camera my wife bought me for my birthday, I made this photograph of my grandmother’s Wiss sewing scissors:

Scissors

This was inspired by an Ansel Adams photograph.  I think he used a different background, but otherwise all of the elements were lifted straight out of his.  It was a good exercise in focusing a large format camera, and also taught me a lot about how much flex my camera’s rear standard suffered from.  Still, it turned out well for me.

More recently I bought a Canon T2i for use as a kite aerial photography camera.  But when I got it I also knew I wanted to use it as my general purpose camera on the ground.  What better way to celebrate a new camera than to return to a traditional subject?

There were three pairs of scissors I wanted to photograph:  The first was my grandmother’s Wiss scissors: the same ones I used in the photo back in 1996.  The other two were my left-handed Ghingers and my Mundial snips, both of which I got after my wife and I got our new sewing machine.

In setting up the shot I realized how poor the light is in our house.  We have wonderful windows, but because of their relative size compared to the size of the room, they create a terribly directional light that isn’t flattering for horizontal subjects.  The light is great for portraits, but ill-suited for this.  I set everything up in the bathroom instead.

Before going into what went right and what went wrong, these are the results:

Ghinger

Ghinger and Mundial

Ghinger and Wiss

I made all these without going back to study my original photograph, or the one done by Ansel Adams.  In retrospect I wish I had.  The thread is really too thin, and is short compared to the one I used in 1996.  When I saw how the photos looked, I remembered reading that Adams took some time and care in selecting his thread and length.  So clearly another session is called for.

The second problem I noticed is that the thread casts no shadows in my newer images.  This is integral to the image, in my mind, and gives it a sense of depth that is lacking in the new ones.  So clearly when the new session happens I need to put more thought into lighting.

Enough of the negative.  Time for some positive:

One of my main frustrations with 35mm gear is how hard it is to focus.  My eyes aren’t bad at long distance, but up close they’re next to useless.  I never could achieve critical focus with a 35mm camera, no matter how hard I tried.  So I relied on autofocus to do the job for me.  This is less than ideal since it means relinquishing all control over focus to the camera.  Technically, modern cameras are quite good.  But they won’t compose a photograph for you, and they may go off and focus on a part of the image you’re not interested in.  This is one of the things I love about large format cameras.  The modern digital SLR offers something closer to a large format camera:  Live view manual focusing with zoom.  I was overjoyed to see how much better the focus was on these than on my original 4×5 negative.

I really enjoyed processing these in DPP and Photoshop.  They were made as RAW images, so I got to play with all the tonal ranges in software rather than at the enlarger.  By the time I imported them to Photoshop, they were nicely tuned to use just the amount of dynamic range I wanted.

Not having to dust spot an image is a real thrill.  It took several hours  to spot the scan of the negative I made in 1996.  These didn’t require dust spotting at all.

So no, they’re not perfect.  But I know they can be better than my original image.  It’s time to play.

– Tom

Posted in Photography | Leave a Comment »

Putting An Edge On Scissors

Posted by Tom Benedict on 27/05/2011

Back in October I volunteered some knife sharpening to an auction to raise money for cancer research. The previous year someone brought in a lawn mower blade, so this year I figured I’d be all-inclusive and offer to do anything with an edge.

So someone dropped off a pair of sewing scissors.

If your total exposure to putting an edge on a thing is using the sharpener on the back of an electric can opener, this probably doesn’t raise the sort of panic I felt. If you regularly put edges on fine woodworking tools, you probably have a better idea how I felt, but you’re probably thinking, “No problem!  Use your scissor jig.  I use my chisel jig for my chisels!”  Yeah…  I don’t own a scissor jig, and the thought of free-handing an edge on these things panicked me.

My adrenaline shot up again when the owner said the other pair they wanted me to sharpen were Ginghers.  I own a pair of left-handed 7″ dressmaker’s Ginghers. The thought of botching an edge on my own Ginghers makes me want to curl up and die. The thought of doing it to someone else’s makes me want to do my curling up and dying somewhere really private so I don’t have to bring shame upon my friends and family.

This was back in October. It’s now May of the following year.  It took this long to figure out how simple the answer really was.  When it finally came to me I almost laughed.  Then I almost strangled myself for being so dense!  Here’s how I did it:

Lansky Scissor Accessory

I built an extension to my Lansky sharpener that gave me the angles I needed. It’s a simple length of hardware store extruded aluminum with the same pattern of slots milled in it, and a set of threaded holes to make it easy to attach to the Lansky clamp. I used a bending brake to bend it up at about a 45 degree angle, but this stuff is soft. The same could have been done with a vise and a 2×4.

The slots are 10/32″ apart, center-to-center. Weird number, but that’s what I got. I used a 3/16″ diameter mill to cut them, and jogged it +/- 0.100″ off center to make the slot. It took less than thirty minutes to make, including tapping the holes that let me mount it to the Lansky clamp.

But the proof is in the pudding.  The real question is would it work?

The first pair of scissors had a terrible edge on them. In the past someone had used something that ground the metal at the wrong angle, and chattered enough that the edge on one side was almost serrated. At a guess it was a pre-packaged scissor sharpener.  I own one of these, but I never use it any more.  It works, but it takes a toll on the scissors.  Eventually the angles on the blades are so messed up the scissors won’t cut any more, and the sharpener won’t do its job.  Given the choice, it’s always better to put a precise angle on a cutting edge and maintain that angle throughout the tool’s life.  These scissors were trashed.  It took close to an hour to clean everything back up and get it back to the factory original angle.

I’ve got three stones with my Lansky.  I didn’t go all the way to the finest stone, but I don’t think it was necessary to. The original grind on the scissors was fairly coarse. (Most are, compared to the grinding on a chef’s knife.)  Most of the work was done with my coarsest stone, and involved about as much finesse as sharpening a stick by rubbing it on a sidewalk.  I checked the edge under a loupe until I started to get close.  The last tenth of a millimeter of edge was done using proper sharpening technique.  The second stone just cleaned up the scratches left from the first.  At that point I called it quits.

One step that’s worth mentioning:  When removing that much metal from an edge, you will always always raise a burr on the opposite side of the edge.  If you close the scissors with this burr present, it tears up the edge of the opposing blade.  It’s tempting to run a stone across the flat of the blade to remove the burr.  If you’re good, this works.  If you’re bad you just destroyed your scissors.  I might do this on my kids’ paper scissors, but not on someone else’s sewing scissors.  I used the end grain of a chunk of wood to remove the small burrs, but had to go after the heavier stuff with a razor blade to get it clean.  Then I put a new edge on because while the razor blade trick is kind to the back side of the blade, it’s not all that kind to the edge itself.  In the end the scissors were sharp enough to shave with either blade.

The real prize for me was testing them on a scrap piece of cloth.  It was cotton duck, but the stuff cut like silk.  Good to go.

– Tom

P.S. For what it’s worth this kind of thing can be applied to just about any knife sharpening jig that’s built along the same lines as the Lansky. But check your hole spacings and sizes before making the tapped holes.

Posted in Machining | 1 Comment »

Tangled Writing

Posted by Tom Benedict on 25/05/2011

Every night that’s not a school night, the whole family gets together and has dinner and a movie.  We almost never turn on the TV except for movie nights, and then only for movies.  Call us weird.  Whatever.  It’s fun.  These days Friday night is almost completely given over to Phineas and Ferb.  Not strictly a movie, but it’s a lot of fun.  The writers of Phineas and Ferb have way too much fun, and we have way too much fun watching them.

Last Saturday we watched Tangled.  I like that movie a lot.  It’s got great characters who go through some good development as the movie progresses.  It’s got a rolicking good plot line that drives the story forward.  It’s got melodrama that draws tears, and it’s got humor that makes me laugh.  As we watched I got this wrenching need to write.

I had been working on a novel on and off for years, but finally set it aside some time ago.  I don’t have enough of a handle on the craft to carry me through a novel.  At this point I don’t have the stamina, either, because I haven’t found a pace that works yet.  Some months back I forced myself to start reading short stories so I could learn to write them.

A short story is not a compressed novel.  It’s a completely different literary form.  I know that learning to write the one form doesn’t always translate into being able to write the other.  That’s fine.  Right now I’m not trying to learn a given form.  I’m trying to learn to build a character.  I’m trying to learn how to plot.  I’m trying not to bore my fellow creatures.  I’m convinced that these skills do carry over.  The execution is different for each form, but the ideas are the same.

The funny thing is I actually like short stories.  I know they don’t have the markets novels do, but they’re fun to read and they’re even more fun to write!  After watching Tangled and putting the kids to bed, I stayed up past midnight working on a short story I’ve been itching to write for some time.  It’s through its first draft and is ready for the first major revision: the pot is simmering.  Meanwhile I got two more stories on the stove and a third on the cutting board.  One of the two new ones is worth finishing.  I’ll have to see on the other two.  One more day should get it simmering as well.

I’m still trying to decide what to do with them.  It would be fun to post them here, but I really need something more out of them.  In looking at publishers, I realized what drew my interest wasn’t genre or acceptance rates.  It’s which ones write personal rejection letters as opposed to form letters.  That’s what I need more than an acceptance letter:  I need a rejection letter that will tell me what I did right and what I did wrong.

So that’s my new personal goal:  I will write short stories and finish them.  I will send them out for publication.  And I will collect every rejection letter I receive.  (I’ll collect acceptance letters, too, mind you… but that’s not part of the goal.)

Off to write!

– Tom

Posted in Writing | Leave a Comment »

Small Potatoes

Posted by Tom Benedict on 20/05/2011

In the world of photography, I am small potatoes.  I know this to be a fact.  It doesn’t bug me, it simply is how it is.  I’ve sold some prints, I’ve sold some stuff through Getty.  But I’m small potatoes.

A number of the participants in the Getty Flickr collection watch their monthly statements with a level of attention bordering on obsessiveness.  I’m not really one of them.  But I know of a couple, at least, who clear more than a thousand dollars a month this way, so their attention is warranted.  My statements are typically empty, or if I do make any money it tends to be a dollar here or five dollars there.  Since joining the program in December of last year, I haven’t accumulated enough earnings to warrant a check.  It’s just rolled to the next statement period.  Like I said, small potatoes.

Until recently I’d only sold one of my pictures more than once.  It was the Green Sand Beach aerial I did during World Wide KAP Week 2009, and is one of my favorite KAP images to this day.  Each one was for display on a web site, so the totals were pretty small.

Last month I sold a second photo a second time, and this time they bought the right to use the full sized image.  WOOHOO!  I still only came away with about fifty bucks, but it means I get a check this time.  All those months of rolled-over earnings finally get to come out of hiding and go into the bank.  It’s not a lot, but it’s more than I’ve seen so far.  I’m excited!

I’ve seen people debate the pros and cons of the Getty Flickr program.  To me I don’t see the problem.  Except for doing the photography itself, I’m not the one putting the effort into it.  It’s the folks at Getty who actually get out there and do the marketing, the accounting, license agreements, etc.  I don’t rely on photography to pay my bills, so I don’t get as up tight about seeing my statement each month.  And if I occasionally get a check in the mail (or in my electronic deposit email, anyway), that’s just gravy.

Small potatoes isn’t such a bad thing.

– Tom

Posted in Photography | Leave a Comment »

KAP with Dolphins

Posted by Tom Benedict on 15/05/2011

Over the past year and a half I’ve written from time to time about doing KAP with whales and dolphins.  Until today we haven’t been able to do either.  That has changed.

This all started during the 2009/2010 humpback whale season.  I got a call from a fellow photographer and whale researcher who asked if I’d be interested in doing KAP off the back of a boat.  Well yeah!  We tried, but were unsuccessful at photographing a whale using KAP gear.  We started too late in the season, and we had no chance to practice before trying it on the water.  A combination of things kept us from trying this during the 2010/2011 season, though clearly we were both interested in pursuing it.  As World Wide KAP Week approached, we saw an opportunity to try the technique on dolphins, but the storm system that ended WWKW early in Hawaii meant we didn’t have the weather we needed to give it a try.

When the call came that the weather should be good Saturday morning, I was more than ready to give it everything I had.  I threw all the batteries in the chargers, checked to make sure CHDK was loading the right program with each of the cards in my camera bag, and laid out the clothes I wanted to wear.  This was it.  In the morning we headed out and turned north.

Searching For Dolphins

Despite the good weather report, it had just finished raining when we put the boat in.  As we headed out of the harbor we kept an eye on the horizon where gray clouds were dumping rain into the ocean.  If the weather turned, we were calling it done.  But the further north we went, the better the weather got.  It was still overcast, but when I checked the metering on my camera I knew we could do it.

Unfortunately the first two pods of dolphins parked themselves well within the five mile radius of the Kona International Airport, with one of them right across from the runway. We kept going, hoping for another pod.  As we passed Kua Bay we knew the chances were getting pretty slim.

And then there they were.  The biggest of the three pods we’d seen, hugging the coast and heading south.  I set up my kite as he brought the boat around.

There wasn’t enough wind to fly the kite on its own, so we used the boat to generate wind.  This meant we couldn’t park the rig over the dolphins, but had to drive past them and photograph them in snatches.  Even with the overcast light and the intermittent photography, it worked.

Spinner Dolphins 5361

Eventually we settled into a routine of pass / turn / pass.  I reeled in the camera between passes to keep it out of the water, but also so we could start at low altitude and work higher.  It took a steady hand on the wheel to guide us around the rocks that pepper that stretch of coastline, and at times the dolphins were clearly luring us into them.  I didn’t appreciate how complicated the coastline is until I got home and looked at the photos.

Here There Be Rocks

The KAP  technique we used was adapted from the technique I use to photograph sea turtles: Before each pass I’d let out about 30-50′ of line so the rig was parked just behind the boat and up about 45 degrees. As we swung by the pod for each pass, I’d let out line so the rig hovered at that altitude and made a slow pass over the dolphins, photographing them the whole time. At the end of the pass I’d stop letting out line, the rig would fly high into the air, and I’d get some high altitude images as we started the turn for the next pass.

Toward the end the sun came out and we finally got decent light.

Spinner-Dolphins-5680

Now for the pitfalls:

Sunlight is killer on the water. Because of the overcast sky pointing anywhere east or north resulted in washed out photos with massive highlights on the water. Be aware of your sun angle at all times! If the pass isn’t going to work, come around and try again.

The technique I was using meant I had to have 100% of my attention on the kite and rig at all times. I flipped the switch on the remote to start taking pictures, and from that point on I was flying the kite. I’d occasionally re-orient the camera, but most of my attention was in the air. At one point I had the camera maybe 20′ off the water, maybe 200′ behind the boat. The kite line touched the wake behind the boat and immediately the boat was flying the kite and not me. End of the pass! I took in line fast, got everything high up off the water, and everything stayed high and dry. Barely. The line was in the water for a few seconds at most. The KAPer’s attention has to be on the kite and rig.

I already mentioned the rocks. The boat captain’s attention really needs to be on the boat! (This means no solo KAP for this. It’s new territory for me.)

This also means that it would be really tough to do video feedback without a third person. Ideally we’d have three, with one running the kite, one running the rig, and the third running the boat.  These are details to be worked out in the future.  For now we know it works.

– Tom

Posted in Kite Aerial Photography | 2 Comments »

Customer Service – Two Stories

Posted by Tom Benedict on 12/05/2011

I recently had two experiences of good customer service.  They both put smiles on my faces, so I figured I’d share.  I’m of the mind that if you want other drivers to use turn signals, the best thing to do is use turn signals yourself.  So in the hopes that people in the customer service industries read this, here we go:

The first started about eight years ago when I first bought my Jeep.  I got it used, and it was in rather feral condition at the time.  I had to replace a clutch cylinder, front transmission seal, valve cover gasket, you name it.  And for some reason the clutch pedal had this awful tendency to fall to the floorboards.  The push rod that connected the pedal to the clutch master cylinder didn’t seem to have any way to attach it to the cylinder.  It just kind of sat there and pushed on it.  So when I hit a bump, about half the time the clutch pedal would fall off.

I went to the local car parts store to ask for whatever part was missing, but they told me no such part was in the diagram.  “The clutch pedal connects directly to the master cylinder,” was what they said.  I thought I had fairly compelling evidence it didn’t, so I blew them off and lived with this oddball behavior for almost ten years.

About a month ago my clutch master cylinder started to fail.  I had to pump the pedal just to get it to shift.  Not so good.  I adapted my driving style to this new behavior of my car, but I knew it wasn’t safe and I knew it would fail inspection.  So eventually I went back to the car parts store and bought a new master cylinder.  It cost me fifty bucks.  Lo and behold, there was that @#%^ push rod, clearly an integral part of the master cylinder.  I couldn’t help thinking, “You idiot!  They were right all along.  The push rod that’s flopping around at the end of your clutch pedal IS part of the master cylinder.  It’s been broken for as long as you’ve owned the car!”  Thirty minutes later I had a new cylinder installed, my car shifts like a dream, and there’s no more falling pedal syndrome.

Moral:  Even when people tell you something you think makes no sense, they may still be right.

The second happened earlier this week.  I ordered a new memory card for my camera from Amazon.  32GB, Class 10, nice card.  We don’t have street delivery where I live, so all my packages go to my post office box.  About four days later there’s a card in my box saying I have not one, but two packages, and that there’s postage due on one of them.  Postage due?  Since when has that happened?  I took the card to the counter, not really knowing what to expect.

What happened was Amazon sent two packages with the same postage label on both.  Only one copy had been purchased, so the other had postage due.  But why two packages, I wondered?  It’s not like you can split-ship a single memory card.  I paid the extra shipping and opened both packages.

Inside were two smaller packages, each with their own shipping label.  One was to me, and matched the shipping labels on the packages I’d just opened.  The other was addressed to someone in Alaska.  Clearly what had happened was they had been re-packaged into larger packages so the shipping label would fit, and one of them got the wrong label on it.  I asked the postman what I should do.  He told me they couldn’t even send it back because as far as the system was concerned, only one of those packages even existed, and since I’d received them, that bar code was declared done.  I emailed Amazon instead and told them the whole sob story, offering to forward this guy’s package to him.

Within an hour they replied saying they had already credited my account with the amount of the additional shipping.  They thanked me for offering to forward the other package, apologized for the inconvenience, and offered to cover any additional shipping that might be involved.  Hot dang!  I went back to the post office the next day and put the second package in a mailer.  As soon as I got back I sent Amazon a second email to let them know the amount of the additional shipping.  It was in my Amazon account within the hour.

Sure, on the face of it this means this happens frequently enough they knew exactly what to do.  But it still made me feel good to know they were that on top of things.

Moral:  Even when things screw up, supporting the customer in a professional manner earns you huge kudos.

I’m happier than ever to buy my car parts from the shop in town, and now listen a little better to what they say.  And I’m happy to order from Amazon, knowing they will do whatever they must to take care of me and my orders.  Life’s good.

– Tom

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Closing

Posted by Tom Benedict on 10/05/2011

A series of weather systems blew in off the Pacific in the middle of World Wide KAP Week 2011 and continued through the end of the last day.  For me WWKW 2011 essentially ended Thursday night when I threw in the towel and returned to work.  Conditions didn’t improve over the weekend, and in fact it’s still raining today.  Ah well.  As I’m fond of saying all forms of photography are subject to weather and light.  KAP just adds wind to the mix.

Even so, I’m glad I got out as much as I did.  It gave me time with my equipment, and time to think on my future with KAP.

For the record I was traveling with seven kites, one winder, no fewer than three KAP rigs, two cameras, and two Nokia N8 phones.  All on my back.  In addition to this I carried my usual accessories: anemometer, hat, gloves, first aid kit, pocket mask, pulse oximeter, water bottle, tools, spare parts, etc.  By the end of the week I was ready to have a day when I didn’t pick all this back up and try yet again.  Future plan #1:  Pare down the weight.  It’s not necessary.

I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get the Nokia N8 hardware to do what it was supposed to do.  This is a long story, and not one I’m in a position to share since I’m still in the middle of the Push N8 project.  Suffice it to say that I have made it a rule never to agree to fly KAP gear I myself cannot vouch for.  This has not been the case with the Nokia hardware.  Never again.

I spent a fair bit of time using my Canon T2i.  I can see that eventually I will want at least a pan/tilt RC KAP rig for it.  But that’s down the road.  During the days when my kites would fly, I found I was looking forward to flying it.  During those days I spent hiking or driving, but unable to get a kite in the air, I found myself thinking through the design requirements for its first KAP rig.  And during those days when I had equipment failure with the N8 gear, I found myself vowing that the rigs I build for the T2i will work every time without fail.

It’s been a good week.  Photos made, successes and failures had in fair measure, lessons learned.  Time to move on.

– Tom

Posted in Kite Aerial Photography | Leave a Comment »

World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Day 8

Posted by Tom Benedict on 06/05/2011

The wind looked bad again today.  Between that and some obligations I didn’t take care of beforehand, I cut my vacation short and returned to work.  Still two days left in World Wide KAP Week 2011.  Here’s hoping for better conditions and good subjects.

Until tomorrow…

– Tom

Posted in Kite Aerial Photography | Leave a Comment »

World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Day 7

Posted by Tom Benedict on 06/05/2011

Wind.  Bad.  Nuff said.  I didn’t even get my kites out of the bag.

Ok, I’ll elaborate.  Wind was too fast in town, in North Kohala, and along most of the Hamakua Coast.  The Kona coast had screaming offshores along most of its length.  The areas that weren’t howling were too slow to launch.  Even worse, the lines between these regions were narrow and moved around a lot.  What this means for flying kites is that it’s hard to predict the wind.  If you put up a high wind kite, the wind can fall and the camera comes down.  Hard.  If you put up a low wind kite a small shift can mean it suddenly overpowers and flies into the ground, and the camera comes down along with it.  Hard.  It’s not worth the risk.

Only three days left in World Wide KAP Week 2011.  At this point I need more than better luck.  I need better wind.

– Tom

Posted in Kite Aerial Photography | Leave a Comment »

World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Day 6

Posted by Tom Benedict on 05/05/2011

One kite did make it out of my bag today, but that’s as close as I got to flying a camera today.  The wind models didn’t appear to run last night, so I guessed at the wind and the weather and drove to Pololu Valley.  I’ve flown in Pololu before, but this time I had a different plan:  I’d fly from the top of the far side of the valley and try to get a panorama that would take in the northern end of the entire valley region.  Or that’s what I thought, anyway.

I drove across Kohala through dumping rain.  Kohala generates its own microclimate, so it was a fair assumption that this was all generated by the mountain itself.  But by the time I reached Hawi on the north side and turned to go through Kapaau, I knew I’d messed up.  The weather system was coming in off the water.  Oops.  It dumped buckets for much of the drive, but by the time I reached Pololu it was only spitting rain.  I grabbed wet weather gear and hiked in anyway.

The wind was fast and gusty, so I launched my Flow Form 16 when I reached the valley floor.  It sort of flew, kind of, but not really.  After a few minutes I packed it up and kept going.  Some years ago I’d hiked up the far side of the valley so a friend and I could backpack in one of the other valleys.  I knew that much of the trail, and knew there were two spots that would potentially provide a really good place to do KAP.  One was a spot that overlooked Pololu, and the other overlooked the valley we had camped in.  Up I went.

The climb up the far side of Pololu is deceptive.  It keeps feeling like you’ve reached the top.  Unlike the north side of the valley the switchbacks are hidden in the trees, so just when you think you’re done with the ascent you find out there’s another hundred feet of trail to go.  Then another hundred.  The another.  By the time you’re done you realize both sides really are the same height.

I hiked in to the valley where I’d camped and checked out the first vantage point.  It really would be a great place to KAP, but the wind was blowing the wrong way and it was gusting between 10kts and 25kts.  It was all over the place.  I finally gave it up as a bad idea.  I’m sure I could’ve flown something, maybe even flown a camera.  But it would have been a punishing session that would’ve resulted in a bunch of blurred photos.  Not worth it.  I turned around and hiked back.

The second vantage point was supposed to overlook Pololu, but there wasn’t really a safe way to launch.  The wind was still gusting, and I would’ve had to pay out all 1000′ of line on my winder to get the camera to the point I wanted.  Tour helicopters were coming over the ridge well below the 1000′ mark, so again I gave it up as a bad idea.  Maybe in better weather, but not today.

I hiked back down only to see a black line of rain hitting the water about a quarter mile offshore.  Squall!  I had enough gear to cover my cameras in case of a rainstorm, but it’s no fun hiking when it’s really dumping, and the trail isn’t really safe under those conditions, either.  Despite really needing to take a break, I hitched up my bags and hoofed it up the trail.  By the time I reached my car I was exhausted.

There’s a beautiful silver lining to this story. Some friends of mine run a deli back in Hawi, the Lighthouse Delicatessen.  Lunch time!!  This is one of the best parts about hiking in Pololu.  After tucking away a french dip sandwich and a really good ginger beer, I got an order of soft pretzels and drove home.

Not my best KAP day ever, but everyone enjoyed the pretzels including me.  Not a bad end to things.

– Tom

Posted in Hawaii, Kite Aerial Photography, Photography | Leave a Comment »