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Archive for May, 2011

World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Day 5

Posted by Tom Benedict on 04/05/2011

I did get out today, but photographically it was pretty arid.  The handful of photos I did around town weren’t inspired.  The wind was bouncy, my gear was all over the place, and a good third of the photos make no sense because I had the shutter going and had to swing the lens up to horizontal to avoid impact with the ground.  I never actually did land the rig on the ground, but it was close far too many times.  I flew at the skate park and later near Parker Ranch.  Finally I packed it in.

Tomorrow is another day.  Summit of Mauna Kea, maybe?  Time to check the weather.

– Tom

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World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Day 4

Posted by Tom Benedict on 02/05/2011

I came down with pneumonia during World Wide KAP Week 2010, so my total photographic output was far less than I’d hoped.  When it came time to submit photos for the World Wide KAP Week book in 2010, one of the photos I sent in was of the various prescriptions I was issued by my doctor.  I swore I wouldn’t get sick this year.

Technically speaking I’m not sick, and even three days into WWKW 2011 I’ve done more photography than I did for the entire week in 2010.  But last night I had my first migraine, and today I’m holed up at home with all the shades drawn and the lights turned out.

For anyone who thinks migraines are just big headaches, understand they are not.  My wife gets migraines, so I never had this impression.  But it’s amazing how many people believe this.  No, it’s not just a big headache.  And no, gobs of ibuprofen won’t fix it.  Mine hardly involved pain at all.

It started with some really bizarre visual effects in the lower left corner of my vision, which spread into a ring covering about half my field of view.  It’s as if there was a ring-shaped jewel covering that side of my vision whose facets spun, refracting the light like tiny propellers.  It was fascinating at first, but it was also incredibly disorienting.  So much so that I finally had to close my eyes and lie down.

The odd thing is if I closed the left eye, the right eye still saw the pattern.  And if I closed both eyes I could still see it spinning spinning spinning.  Even as the nausea started, I was still fascinated.

That all ended this morning when I woke up and the nausea and disorientation was still going strong.  The visuals stopped before I went to sleep, but when I woke up it felt as if I was hung over.  Light hurt, sound hurt, speech was difficult and slow to produce, and I couldn’t tell where my hands were.  Needless to say KAP was out of the question.

Symptoms improved throughout the day, but even at noon the overcast light outside my window was too painful to look at.  I finally called it a day after lunch.  There’s always tomorrow.

– Tom

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World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Day 3

Posted by Tom Benedict on 02/05/2011

I managed to squeeze in two sessions today.  One turned out well, the other… not so well.

The day started at Anaehoomalu Bay.  Ever since the tsunami I’ve been fascinated by how the sand moves around now that the fish pond is open to tidal flow.  It’s still evolving, and is quite different from the session I did there a week after the tsunami.  I didn’t make a good panorama of the break in the fish pond wall this time, but instead focused on the resort area and the beach.

Waikoloa Resorts May 2011

Anaehoomalu Bay Beach 2011

I flew the Nokia Push N8 gear here, too, with mixed results.  There’s new software for the phones that fixed many of the ills that were causing me grief in the field.  I tested the software out at home with really good results, but somehow got something wrong when I flew at Anaehoomalu Bay.  None of the stills took at all, and all the videos were rotated ninety degrees to one side.  BUMMERS!  I was really looking forward to processing the several panoramas I did this morning.  I’ll see what I can do with the video, but I’m not holding out too much hope.  Of course this means I need to return here for a redemption round with the N8 hardware once I get this sorted out!

In the afternoon the family and I went to Hapuna Beach.  The wind at Hapuna has been slim to none the last several times we went.  I didn’t really hold out much hope, but I brought all the kite gear anyway.  The wind was lame.

Lame

But the sunset was really quite fine.

Sunset Boogie Silhouette

I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring.  I have at least one KAP session I need to do for work, possibly two.  I also have an elevated pole session I need to do for the school my daughter goes to.  It should be a good week!

The only real downer in all this is that I got my first migraine after returning home from Hapuna.  Not much pain, but full-throttle visuals and nausea.  Maybe too much staring up into a bright, sunlit sky?  Who knows.  I just hope I can get out tomorrow.  World Wide KAP Week only comes around once a year!

– Tom

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World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Day 2

Posted by Tom Benedict on 01/05/2011

I got a late start to the day because of a bake and plant sale I needed to bake cookies for.  But it was time well-spent.  I did some pole photography at the bake sale using my A650, which the school can use for PR, and I handed off forty snickerdoodle cookies to be sold.  (In case you don’t know what a snickerdoodle is, it was my favorite cookie as a kid, and it’s still my favorite one to make.  Mmm!)

After dropping my daughter off at home, I took off to do KAP.  This time the wind prediction was right on the money.  The wind was almost non-existent all along the Kohala Coast, but right around the time I reached the turn-off to Upolu Point it finally picked up.  The windmills were cranking!

Upolu Point Windmills

I turned left with a smile on my face. I knew exactly where I was going: Mookini Heiau!

Before describing the session, a quick note on Mookini Heiau:  To the best of my knowledge it is the oldest operating heiau in the islands.  It was built more than 1500 years ago, and as the legends go the stones came from Pololu Valley, passed hand-to-hand for 14 miles, bucket-brigade fashion.  It was originally dedicated to Ku, and was a luakini heiau, or a place of human sacrifice.  More recently, Momi Mookini Lum, the current kahuna of Mookini Heiau, re-dedicated the heiau to the children of Hawaii in 1978, and in 1994 re-dedicated it a second time to the children of the world.  Today it is a place of healing, and not human sacrifice.

Mookini Heiau is a notoriously difficult place to fly.  There is a dirt road that hugs the coast, and a narrow track that runs up to the heiau itself.  This limits where you can stand to fly a kite.  The best angle would require hopping a barbed wire fence and flying from the middle of a private field.  I haven’t gone so far as to hop the fence or ask for permission yet, so to date I haven’t flown here at the best angle.

The wind at Upolu Point is some of the fiercest on the island.  Today it was blowing 13kts on the ground and easily double that in the air.  I forgot about the higher altitude speed-up at Upolu, and put up a Flow Form 16.  I just about got my arms pulled out of their sockets!  I flew the Push N8 gear from the Flow Form, but eventually took everything down.  It just bounced around too much and was exhausting to fly.

Getting the kite back down was a struggle.  I was glad for my gloves and for my carabiners!  Once the Flow Form was rolled up and back in its bag, I pulled out my PFK Nighthawk, a gift from Pierre Lesage and Heidy Baumgartner, two fellow KAPers and all ’round great folks.  (Thanks, guys!!) The Nighthawk flew like a charm and made for a much more civil session. After flying the Push N8 gear for a second time, I put my A650 rig on and flew some more.

Mookini Heiau 2011

I’m pleased with how the heiau came out.  Each time I’ve flown here I’ve been surprised by the landscape.  The first time I flew here was in the middle of a drought, and everything was an apalling gray color.  The second time the rains had come and the landscape had turned green.  This time it was as if I’d made a sepia-toned black and white photograph.  But it really was this color!

This is a four photo panorama.  I don’t think this would’ve been possible with the Flow Form, or with any of my other kites for that matter.  This one is entirely due to the PFK Nighthawk: the best high wind KAP kite I’ve ever used.  Again, a huge mahalo to Pierre and Heidy.

To put the icing on the cake, when I returned home from this session, dumped all the cameras to my computer, and put all the batteries in their respective chargers, I got an email from Ricardo Mendonça Ferreira, a fellow KAPer and the software developer for the Push N8 project.  He had new software to try!  Both phones were still plugged into my computer, so I got the new stuff loaded right away.

To cap it all off, the kids were bummed all the cookies went to the bake sale.  So we made a second batch of snickerdoodles.  This time, just for us.  Yaaaay!

I hope everyone else is having as good a World Wide KAP Week as I am this year.  Keep flying!

– Tom

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