Friday, April 29, 2011

World Wide KAP Week starts


The goal of WWKW (World Wide KAP Week) is:

"Everyone gets out wherever they are, as much as they can, during WWKW, and does KAP or something related to KAP (public speaking, gallery showing of KAP photos, etc.) Pictures are posted to the WWKW Flickr group for folks to share. If we're doing a book again this year, unmodified photos are submitted to the person coordinating the book along with captions and a block of text describing yourself, your experience during WWKW, etc. " (Credits: Tom Benedict).

Okay, that's what WWKW is but what is KAP?

KAP is the acronym for Kite Aerial Photography. Basically it's aerial photography done with a camera suspended from a kite line. The rigs for holding and triggering the camera range from a simple pendulum with a single-use camera and a rubber band to trigger the shutter to complex multichannel radio-controlled rigs with gyroscopes to steady the camera and video downlinks so the photographer can actually see what the camera above sees. My rig falls somewhere in between.

I built my first KAP rig just before I moved to Puerto Rico but didn't actually use it until I got here. I certainly didn't invent KAP. That honor is usually given to Arthur Batut, a Frenchman who took the first know KAP photos in the late 1880s in Labruguiere, France. Right now, there are some 1,872 members of the Flickr KAP group world-wide. The Flickr group is a great showcase of the best KAP work.

Few people know that one of the most famous KAP photos is in fact a KAP photo. In the days after the 1906 earthquake that leveled San Francisco, a photographer named George Lawrence made this photo of the devastated city:

It was not taken from an airplane or a hot air balloon. Rather, Mr. Lawrence "took this remarkable kite aerial photograph in 1906 as San Francisco lay devastated by the '06 earthquake. Less than 20 years after Batut's first efforts Lawrence used a train of up to nine large Conyne kites to loft a moving-slit panoramic camera. The camera weighed 49 pounds and was lifted to a height of approximately 2,000 feet anchored by a wire tether. The shutter was released via an electric wire to produce a negative measuring 18" x 48". (credit: Chris Benton, Kite Aerial Photography)

My goal for WWKW is to KAP a different, new location each day. My plan is to post the best photo each day here, on the blog, and the best of the series on Flickr. Stay tuned. And check out the two Flickr pages to see what's new in the world of KAP.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Camera update

The PR police found my diver camera! Or at least they found out what happened to it. The person who stole it sold in on Clasificados Online (which is just what it sounds like, an online classified ads website). He/she sold it for $60!!!!!!!

Since the police have the "perp," he/she has until Friday to pay me $800 to replace the camera and UW housing. If he/she pays, the case is closed and the thief goes free. If not, it becomes a criminal case and goes to trial. If it goes to trial, we probably get nothing in restitution. As much as I'd like to see the bastard go to jail, it probably wouldn't happen anyway. As one cop told me, the system doesn't always work the way we want it to, but this is the way the system works.

At least I won't have to pay to replace the camera/housing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I've taken a mostly voluntary hiatus from the computer. Mostly voluntary. Circumstances have also conspired to keep me away as well. We've been BUSY!

It's been an eventful couple of weeks.

Elaine took a few well-deserved days away. That left the care and feeding of all critters to me, and of the Ola Lola's crowd to Rosa, Pichi, Miguel and me. We had quite a weekend last week but we came through it, amazingly well if you ask me. Thank you so much to our wonderful help. You guys are awesome! That said, we are all glad Elaine was back with us this weekend.

KTJ, Elaine's Thoroughbred, celebrated her fourth birthday. In horsedom, that means she is now a mare and no longer a filly.

Last Saturday, just as we were closing, someone stole my camera and underwater housing from a table in the kitchen. Don't know who or how, but we have our suspicions. Our little point-n-shoot camera that we used to take pictures around the bar was stolen from the bar earlier, probably by the same person.

I wonder if thieves ever think of the impact of their actions on their victims. They obviously must think they need "the thing," whatever it is, money a camera, whatever, more than their victim does. But do they ever think "gee, this person is going to have to replace this thing I'm stealing and that's going to cost them." Or "gee, this thing might be important to somebody." Probably not.

The actual cost to us and our friends when two cars were broken into and another car stolen was over $8,000. The punk that did it paid "restitution" of $1,100. It will cost nearly $1,000 to replace my cameras. I could have used that $1,000 to upgrade to a new camera to shoot suf photos. Now I'll just be replacing what I already have.

These actions can have an impact far beyond just the victims. When I posted on Facebook about the camera theft and later about a dive without the camera, I got these comments back:

"Since we don't get to see your pictures, in a way, he stole from us too. I enjoyed seeing your pictures."

"i want to "like" this statement - but I don't like whoever stole your camera, and I don't like that I can't see the pictures as well."

" I agree as well. I LOVE seeing the pics of the time you spend exploring underwater! It is a loss to everyone that viewed them."

"I was imagining what you saw as you described it, but it's not the same as seeing it!"

"I agree too... I enjoy your underwater pictures a lot, since I snorkle, but I don't dive, that was my way of living the under water and showing my friends... in fact I even showed the pics to one of my students that wants to be a marine biologist."

I will get another camera and I will take pictures underwater again. It's just too much a part of who and what I am. Still, mean people suck.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Meet Oz

This is Oz, our Buddhist Temple Lion dog. Oz adopted us by plopping down in the yard some time in November and he's been hanging out ever since. Our relationship with Oz started slowly. First we tried to shoo him away. Then, secretly at first and then openly, Elaine began to feed him as did our friend Mary and a few other dog-loving people who come by.

We think someone dumped him on the side of the road here, but he seems to have made a home for himself. Mostly he lays around in front of the bar. For a while, when we're open, he would hang out on the edges. If it got too busy for his comfort zone, he made himself a little den around on the side and he'd go there.

He's really sweet, especially for a chow. Chow's aren't known for their kind gentle dispositions. We think he was probably abused as a puppy because for a long time he wouldn't let anyone approach him or touch him. He got comfortable enough with us to take food from our hands but if we made any move to pet him, he moved away. The good news is he is very timid but not passive-aggressive. He didn't move away and growl; he just moved away.

Elaine, with the help of a couple of friends, finally caught him him and put him on a rope so we could get him to the vet. Good thing! In addition to needing shots and grooming, we found out he has heartworm. The good news is it's still in the early stages and hasn't yet damaged any organs. So he's getting treated for that. As most satos (street dogs) do, he has other parasites that he's being treated for. And, after an initial 3-day stay at the vet, he had to return 2 days later for another 24 hours for some sort of infection that he's now getting antibiotics for. (Once again proving that adopting an animal is NOT - contrary to many preconceived notions - an inexpensive way to acquire a pet.)

He's become very comfortable with us. He let's us approach and sometimes even comes to us. He'll let us pet him and Elaine now brushes him every day. He even stood quietly while Elaine gave him a bath! He stays on the rope, mostly so we know we can catch him. He's still on medications and next week goes back to the vet for another treatment for heartworm and to get neutered. When we're open we move him around back as a precaution. He's still pretty docile but as he feels better there is always the possibility he'll start acting more like a chow.