Introduction to xAPing

(Low Level Aerial Photography)


What has come to be known as xAP is an acronym for AAP, KAP, BAP, PAP (Airplane, Kite, Balloon, and Pole Aerial Photography). It is simply an elevated, remotely operated camera system controlled from the ground. Although I have had some success with balloon aerial photography, I will only be addressing Kite and Pole photography here. Kite photography is great if the wind is right. But, my favorite is Pole photography because it can be done most anytime. In other words, kites need wind...poles don't, so I designed and built a telescoping pole. Originally it was truck mounted but has since been mounted on a trailer. If nothing else, it's a real conversation piece.  I've made e-friends around the world with "that contraption" and I'm very proud of it. Unlike other xAP you are limited to around 50’ over solid ground, but it can capture some very unique images at that height. A complete xAP system can best be described as a series of projects: 

Lift System – Pole, Plane, Kite, Balloon, etc. 
Camera Cradle – Suspension or Pedestal type, TTL or video
Control Pad – RC transmitter and Video monitor
Mission Planning – Platform, Positioning, Weather, Time of day, etc.
Image Processing and Distribution – Panoramic, touchup, special effects...CD, Web etc.

This xAP thing is a very complex concept…one has to be a 'jack of all trades' and be able to 'spin many plates' to be successful. There are many types of low level aerial photography, but my focus is on: