Just Push the Shutter with your finger!

Saw this in the news.....

Interesting approach to KAP....

Just strap a small child to your kite and hand them a camera.



  • This is interesting Jim, sadly I can't read beyond the sentence "I wrote to my father........etc" because the Telegraph want me to subscribe to their newspaper!!!

    However I can tell you this. In Douglas Archibald's book, The Story of the Earth's Atmosphere printed in 1897, Capt B.F.S. Baden Powell is credited as taking a picture of Middleton Hall, Tamworth, Staffordshire, using a kite from about 400'.
    Here is the picture taken from the book with a current Google Map aerial alongside.

    Like I say the text infers that Capt Baden Powell took the picture or at least a camera from a kite. Capt Baden Powell is the brother of Lord Baden Powell who was founder of the Scouting movement but an outstanding character in his own right later becoming President of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

    I approached the current trustees/owners of Middleton Hall some years ago now to update the photo but after visiting the hall and numerous e-mails nothing came of it. Pity as I believe they have a copy of the photo and it would be nice to at least record the image.

    Like I say I can't read the whole article but I would have thought it was not beyond Capt Baden Powell's imagination to do such a thing. He had according the records experience in the Boer War at the Battle of Magersfontein 1899, where balloons were used for the first time in action for reconnaisance. Sadly for Lord Methuen it was still a defeat for the British. (obituary Flight Magazine).

    Plucky kid if true!!

  • Interesting! Thanks. :-)
  • I have now sourced the Telegraph article courtesy of a friend and for those who like me could not read the whole article here it is: Telegraph Article ~ Middleton Hall Picture

    Turns out to be a very interesting story and worthy of note in the history of KAP.

  • edited January 2017
    Excellent, Thanks for the full information

    I have updated the list of the aerial photographs from 1888 to 1900 on this page.

    The picture was published in 1897 in THE STORY OF THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE by Douglas Archibald.
    Before introducing the picture of Middleton he is claiming kite aerial picture in 1887, one year earlier his previous claim in July 1888 in a booklet he published in France in September the same year

    Informations on the Levitor is found in the Aeronautical journal, Vol 1, n°2, April 1897 p 5-8 where B.F.S. Baden Powell explains his experiments in 1895 on "man-liftingwar kites" using 4 to 7 of them. He didn't mentionned kap
    He applied a patent n°17.683 on September 23rd, 1895.

    In the April 1898 issue of the aeronautical journal, B.F.S. Baden Powell public presentation of "Kites, their theory and practice". Page 38 he mentionned shortly for the first time the use for aerial pictures, quote : "... to take up a photographic camera " and he added " I have here some specimen taken."
    In the following discussion D. Archibald' spoke. He recalled having "first resuscitated kite flying in 1883". He only mentionned kap as, I quote : "it was already used for photography". Then he claimed the invention of the kite balloon and had a long explaination on that.
    Later, Baden Powell's replied to several speechers, and commented : "I have never seen Mr Archibald's kite-balloon but, theorically, it seemed to him that a kite and a balloon combined have the disadvantages of both".
    D. Archibald not claiming publicly on kap and the comment given by B.F.S. Baden Powell on the kite balloon lets me think that the Archibald's claim dated 1887 was not substantiated and not really appreciated.
  • edited February 2017
    It is wonderful to learn of this story, it has been a mystery to me and many others as to exactly when the photo was taken and extraordinary to find a kite aviator took the picture, it places Batut's achievement in a verified context. Now there can be no dispute over the claim of first kite aerial photographer.

    Flying a camera from a kite takes courage but I'm surprised Alex de Hamel's achievement as first kite lifted photographer wasn't more widely known at the time.
  • In these times some army officers understood the importance of photography. They were few scaled maps, it was missing detailed informations on the ground elevations, presence of marshes, rivers, etc. Aerial observation and photography could become a real advantage. So they didn't want to give details on what they were proceeding. Because aerial photography was still not so clear, more efforts were done on man lifting. Probably, B.F.S. Baden Powell as an army officer didn't wish to give information on what happened. But as usual, they had to show that they got some results.

    What surprised me when I read B.F.S. Baden Powell's paper some years ago, is that he didn't know at all Bertinet's kite theory. He only had the knowledge of C.F. Marvin's experiments. Emile Bertinet presented the theory in Reims in 1886 and it was published in 1888. Theophile Bois, a French officer applied it in his book issued 1906, then in 1910 Lecornu applied it also .
  • Congratulations,
    It is a very interesting historical discovery !

  • edited July 2017
    When I approached the Scout movement about KAP here in the UK, quite a few years ago, they told me that they were flying scouts on kites tethered to a Land Rover and had been for years. The person running the operation was also involved with the local photographic society, to which I gave a live, online talk about KAP.


    The book has been reprinted: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=stripbooks&field-keywords=The+Story+of+the+Earth's+Atmosphere
Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion