Eyes widen…..Eyes questioned…..Eyes wondered….Eyes studied…..
Assembling my Levitation delta kite and getting it ready to lift into the air normally does not draw a crowd….
The air was heavy ….. the air was hot and wet with moisture….the wind was packing energy….pressing in with a purpose…the wind carried nearby voices…..of many….many people gathered for a relaxing Sunday evening on the Visakhapatnam beach on the Bay of Bengal.
Wide eyed kids ran in from every direction persistent in their search…..for something of wonder….a kite!Visakhapatnam
– is a moderate sized city of over 2 million people on the eastern coast of Southern India. The city runs along the coast of the Bay of Bengal
and the Indian Ocean. The city has a long history stretching to the 6 century BC. As a biochemist I am always interested in the flow of science in the places I visit. The city of Visakhapatnam has it’s own favorite son in Nobelist Sir C. V. Raman, the famous statistician Dr. C. R. Rao as well as the famous mathematician Dr. S. Meenaskhisundaram.
The large crowds of people on the beach limited the set up and launch space for the kite.
As the small crowd pressed in…. I set the wing and center spine spars in place. All eyes were on the dynamic spreader as the wing span stretched to its full nine foot width. The eyes of the crowd shifted as I pulled out my Stratospool and slipped a larks head slip knot over the Levitation Light delta kite stopper knot. The Stratospool reel was loaded with my light weight kite flying line, 150 lbs. strength composed of 8 braids Dyneema fiber. The line is very thin and slippery and I use special gloves to grip the line.
No need for a long line launch. The brisk southerly wind blowing up the coast quickly lifted the Levitation Light delta kite into the evening sky above Visakhapatnam, India.
Smiles and a twinkle of wonder popped out in the eyes of the throng squeezing in around me.
The excitement escalated as I pulled out my dual camera Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) rig and attached it to the kite line. The GoPro Hero 3 setup is quick and straight forward. The Sony A6000 on the other hand is all manual (for focus, shutter and aperture) and takes a bit of doing to confirm the settings prior to sticking the camera up in the sky.
The manual focus check with the Sony A6000 requires sighting a distant object and manually focusing the camera (there is no infinity marking on the lens focus ring). I was met with a foggy lens and almost impossible time in setting the manual focus…..It took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on. The KAP rig and cameras had been sitting in my nearby hotel room…..in air conditioning ….. The hot moist air was condensing on the cool camera lens and causing the foggy appearance of the image on the viewfinder and lens. I used my tee-shirt to wipe away the moisture of the lens to quickly set the focus. Moisture continued to condense on the lens…..let’s just call it the fog filter effect. The condensation gradually faded as the camera came up to ambient temperature, but the first 50 KAP shots were all foggy (see example below).
Kite walking was next up. I set out from the crowd on a quick walk North along the water’s edge. People were everywhere packing the waterfront. Children running in every direction. Parents at ease talking in small groups.
Heads turned skyward. Fingers pointed up …. at the kite floating North as I walked along the Bay of Bengal. People were surprised not knowing what to think as I strolled by at the other end of the kite line.
A small dedicated group began to follow my walk North. I would stop periodically to capture a few interesting views and then press on before a substantial crowd could form. A few of these stops the smiles and inquisitive eyes urged me to linger. I passed the Stratospool to individuals in the crowd from the old to the young. The tug of the kite high in the sky above brought out more smiles of wonder. More people running up to see the kite and Stratospool pressing in close. Many questions arose about the object hanging on the kite line…..yes – it is a camera….actually two cameras…..
Pressing on I set out again on my walk North along the beach with a trail of interested kite fliers in tow and a new batch of people ahead with their heads looking up and the fingers in the sky.
The INS Kursura (S20) a Kalvari-class diesel-electric submarine
of the Indian Navy was my subject of interest and the main reason for my determined march North with kite in tow.
The Kursura was commissioned on 18 December 1969 at Riga, Soviet Union. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Kursura operated in the Arabian Sea. After decommissioning, the ship was towed to Ramakrishna Mission Beach in Visakhapatnam and was established as a museum ship in August 2002, which is the first submarine museum in South Asia. The Kursura has a length of 91.3 m (300 ft) overall, a beam of 7.5 m (25 ft) and a draught of 6 m (20 ft). She displaces 1,950 t (1,919 long tons) surfaced, 2,475 t (2,436 long tons) submerged and has a maximum diving depth of 985 ft (300 m). The complement is about 75, including 8 officers and 67 sailors. Big and black on the yellow sandy beach.
The 300 foot sub lays on the beach front like a very large beached whale. People wait in line to get a tour of the inside of the museum ship.
I lingered near the sub to capture a few frames from my KAP rig high in the sky above as the sun set in the West. A small crowd gathered to view the kite. Once again, the Stratospool was passed hand to hand among the crowd. I kept the Stratospool tethered to my waist for safety. Smiles and now cell phone selfies from the crowd ensued with smiles all around.
The light was dropping quickly as the sun set below the horizon and I had a full 45-minute walk back South along the beach to return to my hotel and prepare for work the following day.
The brisk Southerly wind had been pulling me North….now it was my turn to pull the kite back South with a fair bit of effort on this hot (~ 40 degrees C) evening….. The sweat was dripping off my face as I pressed South with the kite in the air. Thirty minutes later in near darkness I decided to pull down the KAP rig and pack it away under the watchful eyes of a small crowd.
The Levitation light delta kite was next to return to the sandy beach with a new crowd of Indian eyes watching as I packed up the delta kite and stowed it in its bag.
India is rich in diverse landscapes and cityscapes shaped by human hands. I hope to capture more magic from the skies above India in the days to come.
Inspiration comes in many forms including books. The “Kite’s Eye View India Between Earth and Sky fellow KAPer Nicolas Chorier
is one of my favorite books and I highly recommend reading it.
Indian eyes tell all….window to the soul.Additional pictures can be viewed in this flickr album.
Next up ....India Night KAP!