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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Netherlands KAPping

Sat, 03 Dec 2011

I'm currently involved in a project led by Paolo Paron (UNESCO-IHE) looking at beach development in the Netherlands. This is really a proof-of-concept project and follows on from the earlier training day back in October where we ran through a full kite aerial photography setup. During that day we had temperatures that peaked at 20oC.... amazing for October!

Anyway, the return trip to the Netherlands was to see the full kit that Paolo had assembled and take it to the field site for full testing/tweaking. The Netherlands is renowned for its flatness and by that I mean: bikes and wind. There were plenty of the former in evidence..... and none of the latter!!! Well, almost. It was the week of dense fog which virtually shut Amsterdam airport, however EasyJet flights in to Schiphol were almost unaffected. A remarkable effort. It was my first visit to the Netherlands and I must say, yes, it's flat but also that the public transport system is regular, reliable and well used. Bikes are everywhere and it's clearly a mode of transit favoured by all ages and types. Streets are wide and there are many segregated bike ways, in addition to the onus being on the driver. All in all very civilized.

Paolo (and Niels Anders, a PhD student at Amsterdam who has spent time at Kingston, and a "sixth form" student on work experience) met me at Den Haag HS railway station and from there we went out to the coast. The pictures say it all really: incredibly dense fog and winds <3 kph. Yes, that is a kite flying but t was hard enough to just get the thing off the ground let alone fly anything from it. Paolo did fully assemble the rig and camera, even though we couldn't fly it. He has bought most of the bits from the highly recommended KAPshop and is testing one of their self-levelling rigs. He also has a Nikon D7000 which is the successor to the D70s, 80s and 90s I have used. At the moment he has a manual 20mm lens which will be interesting to see the results of the test field imagery from (in comparison to our auto-24mm).

So all in all it was disappointing not to have a full flight test, but immensely useful in fully ground testing the kit and ironing out some niggles that needed fixing in the setup. Watch this space for further results.

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