About a week ago the sun was finally high enough above the horizon and the weather conditions where perfect for kite aerial photography. It was a balmy -63°C and the wind was around 10 knots. I managed to get several kite flying sessions in.
The panorama below shows the BICEP telescope. That’s the one I work for. The camera was pretty low and centered right above the telescope. If you pan to the other end of the building you can make out the “South Pole Telescope”, or SPT for short. The low angle from which this panorama was shot makes SPT appear smaller than it is. The primary mirror has a 10m diameter. BICEP is rather small in comparison but, to quote Cynthia, “Small on the ground – big in the sky”.
If you compare this panorama to the one I shot in 2004 of the same building, you will notice the dramatic change.
Eight days later I took another shot, this time from a higher elevation for a slightly different perspective. This almost turned out to be my last KAPing for the season. I had checked the wind speed before I went out to do the BICEP cryogenics fills. After the fills I went out to fly my big kite, as I had done for the last few days. It turns out that the wind had picked up a couple of knots and once I had the kite airborne, I realized quickly that the wind was too strong. The wind can often be a lot stronger just a bit above the ground. So, I got a very close look at the sastrugi and had a bumpy ride halfway to the IceCube lab before I managed to bring the kite down. After warmed up a bit I tried again, using a smaller kite. It still took two of us to do it and I decided to abort after a short time. I still managed to get this shot.