So far this board hasn't made it off the ground. We've been socked in with some torrential tradewinds, and there's no sign of a break in the weather. Trust me, as soon as there's even a one hour window of good wind, I'll have it airborne.
The Pololu Valley shots were mostly done with another automatic rig controller, the AuRiCo. It's a solid controller, and is one of the reasons this project took so long to get off the ground: why make another one when the AuRiCo does such a good job? But it was the allure of the smoothed motion code that finally prodded me into action. Well, that and being stuck in the house with bad weather outside...
But I can post some pictures I've taken with the aerial rig, just to give an idea of what's possible:
Pololu Valley looking down the beach toward the Hamakua Coast:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tbenedict/3289429500/
This is a stitch of three images taken in a vertical sequence. Despite all the care and attention paid to make panorama platforms where the camera rotates around the nodal point of the lens, for aerials it's really not much of an issue because the subject is so far away from the camera. The resulting parallax shift is minimal.
Pololu Valley looking in the opposite direction, toward the trail:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tbenedict/2364878593/
Another three-image stitch, again in a vertical sequence.
Waipi`o Valley, with the camera positioned about a hundred feet above the river:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tbenedict/2993561325/
(Just so not ALL the pictures are of Pololu Valley...) This illustrates why shooting aerials from a kite, or from some other small aerial platform isn't simply an inexpensive substitute for using an airplane or helicopter. In the United States, the FAA restricts air traffic to altitudes above a thousand feet in populated areas, and above five hundred feet in sparsely populated areas. The FAA further says that kites cannot exceed five hundred feet, period. Which means they really operate in two different regimes. From the top of the ladder to the belly of the helicopter is perfect territory for a platform like this.
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tbenedict/3198109232/
Another advantage to a setup like this is that it's portable, and can fly at a range of altitudes above sea level by changing which kite is used. This image is composed from two shots done in a horizontal pattern with the camera roughly 100' above the ground, but almost 14,000' above sea level. This is also a perfect illustration why a radio-only rig is not always the best route to go: The summit of Mauna Kea has several optical and infrared observatories, but also a number of submillimeter and radio observatories, so radio transmitters are heavily restricted. Using an RC transmitter is strictly forbidden. So an automatic rig controller is the only choice available.
But what I really REALLY want to be able to post is pictures taken with the Baby-Orangutan rig controller. As soon as I get some decent flying weather, I'll post pictures.