Hellish Winds in Paradise

Bled. The epitome of the beauty of Slovenia, its most famous tourist place, picturesque to the point of cringe.

An Alpine lake, a cute island with a cute little church on it, an ancient castle perched high above it … a veritable paradise.

Orthophoto shot of Lake Bled and its surroundings. The red dot is the kite-launching place, selected due to northerish wind. From Atlas of Slovenia.

But for kite aerial photography it’s hell … as Bled lies in a depression, surrounded by hills and mountains, the winds are unpredictable, hard and turbulent.  Only two (maybe three) spots are marginally suitable for KAP, and only if the wind cooperates.

The KAP session went off suspiciously nice, the trusted blue rokkaku quickly gaining altitude in strong, gusty wind.

A purple lens flare embraces the island church

We attached the picavet with the camera, and it went over the water and up into the sky. We were aiming for the island and the church of the Assumption of St Mary, built in 1700 on the site of many shrines and churches going back to the Early Middle Ages and beyond – a Slavic gravesite was found on the island, and even a Neolithic dwelling.

The kite was rising, the camera was flying, the wind seemed to cooperate – until it didn’t.

The geography and a traditionally gusty wind falling down from the Alps conspired to ruin the whole session. Suddenly the kite lost the lift in the first of the extremely turbulent layers some 50 meters above.

The camera went straight down towards the cold lake, and we were frantically pulling the line to save it.

Was this to be the last thing our Nikon had seen?

We managed to get the camera on the dry land, but the Original Blue rokkaku …

… got a thorough water cleaning 🙂

We tried to lift it again, aiming to penetrate the turbulence, but … it danced left and right, it climbed, pulling like hell, only to drop like a stone the next moment. Neither we nor the rokkaku were a match of the hellish northern wind in the paradise.

It was a lost battle, not war. A couple of years ago three KAP masters, Wolfgang Bieck, Pierre Lesage and Bert Maetens, managed to get KAP shots of the island (after a huge fight with the winds), so we aren’t even thinking about throwing the towel in.

As soon as the winds permit, we shall return – to conquer the sky above the beautiful Lake Bled!

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