Into the Deep White Yonder

We had come back from the hot Gujarat straight into the cold, dark winter. Snow had covered most of Slovenia, and after all that show kite flying in India we were eager for some old-school kite aerial photography session – we have precious few photos of a landscape in white, and this opportunity was not to be missed.

The wind forecast was favourable, there were hints of the sun, temperatures were to be bearable, and we reckoned the most photogenic landscape would be a forested one, with spruces dressed in white, snowy meadows between them, an almost black meandering stream accenting all that … The high karst plateau of Bloke some 35 km south of Ljubljana was an obvious choice.

Boy, were we wrong …

This photo of the kite launching pad doesn’t show the whole deep s*** into which we stepped. The wind forecast failed us again. The sun didn’t show up even for a minute. It was 7 degrees below zero. And the whole plateau was covered in almost a meter of snow …

Tracks made by the unfortunate kite launch helper

There was nowhere to park – and especially not close to where we wanted to fly (the snowplough didn’t care and simply piled the snow onto every parking space there ever was). So we left our car suboptimally, took the kite and KAP stuff, and walked to the place where we thought we’d launch the kite.

Walked, right. As soon as we stepped onto the snow, we stepped into the snow. Up to and beyond the knees. Every step took some serious effort, and one could just hope that there is firm ground beneath the white powdery stuff, and not, say, a stream, or an electric fence, or a bear trap.

Oh, yes, bears. There are bears on the Bloke plateau, but bears hibernate through the winter, right?


After an eternity of pushing and panting through the waist-deep snow (took us almost half an hour for just a couple hundred meters), we declared we had enough, that the ideal launching spot is right here, and assembled the kite.

As usual, in that moment the wind died.

“If you’d walk down there, I could pull the kite up, there is wind above.”
“Hm. Why don’t you walk, and I shall pull?”

We were standing in the middle of this winter fairytale, half an hour from the nearest hard ground; it was five degrees below zero, there was zero wind. Either one of us would sacrifice himself and soldier through the white stuff with the kite, while the other would do his best to coax the kite into the mythical wind above – or we should accept defeat and go home.

The first attempt failed.

So did the second, and the third, and the seventh …

But then the kite did catch the wind; the kite line got taut, there was enough pull for the camera – we got the picavet out, attached it to the line, and let the kite go up all the way …

All the way to the first turbulent layer, some 60-70 meters above us.

No matter what we did, we simply couldn’t penetrate that layer. The kite would dance and wiggle, lose the lift, drop, catch the breeze, rise a bit, start to dance again, lose it again, drop …

After an hour of suffering – we couldn’t feel neither fingers nor feet, our ears were frozen, our noses white – we had enough of the intricate beauty of the high plateau of Bloke. The kite did go high enough, at least some of the photos should be good enough, let’s go someplace warm and dry.

And so we did – after an eternity of pushing and panting through the waist-deep snow.

Winter KAP is an acquired taste.

All kite aerial photos shot with Ricoh GR on The Rokker kite by Sandro Macchi.

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