I took this a couple of years ago at a kite festival on St Pete’s beach in Florida. This was part of an exhibition in synchronized flying. There were a couple more kites out of frame and they would all fly together in formation. The people flying these were pros that knew what they were doing. Who knew there was such a thing as professional kite fliers? Certainly not me, but you know what they say, follow your passion.
I’m not sure how they didn’t get the strings tangled or how they maintained their distance, but it was nothing short of precision; like the Blue Angels but a lot less risky. I’ve had a smaller version of one of these kites for years; it’s a lot of fun to fly but is anything but precise. I can appreciate how much practice must be involved. As it turns out some of these people came from other states to participate and compete.
I follow my passion for photography, as do these folks with their kites. Together there’s a symbiosis of sorts; each benefits the other. It reminds me of an event I was photographing a couple of weeks ago. There were professional athletes involved and several came up to thank me for being there to capture them. At first I was a surprised but later realized we both benefited. I fed off the energy of the athletes and some of them performed better for the camera. We elevated each other.
One of the unexpected pleasures of photography is coming in contact with people that are passionate about something. That cross-pollination creates an energy that’s greater than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as there is passion involved. When that happens the sky’s the limit to what you can do, even if it means simply flying a kite.
These surf kites at the midpoint of the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa and can be seen for miles away whenever there’s a breeze. Once in a while I’ll pull off the highway to watch. The main impression I get is of the contrast of these colorful canopies moving against the sky. They are mesmerizing to watch and this is a simplification of that scene as it appears in my minds eye.
The wind here changes direction from one day to the next and depending on that the surfers alternate from one side of the causeway to the other. The spectacle of the scene is so compelling it’s a wonder there aren’t accidents as drivers crane their heads to get a look.
In my way of thinking, I’m always trying to simplify things. I work and live in a complex world and what helps is if I can simplify the complexity a bit. I do this by removing things that I feel are unnecessary to the central core or subject of a thing. In this case, the subject is little colorful kites in a big sky, so to convey that I needed to remove as many distractions as possible. I think this might not be a bad philosophy to live by. In fact it’s called de-cluttering, and now there are de-clutter coaches you can hire to help with de-cluttering you life. We’ll, I’m no guru or coach, but I do like to get to the essence of a thing, and in this case, it’s all about the kites.
On the way home this afternoon we crossed the causeway that leads to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. It just so happened the sun was heading down and there were these kite surfers. I’ve taken these kind of shots before but each time is different and for me the rays of the sun through the clouds added an extra dimension of awesomeness. And if I thought this was nice, I can just imagine what these surfers felt as they soaked up the last rays of the sun.
Another shot from the kite festival earlier this year at St Petes Beach Florida. In addition to standard kites, there were a few of these enormous balloon kites that bounced up and down in the breeze. And of course that’s the perfect invitation to come play under the colorful billowy fabric. Of all the photos I took that day, the shots of the children playing around the kites were my favorite.
This is a snapshot of a kite ballet. Yes, you read that right. I never knew of such a thing either. A dozen kites, flying in unison, creating choreographed formations across the sky, synchronized to music. That is a kite ballet. And if you think that sounds crazy, you should see it in action. The skill level of the kite flyers is nothing short of amazing. Hand eye coordination is redefined to new levels; the people flying these are like puppet masters. Puppets, dancing across the sky to music; is that over the top or what?
Today I went to the Treasure Island Kite Festival here in Florida. It goes without saying there were a lot of kites and this is one of the more exotic ones. It bounced up and down in the gentle breeze and attracted all manner of children that played under it as it gently landed on the sand. There was also a competition with “professionals” displaying flying skills that, quite frankly, astounded me. I had no idea this was such a serious endeavor and the precision demonstrated uh, blew me away. To top it off there was a kite ballet where a group of people would fly kites in unison to music. Lets just say I got a little carried away.