Rob Huntley: Go fly a kite is his mantra

Rob Huntley's aerial kite photography was part of the 2012 West End Studio Tour. This year's dates are September 7-8 and September 14-15.
Rob Huntley’s aerial kite photography was part of the 2012 West End Studio Tour. This year’s dates are September 7-8 and September 14-15.

Unrolling his 6 foot long, and five and a half foot wide kite, Denbury Avenue’s Rob Huntley explains that he shoots artistic landscapes when the wind blows in just the right direction at just the right velocity.

“But because the camera is 200 feet above my head, I can’t always picture what the shot will be,” he says of his low level aerial photography. A remote control he wears around his neck that offers a small screen display of the image helps guide Huntley’s choice of shot. Holding up his camera, Huntley demonstrates how he can rotate it remotely to adjust the angle.

Sometimes this results in surprises, in patterns in a landscape seen overhead that Huntley could only imagine might exist from his pedestrian perspective. Two shots of a farmer’s fields in spring are part of the collection he exhibited during the 2012 WEST End Studio Tour. (The 2013 dates are September 7-8 and September 14-15. See West End Studio Tour for details of participating artists and locations).

“I was commissioned to shot before and after images of a barn being built,” explains Huntley. “But when I arrived at the farm in the spring and saw one green field just beginning to sprout and one brown field full of tractor tracks, I had to see what they looked like from overhead.”

The results are stunning. In one image Huntley is a small dot on a path below his kite in a field of spring green with swirled paths twisting through it. And in the other he’s out of the picture, but a tree full of leaves provides contrast to the recently turned soil that’s marked with tractor tracks. “I like to shoot straight down and look for simple, dramatic images.”

As well as fields, Huntley favours rivers in his work. The Ottawa, the Gatineau and the Carp River have all been his subjects. “I keep a list of places I’d like to photograph and then I watch the weather channel and consult Google Earth,” he says, explaining that wind direction is crucial to his success. “I can’t just go anywhere at any time.”


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