Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum

Picture of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum complex. Individual images to make panorama taken by the Small-Format Aerial Photography class using a Canon Elph on a large rokkaku kite and placed together using PTGui.

Katie Simmons
ES 555 Small-Format Aerial Photography
Emporia State University
Summer 2012

Table of Contents
Introduction Field Trip Processes SummaryReferences


On June 12, 2012, the Small-Format Aerial Photography class went to the Eisenhower presidential Library and Museum to do some kite aerial photography. Kite aerial photography is when one uses a large kite with a camera rig to take aerial photographs. When the class first arrived there was little wind, so we had the choice to go through the museum or gift shop. After lunch a kite launch was tried but unsuccessful, so all but myself went on the top of the library building to take some pictures. The wind started to pick up and a rokkaku kite with a Cannon Elph camera on a rig was used to take aerial photographs. Favorite images were chosen and enhanced by using Adobe Photoshop or VirtualStudio.

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Field Trip

The class met at 8:30 am to load into the van to go to Abilene, KS. This was nearly a two hour drive. When we reached the Eisenhower presidential Library and Museum grounds, there was little discernible wind.

Image of the flag in the Central Mall of the Eisenhower complex, showing that there was not enough wind to fly the kite when we arrived on location.

Two of the students went to the gift shop, while another student and I went through the Presidential Museum. While there are several galleries to walk through, only a few caught my attention. The first gallery one would walk through that day was about Elvis Presley when he was twenty one years old. No photographs were to be taken in this area as the photographs are owned by the man who took them, Alfred Wertheimer. I took a high interest in the Mamie Doud Eisenhower exhibit. Fashion and women in politics and how they change over time intrigue me. This exhibit mostly showed the key dresses and hats that Mamie was known for wearing with national or international leaders and their wives. The beginnings of the Eisenhower Leadership Gallery was starting to take shape with the D-Day Planning Table was in place. Also in this area, there were several cases of Russian, German, and American guns. After lunch the class went to find a place to try to find a place with minimal amount of trees and maximum air flow to lift the kite. We were able to find a location on the extreme eastern side of the complex near a railroad. We were able to get the kite into the air, but it did not stay for a long period of time. The class tried several time to put the kite back up, but it was not to happen at this point of our trip.

Left: Getting ready to launch the kite. Center: Kite in the air. Right: Kite crashed to the ground.

When the wind was not strong enough to keep the kite up, it was known that it would not hold even the lightest cameral rig. We then went to the President Library, where several people went to the roof to take photographs from a higher vantage point. While leaving the library, the wind started to pick up and we tried to fly the kite again and had success. To take the images, a Canon Elph on a rig was placed on the kite string.

Image of the camera and camera rig being placed on the kite string. Image by Lindsey Gerber.

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To being the process of taking aerial pictures with a kite, one must prepare the kite. Based on the wind speed the perfect kite and the amount of bow should be chosen. For this trip, as there was little wind, a rokkaku kite without a tail was chosen and little bow was added to the kite. The kite was sent up the same way as described above. The harder the kite pulls on the string means that it is getting enough air. The Canon Elph rig was the placed on the string and via remote control, the images were taken.

Left: Students putting together the rokkaku kite. Right: One student, with the professor, deciding on position of the camera to take pictures.

Image Processing

While images are looked over in the field, they need to be look at closely later to determine if position is correct and the kite line has not obscured the view. Once images are chosen, they need enhancement. Most images may have some blurring due to movement of the camera during its time in the air. The imaging processing was done using Adobe Photoshop or VirtualStudio. These programs help adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness and angle of the image. With these changes done to the image, it is easier see changes in vegetation

Image taken by class.

Left: Unprocessed image of the central mall of the presidential Complex. Right: Processed image after cropping, brightness/contrast adjustment, and sharpening. With these changes made to the image, many of the objects in the images are crisper and identifiable. There is a major difference in the look of the tree tops and helps to visualize the different varieties of trees in the area.

One of the other ways to process an image is to use a "stitching" program to make a panorama of the images that have been taken. This was done for the title image of this webpage. PTGui was used to make the image from three images taken by the class using the remote control for the Canon Elph on the kite string. All three images were images processed before being stitched together.

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On June 12, 2012 the Small-Format Aerial Format class went to the Eisenhower presidential Library and Museum grounds to do some kite aerial photography. The class had some issues in the beginning keeping the kite up in the air and other adventures were taken until possible. Through this field experience images were taken to be processed. Through processing the images were made to be clearer and sharper than the original image. With the processed images, analyses could be made on land management, vegetation, spatial orientation, and etc. if necessary.

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Adobe Photoshop



Microsoft Paint was used to resize images.

Images provided by Lindsey Gerber, and the class as marked. All images not marked taken by Katie Simmons.

All image changes and processing were done by Katie Simmons.

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For more information on this class, please visit: Small-Format Aerial Format Syllabus

For more information about the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, please visit: Eisenhower Archives