Public Lab Research note

The Orb of Salisbury

by cfastie | October 17, 2015 04:28 17 Oct 04:28 | #12315 | #12315

Above: The big white buildings are Maple Meadow Farm in Salisbury, Vermont. The longer ones house 65,000 laying hens. That is big for a shell egg business in Vermont, but nationwide, farms with one to three million hens are not uncommon.

After a morning of mostly successful aerial photography, the kite flying weather only improved, so after lunch I drove a few miles to the village of Salisbury. It was brighter with a steadier wind from the SSE. There are big hay fields south of the village, so the wind was good for lofting the camera over my neighbors' back yards.

He is saying "No experiments this time, just get some photos."

There were fresh batteries powering the SkyShield controller, a full charge on the PowerShot S100 battery, and an empty 4 GB SD card in the camera. The wind was 10-15 mph so I flew the nine foot Levitation Delta. The SkyShield was running Mode 0, the standard routine for the S100 zoomed all the way out. With a steadier wind, the Saturn V Rig was staying in the same place long enough to complete the 75 second routine capturing 25 photos.

The Saturn V Rig under a nine foot Levitation Delta kite.

The flight lasted an hour and a half. But the photography stopped after an hour when the SD card filled up. Although the same card held 1500 photos on Sunday, this time there was no more space after 1221 photos. For some reason the average jpeg size was larger this time. This time many photos were slightly overexposed (because I set the ISO to 160?) and on Sunday many photos were much underexposed (because the sun went down). So that probably explains the difference. I need to start using an 8 GB card.

Part of a half spherical panorama stitched from 25 photos. Salisbury village is front and center.

When the rig landed, the servo motion was erratic because the batteries were low. Although batteries lasted for almost 2.5 hours last time, this time they did not last 1.5 hours. I don't know how to explain the difference. The 2.5 hours included two sessions, so the batteries rested between them. It was cooler this time than last, but only by 10°F or so. More observations are required.

Above is the full resolution little planet (stereographic) projection that is the lead image of this note. You can also see it at You can use your + and - keys to zoom.

Below is a full resolution half-spherical panorama embedded at (because I still can't upload panoramas to Photosynth). You can also see it at 360Cities.

Village of Salisbury, Vermont
You can hide some of the clutter with a toggle in the upper right. Or click above to view this at

Flight notes:


  • Model: PowerShot S100
  • ISO: 160
  • Shutter speed: 1/800 second (Tv)
  • Focus: manual on infinity
  • Focal length: 24mm (eq.)
  • GPS: on


  • Version: 2.4 (3-switch DIP)
  • Sketch: version 2.08sfm (beta)
  • Mode: Mode 0 (for 24 mm lens, 25 photos/cycle)
  • Customization: The nadir tilt angle was changed from 20 to 11 so the camera was pointed straight down.


  • Kite: nine foot Levitation Delta
  • Wind: From SSE, 10-15 mph
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Photos taken: 1221

Panorama stitching:

  • Software: Microsoft ICE
  • Post processing: No adjustments were made to any photos before stitching. ICE's "auto complete" feature was used to create extra sky to fill in missing areas. Panoramas exported from ICE were modified in Photoshop including creating sky to make the 360cities panorama fully spherical (360Cities requires that for viewing in their spherical viewer).


The aerial photography is astonishing. How high was the kite to take a photo of the Orb of Salisbury ?

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Wow, that is a cool experiment there. I'm also interested in more details about the height of the kite! And that is some really powerful camera as well.

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What do you guys do a your job other than gaming search?

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