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“Hanging by a Thread: A Kite’s View of Wisconsin” / Craig Wilson

About the book:

“Hanging by a Thread: A Kite’s View of Wisconsin”
More than 140 photographs offer a unique look at people and places around the state.
Captions are in English, Spanish, German, and Mandarin Chinese


There are a lot of parking ramps in Madison. And Craig Wilson has launched a kite from nearly every one of them.

He has launched kites while wading in a river. He’s flown kites on frozen lakes. And he’s flown kites over a packed Camp Randall Stadium.

Wilson’s kites are special because they carry a remote-controlled camera. Wilson has captured still images high above places such as Milwaukee, the Apostle Islands, Door County, a country farm and a cranberry bog in the Wisconsin Rapids area. Wilson also has captured video images.

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Wilson, a Madison native, is more than an artist, he also is an inventor. Wilson created a system he could use without the need of a helper. He holds the kite with one hand, and operates with the other hand the remote control of the camera that hangs from a strap around his neck.

Despite Wilson’s ability to fly solo, he still attracts company while taking photos. Occasionally, a songbird will land on his kite line as it is flying.

Finding the right tool for the job has been part of the fun for Wilson. With hundreds of kites in his collection, Wilson has done his share of experimenting, settling most often on a 20-foot delta kite to support the remote-controlled camera.

“You wouldn’t toe a trailer with a Lamborghini,” Wilson said in a phone interview.

Wilson tends to fly his kite in Madison the most because of the variety of buildings and lakes, his most frequent subjects to capture in photos. But he also has taken photos around the state Capitol many times. And he has captured images at The Highground in Neillsville.

His book, “Hanging by a Thread: A Kite’s View of Wisconsin,” includes one shot taken over the shoulder of the gold statue atop the Capitol. A signature photo for Wilson, he thinks the kite line might have even touched her at some point.

Wilson’s book is in its third printing and offers 140 shots from above Wisconsin.

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