Aerial Photography and Visualisation for Built Heritage - PhD Portfolio by Kieran Baxter
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Sunday, 30 June 2013

The World Wide KAP Project Banner Comes to Dundee

The World Wide KAP Community Project was the idea of Argentinian kite aerial photographer Ramiro Priegue who, in 2009, sent the WWCP banner on its journey around the world. Each participant takes some kite photographs featuring the banner, signs it and passes it on. You can plot the banners intrepid journey using the map and gallery at: I was lucky enough to be one of the KAPers to take care of the banner as it passed through Scotland this year.

The Law Hill, Monument and city of Dundee with the WWKP banner.
This first kite aerial photograph with the banner was taken above Law Hill, which dominates my hometown of Dundee. Incidentally, the two red and blue striped tower blocks on the right hand side of the frame were demolished just 11 days after this shot was taken (video here). This makes the photograph already out of date but all the more unrepeatable! A rectangular Iron Age hill fort once spanned the entire summit of the hill and the ramparts are still visible to the left of frame (site record here), although the near end has been destroyed during the building of the war memorial and viewing platform.

Passing between KAPers, the banner has already circumnavigated the globe.
Another favorite local KAP spot which I felt was a must for the banner was Broughty Ferry Castle. Seen here in evening light with Broughty Beach and the mouth of the Tay Estuary behind, the castle's complex shape makes it an interesting subject from low altitude.

Broughty Ferry Castle with the WWKP banner, kite aerial photograph.
Compared to the blustery Law Hill, the promontory at Broughty Castle offered clean winds with an chance to experiment with camera angles a little more. A wide angle lens makes the most of the converging vertical lines in this shot of the castle entrance.

A wide angle near-vertical shot of the castle and banner.
The project aims to bring KAPers together as a community and one of the ways it does this is by providing a good excuse to meet up in order to pass the banner on. I collected the banner from James Gentles at Cairnpapple, a neolithic ritual complex in Westlothian, where we were joined by fellow KAPers Simon Harbord, Sue Storey, John and Cade Wells (and trainee Tom), all of whom can be found listed on the West Lothian Archaeology Group pages here.

The handover at Cairnpapple, kite aerial photograph by James Gentles © 2013.
James took this shot of all of us with the banner using a remote control rig. This was the first time I had visited Cairpapple, which has special significance both archaeologically and as a focus point for KAP in the Westlothian area. I was last to arrive at the meeting and, as I approached the site, snapped this view with the banner visible and all the kites already in the air.

The group of KAPers flying with the WWKP banner at Cairnpapple.
The banner is always on the move and with it being nearly time for me to pass it on to the next participant, Robert Insall, I found a spot to add my logo. The project has generated a fantastic collection of stories which will hopefully continue to accumulate for many more years as the banner wings its way across the globe.

Joining the many distinguished and multinational signatures on the banner.
You can see the current location of the banner along with past and future participants at:

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

High & Low - An upcoming exhibition and talk on aerial explorations of the hill forts of Fife and Angus

You are invited to attend an exhibition by Kieran Baxter as part of a PhD investigation into the creative application of aerial photography & computer generated imagery for heritage & archaeological storytelling.

This showcase features unique views of hill forts spanning from East Lomond hill above Falkland in Fife, to the Caterthuns nearby Bechin in Angus. Often passed-by but sometimes difficult to appreciate from the ground, these prehistoric banked enclosures are intriguing because of their form and longevity. This exploration looks at how our appreciation of these sites and landscapes is mediated through different types of image. Using high and low altitude aerial photography along with state-of-the-art digital imaging techniques in collaboration with Susie Green from University College London, this presentation of imagery ranges from the archaeological to the cinematic.

Free launch event and talk - Tuesday 16th July, 7pm. See a presentation of images and computer generated animation with a brief explanation of the approach and techniques used to capture and process them. All welcome, refreshments provided.

Free exhibition - Throughout the weeks beginning 15th July, 29th July & 5th August 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Please phone the Centre for Stewardship on 01337 858838 to check weekend opening hours. The exhibition is held in the Horse Stalls.

The event and exhibition will be held at The Stables, Centre for Stewardship, Falkland Estate, Falkland, Fife, KY15 7AF. Any questions? Please feel free to contact me. The exhibition also has its own page at where you can find more updates and info.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Evening Light at Evelick Hill Fort

After my previous reccy of this location in the Sidlaw hills (post here) I returned to of Evelick hill fort with low evening light to bring out the topography.

Evelick hill fort and the Tay Estuary, kite aerial photograph
The shadows show the earthwork ramparts on one side and the steep natural defenses on the other. You can even make out the shadow of the hilltop on the farmland below - a reflection of the way in which these Iron Age monuments tend to visually dominate particular areas of arable land.

Here is the site on Google Maps, from where you can make out more of the embankments and enclosures which make up the fort. More details and high aerial photographs can be found on the RCAHMS site record page here.