Aerial Photography and Visualisation for Built Heritage - PhD Portfolio by Kieran Baxter
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Monday, 12 March 2012

Capturing Context at St Ninain's Isle

These photographs of St Ninian's Isle, taken on my field trip to Shetland in December, give a striking example of the illustrative qualities of the low altitude aerial view. the island is connected to the south mainland by a sand tombolo, seen here swamped by the high tide. Archaeological finds here date back to Neolothic times and on the far right hand edge of the wide photograph the remains of a chapel are visible. In 1958 a horde of silver artifacts were discovered here, thought to have been buried in a hurry around 800 AD.

From above the scale of the sand bar an the force of the ocean become obvious making the figure look rather vulnerable. The dramatic conditions give a sense of the character of the place. It's isolation has played an important part in it's history providing safe haven at some times while ultimately leading to it's abandonment in 1796. In the view from above the limits of the small island are evident in the background of the sweep of the tombolo, a combination which is illustrated well from a low altitude angle.

I've left the kite line in this tighter angle shot, that's me trying to keep my feet dry with one eye on the kite!

More about the history of the island can be found on Shetlopedia.

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