Aerial Photography and Visualisation for Built Heritage - PhD Portfolio by Kieran Baxter
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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Arbroath Abbey and Tantallon Castle by Kite

Two more successful kite aerial photography outings from last month. This first shot of Arbroath Abby presented an "interesting" challenge in urban KAP, with various trees, lamposts and buildings to avoid. I first approached this tall section of the abbey from straight on, thinking that the circular window would make a good central composition, but found this angle didn't work so well. This is a slightly more dynamic composition with the wall running into the corner. I like the long converging shadows on the bowling green - an effect which comes with the wide angle view available from low altitude.

Arbroath Abbey, Kite Aerial Photograph, January 2013
When it came to post-processing this image I was able to choose whether or not to crop out the horizon line which is just above the frame here. I normally try to include the skyline to give a bit of context but this works better here. That is not so much a reflection on the suroundings of Arboath but more that focusing the image in keeps it nicely simple. Here the ruins are slightly isolated from the modern day landscape which I think helps towards the slightly other-worldy feeling which the comes with the evening light.

Tantallon Castle, Kite Aerial Photograph, Januarly 2013
By contrast this shot of the fantastic Tantallon Castle owes a lot to the surrounding seascape and dramatic skies. Again difficult to compose, the curtain wall (more description on the HS page here) unavoidably divides the frame although from the kite was can get a glimpse of the protected space behind. The Bass Rock looks great in the sunlight and helps to balance the frame although without the triangle of light on the glass, which disappears any later in the day / year, I don't think this composition would be possible.

Looking at these two shots made me think about the difference which including the horizon makes - going from what feels like looking in upon something a little isolated and abstracted, to looking out upon a more familiar landscape view. Both have a lot going for them but provide quite distinct results.

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