Aerial Photography and Visualisation for Built Heritage - PhD Portfolio by Kieran Baxter
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Friday, 25 April 2014

Over the Tay: Aerial Photos Above Dundee and Broughty Ferry

These photographs were taken in transit between Fife and Angus during a light aircraft flight to gather material for my hillfort PhD case study project. It was fascinating to pass over the city where I live and am familiar with from ground level.

The Tay Rail Bridge with the stumps of the previous bridge visible at low tide.
Dundee from near Ninewells with an oil rig undergoing work in the distance.
From height it's easy to get a sense of how the city relates to the narrowing of the Tay Estuary, which was first taken advantage of by ferryboats and later by the two bridges. Before the construction of the first rail bridge, Broughty Ferry (below) was the staging point for boats that carried railway wagons to and from Tayport.

Broughty Castle guards the narrow Firth of Tay with the bridges behind.
A view of Dundee and the Tay Road Bridge from above Fife.
Photographing from a light aircraft can be intense with a lot of ground is covered very quickly and wide areas of landscape compressed into a series of brief vignettes. It's a fantastic experience but always a good feeling to have two feet firmly back on the ground!

Our trusty ride the Cessna 172 is ideal for aerial photography.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

From Sky to Soil: Excavations at Castle Law Forgandenny hillfort

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to photograph during the SERF (Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot) excavations at Castle Law Forgandenny hillfort. This was a rare and fantastic opportunity to see a buried hillfort structure revealed and I was keen to use low altitude aerial photography to pick out the details of the trenches as they where under excavation, as well place them within the broader site and surrounding landscape. Here are some of the resulting shots.

Kite aerial photograph of Castle Law Forgandenny under excavation.
Excavators busy in trench G seen from the kite. Apparently G is for Gigantic.
I even got to do some mattocking! This was near the beginning of the process where we were removing relatively recently disturbed debris from the main wall. This is possibly why I given this job - where my enthusiastic but uninformed efforts couldn't cause any damage!

After years of photographing hillforts I finally get to stick a mattock in one.
Vertical shots of trenches that intersect parts of the outer wall and platforms.
Castle Law Forgandenny sits in a stunning location overlooking Strathearn with views out towards the entrance of the Tay, as shown in this high altitude photograph from last year. When it comes to visualising the site (and it just might)the position within the wider landscape will be a key point.

Castle Law Forgandenny seen in its landscape context from high altitude.
Many thanks to Tessa Poller and Cathy MacIver for catering for myself and Alice Watterson on site during the excavations. I'm very much looking forward to doing more work with this intriguing and dramatic site.