Last week I got into contact with Bill Blake, an independent heritage consultant who does an interesting range of work.
One of the things he has developed over the years is the creation of images of landscapes and structures including windmills and Martello Towers, all taken from the sky. This is not done in any conventional way, but he takes photographs with the aid of a kite, with a remote-controlled camera attached to it. This is also known as KAP, or Kite Aerial Photography. See for instance here on Bill’s Flickr site or here, on his blog, to get a better understanding of what KAP involves and how Bill makes his pictures.
The results of Bill’s work are absolutely amazing. No wonder his work has also been exhibited; see for instance this piece in last year’s Cambridge News.
The reason I want to share this information is that Bill is also fascinated by the Ouse Washes, and has made many pictures in this landscape over the last few years. A great number more of his pictures of the Ouse Washes can be found at Bill’s Flickr picture stream.
He kindly allowed me to replicate some of his stunning images which also feature on his Flickr picture stream of the Ouse Washes, giving more people a chance to see the amazing and high-quality imagery. Unlike photographs taken from an aeroplane which are taken from over 300 m high, the kite pictures are taken from about 60 m high, allowing for very good detail in the images.
Talking to Bill, it is clear that he loves this work and has a particular soft spot for the Ouse Washes landscape. He is struck by the strong structures of the landscape, in particular its linearity, evident for instance in the waters, the banks and the Ely – March trainline, all of which feature regularly in his photographs. Creating one picture can take many hours, allowing Bill to really experience the landscape. It is the tranquility and serenity of the Ouse Washes landscape which are particularly appealing to him.
He has also photographed the earthwork remains of the Civil War Bulwark at Earith, some of which are replicated here. As part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme, the history of this significant structure will be better revealed, with better access and interpretation forming part of the plans.
As part of the Delivery phase we will probably work closely with Bill to create some unusual pictures of the landscape and public events held; we might also give school children and other community groups a chance to learn how to create similar images with the aid of a kite. Succesful community kite aerial photography projects have also been done in The Netherlands and Scotland; see for instance here for one such a project which could be replicated for the Ouse Washes.