Gloucestershire and West Lothian Aerial Archaeology
Wells DPhil (Oxon) FRSB FSRP
Kite Aerial Photographer
Retired Research Radiation Biophysicist
Armadale (Scotland) &
I have been interested in photography since the
1950s. In the 1960s and early 70s (working with fully
manual cameras) I enjoyed capturing night scenes, one of
which won a national competition. The prize was an
auto-exposure SLR, a technology that was not overly
helpful for long exposures due to reciprocity failure. Wet
streets following rainfall were often a key ingredient of
the nightscapes, a consideration that would reappear for
thermal imaging over 40 years later.
My training and profession have involved a range of image gathering techniques ( X-ray crystallography, photomicroscopy, corona discharge photography and autoradiography etc). Geophysical methods of investigation often involve logging soil resistance or magnetic data points, one at a time, which are used to form an array of 'pixels', which is then refined through appropriate processing to form an image. Both within and outwith the visible spectrum, imaging is mass data point collection and should be performed under optimal conditions (for the technique and site of choice) and the resulting images processed to extract the maximum amount of inherent information. Standard photographic visualisation is only a starting point.
John and the late Rosie Wells are the yellow dots (Cairnpapple 2011)
Rathrar, Rathbarna Quadrivalleted Enclosure Complex, Co. Roscommon, by SNAPS recipient Christy Lawless.
Family outing in a helicopter over our village, Bussage, Gloucestershire, in the 1980s.
Chichen Itza, another aerial image before we did kite aerial photography.
(Note the nostalgic scratch from the days of film)
Archeoscan Excavation of a
Roman building at Nesley Farm, Gloucestershire, in 2011.
John is on the right and
Rosie is out of shot flying the kite.
(click on image for larger version)
A section from one of six West Lothian Council display boards on our work.
West Lothian Aerial Archaeology
with Cade Wells
Cade is a Chartered Engineer with an MEng in
Computer Systems Engineering awarded by the University
of Bangor and a Doctorate (Image Processing and
Machine Vision SoC) awarded by the universities
of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot Watt and Strathclyde.
Additionally, he has a postgraduate certificate in business
administration (Edinburgh) and a graduate certificate in
psychology (BCU), along with training in digital
forensics elsewhere, including Shrivenham (Cranfield
to Right - Rosie, Cade and John Wells, Jim Knowles and
Heidi (Wells) Walker on Cairnpapple. Jim was the only
qualified archaeologist in the group. He also has an MSc
Kinneil Roman fortlet with excavation features on the extreme right (North) from ~30 year before.
inverted, near infrared kite aerial photo captured in
Gloucestershire Aerial Archaeology
with Heidi Walker
Heidi is a design manager who initially studied at the Stroud School of Art, with some time at The Slade, followed by degrees in illustration and design at the universities of The West of England and Brighton. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are areas of expertise.
A field east of Coaley: Google data, Houseprices Lidar Map and the same emphasised with GIMP.*
Parch marks at Gyde House,
Painswick, emphasised with GIMP by manipulating the
Way to Take Aerial Photos
Heidi in flight
The Simplest Approach to Aerial Thermography and Photography
GoPro type set-up and variant for a phone, with or without a Flir One thermal imager which must be secured, eg with PVC tape. The larger stick has lockable sections.
Heidi, John and Cade.