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Old Aerial Photos on display at Conkers – the heart of the National Forest

Aerial photographs are being used to promote and preserve South Derbyshire’s mining heritage. The images, donated by aerial mapping company Bluesky, illustrate the changes in environment in what was once England’s mining heartland. On display at CONKERS, the award winning attraction at the heart of the National Forest, the images form an integral part of a display of mining memorabilia and artefacts collected and maintained by the South Derbyshire Mining Preservation Group.

The two Bluesky aerial photographs depict the site of CONKERS as it was more than forty years ago and as it is now. The first, taken in 1971, shows the Rawdon Colliery and surrounding area complete with spoil heap and nearby clay workings. In comparison the second image, taken in 2011, clearly shows the CONKERS building and its contrasting surroundings of open green space and trees. The images titled ‘CONKERS; then and now’ are part of the South Derbyshire Mining Preservations Group’s collection on daily show at the Mining Display Room, CONKERS.

“We are a group of ex miners and their wives who are trying to preserve and promote the local mining heritage. Over the last twenty or so years, since the mines have closed, we have been extremely blessed with donations of books, badges, certificates, clothing and items which we are pleased to be able to display at CONKERS,” commented Keith Moore Secretary of the South Derbyshire Mining Preservation Group.

“However, as a non-profit making organisation we rely on donations of both artefacts and finances from the public and businesses and we are extremely grateful to Bluesky for the donation of these extremely informative and engaging aerial images.”

The modern aerial photograph supplied by Bluesky was taken from their off the shelf archive which covers the whole of England, Scotland and Wales. Continuously updated on a five year rolling data capture programme the high resolution digital images files are available in a range of formats suitable for use in desktop mapping, GIS and CAD software packages as well as hard copy prints.

The 1970’s image forms part of an historically important archive that includes some of the earliest commercial aerial survey images, military photography from World War II and many national archives. Offering a record of most major UK cities and towns, transport and utility infrastructure and commercial property developments, OldAerialPhotos are an invaluable resource for anyone with a personal or professional interest in local studies, genealogy, boundary disputes, environmental land use research or town planning.

Both modern and historic images from Bluesky are available to view and purchase online at http://www.bluesky-world.com/mapshop and http://www.oldaerialphotos.com, respectively.

 

 

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Bluesky's Hasselblad camera

Bluesky is accelerating the digitisation of its archive of historically important aerial photographs of the UK following the acquisition of a new camera from the same range used by NASA on the Apollo space missions. The high end DSLR Hasselblad camera is being used to photograph original survey films dating back to the 1940s in order to make the images available to view and purchase online. Using the new camera Bluesky can capture high resolution images in a fraction of the time it currently takes to scan each frame meaning they can be offered at the lowest ever price.

“Using the Hasselblad we can process an entire film in a matter of minutes compared to the many hours it would take to scan,” commented James Eddy, Technical Director of Leicestershire based Bluesky. “This means that we can make more images instantly available for visitors to the OldAerialPhotos website to preview and offer them for sale at a reduced price. While this production method is suitable for 90 per cent of customers we can still offer scanned images for more technical applications as well as hard copy prints together with letters of authenticity and other professional services.”

Hasselblad cameras are considered market leaders and almost all of the still photographs taken during the Apollo space missions, including the first man on the moon, used modified Hasselblad cameras. The H4D-50MS being used by Bluesky has an extra large sensor – measuring twice the physical size of the largest 35mm DSLR sensors, as well as True Focus with Absolute Position Lock (APL) for accurate composing at close range with shallow depth-of-field. Combined with a high performance lens – the Hasselblad HC Macro 4/120mm – and a dedicated Apple iMac computer, Bluesky is achieving ultimate image quality and maximum performance.

“Each frame of film produces a photograph that is about 150Mb,” continued Eddy. “Our first priority is those films already referenced on the OldAerialPhotos website and we estimate these films will result in approximately 70Tb of data. The entire archive – currently over 1.5 million images dating back as far as 1917 – will be about 250Tb, more than four times the volume of all the images for Google Earth!”

The films being photographed using the Hasselblad camera and lens form part of an historically important archive that includes some of the earliest commercial aerial survey images. Offering a record of most major UK cities and towns, transport and utility infrastructure and commercial property developments, the images being made available on http://www.oldaerialphotos.com are an invaluable resource for anyone with a personal or professional interest in local studies, genealogy, boundary disputes, environmental land use research or town planning. “As we will be updating the site with images on a regular bases we recommend visitors check in from time to time to see if their area of interest is covered,” concluded Eddy

A homeowner has used historic aerial photography to provide crucial evidence to support a planning application and overturn the local council’s plan to place a tree preservation order on trees within his garden. Bluesky supplied the historic aerial photography, complete with certificates of authentification, from their OldAerialPhotos archive providing factual and unbiased evidence to support the homeowner’s claim that the trees in his garden were in fact self seeded and did not historically form part of neighbouring woodland.

“We acquired the property several years ago when it was uninhabitable and virtually derelict,” commented homeowner Stuart Whelan, “and then since when we have spent a considerable amount of time and money bringing it back to it’s former glory – a fact that has been appreciated by our neighbours as it has a prominent position within the village.”

Mr Whelan continued, “When we submitted the planning application for a garage within our garden to Rushcliffe Borough Council we assumed it was just a formality. However when this was refused, on the grounds that the site was considered woodland, we were very concerned. If we allowed the classification to stand it would seriously impede on our ability to use the land as garden and continue with our regeneration of the site.”

The Bluesky images formed part of a seventy three page document presented by Mr Whelan to the Council outlining his objections to the ‘woodland’ Tree Preservation Order. The images from 1978, 1991, 1999 and 2007 clearly show both the property and garden falling into a state of disrepair with adjacent woodland gradually ‘taking over’ the garden.

“The Council simply couldn’t argue with the photographic evidence placed before them,” concluded Mr Whelan. “The images were therefore instrumental in achieving an agreement with the Council and the order was changed from a blanket ban to a group order naming specific trees. This provides protection for the trees we love yet allows us to use our garden as a garden.”

The imagery supplied by Bluesky forms part of historically important archive that includes some of the earliest commercial aerial survey images, military photography from World War II and many national archives. Offering a record of most major UK cities and towns, transport and utility infrastructure and commercial property developments, the images are an invaluable resource for anyone with a personal or professional interest in local studies, genealogy, boundary disputes, environmental land use research or town planning.