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Stunning views of the Fens - captured with a camera on a kite

PUBLISHED: 09:55 10 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:57 10 May 2016

Photos from the kite camera of the Fens from Saddlebow by Bill Blake. Picture: BILL BLAKE.

Photos from the kite camera of the Fens from Saddlebow by Bill Blake. Picture: BILL BLAKE.

© BILL BLAKE 2016

These stunning pictures show the Fens at their best; wide open skies, endless horizons and washes that continue for miles. Yet these striking images have not been captured from a hi-tech drone or light aircraft, but from rather less sophisticated kit – a kite carrying a digital camera.

Bill Blake has used a camera attached to a kite to photograph the Fens - One of the kite used. Picture: Matthew Usher. Bill Blake has used a camera attached to a kite to photograph the Fens - One of the kite used. Picture: Matthew Usher.

They are the work of Bill Blake, who has developed a series of custom-built kites with which to take aerial photographs. A surveyor, who previously worked for English Heritage, he uses the devices both for his work and as a hobby.

At its most rudimentary, one simply involves a camera hanging on the kite’s string and takes pictures automatically throughout the flight, having been pre-programmed.

Another one features small electrical devices, which allow the camera to be panned and tilted, to take wider shots of landscapes. It also features an extra battery pack, to allow more pictures to be taken. The resulting images cannot be seen until the kite, which reaches up to 200ft, is brought back to land.

“It is the least reliable method of aerial photography because the equipment just ends up where the wind wants to take it,” Mr Blake said.

Photos from the kite camera of the Fens from Saddlebow by Bill Blake. Picture: BILL BLAKE. Photos from the kite camera of the Fens from Saddlebow by Bill Blake. Picture: BILL BLAKE.

“But I really like taking the photographs and I also like the sense of surprise when scrolling through the images on the cameras afterwards – a view that cannot be captured from the ground is revealed.

“Of course there are other methods of taking these images, but there’s a significant added expense with drones and aircraft – particularly when it comes to the licences I would need.

“But taking kites up into the skies of the Ouse washes has definitely sharpened my awareness of the landscape. You can see a different perspective of the area from the sky.”

Mr Blake, from Cambridge, was at Tail Sluice at Saddlebow, near King’s Lynn yesterday flying his kites above the River Great Ouse and the Relief Channel. Weather permitting, he also plans to run workshops on his kite photography for the public during OuseFest, a festival organised by the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership to celebrate the unique heritage of the Fens.

Bill Blake has used a camera attached to a kite to photograph the Fens - One of the camera rigs. Picture: Matthew Usher. Bill Blake has used a camera attached to a kite to photograph the Fens - One of the camera rigs. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The festival will be held between July 18 and 31. Details are available at the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership website.

See more images on Mr Blake’s Flickr page.

Are you working on a creative landscape project? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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