Sunday, 6 September 2015

Work steadily continues on the recording and surveying of the churchyard of St Mary’s Church in Embsay-with-Eastby. 

A ghostly spectre ponders: "Who put the lights out?"
It’s been a steep learning curve but we appear to have cracked the RTI process for photographing the gravestones and, though we say it ourselves, we are proud of the results. 

It’s amazing how taking under-exposed pictures then illuminating the stone with flashlight from several angles can reveal  such faded inscriptions.

On 25th August Gareth and Nicole Beale from the Centre for Digital Heritage at the University of York came for a meeting with 4 of us from the group – between us representing both the St Mary’s Project Group and Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group – to discuss progress. We are very excited that Gareth & Nicole have asked us to help them write guides to RTI photography for other community heritage groups to use.  If we can roll out the technique making it available to groups similar to ours the potential is enormous – RTI could be used not only for cemeteries but for archaeological artefacts, graffiti carved into wood and stone, and many other uses.

Recording gravestones without RTI
After a detailed and very useful discussion about the RTI technique and the format of the guides – and a lunch provided by Sue (Thanks Sue!) – we took Gareth & Nicole to the churchyard for a quick look at some stones. Nicole was rather taken by the Tait memorial with its ornate decoration, and spent some minutes taking a large number of photographs – she has since sent us the results of using these simple photographs to create a 3-D image. Another technique we’re very excited about. Hopefully we’ll soon be investigating this one as well.  

The next issue to tackle will be the table-top graves with the horizontal gravestones. Chris Lunnon has devised a bar that will hold the camera directly above the table-top – hoping to try it out at the next session.

For more information about RTI see the Digital Heritage Centre’s website pages on Re-Reading the British Memorial project :

Jane Lunnon, UWHG/ERG