Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Most Landscapes are Man Made

This is a Digital Sketch taken from a photo from Zillebeke in Belgium. It shows a lake set in quiet woodlands on a small hill and is a good example of man made landscape.

(click image to enlarge)
Digital Sketch of Zillebeke Ypres–Comines Landscape
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  Digital Sketch of Zillebeke Ypres–Comines Landscape

Originally there was no hill there at all. The hill was the result of a spoil heap made from the diggings of a railway cutting made for the Ypres–Comines Railway line. The hill remained this way until the out break of the First World War.

Afterwards it looked like this
copyright Australian War Memorial
In 1914 the hill was captured by the German 30th Division and was used by observers because of its strategic importance as an observation post for the ground around Zillebeke and out towards Ypres (Ieper). The position was fought over for the next 3 years under conditions that included all the worst forms of fighting and to no significant result. The cuttings became known as hill 60

Below is a video panorama of the scene used to create the Roundscape of hill 60. It was taken from the railway side of the hill. 

If you cant see the video click here

A total of 17 mines exploded in 10 minutes on the morning of the 7th June 1917. The mines used about a million lbs of explosives and killed about 10000 German Soldiers in that same time period. The explosions were the largest in history and could be heard and felt over 200 miles away in London and Dublin.

Roundscape projection 360 degrees of "Hill 60, Zillebeke, Belgium (click image to enlarge) 
stereographic projection of hill 60

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The huge crater that soon filled with water created the landscape shown in the roundscapes, drawings and photos shown above. This is just one example of the effect man has on the landscape throughout the world. Every time you see a painting or picture of an English Oak Wood consider that it may have been originally created for making ships for the Elizabethan Navy war effort.

Nature doesn't use geometry so wherever you see those patterned fields or pretty villages you are seeing the hand of man on their surroundings. These shapes and enclosures eventually lead us to the illusion that we somehow own the land, and it is this blindness that creates sites like hill 60.

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