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Photo trickery makes wind farms smaller  

Credit:  James Gillespie | The Sunday Times | via Blackrod and Horwich Environmental Action Group 15 July 2012 ~~

Wind farm developers have been accused of deceiving local councils and the public by using computer-generated images in planning applications that make the turbines seem smaller than they are in reality.

The claim is contained in a new book, Windfarm Visualisation: Perspective or Perception, by the architect Alan Macdonald, whose company, Architech, specialises in computer- generated images.

A separate study by the University of Stirling found serious flaws in the images that are presented as part of a visual impact assessment in the planning process.

Macdonald said the accepted practice was for a photograph of the landscape where the turbines are to be sited to be taken on a camera with a 50mm lens. This is then “stitched together” with other 50mm shots to create a long, shallow panorama on an A3 page.

But the human eye does not take in the whole panorama; it focuses on the middle section where the computer-generated images of turbines have been placed, giving the impression of a small development on a large landscape.
“A printed 50mm photographic image will always under-represent our perception of the scale of a more distant object because we are looking at a flat image devoid of any depth information,” Macdonald said.

The only way someone can get a realistic impression of what the turbines would really look like is to place the image on a curved display, with one eye closed.

The University of Stirling report also found the use of the industry-standard 50mm lens to be misleading.

However, RenewableUK, the wind energy industry body, said: “It is in developers’ interests to ensure that their visualisations are accurate.”

Source:  James Gillespie | The Sunday Times | via Blackrod and Horwich Environmental Action Group 15 July 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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