Park path and wildflowers

Enjoying the Springtime Morning Chorus

My walk this week through the woodland of my local park was early in the morning and the Springtime birds were still singing their morning chorus. The sun was up and the day was bright and there is nothing like woodland sights and sounds to lift the heart.

Across the pond

As I circled round the far side of the pond and approached the children’s playground the birds and squirrels were going crazy. There were no children up early to play on the hoops and bridges, swings and slides of the playground, but a Blue Tit hopped around the bright painted apparatus andContinue reading

blue woodland

The Temptation of Bluebells

One reason for my walk this week through the woodland of my local park was to see the Bluebells that have grown up profusely in the past few years since the park has been managed by the Friends of Coedbach with the support of the council’s Parks Department. The temptation with bluebells when photographing them is to exaggerate the saturation of colour in an effort to replicate the impact a carpet of blue in woodland has on our senses as we walk amongst the trees.

woodland colour

They are amazing but however anyone processes or presents a photograph of them, the reality is that, at best, the image will provide a good memory of the last time you saw bluebells in the real world. I have tried to avoid exaggerating the colour in my photography of this phenomenon but looked instead for anglesContinue reading

evening reflection

An Evening with Marsh Grass

The tall marsh grass I enjoyed so much on my walk this week was enhanced by the beautiful evening light and the high tide which flows far up the River Loughor from the estuary. On this evening the level was perfect for a walk – not so high as to cover the surrounding marshes, but high enough to make the river brimful.

Riverside Marsh Grass

The result is a smooth mirror in the middle of the landscape, one that reflects all above and around it – the colours of the sunset and the riverside grasses. The surface was broken onlyContinue reading

Barbara Hepworth - Hieroglyph detail

Sculpture in Leeds

We didn’t have a lot of time to stay in Leeds on my walk this week but I still managed to take in some of the current sculpture exhibition at the Leeds Art Gallery. One of my favourites was this piece by Barbara Hepworth from 1953.

Barbara Hepworth - Hieroglyph

Barbara Hepworth – Hieroglyph

The title of the work, “Hieroglyph”, prompts towards an interpretation of the piece I suppose but not knowing the title at the time of initially viewing it, I didn’t think of it as being a hieroglyph. However, its language spoke to me in terms of surface texture and pattern, form and I guess, humanity and nature. The shapes of the hollowed out areas seem figure-like and looking through them to the other side had an essence of intimacy about it. I wanted to touch and caress its cool warmth! If such a contradiction in terms can be accepted, it is the only term I can find to express my perception of the piece while expecting the stone surface to be cool to the touch.

The Richard Long installation left me cool, if not cold. The impact of the work may come again from the contradiction (or should I say juxtaposition?) of the arrangement of the natural material and the space it is in, but for me it felt somewhat contrived.

The work that had the greatest impact on me, though I cannot say it was a particularly positive one, was the alabaster figure holding a bird to her shoulder by Woman and Bird by John Skeaping. The material had a strange effect on me and looking back at the VR shot I took of the room (see below), I think it may have been the sense that I was able to see inside the body at the same time as seeing its surface – I found it a bit disturbing. Again with this piece there was an element of contradiction – the apparent textures of the stone revealed through its changes in colour, pattern and internal structure was in contrast to its worked smoothness and  again there was the warmth of colour but the knowledge that if touched it the sensation would be of cold or coolness.

As with my previous post, if you click the VR image below on an iPhone or Android phone with the Google Cardboard Camera app installed, you will be able to view the full 360º of the space in virtual reality. On the linked image on your phone select the “Save to app” button and then fit your phone to the Google Cardboard device.

Leeds-sculpture.vr

Millennium Rail - monochrome

The Arrangement of Things

When I crossed the Millennium Footbridge in York at the start of my walk this week I was interested in the arrangement of the half submerged objects in the flooded River Ouse. In post production I also saw the potential for the use of monochrome in many of the photographs I shot with the result that this week I have been posting parallel image galleries in colour and black and white (and one or two in sepia).

semi submerged

There were some images which would have been pointless in monochrome, such as the one above or those below of the primroses. But there are others where the colour was almost pointless such as those of the bridge itself and its wet railing. And then there is the sound . . .Continue reading

Ouse overflow - monochrome

My Walk this Week – Colour or Monochrome Flood

My walk this week follows a flood – not so much follows in fact, more dictated. The River Ouse in York regularly floods if there is a lot of rainfall in the area or up river and when I was there at the start of April the rain was teeming down across the country. I took the earliest opportunity when the rain stopped to check out the watery scene.

Ouse Flood 2

I was at least able to cross the Millennium Footbridge whereas on a previous occasion I had not even been able to approach the bridge! What caught my eye in particular was the arrangement of objects such as semi submerged bollards, fence reflections and the ghost image of the footpath as it curved round under the water.

In looking back at the photos I couldn’t decide whether I preferred them in colour or monochrome, so they are both included below – all except the curved footpath shot because in monochrome the path was completely hidden.

Old Buddleia flower

A Space Between – Edgelands of Industry and Nature

My walk this week has been through a space between, a space on the edge of both nature and industry – and nature, of course, wins every time and in so many ways.

return route

Looking at the evidence of man is perhaps not the best way to finish my posts on this walk but there are other elements to the landscape apart from the old tyres and wires. The profusion of old Buddleia bushes will soonContinue reading

zig zag

Zig Zag and Twisted – Perspective, Steps and An Urban Soundscape

On this, the third side of my triangular urban walk this week, my main focus (or perspective) is on steps. It was a long set of scaffolding steps that I originally wanted to photograph and which turned into a walk round the block that revealed some other angular and twisted (spiral) steps. I was amused by the “floating” gate below which advertises the entrance to The Forge.

spiral steps

As someone who enjoys many different aspects of metal I couldn’t resist the first perspective shot below of the structure and pattern of shop front shutters, but as I turned the next corner I was also taken by the colour, repeating pattern and perspective of the short terrace across the street. I found other perspectives Continue reading

jewelled bank

My Walk This Week – Ready for Growth

My walk this week returns to the National Botanic Garden of Wales. It was Mother’s Day here in the UK and we took the opportunity of our membership to visit at a time when so many plants and flowers are getting ready for growth.

prepared for growth

We can see the plants in our own garden getting ready for growth of course, but we do not have a team of volunteer gardeners and professionals attending to it and neither do we have the wonderful range of native andContinue reading

tree moss and ice

My Walk this Week – Freezing Over

My walk this week braves the bitter wind blowing across Britain from Siberia. I have never seen ice like this on our local river, the Afon Dulais, but despite this and the fact that the rest of the country was under thick snow, we had next to none of it! The “beast from the east” and Storm Emma brought high winds and bitter cold but we were disappointed not to  get any snow when seemingly all around us a colour, texture and acoustic change was taking place across the land.

Afon Dulais ice

Never mind, despite the ice feeling like it was inside my fingers, I still enjoyed my walk and the sights and sounds were still different to normal, but more of that later in the week. There was still someContinue reading