light and shade

My Walk this Week 249 – Altered View

On my walk this week I had an altered view of my surroundings and the differences can be seen in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th images below.

I had been to the ophthalmologist for an eye check up following laser treatment and, as always, they put drops in my eyes to open the pupils as wide as possible. The result of this is that a lot more light gets in and this can be difficult to cope with. But I had my sunglasses with me so that when I went for a walk in the park afterwards the sunny day was not a problem but I had to rely on my iPhone to set itself correctly for the photos I took.

The photos below are what the camera saw except for numbers two and three. No.2 is an approximation of what I could see through my shades and No.3 is what I would have seen without the shades.

Sight, however, is not needed for sound and so I was able to capture snippets of conversation, the birds and the children, with only a small distortion from the wind which I was able to deal with in post production.

I must say that it was frustrating not to be able to see properly on my walk but that did not stop me focusing on some of the things I find interesting there – the “Whomping willow”, the shrub hugging the balustrade, the textures, if not the colours (which were distorted), and it’s good to see the effects of light and shade in the photos, albeit after the fact so to speak.

landscape

My Walk this Week 248 – End of the Day

My walk this week was a much needed one towards the end of the day – a day on which I had spent all my time on the computer.

It is the sounds enjoyed on this walk that are most important to me but the images and video give a visual context to it as well.

The robin and the blackbird seem to be having a conversation – and the sheep have something to say too.

Birds and Sheep

The walk took me up a familiar footpath where I noticed things I hadn’t really paid attention to previously – such as the arboreal elbow of a tree or the integration of another tree and old build wall. Perhaps I should describe this as a take over of man-made by natural.

And from my elevation with views I descended a steep track to the valley floor and the river I have so often featured here.

Click the play button for the sound file and then the first image to view the images in sequence.

Landscape, river and route
morning mist and sun

My Walk this Week 247 – Misty Marshes

My walk this week is really my walk last week when I ventured down to the misty marshes early one morning before the day warmed up and enjoyed capturing this beautiful place with stills, video and audio.

Any environment differs according to the weather conditions, but this can be perceived in different ways. Visually (and in a tactile way) the misty marshes are exciting to me. Even though the river is moving ever so slowly, the fog in the air is mysterious and the atmosphere is dank or clammy to the touch.

An excess of moisture is literally hanging in the air and this changes our experience of sound as well as vision. The short video clip above shows the this moisture and also transports the sound of traffic on the motorway very efficiently. The result of course is that on this day, at that time, the marshes were noisier than usual – not only with the busy road but also with the birds shouting over it.

In the soundscape below I have been able to focus more on the birds than on the background traffic and we do this with our ears (or rather our brains) as well – filter out or dim down the sounds we do not want to listen to and focus on the those we enjoy most. That, for me, is not only the birds and in this instance includes those wonderful gates as well.

And then there are the stills, an opportunity to capture a moment in time, a snippet of what is seen and felt, both of the broader landscape and also some of its details, textures, patters, nuances.

I hope you can enjoy the different aspects of this little corner of Wales as much as I did on my walk. Click on the first image and look through the carousel on a larger scale while listening to the soundscape.

more perspective

My Walk this Week 246 – Parks and Park Keeping

My walk this week was through three different Swansea parks  – it was a very pleasant walk but one which started with something of a challenge to my patience when it comes to park keeping!

St James’ Park is small but has a wonderful collection of trees, some of which are truly majestic in stature. It is a wonderful environmental oasis in an urban setting which naturally has a regular deposit of leaves and pine needles on the ground. And this is where my patience was tested – not by the leaves but by the park keeper using a leaf blower to clear them. I say “clear”, but really, that is a joke. I find the noise pollution alone is enough to set me ranting.

So please excuse my opening to this post and enjoy the dulcet tones of the leaf blower with a brief scan of the St James’ Park and then move quickly on to the preferable sounds of the birds, children playing and adults walking in Brynmill and Singleton Parks.

St James’ Park
Parks Soundscape
slow exposure

My Walk this Week 245 – Dulais River

My walk this week focuses on an unfamiliar view of my local river, the Dulais. I explored up a path beaten through brambles and whin to a rocky promontory above the river as it flows through the valley woodland, swollen by recent rains. Flooding is largely prevented by defences installed higher up the valley some years ago.

I had intended walking much further but was distracted by the small path which I have passed so often and yet not ventured along until now. It was something of a scramble to get to the rocky platform above, but worth it to get this new perspective on a familiar feature.

So my soundscape this week is almost entirely fast river flow and is contained in the video above. 

Quarry reflections

My Walk this Week 244 – Old Quarry

My walk this week took me to an old quarry which looks quite different now to what it did when I first saw it about 36 years ago. What was once mostly water has filled out with a thick array of different trees and shrubs.

The way up there was muddy and the river was flowing fast with all the recent rain. The quarry water, however, was still and quiet and I enjoyed the peaceful reflections of the plants that now almost completely hide the rock face of the quarry walls.

I was reminded by the blackened stones of a camp fire of my youth and the enjoyable times I had with friends in just such wild places as this in Northern Ireland. However, we never left the mess of cans and plastic bottles that are to be found in this place. I have managed to avoid them in my photographs but I am sorry to say that the thoughtlessness of those enjoying themselves round the camp fire here today, was very clearly in evidence.

Somehow, we need to change the misconception by some that there is no connection between us and our environment (natural or man-made). Our interconnections with it are everywhere all the time – we affect it and it affects us. There now, I have said my piece as concisely as I can. I do not want to be political on this blog in any way but this is partly what StillWalks® is about – perception, appreciation and understanding of the world around us.

Salt Marshes-1

My Walk this Week 243 – Winter Salt Marsh

My walk this week shows my local salt marsh in Winter. I know how much we enjoy and benefit from a bright sky and sunshine, but in Winter we have to, we must, try to see the beauty around us in different conditions. SAD is not a condition you want to fall prey to if it can be avoided.

This week I have video, sound and images to hopefully help you enjoy the relative gloom of overcast and wet conditions on my walk across the salt marsh to the old St Teilo’s churchyard and back to the fast thawing pond in the park.

You can only allow the weather to stop you going out for so long – then it becomes imperative that, regardless of rain or snow, you take the exercise and grab as much light as you can – if you are in a position to do so.

The video above obviously includes sound as well as the soundscape below but which one has the better pictures? That’s just a joke really, but it is certainly true that sound conjures up images for us and in the case of StillWalks® videos the soundscapes are the animator of the still images used – see the example on the website home page (Autumn Lakeside Walk). The home page has now been updated to show a short series of seasonal StillWalks videos.

Salt Marsh Soundscape
Across the sands

My Walk this Week 242 – Sound Memories

My walk this week is from August  2020 when I was taking part in a Sound Memories project called Walk 19. I and three other sound recordists were invited to record the sounds of places described by elders in care homes to Cheryl Beer, project Lead Artist funded by The Arts Council of Wales National Lottery Good Causes and Founder and Director of Sound Memories Dementia Friendly Radio Station.

Burry Port 2

One of the places I visited was Burry Port on the Burry Inlet in Carmarthenshire. Some of the photos I took are below and the project soundscape that Cheryl produced from my audio clips can be found on the Walk 19 page of her website (see link above) along with all the others she made for the care homes she was working with.