more perspective

My Walk this Week – 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. 

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.

Llyn Llech Owain

My Walk this Week 239 – Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my StillWalks® followers and visitors. My walk this week is a hopeful one that takes you out of the woods and into the open.

The sound track for this short video was not going to be as it is. When recording the short clip in the woods at Llyn Llech Owain a helicopter flew overhead (as you can hear) – this prompted me to record a separate sound clip after it had passed.

However, it occurred to me that the helicopter might be considered symbolic of the past year in that it was likely to be an emergency flight taking someone to hospital. I doubt very much that we are out of the woods yet with the coronavirus. Even with the vaccine it will take time to immunise the population and we need to keep our fingers crossed that the vaccine will do the trick.

So out of the woods and into the open . . . Llyn Llech Owain is a local country park on one of those currently rare bright cold days, we and other families carefully kept socially distanced as we enjoyed the sounds of the geese on the lake, the peace of no traffic in the background, and the moon rising as the sun set (at the end of the video in the top left corner). 

looking out

My Walk this Week 238 – Urban Lakeside

My walk this week is around an urban lakeside in a brief window of it not raining.

The clouds were threatening, or perhaps I should say promising, to rain – and of course they kept their promise, but not until after my walk.

I was going to say something here about Fendrod Lake in Swansea’s Enterprise Park, but hopefully the video and soundscape above and the images below will give all the information about the value of a place like this in an urban landscape.

It has certainly been valuable to me at this time of tier 4 Covid-19 lockdown just before Christmas. This time at the end of this year is very different to the norm and I am increasingly wondering if the whole thing is a natural warning to us from the planet to wise up and stop being so selfish. An attempt to get through to all of us that we are just a small part of the entire ecosystem and universe. It will be ourselves that we destroy, not the planet, if we carry on disregarding the myriad interconnections we have with all else on Earth and the cosmos. We affect everything and everything affects us. No matter how small or large, our actions individually and collectively have consequences and we had better take note.

OK, that’s the lecture finished – see and hear the sights and sounds both here and around you and enjoy the end of this year as much as you can.

frilly fungi

My Walk this Week 237 – Detail and Nuance

My walk this week returns to some detail and nuance from this time two years ago – which tells you I have run short of time this week!

The image above seems an appropriate one for the time of year but it is not any association with Christmas decorations that interests me, but rather the natural outline the holly leaves have. Is it a lightening of the pigment in the leaf or simply the effect of light on its edges. Does nature have a sense of design?

It’s all in the detail they say (whoever they are) – I prefer to think of the detail as nuance. But nuance is only apparent when you look at, or listen to, the details. The changing frequencies of the quarry ambience and the flow of the river in the soundscape below or the patterns and textures of the various foliage and frilly fungi in the images.

These are a selection of the photos I took in this place two years ago and it looks and sounds as though that year was as wet as this one. Now I want to go back there and look again, not to compare but simply to enjoy the privacy of the space and the secrets it holds.

Old Quarry Soundscape

Play the soundscape and click through the carousel of images as you listen.

Burry Inlet

My Walk this Week 236 – Coastal Path

My walk this week shows a small section of the coastal path along the Loughor Estuary and Burry Inlet in South Wales.

The soundscape for the still image video above was recorded separately and apart from trimming, I have done very little work on it. My walk started in a semi-industrial area where you can here the sounds of machinery as well as traffic. The traffic never disappears but does fade a little as the path approaches the edges of the estuary.

It was a bitterly cold morning as can be seen in the images below and my hands felt like they were going to drop off as I recorded and photographed the scene.

The quality of light excited me. Where there is a wide expanse of still water and a relatively even light in the sky, the two reflect and bounce off each other, creating subtle changes of colour and luminance that you do not see when the surface of the water is more broken or choppy. Or indeed, when the sky is more broken in its textures and with higher contrast in its areas of light and shade.