My walk this week is a celebration of the different weather conditions we enjoyed under Scottish skies recently. I won’t say much more than that. As you will be able to see below, we relaxed to beautiful sunsets, cold winds, and water not just ebbing and flowing with the tide but also falling from the sky. On one occasion this produced a thunderous roar as the drops hit the tin roof above us in the middle of the night.
My walk this week gave me a much needed break down on the salt marsh and old church yard. Even though it was first thing in the morning, I needed to start the day with the calming influence of solitude in a space I find calming (in spite of the nearby motorway).
I was sitting behind the churchyard wall in an effective audio shelter from the traffic sounds and enjoying the peace of the slow moving river and the sunshine on the marsh grass. As I sat there, gradually I became more aware of some of the details of my surroundings, some of which was evidence of the tidal influence on the marshland – a crab! Some seaweed!
The video* (see note below) demonstrates quite well the different levels of background traffic and wind sounds that I tend not to listen to, instead focusing on the bird sounds – in this case some distant geese flying overhead.
I am sure I must have posted images similar to those below in the past but with each visit to the marshes and old churchyard, it feels like I am experiencing the place afresh. I have looked at the various headstones many times, but somehow those half buried (or almost completely buried) children’s headstones seem to have sunk a little further down, staying close to the long decayed body beneath.
Time passes and everything gradually changes. Whether it be weathered iron growing rust and deepening its pitted surface or the slump of what was once the footpath as it subsides into the river with slow erosion.
- The video in this post can also be viewed in 4K resolution on Vimeo. If you have a large screen and a good internet connection you might feel like you could almost crawl in amongst those marsh grasses. Make sure the quality is set to 4K and expand the video to full screen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Play the soundscape and click through the carousel of images as you listen.
My walk this week looks through my viewfinder at our local park and its pond – Coedbach Park. Coed = wood and Bach = little, so Little Wood Park.
The video above of the pond and the images below were all taken on my DSLR, my “proper” camera, rather than my iPhone which I have used so often lately for my posts. I may have expressed some frustration with the iPhone images but I wouldn’t complain about the quality of the video it takes. The audio was recorded separately on my Zoom H5N recorder.
It was a walk taken at an opportune moment during a busy week when the sun was a rare sight. One advantage of working from home (for many more of us now) is that you can often be flexible with the hours you put in. I would argue that it is important both for yourself and your employer (if you have one) that the health benefits of taking a break for a short walk round your local park, or even just around your garden (again, if you have one), are such that it is invaluable to all – yourself, the people you work for, the people around you. everyone in fact.
I wonder if there is any chance in the future, in the “new normal” as it is being called, that a recognition of the benefits to be gained from activities such as this will become a strategic part of business models and company operations. We can always hope!
My walk this week contains contradictions, wind in the visual but calm in the audio. Two walks really, both from Scotland – one where photos were taken and the other where sound recordings was done.
The image above demonstrates a change in temperature while we were in Scotland, and of course that was preceded by wind. The strange rays of light sneaking through the cloud formation looks to me as though it might be an error in photo development, but this is a digital shot and anyway, I saw it with my own eyes, and it was weird. There’s nothing like nature to hold you in fascination and awe.
The effects of wind can be seen in the images below but the sound I recorded was from a cal walk along the shore, listening to the lapping of waves on the sand and amongst the rocks. So if the images leave you feeling flustered, hopefully the audio will keep you calm.
Perhaps it may be best on this occasion to look and listen separately – not something I usually prompt.
Calm Sea Soundscape
You might find using headphones worthwhile for this soundscape.
The curlew is perhaps the one natural element that is keeping its calm in the face of the wild wind and waves.
My walk this week is from this time last year when I was visiting Sunbury Walled Garden and gallery because this year I was due to have an exhibition of my audio interactive tapestry weaving. Hopefully the exhibition will happen next year instead. You can see some of my work towards this here.
The interactive aspect of the work was to have been tactile! While the work will still be textural – both weaving and audio – I am now having to think in a different way about how the interaction may be achieved as multiple people touching the same art works may be a problem. This may not be the result or legacy of the Coronavirus lock down but I have to consider that it may be a likely result of the pandemic and our need to maintain a social distance from each other the the things we interact with.
I may even need to consider the degree of interactivity I can provide through proximity sensors! While this changes some important aspects of my art work, I am gradually beginning to see it as an interesting challenge rather than being frustrated by it. Either way, texture will always be important to me and my work, both visually and aurally, so . . . watch this space (as they say) and in the meantime enjoy Sunbury Walled Garden.
Sunbury Gardens Soundscape
The soundscape media player does not show on the WordPress Reader, please visit the website to listen to the soundscape and view the images at the same time.