trees and sky

My Walk this Week 241 – Sunset at the Start

My walk this week was my first walk of 2021, at the start of the New Year. My daughter and I walked up Graig Fawr, a local hill, and watched the sun set over the landscape – it was beautiful and peaceful.

It is a walk I have done many times before but not for a couple of years – it was good to see the meandering Loughor Estuary reflecting the colours of the sky once more.

Being the first day of the year and in the current pandemic lockdown, the landscape was quiet, no background traffic and just the hint of a breeze up on top. It was, however, relatively busy! We must have passed 10 or 12 people in all as they descended the mountain – all couples with the same idea of taking in the view and hoping for a good start to what is likely to be another difficult year. 

So to everyone out there, remember to appreciate what we have, take care, stay safe and keep calm.

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.

equine observer

My Walk this Week 235 – Forest and Woods

My walk this week looks at the loss of a small forest and the enjoyment of local woods. To be fair the conifer forest that is now gone was originally planted with the intention of harvesting the lumber and the area is being replanted with native deciduous trees. All the same, the change was and still is a bit of a shock to the senses.

The day was still and quiet but as always there was the background sound of traffic. However, as I was not listening to the traffic but instead enjoying the stillness and the birds, I decided to filter out that more urban ambience from the video above.

The intimacy of the Autumn – Winter woodland with its wet leaves and moss plus the curious observers of my audio visual activities is something I have missed recently as the last time I was here was back in August. 

waves and wind

My Walk this Week 227 – Visual Wind and Audio Calm

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.

light and dark

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.

Scottish Sunsets-8

My Walk this Week 226 – Spectacular Sunsets

On my walk this week I want to share some of my favourite photos of spectacular sunsets from the two weeks I spent in Scotland. The videos I posted while there could not follow the ever changing light for more than a few moments and the atmosphere created by the setting sun on successive evenings was literally awesome.

Scottish Sunsets-3

From the pastel tints and shades looking in one direction to the drama of a fiery sky in another, the reflections on clouds above and water below never ceases to amaze me.

However, I couldn’t photograph one of the most impressive evening skies I have ever seen. I was driving home at the time and as we crossed the border into Wales the sunset was unbelievable, unrealistic even! Yet it was real and will be one that lives on in my memory – it was a good way to arrive back from a much needed and, in spite of Covid-19, much enjoyed holiday. And we were back just in time for another lockdown!

Evening Soundscape – Curlews Calling

A couple of the curlews calling in the soundscape above are from one of the videos I posted previously – the others were separately recorded and are a natural (and phenomenal, to my mind) part of the evening landscapes/seascapes in the photos.

Click the play button for the soundscape and then click the first image below to see the full images larger.

 

Three Cliffs

My Walk this Week 223 – An Early Start

My walk this week returns to Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula and a production walk for VR video – this is just a snippet of the sights and sounds we recorded.

early morning light

Some of the images below are my own while a number of them were taken by my Co-Director at StillWalks®, Paul Allen.

NB I may not post for a couple of weeks after this as I will be away . . . but you never know!

Three Cliffs Early Soundscape