From Scottish skies last week to Scottish seas this week and all is still and quiet – the gentle ripples on surface and sand reflect the warm breeze of an unusually warm Summer.
No drama in the form of storms and crashing waves, just the peaceful lap of the gentlest of tides and the hot hazy light that so often disguised the horizon and prompted me, on occasion, to play with focus.Continue reading→
I have some Scottish skies to show you. With all the dry weather we have had this Summer the light in SW Scotland was unique. In some of the photos below it may look as if we had some poor weather while there but that is not really the case.
At times the light was such that it was difficult to differentiate between the different aspects of the sea, landscape and sky. It prompted me to go abstract and emphasise the effect because that seemed more realistic. The second shot below is deliberately out of focus, blurred, but the only reason the shot of the swans is not sharp is because I was having to act quickly to capture them in flight.
Over the next couple of weeks or so I will not be posting My Walk this Week – instead I would like to show a selection photos I took on various walks in Scotland while on holiday.
One of the things I like most about my walk this week on my local salt marsh is the marsh grass. It’s not the only thing I focus on when there, but using the camera to look at different aspects of the grass by adjusting the focal length allows me to investigate some of its different textures and patterns.
The two images below with the fence half hidden amongst the grasses are ones that each have a different depth of field and which I like for different reasons. The one with the fence and background grasses blurred gives me a better sense of being there while the other seems to me to be more diagrammatic, though I like the complex texture it presents. You may see them differently, but neither of them are realistic insofar as the camera lens cannot see in the way our eyes do but only recreate a sense of a place which we, ultimately, respond to according to our individual perception. Perhaps, if you are unfamiliar with this kind of landscape feature, the images may mean nothing to you. Our connection and response to the things around us, images included, is strongly influenced by our own experiences.
My walk this week is a bit marshy, but not boggy! I hadn’t been down to our local salt marshes on the Loughor Estuary for a while and as the weather was unusually dry, it was an opportunity to see how things had changed as they undoubtedly would have done in some ways.
I never get tired of seeing this environment – it has the quality of peacefulness and tranquility when it is dry even with the motorway traffic in the background. The day was still with little or no movement other than the slow flow of the half full river as the tide receded. The subtle swirls of the current gave a gentle distortion to the reflected pattern of clouds, but there was unquestionable evidence in the form of gaping cracks that there had been slippage of the river bank as a result of high tides and fast flowing water.
A makeshift rusty barrier was constructed as an extension to the wooden fence that prevents cattle reaching an area where the marsh grasses give refuge and residence to some of the birds that enjoy this habitat. I disturbed what I think was a beautiful looking corncrake but wasn’t quick enough with my camera to get a shot of it.
Almost back to my car parked on the seafront next to Swansea’s docks and SA1 area, my walk this week leaves the boats and buildings of the Maritime Quarter behind and ends in the dunes.
Looking out to the Tawe river mouth and dock entrance I couldn’t decide which photo to post out of these first two. I like them both – the first for the clear pattern and tapering shapes of the sea wall with the blurred foreground. The other I like for its crisp focus on the grasses in the foreground with the blurred sea wall in the distance.
Of course the answer was to post both! Which one do you prefer?
It could be said that the subject matter of the first two shots below is 1. the whin bush and 2. the grasses in the foreground. This would be a reasonable assumption as these items are in focus whilst the rest of the photo is not.
While this may be true, I think I would argue that if I was interested in taking photos of whin or grass, I could do a much more interesting job, perhaps looking at the sharp thorniness of the whin or the colours and patterns in the grasses.
However, the true subject matter is the story of my walk this week and the purpose of images like these within a sequence is to connect one aspect or stage of a walk with another. Having descended from the higher part of Graig Fawr, I am now approaching civilisation again and this can be seen by the blurred pattern of buildings at the foot of the hill. However, in my mind I am still with the natural landscape, the whin and the grasses and I am not yet ready to dive back into the everyday world of people and work.
A single elderly dog walker provides a gentle re-introduction to society with a brief conversation near the end of my walk about the weather – what else? Listen below.
A Brief Conversation
If viewing this in an email, to see the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.
Walking from the modern architecture of Cardiff Bay to the bay’s barrage took us past an area of old docks. The backdrops of the buildings in one case and old painted walls in another, both seen behind that determined urban wildflower, buddleia, were the points of interest for me at this stage of our walk.
Without clicking on the landscape version of this image, I find I have a preference for the portrait crop. However, that is partly because it is easy to see the dimples created by the surface tension between the water and the pine needles and in the second image that is the most important aspect of the shot. The first image composition or crop includes more space which changes my perception to one more focused on the reflected depth of the sky.