StillWalks will be present at the Taste of Gower Walk organised by the Gower Landscapes Partnership at Weobly Castle on the Gower this morning at 10.30. This will be followed by a talk at the Greyhound Inn by a guest speaker – The Special Life on Gower – Discover the special species and habitats that make Gower a unique ecological site and what is being done to help them from increasing external pressures and threats.
My return walk along Rhosilli Down meant heading into the sun. This is far from ideal in photographic terms, but as one of the purposes of a StillWalks video is to illustrate the walk taken whatever the time of day or direction the walk is taking, the only answer, photographically speaking, is to deal with it.
The photos taken obviously don’t have to be taken into the sun but if they are, as in the first shot below, the almost blinding haze from the sun is simply a true illustration of the real view of the walk at that point. Photographers will gather from this that I am not a huge fan of lens filters. That’s not to say they aren’t useful sometimes, but on this occasion the glare is what I was wanting to represent.
The kind of light the sun was giving at this point of my walk was white and glaring from virtually every angle and even directing the camera down towards the beach from high above had its issues. The height of the Down above Rhosilli Bay, however, can easily be seen when you pick out the tiny people walking on the beach.
My walk this week features a walk I did exactly a year ago to the week and took me up onto Rhosilli Down at the end of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. It was one of those increasingly rare days in February when the sun shines, albeit through a haze, the weight of which changed with the wind throughout the day.
The track leading up from the village of Rhosilli to the top of the ridge overlooking the bay is quite steep. Whilst ascending this was not a problem, descending it again at the end of the day was most definitely an issue – one which my knees complained about bitterly and had me inching down from the down at a snail’s pace.
The walk, however, was most enjoyable and although I did not find the time in 2015 to post produce this as a StillWalks video, I hope to do so this year and in the meantime bring a sample of the place to my posts throughout this week.
While many trees, if not all, can show the direction of the prevailing wind, I think these hardy specimens may have more to challenge them than those in places of greater shelter. They make wonderful sculptures and although it’s certainly not the first time I have photographed trees like these, they never loose their interest for me.
Crossing back over the fields to return to the starting point of my walk this week, the mist never really lifted, not properly, and the damp atmosphere continued to hang in the air but without the wind suggested by the trees.
Reaching the end of my wild and windy walk between Southgate and Three Cliffs on the South Gower coast, like these other two intrepid weather walkers, I was huddled over and protecting my camera against the rain.
I have not created a full StillWalks video of this walk using a mixture of still images and video because I am not a great fan of hand held video and I have not had the time. However, the sequence of photos and the sound clip below can be viewed at the same time and if you are interested in the video I took on my iPhone during the walk, this can also be viewed at the end of this post.
Mixing video and stills is something I will continue to experiment with for StillWalks and if I can find the time I will probably work further with this walk in this way. In the meantime I hope you can enjoy all that I have posted this week and don’t end up too breathless or blown off your seat!
If viewing this in an email, to view the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.
When playing the video I recommend you click the HD and full screen buttons.
The waves breaking on the South Gower coast near Southgate may not be the huge breakers that can be seen on some coastlines around the world, but I wouldn’t fancy falling in there on a day like this!
In writing this post about my walk between Southgate and Three Cliffs Bay on this wild and windy day, I realised that I had made the third image monotone. The strength of colour in our surroundings comes from reflected light and as there is so little light on a day like this, there is consequently very little obvious colour. In reality of course there is colour and even in the sea, if you focus your attention, there is a range of subtle colours to be seen. The trouble is that in weather like this the inclination to stand still and observe intently is rather weak and the sensation instead, is that the day is dark, the wind is wild, the rain is wet and it is time to get back inside, not linger too long on the edge of the cliffs however many colours there may or may not be.
And so I headed back to the Three Cliffs Coffee Shop at Southgate for another cuppa and to calm the wind that had been blasting my brain for the last hour or two.
This visual evidence of the prevailing wind on the South Gower coast with its effect on the hawthorn trees produces wonderful natural sculptures typical of Britain’s coastline. There are probably not many trees like the hawthorn or blackthorn with their ability to survive and thrive in the rugged conditions that come with the Autumn and Winter seasons here.
That’s not say that we have particularly harsh winters, but they still have to cope with the strong winds and sea salty air and I know plenty of other species of tree that do not welcome this sort of situation at all. I love these trees and I also love the equally hardy whin or gorse and, in this case, their silhouette against the dark grey horizon line of sea and sky.
This was the point the group reached on the Taste of Gower walk at Southgate. Looking over the edge to Three Cliffs Bay, it was disappointing not to go any further but the wind was very wild and this was causing difficulty for some in the group.
Having gone out again on my own afterwards, this was again the point I reached with my cameras and sound kit before deciding to turn back. I may have found the wind exhilarating but the rain which had started to blow in from the sea was less so.
All of the photos taken on this outing are rather grainy and in some cases they were a bit blurred. Considering the weather conditions, even if I had taken my tripod I would not have faired any better – it would simply have been blown away just as I was on one or two occasions!
Below is another short sound clip from my walk. For those of you with an interest in these things, the strength of the wind is evident in this clip recorded with my RODE NTG-3 shotgun mic with a Blimp windshield and dead cat fluffy cover onto a Fostex FR-2LE.
Wild Wind at Southgate 2