Ignoring the Signs – Walls, Flowers and Brickwork

Not so much ignoring the signs as cropping them out – all these photos required me to either choose an angle or make a crop that avoided the inevitable street signs for restricted parking, no entry, and restricted access. I couldn’t avoid the cars and I didn’t want to avoid the peeling paint of the gable end brick wall to this building of formal design that is typical of this part of Hereford City centre.

I like the patterns, colours and textures of the wall at least as much as I do the flower displays.

Hereford City Walk-17

Hereford Houses

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City Street – Reviewing the Walk

One thing (several in fact) that was often in the background of my walk this week along a city centre street were the gulls. As previously mentioned, it was a bin collection day and the sea gulls were pretty active. Much of the time their calls were largely hidden by the other sounds of the street, but they are there.

gull

Street Walk Soundscape

Play the sound clip and look through the sequence of images at the same time. If you would like to hear more of the subtleties of any of my soundscapes, listen through headphone. Having said that, I always edit the soundscapes with the expectation that most people will listen without.

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Seeing it as it is – details of the bigger picture

Nearing the end of my short street walk this week I was considering how useful a camera can be in helping to pick out aspects of an environment. Without peripheral vision plus the ability to select a point of focus it is possible to present reality as abstract. I have not taken todays photos that far and the subjects of all these images are identifiable, but seeing it as it is does not necessarily mean there is an understandable context.

If you have seen my previous posts this week you will know that the context is a city centre street along which I have been walking, looking and listening to my surroundings. But taking the images of today’s post on their own, there is a great deal of contextual information they do not give. This means the photos almost force you to consider their more abstract elements and forget about the street or town they may be in – peeling paint, the pattern of broken glass, marks on a road surface and lines in a wall.

street markings

The penultimate photo below is in a specify location in a specific town / city. It can only be one particular place but at the same time it could be anywhere. I like the vertical columns in the background set behind the horizontal pattern of parked cars but wanted to bring some more attention to them give the image a little more individuality. So with a monochrome conversion, a little digital manipulation and a tighter crop . . .

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Choosing the View

They say about TV or radio, if you don’t like it, you can always switch it off or change the channel. Similarly, wherever we may be, we can choose what to take notice of, we can choose our view. That can be a challenge sometimes, especially if what is in front of you is a blank wall, but when out and about we tend to miss so much of what is around us and I am as guilty of this as the next person.

That’s OK! It means that when I do take notice of my surroundings, a simple walk down the street can become an adventure of discovery. I don’t mean that there are suddenly different or new things happening around me to what’s normal, I simply find I have more interest in the normal things. The shapes and patterns, the textures and colours . . . of the sounds as well as the sights.

monochrome railings

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Crossing to the Other Side

Crossing to the other side of the street on my walk this week revealed more natural life than it occurred to me I might find. This is a busy city centre street (or close to it) and the predominant features tend to be of man-made materials – concrete and metal, tarmac and bricks.

As I reached the point where the street I was on changes its name, I crossed to the other side and as I waited at the pedestrian crossing I noted some of the patterns around me and also the plants and flowers lining sections of the street.  The perspective of trees lining the extension of this street is a deliberate plan, but the plants and flowers (some would say weeds) in the forecourts (if they can be called that) of the buildings on this section of the street are there because that is what nature will do if you let it.

The owners of these buildings and businesses are clearly not concerned about this aspect of their working lives and from my point of view the growth of the wild flowers and grasses are a lot more attractive than concrete, but each to their own. At least the vegetation allows some natural drainage.

Street-side plants

Street-side plants

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My Walk this Week – Street Recce

My walk this week is along a short street near the centre of town. It could be any street with mostly businesses lining each side in what were once houses. There is plenty of traffic but as I have claimed with StillWalks, there is as much to listen to and hear in an urban setting as there is in a rural one.

The sounds may be different, and it could be argued less attractive, but focusing my attention on different aspects of the soundscape allowed me to hear and see things that I would often pass over unnoticed – colours, patterns, textures to be both seen and heard.

So my walk this week is an exploration of an everyday urban location with the intention of familiarising my self to some of the visual and aural details in preparation for a full StillWalks production walk in the future.

Street Walk-1

The sound clip below is a bit longer than those I normally post through the week but on this occasion it seemed appropriate. There are many layers of of activities, starting  with the sound of me closing the car boot and progressing from the car park onto the street. The sound of a drill as I round a corner is also associated with a smell for me – as I returned to the carpark later on, passing this same spot the pungent smell of sealant was powerful and made me pass by quickly.

Street Walk – Clip 1

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Tawe River Mouth – Reviewing the Walk

It was a nice sunny day for my walk this week, though I still had my umbrella with me as an encumbrance. My final view of the walk was looking across Swansea Bay from the dunes to Mumbles and its lighthouse.

I have included a soundscape again this week to accompany my selection of images from the walk. Click the play button and then the first thumbnail to view the images in sequence.

Mumbles from Swansea

Tawe Walk Soundscape

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Turn of the Lock

Having come full circle and arrived back at the blue footbridge and lock on my walk this week around part of the maritime quarter of Swansea, I focused my attention on the bridge and lock rather than the churning water of the river falling over the weir (see Monday’s post).

footbridge mesh

Patterns, sound and movement can be seen below in a mixture of photos and video taken on both my Canon and iPhone cameras.

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