dry grass

Low Flow and the Colour of Grass

The low flow of rivers and the colour of the grass has changed the landscape in the UK. Hosepipe bans are coming to the north and without sustained rainfall in the near future in the south, I can imagine that we will have them too.

low river

The river above is normally raging over the weir but with the reduced flow the soundscape is changed as well as the landscape. I haven’t produced a soundscape again this week butContinue reading

Light on Water

It is worth keeping our rivers and streams clean if only for the beautiful effects of sunlight falling on clear water.

The reasoning for the Clear Streams project goes much further than that of course. However, it is still important in my mind, that those taking part in the project appreciate these visual aspects as well as developing their understanding of the environmental aspects.

The orange in the second image was not left in the River Lliw. It was being used as a device for measuring the rate of flow of the river at this second stage through Felindre on its way to the river mouth at Loughor.

Light on Water

Orange in Water

Looking for the Source

The source of the River Lliw is situated up in the hills of the Mawr ward in Swansea, South Wales.

The Clear Streams project being managed by Swansea’s Countryside Connections Team helps people to better understand the responsibility we have towards maintaining the cleanliness of rivers and what we can do maintain them. The project, which I am documenting, is taking school children from four primary schools out to explore the River Lliw from source to mouth. The aim for my part in the project, is to produce a teaching and learning resource for future use by schools and communities.

The scenery at the source is beautiful and so, when the weather is dry, it is a very pleasant work place. The source of the river is not a spring but a point on the hills into which the water of the surrounding slopes drains.

Clear Streams Project

Clear Streams

River Torrents

There was plenty of water flowing at the Lliw Reservoirs recently and during my walk in the rain I took a number of shots of the fast flowing rivers, trying out different settings and shutter speeds.

I have never been a great fan of slow shutter speeds and the “smooth water” effect it gives with flowing water. However, whilst using a fast shutter speed may show the explosive nature of fast moving water, slower shutter speeds will certainly help to represent the flow.

River Torrents

River Torrents

For the shot above the ISO had to be super high (6400) to allow a shutter speed of 1/1250 at f4.

River Torrents 2

River Torrents 2

Whereas with this shot the ISO was 100 and shutter speed 1/25 at f4.5.

River Churning

River Churning

Again, the shot above was taken ISO 6400 with a shutter speed of 1/1250 at f9.

River Churning 2

River Churning 2

And this one was taken at ISO 100 and a shutter speed of 1/25 at f7.1

The camera was a Canon 550D and the lens was the Canon EF70 – 300mm IS USM.

And for those who are interested, the changing sounds of the river as the flow varies  alongside the footpath (4:22 mins).

The Influence of Rocks on Water

Potential StillWalk – the other day I took a walk down a footpath I hadn’t been to for a number of years, pre-StillWalks times. Looking with “new” eyes and listening with “new” ears was fascinating.

The sound of water – There can sometimes be a recording issue with the sounds of an environment that includes running water, i.e. a stream or river. The sounds of the flowing water can so easily drown out other sounds of the environment such as birds, and can become wearing if it is permanent.

However, the small Camffrwd River that the footpath follows did not present this problem. The sounds of the river ebbed and flowed in volume with the arrangement of rocks on its bed. The photos below are accompanied by some sound clips recorded on my iPhone, as were the photos.

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Recording 2 stream A short clip of the general sounds of the river.

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Recording 4 birds ftstps stream The birds make their presence obvious as the sound of water is less dominant and the flow sounds change as I walk along the path.

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Recording 5 walking stream This is a longer clip (2:15) which demonstrates very well the changing sound environment as I move along the path and river.

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Recording 6 stream tumbling water

Unique sounds – All the sound clips and photos prove the need, in producing a StillWalk, to carry out the sound recording at the same time as the photography. The sounds on any day, at any time of day, at any time of year, will always be specific to conditions at the time . . . makes me think of the chaos theory and the interconnectedness of things! Chaos by James Gleick is a fascinating and very accessible book on this subject.