River Art and Sculpture

Walking up the footpath alongside the Lagan in Belfast, the river again attempts to produce its own art in the form of sculpture in the water. The working material may be an old trolley but with the reflection on the water’s surface, I couldn’t help thinking of it as a piece of art in keeping with the “bottle top” or the “graffiti” to be seen by the river bank.

River sculpture

Riverside sculpture

Riverside art


Blown in the Wind

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.

Trees in Mist

Windblown Tree in Mist

Tangled Wood

Sculpted by the Wind

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.

windblown hawthorn

windblown hawthorn

Whin at Three Cliffs Bay

The Wallace Garden

Within the Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) where we were walking in September, there are a number of other gardens. My photos today are from the Wallace Garden and although they do not show the double helix arrangement of the paths, as this was not as easy to see as it is sometimes due to the content of the beds, it seemed less important to try and capture it.

It seems there is something different in the garden every time we visit and what you see below is some of what was there on this occasion in September – it will be different now and then again in Spring.

Wallace Garden exit/entrance

Wallace Garden exit/entrance

Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace

Dilys Jackson sculpture

Sculpture in the Wallace Garden by Dilys Jackson

plant in the Wallace garden

flowers in Wallace Garden

Woodland Discoveries

You may expect to find some King Alfred’s Cakes in a woodland that includes Ash trees.

The Coeden Fach woodland area of Bishops Wood, near Swansea had these and other less expected things. We found (were shown) the King Alfred’s Cakes, otherwise known as Cramp Balls, on the fallen branch of an Ash tree. Knowing what to look for after that, we found several more.

Less expected was the beautiful but sad discovery of the grave of Alanna Mary who died just a few days after birth. Near the grave was a sculpture in the form of a wooden dog which clearly took the interest of one of our canine companions.

King Alfred's Cakes

Woodland Shrine

Two Dogs

This week’s featured StillWalks video is from the south west of Scotland. This medium resolution full length version will be here all week and will then revert to the sample.

The video above is in 480p quality. You can use the Donate button below to pay however much you want and receive a high quality (720HD) download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Coastal Walk – Spring” which features part of the Galloway coastline in Scotland. Click the image above to watch the video. DVD Collections are also available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Sand, Sea and Wind

On a windy day in Swansea Bay, watching the movements of the top layer of dry sand getting blown across the seaweed and other debris on the beach is as entertaining as watching the sea itself.

The action of waves in the sea can be mesmerising, but so too can the patterns created by the wind on dry sand as it catches the various objects and undulations of the beach. The sculptures created can be fascinating but watching them be created is even more so.

The camera does not see in the same way as the eye but in these images I think there is some advantage to the relatively narrow depth of field. The areas of blur seem to me to emphasise the atmosphere and effect of the conditions at the time. The textures that show through in the areas of sharpness combined with soft foreground / background, feel much more like it physically was than if everything was clean and crisp and static.

I hope the second sound clip from this photo shoot helps to “put you in the picture”. Even my home made wind shield could not handle the strength of the wind on the beach, but I decided that the distortion and break up of the sound was all a part of the character of the scene.

High Winds in Swansea Bay

High Winds in Swansea Bay

High Winds in Swansea Bay

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Sand and Wind – Public Art In Swansea Bay

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You could call these “sand sculptures”. That is surely what the wind on Swansea beach has been doing this week.

Nervous about the hazardous mixture of sand and cameras, the wind that blew those land surfers around on the beach the other day (see previous posts this week), didn’t stop me taking the risk and getting some low level shots of the public art work it was creating.

It is not in the same style as the work featured in yesterday’s post but over the years the wind and sand have blasted and changed those public art works in Swansea Maritime Quarter.

Swansea Sand

Swansea Sand

Swansea Sand

Swansea Sand



Watching Over the Winds

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The statue atop the Marina Towers Observatory on Swansea Seafront looks out over  Swansea Bay and was no doubt keeping an eye on those land wind surfers I posted about  yesterday.

The statue was made by Swansea artists Rob Conybear and Uta Molling and has the title “Ecliptica”. You can see many more examples of public art in Swansea here. The architect Robin Campbell was responsible for much of the architectural art work in Swansea’s Maritime Quarter where we used to have a studio – it was a great place to work!

Watching Over the Bay