On my walk this week I didn’t attempt to document my walk up the valley – I went for the walk and nothing else. But then, as so often happens, I got distracted by all the wonderful aspects of there environment around me – in particular the river.
So I took some video showing various elements of the water flow and the changing associated sounds and then continued on my way.
The mossy dead tree below points the way of the river flow (just in case you weren’t sure), but it wasn’t until I climbed up the eastern slope of Cefn Drum that I took one or two more snaps on my phone. These include the curious object I found lying at the track side – does anyone have any idea what it may once have been.
My walk this week is through what is virtually a forest. I mean “virtually” in a few ways:
Only photos and sound are used, so it is not the real thing.
It was once more than it is now, a large section of it (most of the conifers) have been harvested as originally intended.
This is my main reason for using the word virtually – I was doing the walk as a production walk for a StillWalks® VR 360 video.
Recently we have been trying this out and after several trials, this will be the fourth SWVR 360 video. It is not being made public yet as a resource to add to the normal StillWalks® video collection but we have been getting feedback which suggests that while some will find this fully immersive experience very effective, others will prefer the more meditative flat screen 2D StillWalks® videos, finding the VR version to intense even though it is a genuine StillWalks® production with no voiceovers or music. The SWVRs do, however, use video rather than still photography.
If anyone is interested in looking at one of the SWVR videos, this will require a VR headset (there is not a lot of point in it if you are just going to scroll around a 360 video on YouTube). You will at least need a Google Cardboard viewer (quite cheap). You should express your interest in the comments and I will be able to provide a private link to one of the videos (with license restrictions attached) and ask that you feed back any thoughts about your experience.
In the meantime I have included a short soundscape and still photographs from my walk which I hope you will enjoy. Click the play button below and then click the first image to move through a carousel of the gallery.
On my walk this week I had an altered view of my surroundings and the differences can be seen in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th images below.
I had been to the ophthalmologist for an eye check up following laser treatment and, as always, they put drops in my eyes to open the pupils as wide as possible. The result of this is that a lot more light gets in and this can be difficult to cope with. But I had my sunglasses with me so that when I went for a walk in the park afterwards the sunny day was not a problem but I had to rely on my iPhone to set itself correctly for the photos I took.
The photos below are what the camera saw except for numbers two and three. No.2 is an approximation of what I could see through my shades and No.3 is what I would have seen without the shades.
Sight, however, is not needed for sound and so I was able to capture snippets of conversation, the birds and the children, with only a small distortion from the wind which I was able to deal with in post production.
I must say that it was frustrating not to be able to see properly on my walk but that did not stop me focusing on some of the things I find interesting there – the “Whomping willow”, the shrub hugging the balustrade, the textures, if not the colours (which were distorted), and it’s good to see the effects of light and shade in the photos, albeit after the fact so to speak.
My walk this week was a much needed one towards the end of the day – a day on which I had spent all my time on the computer.
It is the sounds enjoyed on this walk that are most important to me but the images and video give a visual context to it as well.
The robin and the blackbird seem to be having a conversation – and the sheep have something to say too.
The walk took me up a familiar footpath where I noticed things I hadn’t really paid attention to previously – such as the arboreal elbow of a tree or the integration of another tree and old build wall. Perhaps I should describe this as a take over of man-made by natural.
And from my elevation with views I descended a steep track to the valley floor and the river I have so often featured here.
Click the play button for the sound file and then the first image to view the images in sequence.
My walk this week is really my walk last week when I ventured down to the misty marshes early one morning before the day warmed up and enjoyed capturing this beautiful place with stills, video and audio.
Any environment differs according to the weather conditions, but this can be perceived in different ways. Visually (and in a tactile way) the misty marshes are exciting to me. Even though the river is moving ever so slowly, the fog in the air is mysterious and the atmosphere is dank or clammy to the touch.
An excess of moisture is literally hanging in the air and this changes our experience of sound as well as vision. The short video clip above shows the this moisture and also transports the sound of traffic on the motorway very efficiently. The result of course is that on this day, at that time, the marshes were noisier than usual – not only with the busy road but also with the birds shouting over it.
In the soundscape below I have been able to focus more on the birds than on the background traffic and we do this with our ears (or rather our brains) as well – filter out or dim down the sounds we do not want to listen to and focus on the those we enjoy most. That, for me, is not only the birds and in this instance includes those wonderful gates as well.
And then there are the stills, an opportunity to capture a moment in time, a snippet of what is seen and felt, both of the broader landscape and also some of its details, textures, patters, nuances.
I hope you can enjoy the different aspects of this little corner of Wales as much as I did on my walk. Click on the first image and look through the carousel on a larger scale while listening to the soundscape.
My walk this week focuses on an unfamiliar view of my local river, the Dulais. I explored up a path beaten through brambles and whin to a rocky promontory above the river as it flows through the valley woodland, swollen by recent rains. Flooding is largely prevented by defences installed higher up the valley some years ago.
I had intended walking much further but was distracted by the small path which I have passed so often and yet not ventured along until now. It was something of a scramble to get to the rocky platform above, but worth it to get this new perspective on a familiar feature.
So my soundscape this week is almost entirely fast river flow and is contained in the video above.
My walk this week shows my local salt marsh in Winter. I know how much we enjoy and benefit from a bright sky and sunshine, but in Winter we have to, we must, try to see the beauty around us in different conditions. SAD is not a condition you want to fall prey to if it can be avoided.
This week I have video, sound and images to hopefully help you enjoy the relative gloom of overcast and wet conditions on my walk across the salt marsh to the old St Teilo’s churchyard and back to the fast thawing pond in the park.
You can only allow the weather to stop you going out for so long – then it becomes imperative that, regardless of rain or snow, you take the exercise and grab as much light as you can – if you are in a position to do so.
The video above obviously includes sound as well as the soundscape below but which one has the better pictures? That’s just a joke really, but it is certainly true that sound conjures up images for us and in the case of StillWalks® videos the soundscapes are the animator of the still images used – see the example on the website home page (Autumn Lakeside Walk). The home page has now been updated to show a short series of seasonal StillWalks videos.
My walk this week is from August 2020 when I was taking part in a Sound Memories project called Walk 19. I and three other sound recordists were invited to record the sounds of places described by elders in care homes to Cheryl Beer, project Lead Artist funded by The Arts Council of Wales National Lottery Good Causes and Founder and Director of Sound Memories Dementia Friendly Radio Station.
One of the places I visited was Burry Port on the Burry Inlet in Carmarthenshire. Some of the photos I took are below and the project soundscape that Cheryl produced from my audio clips can be found on the Walk 19 page of her website (see link above) along with all the others she made for the care homes she was working with.