An early morning walk at sunrise isn’t so very early at this time of year and my walk this week along the Loughor Estuary ended up taking more of the day than I expected. It also fuelled my mind and the day ahead.
We have had so much rain lately that a bright sunny morning was most welcome (as it is anytime in Wales). The sun rose over the fields and across the marshes as I walked towards the open estuary where I could enjoy the wide open space with the tide out and the sky reflecting on the still water left by the sea.Continue reading→
A calm, hazy, hot day and the stone buoys that mark the entrance to a small disused harbour reflect in the water and a gull appears in contemplation of its quiet surroundings.
Like the gull, I too sit in contemplation of the scene and objects around me – stopping from time to time on all my walks to look and listen and absorb the sights and sounds, the textures, patterns and colours of the environment and feel the connections I have to all that is there.
Whether the connection is slow and seemingly timeless, as in the wrinkles and folds seen in the surfaces of rocks, or quicker, like the more immediate ripples of the water blown by the breeze, pushed and pulled by the sun and moon along with Earth itself (see Tides), the influence on me of these interconnections is sometimes obvious and noticeable, sometimes utterly imperceptible, but there nonetheless.
Imperceptible or not, I am aware that they exist and enjoy contemplating, or perhaps imagining, the ties that hold me (rather than bind me) to the intricacies of the planet and all that exists and lives upon it.
On this first of three consecutive walks in my local valley of Cwm Dulais, as I returned down one of the lanes towards home, there was what I can only describe as a solar attempt. The sun tried repeatedly to break through the clouds that had blown in gradually as I continued my walk, but alas, was unable to make a lasting impression and it was only by diligent timing and patience that I managed to get this shot.
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.
The bright sunlight on Rhosilli beach seemed to bleach the sand. Originally I darkened these photos as I thought they were over exposed, but although they were made clearer by doing so, they also became less representative of the glare on this part of the beach.
Sunlight has different qualities according to the current atmospheric conditions. I cannot tell you in scientific or meteorological terms what was going on in the atmosphere on this day but I can try to present something of the quality of light that at times was almost blinding
Almost there! No, I’m not talking about the imminent arrival of planes at Cardiff or London or wherever they are going – I’m talking about the sunrise which the passengers will have seen significantly before I did.
Early morning inbound flights can be quite a nuisance when field recording if you happen to be on one of the main flight paths for Wales and southern UK but I guess they are a fact of life these days. On this occasion they were not particularly noticeable and that would be due to some of the other sounds of the morning (traffic) and also the atmospheric conditions – wind direction etc. I never cease to marvel at the difference in the environmental sounds around me which are the result of different conditions from morning to morning.
On a positive note, the sketches on the sky drawn by the airplanes can bring something extra to a composition (disregarding the pollution of course).
Overhead the sun and clouds were yet again proving the changeableness of the Welsh weather. This morning’s skyscape / landscape is another shot taken using the pano mode of my iPhone camera. I use this most often to widen the lens rather than give a long panoramic view which with this app results in bendy beaches and horizon lines.
Under foot the extent of moss growth also proves the level of dampness in this environment – a rotting fallen tree shows just a tiny bit of it.
The sound today comes courtesy of a Mistlethrush I think. I couldn’t get a good enough sight of it to prove its identity but from what I could see, I would say it was a Mistlethrush rather than a Songthrush.
The first image below is not monochrome but you would be forgiven for thinking it is. I admit to taking the saturation down a bit but most of the effect comes from the direction of sunlight (yes, sunlight) and the angle of the camera. There was also quite a weird light in the sky anyway (as can be seen in my first post this week), and this has also contributed to these images.