Carmarthen – Reviewing the Walk

Walking amongst the market stalls on my way back to the car park on my walk this week around Carmarthen town in South West Wales, the stall I found most interesting was the one displaying hats. I just missed catching a shot of a lady looking at her reflection in the mirror but like the shot anyway – the mannequin heads with their wooly hats looked really weird somehow, especially stuck on “spikes” along a metal bar almost as if they were trophies.

sign post

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Town Texture, Carmarthen

The columns in front of the family courts building in the centre of Carmarthen where I have been walking this week, have texture and colour I particularly like. It looks to me as though the texture may not be from the stone that is used but from a surface addition of some sort. It doesn’t really matter to me, I just like it and took several photos. I selected two to post here and debated with myself whether or not to leave the blue of the shop behind the columns in the frame. I found that keeping it in helps both the perspective overall and also the focus on the texture and pattern of the second column.

Carmarthen columns

Monochrome Madness – A monochrome version of this image can be seen on Leanne Cole’s Photography blog post MM 3-40

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Carmarthen Castle

My walk this week around Carmarthen took in the part of the castle. There is a lot more to the castle than I am showing here but you will not find these photos on Castles of Wales website. The images on the Castles of Wales site are clearly less recent than my own and do not show that there is now a metal spiral staircase rising to the room above the castle gate where this window is situated along with a flag pole which made a very noticeable sound in the wind.

Carmarthen Castle

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My Walk this Week – Carmarthen Town

My walk this week features part of Carmarthen, a market town in West Wales. It is an attractive town with a reasonable connection to the arts through galleries and the College of Art (University of Wales Trinity Saint David – now there’s a mouthful!). There is a lot more to the town than I will be showing on this walk and I have posted in the past about walks along the river Towy on a couple of occasions, but the town is not large and has quite an intimate feel about it with various nooks and crannies to be found along the way.

King Street, Carmarthen

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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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Sounds Down the Street

Having crossed the road on my walk this week I continued walking down the street and found myself enjoying the various sights and sounds much more than I would normally in an urban environment. This was because I was looking and listening to everything around me – I was focused on what could be seen and heard and not thinking about what had to be done that day or a forthcoming meeting, none of the things that are usually going through my head on a working day.

In the midst of a busy working day and what can seem like cacophonous activities or surroundings, we can take a rest just by changing our focus and paying attention to the intricacies of our local environment, outside or inside, urban or rural.

Walking down the street

The urban aural environment is obviously different to the rural – this is confirmed visually for me when I look at the spectral display for a sound clip like the one below. I am used to seeing the patterns of bird song in a sound clip and depending on the bird, these sounds show up at a range of different frequencies – the cries of the gulls in this clip are at a relatively low frequency. The highlights shown scattered across this spectral display create a quite different pattern and seemingly quite random – they are  the squeaks and squeals of vehicle brakes. Some of these, the highest pitched, are out of my hearing range these days, but it’s good to be able to see that they are there.

Walking Down the Street

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Sound clip spectral display

Sound clip spectral display – click to enlarge