Cathedral in Bronze

Reaching the end (or the entrance) of Church Street on my walk this week around Hereford city centre, I took another of many looks at the cathedral. In front of the building is a paved area with a brick mosaic design set into it. While this is interesting, I was much more intrigued by the unusual bronze model of Hereford set on a plinth near the cathedral gates.

Taking a closer look at some of the architectural details of the cathedral could take a long time (which I didn’t have) as the building is so intricate in its embellishments.I wasn’t just taken with the designs created by the stone masons, but also with the patterns and textures of the stones themselves. Presumably these have been produced when cutting the blocks for building.

I’ll be able to take another look at the interior of the cathedral next week, not for the purpose of posting on this blog but for my younger daughter’s graduation from Hereford College of Art – well done Hannah – you can see her work at hannahduncancreations.com.

Hereford in Bronze

Hereford in Bronze

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My Walk this Week – City Centre Walk

Sticking with the urban environment, my walk this week describes aspects of a different city centre to last week. This is Hereford City centre and as Hereford has a cathedral, it can legitimately be described as a city. Strange but true (sort of), though I certainly don’t have a problem with Swansea being called a city even if it does not have a cathedral. Actually that is a little simplistic so here is a Wiki article that will explain in more detail.

All photography for this week’s walk was done on my iPhone.

Hereford City Centre

Hereford City Centre

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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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Reflections, Angles and Timing

The photo below does not show the “Elysi m Galley”. It shows the building which houses artists’ studios which are part of the Elysium Gallery with the gallery itself being down the street and round the corner (so to speak). If I had chosen a different angle I might have been able to capture the whole name.

I found an angle In the photo sequence below to capture a reflected conversation in the street but the timing of my walk this week proved a bit rubbish – it was rubbish collection day and inevitably the gulls had taken advantage and managed to spill some of it across the pavement.

Elysium Gallery

I like the mixture of signage and reflection on the doorway shot and although I cannot remember what the shop is open for, looking at the details I can see that they are advertising English lessons. And thinking of languages, the trees lining the street in the last image, and their bark, remind me of France and the profusion of plane trees they have lining so many of their streets.

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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

Crossing to the Other Side

Crossing to the other side of the street on my walk this week revealed more natural life than it occurred to me I might find. This is a busy city centre street (or close to it) and the predominant features tend to be of man-made materials – concrete and metal, tarmac and bricks.

As I reached the point where the street I was on changes its name, I crossed to the other side and as I waited at the pedestrian crossing I noted some of the patterns around me and also the plants and flowers lining sections of the street.  The perspective of trees lining the extension of this street is a deliberate plan, but the plants and flowers (some would say weeds) in the forecourts (if they can be called that) of the buildings on this section of the street are there because that is what nature will do if you let it.

The owners of these buildings and businesses are clearly not concerned about this aspect of their working lives and from my point of view the growth of the wild flowers and grasses are a lot more attractive than concrete, but each to their own. At least the vegetation allows some natural drainage.

Street-side plants

Street-side plants

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My Walk this Week – Street Recce

My walk this week is along a short street near the centre of town. It could be any street with mostly businesses lining each side in what were once houses. There is plenty of traffic but as I have claimed with StillWalks, there is as much to listen to and hear in an urban setting as there is in a rural one.

The sounds may be different, and it could be argued less attractive, but focusing my attention on different aspects of the soundscape allowed me to hear and see things that I would often pass over unnoticed – colours, patterns, textures to be both seen and heard.

So my walk this week is an exploration of an everyday urban location with the intention of familiarising my self to some of the visual and aural details in preparation for a full StillWalks production walk in the future.

Street Walk-1

The sound clip below is a bit longer than those I normally post through the week but on this occasion it seemed appropriate. There are many layers of of activities, starting  with the sound of me closing the car boot and progressing from the car park onto the street. The sound of a drill as I round a corner is also associated with a smell for me – as I returned to the carpark later on, passing this same spot the pungent smell of sealant was powerful and made me pass by quickly.

Street Walk – Clip 1

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No Fishing

This sign and its distorted reflection may say “No Fishing”, but the next photo below shows that there are fishing boats just round the corner from this entry point to the inner marina at Swansea.

no fishing

The other vessels in Swansea’s Maritime Quarter range from small to large sailing and motor boats of all types. The modern catamaran and the older style of sailing vessel below suggest something of this range – and all of the owners rely on the security the marina offers to keep them safe. However, I was a little taken aback when I saw the razor wire!

Lapping Water

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