My walk around Belfast started with the River Lagan but then headed towards the city centre. It was Boxing Day and the streets were relatively quiet. The range of architectural design, colours and patterns may be what you might expect in any city, but this is Belfast, the place where I grew up and still love.
This walk was taken a few years ago and I have not been there since. These photos are therefore important to me and serve my memory very favourably.
The location of this walk and the time of year (a mild winter in Middlesbrough) is the same as the pervious week’s daytime walk, but the sense of it is quite different at night. Once again this is not a StillWalks video, but I hope you can still enjoy listening to the soundscape while viewing the images.
Click the play button below and then the first thumbnail image to view the photos in sequence.
Night Walk Soundscape
If viewing this in an email, to see the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.
The colour in these night lights and their reflections in the water of Hemlington lake is clear, but whatever colour may be in the branch below as it stretches into the night under a desaturating street lamp, is lost almost entirely – I find it quite ghostly.
Many of the birds on Hemlington Lake were roosting during my night time walk around its perimeter. Some however, like this swan, thought there might be some food on offer. Unfortunately for him the best I could do was to take his photograph in the wan light of a distant street lamp.
It was darker than I had expected on this night walk. Being a suburban lake I thought there would be more ambient light from the city. It seems the lake and its surrounding grass and trees provide something of an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the urban landscape – just as intended.
The second image in this short sequence shows the fenced off outlet in the lake that featured in one of last week’s posts – you can just see it in the dark
Such as it is, the colour in the sky on this night walk round Hemlington Lake is a reflection of the urban lights in Middlesbrough. Despite travelling north east for the new year, the weather didn’t improve much for us and so the street lamps had plenty of cloud cover to reflect their yellow-orange glow.
It didn’t actually rain much on me during this walk and I really enjoyed the subdued colours, the silhouettes of trees and the night sounds of coots on the water.
Aha! Those objects I couldn’t clearly identify earlier in the week on our walk across Cardiff Bay barrage, are buffers for ships using the docks.
Although I find these scenes interesting and those buffers fascinating, I wondered what they might be like in black and white. It is perhaps best to say b&w rather than monochrome because I deepened the darker areas, strengthened the contrast, added some grain and left no hint of colour in any spectrum.
Walking from the modern architecture of Cardiff Bay to the bay’s barrage took us past an area of old docks. The backdrops of the buildings in one case and old painted walls in another, both seen behind that determined urban wildflower, buddleia, were the points of interest for me at this stage of our walk.
The walks I have been taking each morning recently, include a range of environments – urban, coniferous forest, deciduous woods and open farm land.
Although I prefer the natural woodland environments on these walks, I also enjoy the faster, more even pace of walking through the (semi) urban area. Even in the woods there is still the background sound of traffic on the motorway – except at one point along the footpath where the sound from the motorway (see last photo) almost completely disappears and there is only the sound of individual vehicles occasionally passing on the road below.
The sounds as well as the plants and animals of these places are many and varied. The field recording I have posted below and in previous posts this week illustrate something of that variety.
There is an intrusion into the sound clip below. I was recording on my Edirol R09 and had forgotten to switch off my phone! So there is another element of the urban environment unintentionally included.
Even without the colours of Spring, Summer or Autumn, trees and architecture or nature in urban areas is a very attractive mixture. It was pretty miserable weather when I took these photos but I still found the blend of man-made and natural pleasing to the eye.