This is the final image from this short series and just about my favourite. This may be because of the weaving part of my life (see www. acmd.co.uk) and my enthusiasm for texture and fibre.
The image seems to loose some of its depth and become more a network of fibres on a more two dimensional plain, albeit with heavy texture. I’m not sure that the fact there is snow involved makes any difference either – the “fibres” would still be there without it, perhaps less defined by lower contrast.
I wrote “tangled fibres” originally but changed it to “network of fibres” because I realised that they are not tangled but have structure and direction, all feeding into the centre of the frame. I cannot say, now, if this was coincidental or intentional – I suspect subconsciously intentional with my artist/weaver’s eye searching out the structures and patterns before taking the shot.
Potential StillWalk – the other day I took a walk down a footpath I hadn’t been to for a number of years, pre-StillWalks times. Looking with “new” eyes and listening with “new” ears was fascinating.
The sound of water – There can sometimes be a recording issue with the sounds of an environment that includes running water, i.e. a stream or river. The sounds of the flowing water can so easily drown out other sounds of the environment such as birds, and can become wearing if it is permanent.
However, the small Camffrwd River that the footpath follows did not present this problem. The sounds of the river ebbed and flowed in volume with the arrangement of rocks on its bed. The photos below are accompanied by some sound clips recorded on my iPhone, as were the photos.
Unique sounds – All the sound clips and photos prove the need, in producing a StillWalk, to carry out the sound recording at the same time as the photography. The sounds on any day, at any time of day, at any time of year, will always be specific to conditions at the time . . . makes me think of the chaos theory and the interconnectedness of things! Chaos by James Gleick is a fascinating and very accessible book on this subject.
Walking out along the Loughor Estuary last Sunday morning, the weather was still but overcast and the sound of the M4 motorway was even more evident than usual. I love the marshes on the estuary and the old St Teilo’s churchyard, and I normally find that I suppress the sound of traffic in my head and listen instead to the birds, sheep, cattle and wind along with the sound of my footsteps in the grass or mud and the rustling of the reeds.
These are some of the sounds recorded in the StillWalks I have produced here. I did not do any sound recording on Sunday but I got a few shots of the area and thought about how much the sounds we hear are so unique to the time and place we are in. They are the result of things like the weather conditions before and during our visit as well as the activities of others, like driving along the motorway on a Sunday morning to go shopping or visit family or whatever. Twenty five years ago there was virtually no Sunday morning traffic on the M4 but even now the traffic sound can seem distant if the wind is in the right direction or other environmental aspects such as a high tide, rain or time of year change the conditions.
This is something we’ll be looking at on the Sights and Sounds of the Countryside project which you can find out about here or follow on Facebook.
The StillWalks website is offline at the moment due to malicious hackers but you can see 480p versions of two StillWalks from the Loughor Estuary on Vimeo – After the Tide and the Old Churchyard Walk. They will be available to buy in full HD when the site is back up and running.
Here are some photos of the Loughor Estuary and the marshes. Image prints can be purchase at PhotoBox.
Some people get nervous, uncomfortable, even angry when they see a photographer taking shots in the street or other busy public place. However, as I walked along Mumbles Promenade at the start of the Gower Peninsula the other day, I not only had my camera but also my sound kit with its “dead cat” furry cover on the microphone windshield. It’s the dogs that take exception to this, wondering no doubt, what strange creature it is.
People tend to be more interested and wonder what programme I am making and smile or ask if I am from the BBC. I am not sure that I will be able to get a StillWalk from this impromptu stroll along the promenade but if I need to do a full production day there, I’ll make sure I have the StillWalks logo printed on my T-shirt first.
The interest of dogs in the “Dead Cat” is understandable!
Time to Pause – This is largely what StillWalks is about – taking the time necessary to keep calm and not get too stressed. Whether it be relaxing at the end of the day or taking 5 minutes out in the middle of the working day, StillWalks can be both enjoyable and a useful alternative to actually getting out there for a real walk.
The queue of things to do – There never seems to be enough time to do all that I want or is necessary. So, considering what I have just said about StillWalks, I have decided to make a priority completing the four or five StillWalks that are half way through the post production stage by the end of September. The production days for these walks date back to the middle of March and completing them should be a priority because this is work I enjoy doing and, like taking a real walk or watching a StillWalk, has it’s therapeutic value.
Current explorations – In the meantime I have been enjoying finding a new place to produce a StillWalk – Singleton Park in Swansea and its botanic garden. I joined Martin Humphreys and others last Wednesday for a Bees and Butterflies walk through the botanic garden – it was very enjoyable and relaxing. The walk will take place again next Wednesday at 10 AM – anyone interested should meet at the botanic garden entrance in the park. Enjoy the photos from my phone below.
Two weeks ago I went did a recce walk on Ryer’s Down on the Gower. Starting just along the road from Burry Green, the weather was misty but the sun just about got through at one point – though not quite!
Then, at the beginning of this week, I took some exploratory shots near the mouth of the River Loughor – the light was particularly difficult in the early afternoon because the sun was only half managing to to push through that same mist. This Little Egret is one of many on the Loughor Estuary.
Little Loughor Egret
I went ahead with the planned production day later in the week in the hope that, if I started out in mist, there was a reasonable chance I would finish in some sunshine – fat chance! The StillWalk that will be produced from that day will have to be titled “Misty Gower Walk” I think. It was still a beautiful walk however, and the Skylarks sang for me as well which would lift the heart of the most miserable soul. You can listen to them on SoundCloud and find out about them on the RSPB website.
Looking up Ryer's Down, Gower
And here are a couple of images that describe the different state of weather on the recce walk and the production day.
Looking down from Ryer's Down, Gower on the Recce Walk
Looking down from Ryer's Down, Gower on Producton Day
More photos from the recce walk can be seen on Flickr as well as many more from other explorations.
The Ryer’s Down production day was the first one where I used the full sound recording and photography kit simultaneously throughout the walk but I am going to write a separate post about the more technical aspects of the kit and production. Suffice to say for the moment, that I was very tired by the end of the day.
Finally, remember, anyone interested in the weekly recordings and photos I am getting down on the marshes can find them on SoundCloud and Flickr. Better still, download a StillWalk or two from the website and enjoy virtual walks in many different places at different times of year.