Not Such an Ugly Town

from Suburban Lakeside Walk - Middlesbrough

from Suburban Lakeside Walk - Middlesbrough

Suburban Lakeside Walk – Yesterday I uploaded a new StillWalk to Winter Walks. It is from Middlesbrough, one of those places that only ever get bad press and gets into those Ugly Towns books and programmes every time. The result is an undeserved bad and sad reputation.

There are, however, many aspects to Middlesbrough that defy this reputation. The StillWalk produced here, is, as described in the title, a suburban walk, but I have plans to go back and produce at least one more of the town itself. The images below will help to explain why.

Middlesbrough and Claes Oldenburg's "Notes"

Middlesbrough and Claes Oldenburg's "Notes"

Middlesbrough Town Hall

Middlesbrough Town Hall from MIMA

MIMA - Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

MIMA - Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

MIMA

Inside MIMA

MIMA – Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art is one of the places I visited over the New Year. There was a great exhibition of South American Drawing and, in particular, I liked Brigida Baltar’s work. I am definitely going to go and see the Sean Scully show when I am next there.

Brigida Baltar

Brigida Baltar's work in the South American Drawing exhibition

Full Screen Samples – The StillWalks on the website are sample length only, but remember always to watch these in full screen mode. If you would like to see more, you can buy it for just £1.99 or, if you haven’t already signed up to the website, do it now and get the StillWalk FREE.

Here is one more image from the Suburban Lakeside Walk – the location of which is here.

Hemlington Swan

Hemlington Swan

Production Day – Ryer’s Down

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!

Gower Mist

Gower Mist

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

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.

Ryer's Down, Gower

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.

Recce Walk

Looking down from Ryer's Down, Gower on the Recce Walk

Production Day

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.

Before and After

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I have to report a change to one of my favourite locations, namely the old St Teilo’s Churchyard.

St Teilo's Churchyard

St Teilo's Churchyard - Before

St Teilo's Churchyard - After

St Teilo's Churchyard - After

Something is missing!

St Teilo's Churchyard - Previously

St Teilo's Churchyard - Previously

It won’t look like this in the Summer anymore! I am very glad my StillWalk of the churchyard features it in this happier state rather than the current state. These large, well established trees were cut down in order to renovate a wall. :-/

Favourite Locations

Penllergaer Woods

Penllergaer Woods in Autumn

The locations of the StillWalks I produce are many and varied – from woodland to coast, townscape to park, I enjoy them all. Pre-production recce walks can sometimes be the most interesting as that is the time of initial discovery if the place is new to me. Production days, however, are the time to look and listen really closely.

Some of the places I have enjoyed most are: Penllergaer Woods, samples of which can be seen in – the Autumn Walks, Woodland Walk 1 and Woodland Walk 2 in Winter Walks. Also the old St Teilo’s Churchyard down on the marshes near where I live can be seen in the Old Churchyard Walk from Summer Walks and Carrick Shore in SW Scotland – Coastal Walk Evening in Spring Walks. One more is on the Swansea cycle route – Abertawe Walk from the Autumn Walks.

Pennlergaer Woods in Winter

Pennlergaer Woods in Winter

M4 Traffic – Pennlergaer and the old churchyard, are both close to the M4 motorway, which is busy at all times. In Penllergaer I find the gradual absorption of the sound of traffic, by the trees and their foliage, as you go deeper into the woods, very attractive. Perhaps it is the contrast of the two adjacent environments that creates a better sense of release from one and welcoming of the other.

On the other hand, I love the walk down to and around the old St Teilo’s Churchyard and you cannot get away from the M4 traffic in this place. I find I “filter out” a lot of the sound from the road and just listen to the birds that can easily pierce the sound of the cars and trucks.  The sound recorder does not ignore the traffic of course, but, as I do it subconsciously on location, I feel justified in filtering out some (but not all) of the background road sounds when editing.

StillWalks Works for Me – I tend to use them when I need to take a few minutes out of the working day, relax and focus my mind on something other than work. I also use them at times of stress – this is often when waiting for an approaching event such as a meeting. I use them occasionally at the end of the day too, when I need to wind down before going to sleep.

On the Move – If I am on the move and, therefore, watching a StillWalk on my iPhone, the screen may be small but with headphones plugged in and the video filling the screen, I find I easily “move” into the space of the StillWalk. At all times of viewing on a computer screen, I would always watch the StillWalk in full screen mode and I try to prompt others to do this. Not only do you see more, but full screen view also prevents many other distractions and helps promote your relaxation and enjoyment of the StillWalk.

Still Watching . . . I may have to add one of the latest StillWalks to my favourites list – Moss Wood Walk in the Autumn Walks. This is from Gnoll Park in Neath, South Wales and I have just watched full screen in full HD . . .

Week 6 – Marshwood Birds – Anyone interested in following my weekly recording and photos from this project can find the recordings on SoundCloud and the images on Flickr.

On the Move

On the Move, Swansea to York

Sunny Sunday and Week 5 Marsh Wood Birds

At last – sunshine in amongst all the drizzle and mist in South Wales. It’s a couple of days ago now and, of course, we were straight back to the drizzle on Monday but the memory remains.

Saturday was at least dry and allowed me to get out to record week 5 of the birds down at the marsh woods. Listen to the clip below. This is a 2 minute clip but I could have sat and listened through the cans for a lot more than the 7 minutes of the full clip. Remember, if you’re reading this in an email, you’ll have to click the title above or the http link at the bottom to see the full blog entry with sound clips . . . or you could click the comment button.

And then in the woods the birds were arguing over territory again – or was it food? The two things guaranteed to make birds or humans argue. Listen below.

Marshes

Marshes

Robin

This Robin's keeping an eye on me

Old Railway Track

Old railway track through the woods

Sunday AM

At last, a bright day. At least for today there would be no SAD. I took a walk down to the old St Teilo’s Churchyard and had to take my coat off in the warmth – I love this place and have done a StillWalks there, a Summer sample of which you can see here – Old Churchyard Walk. Here are a few pics from Sunday AM.

Marsh Grasses

Marsh Grasses

St Teilo's Churchyard

St Teilo's Churchyard

St Teilo's Churchyard

St Teilo's Churchyard

River loughor

River Loughor - Down on the Marshes

Sunday PM

With the sun still shining, a trip to Cardiff was called for to take Ellen back to Uni – she had come down to Swansea to go and see the National Dance Company of Wales (NDCWales) at the Taliesin Arts Centre with us. They were awesome 🙂 Anyway, not wanting to waste the sunshine, we had a walk in Roath Park and got a cuppa in the cafe there. We were reminded what a popular place it is . . . with birds and people alike. Whoops! How did I manage to miss both people and birds off these shots – I wouldn’t have thought it possible lol. The sound clips at the bottom prove they were there though.

Roath Park

Roath Park

Roath Park Crocuses

Roath Park Crocuses

Roath Park

Roath Park

Remember, if you’re reading this in an email, you’ll have to click the title above or the http link below to see the full blog entry with sound clips . . . or you could click the comment button.

Almost There

Just about ready to go with the new website – hope people visit it, like it, use it, follow it. Last few tweaks to do and then further developments will take place over the next year . . . watch this space 🙂

Impromptu StillWalk

This short walk was made in to parts on the spur of the moment with my old iPhone 3!

StillWalks – iPhone Walk 1

StillWalks – iPhone Walk 2

The blurred movement in the images reflects something of the feeling I had whilst out on an evening walk and finding myself in need of something to eat due to a low blood sugar level. As a diabetic of many years, I am familiar with the symptoms and using my phone in this way this seemed like a good idea to show something of the effect a low blood sugar can have –  a bit like being drunk and having the munchies at the same time. Symptoms can vary quite a lot for individual diabetics and I am lucky always to have been able to recognize the onset of a “hypo” (hypoglaecemic reation).

Churchyard re-visit

I was down the old churchyard on the marshes again the other night (see the Old Churchyard Walk) and took these pics on my phone. Watch out on this blog for the impromptu StillWalk from the same evening also using photos taken on my (old) iPhone.

If you like the mossy pics, why not join the Moss Appreciation Society on Facebook

StillWalks – the other side

Welcome to the StillWalks Blog,

This is where I want to show a different aspect of the walks I take to produce the StillWalks videos. Each walk starts with a recce during which I explore possible routes and look out for features of particular interest.

I had been taking snap shots on my phone to begin with but I am now starting to do some sketching as well. Below are a few examples of the kind of thing I hope to include in the future.