Windblown and Wondering

My recent walks at Kidwelly in Carmarthenshire revealed to me a number of aspects of the local environment. The old canal, mudflats and birds of the Towe Estuary were among the first of my discoveries, but there were other elements of this area that contributed to the atmosphere of the place just as much as those more obvious features.

These trees had a particularly dry looking bark and colour to them along with their windblown direction of growth. These as well as the brambles and dry reeds through which the footpath led me, all contributed to my perception of the environment – one that suggested a much dryer place than could be the case.

I wonder about that apparent contradiction? Even the dampness in the cold air could not defeat the sense of a lack of water that I felt from the colours and textures around me.

For all the lack of colour in this image of the trees, there is a monochrome version of it featured on Monochrome Madness 47 at Leanne Coles Photography blog.

wild trees

brambles and reeds

Reviewing the Week

Whether or not you have been looking at the StillWalks blog over the last week, here is a chance to look through the sequence of images that I have posted on the subject (mostly) of the wild, wet and windy weather that can be experienced at this time of year on the Mawr uplands near Swansea in South Wales.

 

Wind and Mist

The blades disappeared into the cloud and it was difficult to see even the nearest of these wind turbines through the wind and rain. Whatever you think of wind turbines, you would have had difficulty seeing the Bettws Wind Farm on top the Mawr in weather conditions like this.

Bettws Wind Farm

 

Bettws Wind Farm

Seeing Through the Rainy Season

If last week’s photo series was about changeable weather, this week’s is about the apparent permanence of moisture during one of the rainy seasons in Wales – there is certainly more than one!

I was recently up on the hills of the Mawr ward near Swansea to assess the conditions for a scheduled project production day . . . what a joke. I couldn’t believe the weather on my journey up there but thought “the weather is so changeable these days, you never know, it might clear“. Ha! Wishful thinking indeed.

Having said that, I had my waterproofs with me and decided it would be good to try and capture something of the atmosphere of the place in these wild conditions. So here is a short accurately descriptive sound clip to accompany the first two images of the week.

Mist and rain on Mawr

Mist and Rain on Mawr

Starting at the Source

Looking for the source of the River Lliw on the Mawr upland area of Swansea, we started our search near another source. This is a beautiful area of  South Wales where there are a few quiet, still days in the year but mostly it is windy.

Mawr Upland

wind turbine

Retreating from the Hurricane

Yesterday we felt the last remaining vestiges of Hurricane Bertha in the form of a brief sandblasting on the Millennium Park footpath on the seafront at Llanelli.

We were not long out of the car before we changed our minds about a place to go for a walk and headed for the woodland walk up to the reservoir in Swiss Valley instead.

The sand being blown off the beach felt like needles on the skin and although it wasn’t raining at the time, the locals clearly knew not to venture on the seafront when the wind is up as the place was empty of people. Swiss Valley on the other hand was relatively busy!

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After the Flood – A New StillWalks Video

This winter in the UK brought wind and rain.

Again and again and again! We may now be coming out of that wild and windy season but many people are still suffering from the effects of all that water or fallen trees. I am sorry for those people but also glad we were not included amongst them.

StillWalks featured videos are back again this week with “City River Walk – After the Flood”. The city is York, the river is the Ouse and the time is April 2012. The Ouse regularly floods as a result of rain falling higher up the course of the river. I assume that the residents and businesses situated alongside it the river bank are suitably prepared for these events and have systems in place to deal with it.

However, it is when the unexpected occurs that tried and tested systems are put to the test and this Winter they were certainly tried and tested everywhere in the UK. Some systems were satisfactory . . . others were not!

This new StillWalks video will be here to view all week and will then be changed to sample length. I hope you enjoy it and comments are welcome.

You can use the Donate button below to help pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “City River Walk – After the Flood” which features York and the River Ouse. Click the image above to watch the video. DVD Collections are also available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Identifying the Season

What identifies Winter for you? Answers in the comments please 😉

In Britain (SW Wales) we don’t expect to get winters like Canada or Norway or wherever. However, although I don’t expect snow, I do expect it to get a little bit cold from time to time through the season. This Winter has only brought wild winds, high tides and seemingly interminable rain!

No frost . . . No,  I tell a lie, there has been a hint of frost on two occasions where I live, but that is it. If I am able to get any StillWalks production done this Winter, it will have to reflect the wet weather we are getting. But wet weather is the most difficult in which to do photography and field recording. Not impossible, just very uncomfortable and a problem for the safety of the kit.

This weeks featured StillWalks video is from another kind of Winter. Not snowy, but there is a little frost and ice which can be heard underfoot as well as seen.

You can use the Donate button below to pay however much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Woodland Walk – Winter” which features Penllergaer Valley Woods near Swansea. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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A Comparison of Stones and Shells in Time

A couple of weeks ago I posted photos from a similar position to the image you see below – Keeping Things in Perspective

Now, following the crazy weather and high tides that we have had in the south and west of the UK (to say nothing of the rest of the country), the landscape has been changed. The coast has seen massive stacks and arches disappear. Here in Swansea, the scene on the beach perhaps bears no comparison to those fallen stacks, but it is still notably different to that which I photographed a fortnight ago.

Hundreds of tons of stones now sit at the bottom of these steps where before there was a water filled trench. The solitary shell I photographed in the sand two weeks ago now has hundreds of companions.

Swansea Bay Stones

Swansea Bay ShellsSorry to those who expect it but there is no featured StillWalks video this week. It will be back next week.