Camera, landscape, Nature, Photography

The Severn Way

Shrewsbury is a small town, and you’re never too far from the countryside, but I didn’t realise just  how close. Follow a narrow track from the town’s large Frankwell car park, past the cricket ground, and you are in fields, and following the Severn Way.

Your path leads you through meadows along the river Severn, past black cows blithely chewing, through gates, past allotments,  along the ends of gardens, up stone steps that seemingly go the wrong way, past the back of the garden where Charles Darwin grew up,  through green tunnels barely wider than your shoulders, along the snaking and winding river, all with the faint rumble of traffic only 2 or 3 fields away.

The path peters out after a few miles, and it’s possible to return to your start point in a fraction of the time, as the road goes in a more-or-less straight line. Or, do as I did and retrace your steps. Things look different going the other direction, anyway.

 

All photos taken with Lomo LC-A

Camera, Nature, Photography, Shropshire, Stone

Stiperstones Film (Finally)

I finally finished the films I shot up the Stiperstones just before Christmas, and just got the developed negatives back. It didn’t take too long to scan them in, as there are only 8 shots per roll when you shoot with 120 film.

The 1st roll was the slowest film I’ve ever shot with – Ilford PanF 50 – and I think that’s why the roll didn’t come out so well – the shutter speed was so slow that the slight wobble of me trying to hold it steady in a strong (and freezing cold) wind created the slight blur, and lost me a lot of detail, and so I only got  a few usable photos.  I’m annoyed, because the most blurry photo (which I’ve included below) would have made the best shot otherwise. Grrr. Next time with this film I’m using a tripod.

Luckily, the 2nd film came out mostly ok. There are a couple of shots I took around town just to finish off the film, I’ll post them separately, in case I confuse anyone and give them the impression there is a river up there on the top of the Shropshire hills.

 

In case this sort of thing interests you, the camera was a 1946 Voigtlander Bessa and the films I used were Ilford PanF 50 and Fomapan 100.

landscape, Nature, Photography, Shropshire, Stone, Voigtlander

Stiperstones

On the weekend before Christmas, I went with friends for a walk up the Stiperstones, a hill in south Shropshire.  The summit ridge runs for 8km, and features several jagged quartzite rock outcrops, which make for dramatic photographs (I hope).

It was a bright, sunny day, but once we got onto the hills it was surprisingly cold*. It always seems bleak up Stiperstones, for some reason.  It’s 20 years since I last went there, and it was bleak then, too.  I was juggling 2 cameras with increasingly numb fingers**, not easy when one is a 1946 VoigtlanderBessa , with some fiddly adjustments necessary just to get the device to open.

One of the rocky outcrops is known as the Devil’s Chair, one of several bits of folklore attached to the area. Apparently the Devil dropped a load of rocks he was carrying in his apron (!) and just left them there, although he does use the rocks as a chair to address evil spirits, witches and the like on the longest night of the year.

In another story, the ghost of Wild Edric rides the hills whenever England is threatened with invasion.  He was last spotted in 1853 before the Crimean war, although I don’t think we were threatened with invasion at that time.  Wild Edric is also said to haunt the Stretton Hills as an enormous black dog with fiery eyes. Of course he does.

*It was late December, that should have given me a clue. At least it didn’tr rain.

**I was in a rush and forgot my gloves. That’s not happening again.

Camera, landscape, Nature, Photography

Ynyslas Day Trip

I had a day trip to the beach this week, postponed so many times because of bad weather forecasts for my day off. I had the whole of this week off, so I could choose the day.

The plan was this: catch the train to Borth, then walk a couple of miles up the coast to Ynyslas*. Once there I would record the sounds of the surf on my Tascam, and then sit in the dunes and strum my travel acoustic guitar.

I got there early to avoid the crowds (although the kids went back to school that week, so it was fairly quiet anyway), so I got the 7.30 train.

It all went to plan, except for the bit where I dropped the battery cover from the digital recorder into the rocks, lost forever. Plus I dropped my phone at one point – luckily not into water – and did’t realise for 5 minutes. The ten minutes spent retracing my steps was a bit stressful.

The recordings came out well. My guitar improvisations – with lovely surf roar backing – sound much better than I expected, and I’ve already started work on them. Watch this space, as they say.

*Inn-iss-lass

Ableton, landscape, Nature

Lawrence English: Field Recordings

We’re big fans of field recording here at Haven Avenue HQ*, in fact it is all over the new album (which is almost ready, 6 months behind schedule).

I found this rather interesting piece at Ableton.com, about the artist, curator and activist Lawrence English, who constructs mesmerising works of sound art from his own location recordings, often recorded in exotic places such as Antarctica and Patagonia.**

The blog post is well worth a read, getting into the philosophy of fields recordings (which I hadn’t ever thought about) and even gives some helpful tips for your own field recording trips.

It also has download link for some of his recordings.

“…the horizon of listening is not fixed in a linear fashion like that of the horizon of vision. It is dynamic and always in flux, it is promiscuous and not governed by the same conditions as the spectrum of light.”

I recommend these tracks, strap your headphones on and give them a listen.

 

 

The full piece can be found here

 

*Which is entirely imaginary

**Patagonia is less exotic if you live there, I imagine