Changing light, Avon mud

I’ve always loved how different the Avon mud looks, depending on the light, and especially how that changes on a day like today, when the clouds move so fast across the sky.  To me, the mud by the disused lock at Cumberland Basin looks like landscapes in miniature, with rivers, ridges of hills, or sand-dunes, and I’m always fascinated at how the changing light makes different parts of it jump out at me.

After a week of intense, bright sunshine, and heatwave conditions, the breezes felt so good, and I’ve been waiting for a day like this to film on, and make something that’s a meditative piece for me.   I should probably go back and film for longer, and make a long piece that I could have as part of a show/installation, but I wanted to see what it was like today.

Avon Stories Podcast #2: The Portishead to Bristol railway

For this Avon Story, I travelled 20 miles outside of Bristol, to find out about the railway line that runs up the Avon Gorge to Pill and the Royal Portbury Dock, and used to continue on to Portishead, on the Bristol Channel.

Dave Chillistone of the Portishead Railway Group told me about how the issues that made the Avon so difficult for shipping in Victorian times resulted in the railway being built, the impact on the town, why it was closed, and why the PRG are campaigning for it to be re-opened.

Dave took me for a walk around the key places we talked about, and you can follow that walk, with photos of where we stopped, on this map – and scroll down for more photos, and lots more information about Portishead, the railway, the PRG and the plans for the railway’s return.

You can download the podcast directly from the Avon Stories Soundcloud, and sign up to the Avon Stories RSS and subscribe on iTunes, to make sure you hear all the future stories.  Make sure you’re also following on twitter and instagram, for regular photos of the river.

Continue reading “Avon Stories Podcast #2: The Portishead to Bristol railway”

River and Harbour films, 18th June

Such a hot day, and of course I’m wishing I could take photos of rain on the surface of the river and the Harbour in the middle of a heatwave…  But I went out to film and see how it all works in the sun.

First, the outflow, slowly letting water from the Harbour into the River.  Here, two waters meet.  50mm lens on my Canon DSLR:

And here’s looking down at the outflow, using Tim’s GoPro Hero Session on a telescopic painting stick:

Here’s my set-up:

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Underwater films – Bristol Harbour, June 2017

I’m a bit obsessed with murky, underwater photography.  I shot a lot of photos with really crappy underwater film cameras during my degree, and I love them, but I never did much with them.  But I’ve always wanted to do more, and I really wanted to do some filming, so I borrowed my friend Tim’s GoPro Session and headed to the Harbour.

Continue reading “Underwater films – Bristol Harbour, June 2017”

Bristol Ferry trip up the Gorge

I’ve lived in Bristol for 17 years, and I’d never been on a Bristol Ferry trip on the Avon… until this week!  It was very, very wet, so I’ve sped up the film so the raindrops on the lens don’t interfere too much, and so you can see my trip in 10 minutes

It was such a lovely thing to do.  The lock from the Harbour to the River seems almost unnoticeable, very smooth.  And then, although I’ve cycled up both sides of the river, and walked the Portway, I’d never been this low.  I couldn’t believe the river is around 8 metres deep on the way back, as it doesn’t seem like it could be.

It was so meditative, especially once the rain drove everyone else inside, standing in this downpour, watching the water.  I never knew herons lived in a colony, in trees, until it was pointed out on the commentary, and there’s something about the mud that I love.  Everything was green and grey, with a bit of green, and I really want to do it again.

You can book your own Gorge trip on the Bristol Ferry Boats website.  It costs £15, and it took around 2 hours and 15 minutes, but that depends on the tides (we were going against the tide going out, and much faster coming back).

Big thanks to Tim who lent me his GoPro Session, which the film is shot with.

 

Avon Stories podcast #1: Know Your Place, with Pete Insole

One of the things I’ll be doing through my Avon Stories project is to interview as many people as I can, about all kinds of different aspects of the River Avon in Bristol, from historians, to experts on different places along the river; to artists making work based on or inspired by it, to people who work on and around the river, whether directly, or just because that’s where they’re based.

And where better to start, than with Pete Insole, who runs the Know Your Place website for Bristol City Council?

Pete is a Historic Environments Officer, and Know Your Place is an incredible repository of information about the city.  It has maps dating back to the early eighteenth century, that you can overlay on top of each other, and on top of present-day maps and aerial photography, to get a feeling of how it has changed, but that’s just the beginning.  You can access layers of paintings, drawings, photographs and information from Bristol’s museums, archives and the Council’s departments, and see exactly where those photos are taken.  Or maybe you want to see where bombs hit the City in World World Two, or hear stories form Bristolians about how different parts of the city have changed.  And finally, on the Community Layer, anyone can add their own photos to the map, whether of the past or the present, enabling people to add their own stories to the City’s records.

Pete told me all about how and why Know Your Place was developed, how it has expanded across the whole of South West England, and how it helps us understand some of the key aspects of the city’s history, including, of course, the River Avon.

Listen here, or download it from Soundcloud, and you can sign up to the Avon Stories RSS and subscribe on iTunes, to make sure you hear all the future stories.

If you want to explore Bristol through Know Your Place, start here.  And if you want to see what else it contains for the wider West of England, the Know Your Place West website is here, with all sorts of excellent tutorials that will help everyone.  There’s also the Know Your Place West twitter to follow for regular information, tips and new updates to the website.

Continue reading “Avon Stories podcast #1: Know Your Place, with Pete Insole”

Soundwalk: Gaol Ferry Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge along the Chocolate Path

Today’s Soundwalk was from Gaol Ferry Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge, along the Chocolate Path, at 6pm on a sunny Thursday afternoon.

Looking down the river to the west, it was all reflections, with the water on the mud shining silver – but looking sideways at the River, the mud and water were both a warm brown, with clouds of sediment just under the water.  Very green trees after the recent rain, and it feels like there have been more rockslides into the New Cut, because of the high tide maybe?