If you look at my site for even a few minutes, you will have realised that I obsess about a lot of things photographically, and especially about the Avon mud. More specifically, about the way the light hits it, and how it continually looks different. It makes me happy, and film cameras make me happy, so combining the two is great, though it makes me feel guilty and self-indulgent to keep shooting the same thing.
It’s especially an issue now, when camera film is so expensive, and getting the pictures developed it as well. It can be around £16 in total for a roll of 35mm, and over £20 for 120 and that just hurts (you know I am missing the days of film in the Pound Shop, and cheap film outlets). So I’m thinking of cutting back on film photography, and predominantly using digital, which is very sad for me… but before I do, I had a completely self-indulgent day shooting nothing but mud on my beautiful waist-viewfinder Bronica ETRS, for medium format “who cares about the cost!” photography. The sad thing is, all that happened when I got the roll back is I want to do it again, and again, and again. Ah well.
Here’s the flickr album – if you click on the first picture below, it should bring up the slideshow. The first four are along the Chocolate Path, which feels even more poignant now the Path is closed indefinitely, with no hint from the Council as to when it might open (I’m genuinely worried they’ll decide to just let it fall into the river, because there has been so little upkeep of the New Cut, going back years). I’m glad that at least I did this while I could.
I’m always trying to find new views of places I walk all the time, to try to find new photos, and it surprises me afterwards – why did I never do that before?
Last week there was a Spring tide, and the grass on all the silt banks was washed flat, so it was the perfect chance to go down onto the bank at the end of the Chocolate Path. I haven’t done this before, because the silt has holes and gaps that make it treacherous to walk on, and the grass hides that.
It’s a strange feeling, like it’s forbidden, or something. You can see people on the path taking a double look, but that’s probably about the careful footsteps, and clambering over the rivulets. The big surprise was how much the sides of the path are eroding, and look bodged together. I wanted to walk as far as the Outflow, but the bank narrows, with the trenches getting deeper, so we turned back.
It’s such a minor “new place”, but I loved it. Definitely want to do that again. More grey-ish photos below the jump…
Continue reading “Exploring the river banks”
Last night I was walking home in the dusk, under beautiful skies, and the tide was so high that the lock gates in the Cumberland Basin were left open, and 11.2 metre tide, per the Bristol Tide Tables, and that’s without any extra rainfall coming in from all the tributaries.
On evenings like this, it’s always hard to choose what to do, as the sun sets so quickly, and the river changes fast. Between here and Vauxhall Bridge, where I left the water, the tide kept coming in, and it was a beautiful night – windy and gorgeous, and all my phone photos look like I’ve put crazy filters on them.
Continue reading “High tide, and experiments”
This week I went for a walk with Nikki Pugh, who makes really fantastic interactive art. We walked very slowly down the Chocolate Path, looking at the clouds of silt under the surface of the river, and the tide changing from coming in to sitting still at the change point, to watching what happens in the hour after the highest tide.
We both took a lot of photos with the theme of “brown”, and you can see Nikki’s flickr photoset here, and mine in this slideshow (click for more):
I also made a couple of small, quiet videos, of how the water was reacting before and after Vauxhall Bridge:
Come back soon to hear the podcast, and make sure you check out Nikki’s website, and follow her on twitter.
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?
During my photography degree, I made a series of films from the bridge on the Chocolate Path, above the sluices from the Underfall, recording the different ways the water reacted according to the weather, tide, and if water was being released from the Floating Harbour into the Avon. I loved standing still in the same place, watching the water, listening to traffic mingling with birdsong, having these meditative moments just being by the river.
I love this spot in any mood – the rush of water being released at low tide; how it can be so slow one day, and so fast the next; the almost volcanic eruptions when the outflow is released below the surface; the way objects move around this little inlet; watching the rain on the water.
Three years ago this week, my final Degree Show included a long piece, where I recorded the water rising, and the debris on the surface making beautiful patterns. So it feels appropriate to start this new project by re-visiting these films – there are a lot more on my Vimeo, and in my flickr album dedicated to the Outflow, and I’m sure I’ll be back to this spot often, and be making more of these.
Continue reading “Outflow films”