How the heatwave changed the mud texture

You know I love the mud in the Avon, especially the silt banks that block the second entrance lock to the Floating Harbour at the Cumberland Basin.  I love the way the light catches on the ridges and textures – but something about the summer heat and maybe the lower river levels seem to have changed the consistency of the mud.  It looks more porridge-y, and like the meanders have flattened down.

I like it just as much, though.  A flickr album of photos from walking home on 19th July, with patches of seaweed on the oddly flattened mud:

Avon mud textures

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Low tide adventures

The heatwave may have dried up the rivers, scorched the grass and given farmers a terrible year, but I have some good memories too.  Back on 3rd July I walked home from work “the long way round”, and went to the very end of the Floating Harbour, where it meets the Avon in the curve of the Entrance Lock walls.  It was low tide, a gorgeous day, and one of the highlights of my summer.

Here’s a flickr photo album of 35mm film shots from my Olympus XA2 (if you mouse/swipe over the first photo below, hopefully you’ll get a slideshow…)

Someone else's footprints

And some words about some of the photos, and a sound:

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My pictures in Photographique

Excuse my terrible phone photo!

Photographique is Phil Searle’s fantastic Bristol print lab: developing photos, printing them from digital and negative, selling frames and doing all kinds of things.   They’ve recently moved into their new North Street premises.  I’ve been using their services, or just dropping in for  a chat, for 10 years, so I was completely delighted when the manager Hamish Trevis, asked me if I’d like to have my photos on their walls this month.

It was a really good process for me.   This Avon Stories project is about a year old, but while it exists in different forms online (including the podcast and social media), and of course all my walks are In Real Life, I haven’t started showing it yet.  In fact, I haven’t had a show, or put photos on walls since my Photography degree finished, nearly 4 years ago.   I’ve really missed the process of editing, and taking this huge pile of stuff I’ve been making, and thinking how I can present it, so my huge thanks to Hamish and to Phil, for giving me this chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re in/near Bristol, please do pop into Photographique, 53 North Street, and check out all their services online – and while you’re there, have a beer in Phil’s fantastic pub, The Hare, next door!   And if you like film photography, you can also enter their Analogue Photography Competition from anywhere in the UK, and win cash prizes.  But if you’re not nearby, I’ve put the photos I’m showing into a flickr album.

As well as putting the photos on the wall, Hamish made me a fantastic little booklet to go with them, so if you can’t get to see the pictures in person, here’s what they are, and why I’m showing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A weird occurance on the Avon

A gas leak on the closed Avon path

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Dreich Holga photos

It’s a dreich, dull April – I laughed, because double-checking the spelling of dreich, the Oxford Dictionary example of how to use it is ‘a cold, dreich early April day’.  I still haven’t replaced my broken film cameras, but on Saturday, I took one of Vik’s Holgas – a plastic-lensed, medium-format, very basic camera, with 160iso film, because we didn’t have any 400.  And I’m really enjoying the results.  First, some shots from Ashton Avenue Bridge, with the outflow from Colliter’s Brook into the Avon, and across the river, Ashton Brook (a historic County boundary).

Avon mud

Where Ashton Brook meets the Avon

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Footprints on the Avon mud, and other Thursday photos

On Thursday Vik and I met in town and walked round the Harbour for the Suffragette talk at the Bristol Archives.  We were early, so went to the very edge of the Harbour to look at the river, one of our regular walks.

Avon silt bank, looking like a deep sea creature

The first thing we enjoyed was this tiny glimpse of one of the silt islands, looking like a whale coming up for air, or a sea monster lurking on the bottom of the river.  And an aside – if you look on the maps on Know Your Place, you can see there have been silt islands here since the 1880s, including this one, which I find fascinating.

Of course we went to look at the mud that banks up in what used to be the Brunel lock, one of my very favourite places.  There are almost always bird footprints here, but I’ve never seen as many as then.  I don’t know if it was a flock on in the middle of migration, or something special had been left on the mud after the spring tide, or it was just that the conditions were extra good for retaining footprints, but it was delightful.

Footprints, Avon mud

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Tuesday: footprints in the Avon mud

It was gorgeous February sunshine on a cold Tuesday, so I headed out to the mud at the very end of the Floating Harbour, my go-to walk.  Since the Chocolate Path is closed, I now take Ashton Avenue Bridge, and stopped to make a little film, taking photos once that was set up.

Avon from Ashton Bridge

There was something about the light on the texture of the mud that made the bird footprints look fantastic, especially the way the tracks would be so clear in one place, but a few steps back the mud was slooooooooowly oozing back to eradicate them.

Avon footprints

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Spring tide, February 2018

Today was the highest tide of the month, one of the highest of the year (11.5m!) and I pulled myself of out bed to get to the very end of the Harbour, by the Entrance Lock, for 9:20 and the high point.   I know that doesn’t sound like much, but on a grey, dreich Saturday in February, it’s a big deal.  Especially with the Chocolate Path closed.  Especially in the rain.  But wow, I’m glad I did!

Clifton Suspension Bridge, spring tide

Cumberland Basin, high tide

River, refelctions

When I got to the river, it was still, that moment of balance that I love, and wish I could find in myself.  It’s always a rush to get as many shots as possible in that time, and I was cursing because I’d once again forgotten the cameras I wanted to bring, spare film etc.   But it was lovely.  I lay on the edge of the Harbour, putting an underwater camera in the river (it’s so much better doing that in summer) and watched the way the misty rainclouds moved through the trees.

I think my favourite part was standing on the Entrance Lock gate, and watching the water move.  By this time the tide had turned, and the water, which had flooded over the top of the lock gate, was rushing back out to re-join the river, bringing clouds of silt.  I only had my phone to take films, but this makes me very happy:

The clouds of silt always look so magical, and I could have watched this for days.  I walked on around the Harbour, and had other adventures too – but those will be in my next podcast…