High tide, and experiments

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.

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Rain from underwater

I’ve been on a bit of a mission to take film and photographs of rain from under the surface of the Floating Harbour, and like all good photographic missions, it hasn’t gone exactly to plan.

This is always the way.  My best/worst example was when I was doing a 6 week book arts module on my photography degree, starting at the very end of March, and my plan was to make a book called April Showers, with a page for every day of the month, with photos for the days I was rained on, and blank pages for the days it was dry… and it was this hilarious heatwave with no rain for the entire month!

That’s generally what happens when I have a specific mission in mind, and ever since I’ve borrowed Tim’s GoPro, with a great set of plans for putting it in puddles, the Harbour, rivers etc etc, I’ve been scuppered because when I’ve been out it’s been dry, unless I’m nowhere near water, or the battery’s dead etc etc.

But it’s rained a little bit recently, so I have 2 mini films.  The first is from art-walking with Shawn Sobers last week, the GoPro lodged in a crack in the Nova Scotia slipway and the second from today, with the camera attached to a telescopic painting-roller pole, via Tim’s handlebar mount, while sat underneath the slope to the closed jetty opposite the SS Great Britain.

In the first, it stopped raining almost as soon as I got there – in the second I ran out of battery almost straight away, and again, the rain stopped pretty quickly.  I was experimenting with having the camera at different depths, which is why the point of view moves.

So I haven’t got the film of my dreams yet, but it was fun sitting on the edge of the Harbour and on jetties with Vik, wondering if it was going to rain or not, it’s always going to be fun trying to get some more.

 

Happy accidents

I’ve been borrowing my friend Tim’s GoPro Hero3, and even though I’ve used one before, I’m just making ridiculous mistakes every time I take it out.  Pretty much everything that comes off it is me looking multi-chinned, frowning down at the camera.

But this accident was a happy one.  I borrowed the camera hoping to take lots of film of heavy rain in puddles, in the Harbour, on the river… but of course it’s been a heatwave!  Yesterday it did rain for a little bit, and before the battery died, I shot a tiny film, 27 seconds of usable, I think – but accidentally slo-mo, which I love!  Enjoy some raindrops on the surface of the Harbour, slowed right down.  Some mistakes make me happy!

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.

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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.