An Avon meditation film

It’s the Bristol Balloon Fiesta this weekend, and they’re notorious for not saying whether the mass launches will happen or not – so I set the alarm for 5:30am (ugh) yesterday to try to see the 6am ascent, but fell asleep before they confirmed it would happen.  Then the evenings have been too windy for the launches, so I made myself get up for the 6am launch today.

I’ve been dreaming about getting a film of something we experienced a few years ago – a stream of balloons floating along the Avon.  I’ve seen the mass ascent from the Fiesta once, and it’s fine, but I really want that river-of-balloons echoing the river, and to record the roaring of the burners.

I was so pleased with myself for being up early, in the beautiful morning light, and watching the balloons from Vauxhall Bridge felt great, I was convinced it was going to happen… until we realised the wind was taking them east, away from us.

I had that really crappy FOMO feeling (Fear Of Missing Out), and I feel for Vik and Matt, as I was also having low blood sugar and literally didn’t know which way to turn – chase the balloons?  Find a different spot?  Try to find breakfast?  Luckily Lockside was open early and I recovered my equilibrium – and then on the way home, there were these gentle-looking streams from the Outflow into the river, with clouds of silt.  The incoming tide was a fast one, but the force of the outflow was pushing the stream far over the water.  I only got 5 minutes of this, but I love it, it’s my perfect meditation film:

The only thing was wanting about 15 cameras pointing at different points.  But I here’s a mobile phone film-ette of a different point of the river at the same time:

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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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Outflow films

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.

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