My first digital camera was a phone. I'd decided - perfectly reasonably, truthfully and not even slightly on a whim - that if I could take a photograph of my immediate environment every day . . . I would be happy.
|Daisies in the cow-field. Sheep in the field beyond|
Not that 'decided' is the right word. I'd known this for a long time. I don't think I had the internet then. I certainly didn't have a blog. I'm not even sure blogs had been invented. But there were simple cameras on what were, to me, expensive phones. And they were expensive. That first mobile phone-camera was twice the price of my new (though basic) smart-phone.
And off I went to take pictures.
Then there was the blog.
Then there was my first 'proper' digital camera.
And now I have the one I have now - which also takes moving pictures; little films.
Long before I bought my phone, I'd wanted to take films. I hadn't wanted to make stories or record events; I wanted to film what I could see while standing still. Specifically, I wanted to film waves at the place where sea meets land in a trickle, not a storm. Just that. But camcorders were expensive. Out of reach.
|Green leaves seem brown when reflected in the water because of the tannin.|
Eyeworth Pond, Hampshire.
Perversely, when I at last had a camera which also takes films, I began to enjoy sound rather than movement. I'd fix my camera on a scene and film the nothing-happening that I'd dreamed of but when I got my camera home, I'd find it was the sound that drew my attention. Sea sounds different when you listen to it.
So I wanted to buy some really good sound equipment - the kind which would pick up every nuance without being blasted out by a sudden gust of wind. Erm . . . out of my range!
And who would want to listen to my sound recordings?
I don't know why we blog. Sometimes bloggers blog about why they blog - and the answers are never very satisfactory - especially given the amount of time and effort and creative thought that we put into them. We blog because we blog. We take pictures whether or not we put them on the internet. And every so often I go out and fix my camera on a singing bird or a rattling mast and record the sounds they make.
Oddly, despite this being a solitary activity, I always have people in mind. Would they be prepared to listen to noises while looking at nothing happening? So I've kept these little sound clips short. For me, they are too short. I get them home and listen and wish they would go on and on instead of stopping almost as soon as they start.
I'm about to move on a step. After today I'll make my sound pictures longer. It doesn't matter whether anyone other than me puts them up on a screen and is entranced by the rustle of a leaf or a lawnmower in the distance. It doesn't matter any more than it mattered when I took photos every day without knowing that anyone else in the world did the same.
But longer films are for the future. The 21st will be a Stuck Foot Post Day. So I'm posting my latest short stuck-foot soundscapes. For ordinary Stuck Foot Posts I move my eye. I look down. I look sideways. Twist to see a little behind me. But these 20 - 30 second clips aren't just Stuck Foots, they are Stuck-Eyes too; stuck eyes so all that goes on is what one is hearing while standing still to see.
The first is from the 4th of April. The village is Milton Abbas in Dorset. I struggled with this because there are cars in the frame; but those I filmed with no content other than chimney tops take the sound so far out of context they no longer make sense. The roar at the beginning is a car moving away. The voices you hear are people in the kitchen at the pub I was standing near. I like these 26 seconds. They are life.
The second is staring at a cow field at Fritham on the edge of The New Forest (Hampshire) on the 13th of May. The Forest Trees are several yards behind me - mostly oak and out of sound-shot. I was standing under some kind of tree with needles instead of leaves and in front of a hedge I didn't pay too much attention to. The cows, dissobligingly didn't moo but birds did sing. That's the funny thing. You think you are watching cows when really you are listening to birds. Or maybe it's that you are listening to birds when really you are watching cows. Here are 38 seconds of both.
The third is on the same day, about ten miles from the cows at the River Black Water. In this clip we spend 47 seconds listening to the Black Water meandering its way through the forest. Eventually it will join with others in the Lymington River. (Not to be confused with various other River Blackwaters.)
And finally The Valley of Stones. So we've gone back in time to 27th April. The reason I've put this one out of sequence is the silence. We are on open grassland. No birds other than one lark. Larks don't like trees. Then the lark stops. This clip is 30 seconds. (The slight roaring throughout is, I suppose, the camera desperately trying to find something to listen to.)
If you aren't able to watch film clips on your computer, I really do apologise - but sound posts don't happen often. And if you are able to listen through earphones - maybe that's the best way to immerse yourself in the moment and hear it all at its best.
Are you a Stuck-Footer? Would you like to know more about Stuck-Footing?
Then go to the Loose and Leafy Stuck Foot Page to find out more.
If you too have a Stuck Foot Post
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will open at 7am on 21st May and close at 7pm on 25th May (UK time)