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Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Days 9-11

The last couple of days have been slightly mundane and focused more on rest and practical chores, so much so that I felt they didn't warrant a separate blog post each. As this will most likely be the case every weekend, I will only be posting blogs from Tuesday-Saturday for the remainder of this field trip.

Not for the first time since my arrival here, I have been thinking about how much easier this project would be if I were able to drive a car. What should be incredibly simple tasks, such as doing the weekly shop, turn into much more of an event when depending on a bike as your only mode of transport and having to squeeze every item into your camera bag. Another disadvantage is having to return to the facility while it is still bright out, something that was particularly challenging during the winter months. This is due to the fact that the roads around the area are quite hazardous for cyclists at night, something I wouldn't have to worry about if I were driving.

However, it also comes with its advantages. I find that cycling through the Burren landscape to be much more engaging than if I were to drive instead. Because of the slower travelling speed, I find that I am able to take in more of the landscape as I pass through it, observing the minute changes that occur from day to day. I am also more affected by the elements, and for better or worse, I almost become part of the landscape itself.

When I returned from doing the shop in Ballyvaughan, I decided to attempt another recreation of one of the images from my previous field trip. Again, the image I had taken was focused on the effect of the local turlough on the area, emphasising the flooding that had taken place. I struggled quite a bit with this particular recreation, as the change in landscape was even more dramatic than before. Because of this, I was unable to find as many landmarks to reference as they were almost completely covered with foliage that hadn't been there previously. Below are both images, the first taken in February and the second taken in July.

Unlike my previous recreation, it feels as though these two images were taken in completely different areas. The growth of the surrounding foliage has been so extreme over the past few months that I had great difficulty in positioning my tripod in the same location, as the ground beneath my feet looked completely unrecognisable. Interestingly, the only man-made structure in the scene (the stone wall) is actually more prominent in the image taken in February during the flooding. By eliminating various elements of the landscape, the flooding also emphasised certain landmarks that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

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