Monday, 31 December 2007
Sunday, 30 December 2007
Thank you Richard (Zurich forthemedia) for your comments on yesterday's post.
You are right. It's the house. I was drawn both to the trees and the house, but uppermost it was the house. Certainly "the house in context with the trees", but the house came first, with the trees an important "supporting actor". (Why then call it "Oak Tree"? Answer, "to disguise my secret passion".)
The curve of the house, and the bay windows somehow "whispered" as much and more than the rest.
Here is the whole ensemble. It like this view.
(Thanks to Jilly of Menton DP for revealing the secret of "big images").
Saturday, 29 December 2007
Playing around, experimenting with shooting into the sun instead of keeping it behind me.
The huge and ancient oak trees make interesting subjects.
I chose this moody, mysterious shot. The trees stand dark, gnarled and mysterious, the path curves to the right taking us into the unknown, but straight ahead there seems to be another path into the darkness of nature, the branches reaching out to entrap us. On the right, the house (but it's only the hint of a house) stands behind an obscuring hedge.
Hmmm........anyone for a walk? (Camera: Olympus C7070 WZ)
Friday, 28 December 2007
What a sight to test a new camera! Walking in Richmond Park trying out the new Olympus E3 I came across this mastiff at play.
He was hurling himself up to the branch about 3.5 meters above the ground. He caught the branch between his jaws and then hung there before dropping down and trying again.
Here is in mid flight about to get his jaws round the branch.
Camera info: Olympus E3 with 50-200mm 2.8-3.5f zoom lens on max extension equivalent to 400mm in 35mm format. Settings all on automatic with Image Stabilisation and shutter set to shoot 12 frames at 5 frames per second.
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Wednesday, 26 December 2007
The day after Christmas Day.....wonderful sunshine, a fair temperature, mild atmosphere, and excellent for that holiday walk. Towards noon the clouds moved across the sun creating this silvery light. I snapped these canoeists, in their wet suits, setting off for a quick run up the cold river, heading away into the sun.
No need to convert to B&W: nature did it for me.
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
Every Christmas, Penguin, Polar Bear and Santa are let out of their old biscuit tin to play about on the cake top for a few days.
The Polar Bear gets so excited that he gambles about like a little kid and chases Santa all over the icing sugar, snapping at his trousers. Santa takes it all in good part and Penguin waddles about squawking loudly.
Happy Christmas and Good Will to You All.
Monday, 24 December 2007
A quick snap of my local butcher, Trevor, taken at 08.00 this morning before the rush of customers coming to collect their Christmas turkey and goose. He's already spent days working hard, hand-preparing everything using his traditional craft skills. He's a "one man band", with very little help available.
Small shops are under pressure from the supermarkets, and it's hard to argue against the relentless logic of modern urban economies and life styles.
Trevor's shop is one of few old style local butchers still remaining. Perhaps, when he retires, the shop (a purpose built butcher's shop with some racking and hanging equipment from the 1930s still in use) will close for ever. I hope that the new awareness of the value and role of small traders and "local shops" may lead to a re-evaluation of these businesses. Without the smaller shopping parades our town-scapes will become bleaker and sadder places.
Sunday, 23 December 2007
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Friday, 21 December 2007
In a short span this blog has become a place where obscure German electronic particle physicists can rub shoulders and converse comfortably with educationally sub-normal adolescent lads from the sink estates of the Upper Clyde. We are pleased.
This posting is a proto-typical attempt to apply J-W von Goethe's "Colour Theory" in the light of the ideas put forward by F Schiller in his discussion of the genuine (or "gut") emotions aroused by true and honest ("naive") photographic genius as opposed to the bogus emotions excited by mechanistically contrived and therefore morally bankrupt images produced by various practitioners who operate in the B&W space and who, in that way, attempt to manipulate the innocent public (who ask for nothing but an honest quick thrill) through the "sentimentality" of their monochrome creations.
Goethe theorised on how the effect of colours that arise at the margins where the streams of the spectrum meet has a powerful influence on our perception. Newton dealt in the cold science of the spectrum. Goethe takes the science into the mind. My crafty manipulation of the "nearly monochrome" demonstrates that there is hope for the Scottish Lad.
Thursday, 20 December 2007
A "less often seen" night-time view of the bridge (built 1778). Often the river is surging through the arches but this time, calm weather and probably "slack water" at the turn of the tide, it is as calm as a mill pond.
About a week ago Richard at http://zurich.dailyphoto.forthmedia.com/dailyphoto/index.cfm posted a fine photo of Venice at night in which the street lamps displayed a simple and very attractive star effect. Here we also have a pleasing star burst inside a very distinct hallow bubble. Is this the effect of the camera lens, or the lens covering on the lanterns? Is it an accident, or is it the result of careful research by lighting engineers for the benefit of car drivers?
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
This market stall crammed with exotic and out of season fruit made me think of Joseph Conrad...a remarkable author, famous for "The Heart of Darkness" etc.
At the turn of the 19th/20th C he wrote "The Secret Agent" about anarchists, subversion and bomb making in London. If I remember correctly, he has a scene where a man walks down a London street and the "brilliant gas lamps" pick out the fruit stalls and the exotic fruits displayed. (It could have been written for a film scene, although cinema did not exist).
Reading around, I also discovered that already in the late 19th C the coming of railways ensured that early season fruits could be brought from Uzbekistan into Western Europe, and a lively trade developed long before 1914.
So.....not much has changed in 130 years. Britain is still struggling in Afghanistan, Iraq, and on the edges of "Empire", while at home, London is still the somewhat seedy but magnificent melting pot we all know even today. Shadowy figures play cat and mouse with the police and produce bombs in suburban hide-outs, cook up wicked plots without even giving a hint to their innocent wives, and send innocent children to their death as bomb carriers. At the same time, our market stalls are bursting with exotica from the ends of the earth, transported by the marvels of technology to be "on our table, picked fresh from the vine only a day ago".
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
There are few things more enjoyable (for me at least) than watching a stall trader at work.
I took about ten shots of this chap at his regular and highly professional pitch near the market square. Every shot showed energy, movement, skill, concentration and underlying it, salesmanship and a knack for making people smile - while making money. He is making a living by keeping people happy where-ever he finds himself.
A few days ago I showed my compost bin and was amazed at the responses which showed how we are all so very much THE SAME. Same concerns, same loves and sentiments (admittedly not without some cultural differences, but they can be resolved with good will and common sense).
I've been fortunate to have had a career that took me around the world dealing with all kinds of people. How fortunate I have been to have that experience.
I must work harder at my crowd scenes and people shots.
Monday, 17 December 2007
Sunday, 16 December 2007
You will have noticed that I don't normally show people or lively street scenes. I find them notoriously hard to do, and for some reason (at least for me) they often don't seem to "work" and so I don't attempt them. I think it also has something to do with the nature of English streets and the way an English crowd "poses" itself. But I won't blame my lack skill onto others.
Nevertheless, here they are. The English squad of the British Isles....British Subjects, Citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland...........not a lot of people know that, and indeed, very few British actually know it. They haven't a clue these days what they are, and so the Government suddenly embarks on a tortuous and controversial process of trying to explain and instill "Britishness". This is totally the fault of successive Governments and people who should have known better who have failed ensure that this particular aspect of identity was nurtured and cared for. (Well, that's my opinion....but let's not get too upset about it).
Anyway.....it's good to be British, it's a privilege.
Saturday, 15 December 2007
We have been diligent composters of kitchen waste for a long time. Today I thought that the box looked especially colourful. (Don't worry too much about the almonds, raisons and - I'm sorry to say - the brazil nut. They are just a tiny 18 month old remnant that had slipped to the back of the cupboard, only to be revealed as the hunt for this year's Christmas Cake baking ingredients started. The birds will enjoy them).
Have a happy weekend.
Friday, 14 December 2007
.....and it's never all Black & White either, although adding "colour" to embellish a scene is a serious crime generally committed by the ruthless English newspaper press who will tear down anything that attracts attention.
Anyway; following that "purple passage" let me say that I liked the play of sunlight bursting through a gateway to illuminate these 17th C court yard cobbles at Ham House. It looked good in colour but I felt it was even nicer in B&W with just a tiny scrap of enhanced shadow.
Thursday, 13 December 2007
We have all heard these stirring songs and poems about about "England's green and pleasant land and "This jewel set in a perfect sea" (hope I got that line right), and so on, but on a grey, wet, wind-buffeted, chilly day I find it hard to see what is so lovely about this "sacred isle".
Certainly we do not have mosquito infested malaria swamps (like they had until relatively recently in the South of France) and our financial centres can function without air conditioning, unlike in say Dubai, where nothing much could function if it were not for air conditioning (yes,yes: I know that Dubai has a long and excellent history as a Gulf trading centre - just don't pester me with specifics, when you know that my general thesis is sound, and I am an admirer of Shiekh Mo)...................but, on grey days like this it is very easy to see why Britain is a nation of sea farers and world-travellers just itching to get away!!
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
I used to be a "frost-bite sailor", crewing for a chap who owned a Fireball...a kind of floating ironing board with a huge sail area that gave it tremendous speed. I had to hang out on the trapeze wire, horizontal over the water. I often muffed the change over when we went about and we both ended up in the cold grey water with a strong wind blowing. We righted the boat, scrambled back in and set off again. My little sailing cap only blew off once and floated away. I never saw it again. But 30 years later I still wear and treasure the little blue cap that replaced it.
Monday, 10 December 2007
Today the weather conditions on the river offer us a graphic description of the expression "lousy!"
But this does not deter certain intrepid and dedicated souls from donning wet suits and training gear, going out running and then taking a quick spin with the jolly crew in a Racing Eight or a Coxless Four.
Here are the "shells" stacked up outside the club house, presenting the spikes of the sportsman's crown of agony.......Any takers?
Sunday, 9 December 2007
Saturday, 8 December 2007
Until this year my garden fence always blew out in October, and the leaves always fell in October, and it was generally dry and quieter in December.
This year we don't know where we are. The fence stayed up until last week before the gales blew it out, and the wind finally stripped the leaves and dumped them on the lawn for me to clear up.
The weather forecast shows massive swathes of rain (I mean, really massive) sweeping in off the Atlantic.
At the same time the American "sub-prime mortgage" scandal upsets our own financial markets and it all goes pear shaped. My advisor rings to suggest that we re-jig the investments and batten down for rough financial weather.
Friday, 7 December 2007
In Twickenham, across the river from Richmond there is a grandiose fountain imported all the way from Italy in the 19th C by a wealthy fellow who appreciated art. This fountain is big, and this view is about 1/3 of it.
Actually it's quite a nice piece in its funny old way, if rather dated, and the town council recently spent a lot of money refurbishing it and fitting flood lights and new water pumps. What really amuses me is the nymph in the centre. Is she offering the horse an aniseed ball, or what?
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Climate change (a modern term for "it's sunnier and warmer than it used to be") has brought to England the benefits of the street cafe open air life style. However, there are still some limitations. In part, these limitations are related to the fact that this year "it's a great deal less sunny and far much wetter than it used to be".
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
This is a quick snap. I just liked the look of the scene and took a pot shot at it. (Perhaps it's a bit fuzzy?) I was going to call it "Capitalist with lackey and running dog" so as to feed my particular sense of humour. But Heather said I shouldn't, so I thought of "Two people and two animals enjoying each other's company", which is also very much to my line of taste and thinking.
Isn't it a strange thing? In the Cold War time "the lackeys and running dogs" of capitalists were a much maligned breed. Today everyone wants to be a capitalist, or so it might seem. Did the communists lift a stone only to drop it on their own foot?
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Monday, 3 December 2007
.... terrible storms and rain yesterday and last night as a strong southwesterly storm blew in from the Atlantic.
Here's a picture of the "River God" who sits in front of Ham House beside the Thames. He's taken on a characteristically "DAMP" look.
Sunday, 2 December 2007
A few days ago the weather forecaster predicted some stunning sunsets. He wasn't wrong!
I took 34 shots on Richmond Hill, and this is one. We are looking due west from Richmond Terrace and you can see the river curving away as it forms the "View from Richmond Hill" (protected by Act of Parliament in 1902).
Saturday, 1 December 2007
Friday, 30 November 2007
We're still with my apple tree. Here we see a rain drop wrapped around a new bud that will provide blossom next year......(forming already although it's still November).
In the water droplet you can clearly see the houses next door....roof chimney in centre and roof sky lights either side; three on one side and two on the other. You can also see the rest of the apple tree and the upper branches. Look and see how the water wraps itself all around the bud and hangs there.
Thursday, 29 November 2007
Wondering what to do, I realised that my old apple tree is offering me a lot of opportunities to play with my camera and explore the tree's Autumn coat of typical apple tree "knarliness".
Here's the intriguing coat of growth on an old but very healthy fruit bearing branch.
I broke the rules and did not use a tripod, and I used auto-focus. Good old Olympus! More photo fun. This was done with "flash off" and set to "Cloudy" and WB set 3 ticks down into the red spectrum. Pseuds' Corner for me, and early to bed with no television!!!
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Here is the rather fine looking 17th C doorway at Ham House. Looking closely at the top of the stone work I wonder if something has slipped over 398 yrs. Or did the builder step back and say "Doooh!"? Very old buildings often display quirks that make you wonder if it was an an original mistake that could not be rectified, or whether something has slippd over time.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
(Apologies to Ham of London CDP).......This is a picture of Cavell St. in Stepney, in the East End of London, taken in Summer 2006. If you imagine Richmond upon Thames as an Outer London town at 8 on the clock face, the Inner London Borough of Stepney sits at 2, and is actually part of London itself.
The photo shows Cavell St., named after a heroine, Nurse Edith Cavell http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/cavell.htm
The picture is worth looking at because it shows what the East End of London looked like in the 19th C when Stepney was an area close to the great harbour area known as the "Pool of London". The quality of the houses suggests that this was an area for well paid City clerks and skilled men doing well (I'm only guessing). Today, the docks and ships have moved a long way down river, immigrants from Bangladesh and other Asian areas have moved in (following Huguenots http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/history/communities/huguenot.html in 1680, Jews, Italians, Chinese - you name it) and the area is still also inhabited by City clerks and skilled men doing well.
This area was severely bombed during WW II and many of these streets were totally wiped out. Cavell St. obviously survived.
Monday, 26 November 2007
The full moon rising - snapped last night with the camera jammed against the window frame and the shutter held open for about 15 seconds.
The sky looked pitch black, but the long exposure brought out some unseen colour. The golden caste on the clouds is due to the lights of London: and the silvery blue of the (black) sky above starts to appear.
Never believe what you see in a photo! I tweaked the camera and took another snap. It came out looking like a glorious morning dawn. Photo Fun.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
Two of our local officers taking a close interest in the river.
(You have probably guessed....my archive is running down and I'm seeking a new infusion of inspiration. I can't blame the weather, but City DP requires you to get out and about and roam around like a prowling ginger cat. I'm a bit pre-occupied with some other tasks.)
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Gone are the days of smoke, spit, and sawdust on the floor. Glancing through the bar area of a tavern built in the "Victorian Railway Age" we find fire extinguishers (to the highest safety standards), ultra high speed stainless steel washers (to the highest standards of health regulation), electronic switch gear for the flat screen plasma and the multi speaker hi-fi, gas pressurised beer delivery systems, and a "just in time" beverage supply logistics back-up linked directly to the electronic till and managed by a giant multinational corporation. The bar maid is an immigrant, (and I am betting that she was probably an immigrant even back in 1887).
Friday, 23 November 2007
Ham, of London Daily Photo will forgive me for stepping sideways. This is the view of London today from the gun site where my father served in WW II.......Shooters' Hill near Erith, Kent. It's about 30 miles east of Richmond.
Looking west-north-west the whole of London lies before you. The tall towers nearest are the new (less then 20yrs old) Canary Wharf financial district, built on what was then, in 1940, a vast complex of commercial sea docks and factories (the so-called East End). To the left of Canary Wharf, in the centre of the picture are the '60s and '70s towers of the older, original financial district of the City of London, and beyond, on the left edge, is the so-called West End, home of the Crown, Parliament, Civil Service and Theatre Land (perhaps in that order, too, or maybe the reverse?). We can see how London has transformed and how the "hardware" of industry and commerce has moved elsewhere, but the "knowledge and software" have stayed. In fact, this photo should be a 360 degree panorama, so as to explain it all.
Last Summer I visited the old gun site (for the first time ever) and saw the size, scale and strategic importance. The view is fantastic - 360 degrees panoramic from high up. Today it is a golf course, and all that remains of Britain's largest and most powerful anti-aircraft gun site is a small lump of rubble that was the foundation of the radar gunnery control centre.
My father experienced considerable danger on "bad nights" and came home deaf in the morning. He was one of the kindest and nicest men you could ever know.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
As I wander about Ham House helping to repair the unrepairable I am always impressed by the way that the 17th c architect contrived to allow plenty of natural light to flood in. Even the below-ground cellar and kitchen area is lit by sunlight. This painting is on the main stairs and the window faces east.
If "Freefalling" reads this..........this picture comes from the head. There's nothing in it about the gut. Keep up the enquiry, you are getting closer.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
During the war this church tower and the surrounding buildings of the church hall and village amenity rooms became a research centre for secret anti-aircraft radar systems; an advanced electronic science in those days. All that remains today are the graffiti carvings of the soldiers and radar experts who worked there. As an anti-aircraft gunner at a large and powerful gunsite defending the City of London and the Thames Estuary, my father made effective use of the new technology. He never saw his targets. They were radio co-ordinates who then simply "disappeared" shortly after he had "pressed the button".
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
First...thanks to the kind regulars who said nice things about yesterday's experiment with candle light and twinkly glass etc.
Anyway... a week ago I mentioned how the river will soon start revealing its lost treasures. Here are two of them..............two bikes dumped into the weir and now revealed as the water level is allowed to sink below normal.
When I grew up in the 40's and 50's a bike was a rare treasure and the only means of transport for the hard working man. Stealing...let alone stealing and then DUMPING(!)......a bike was a crime that struck against the very concept and fabric of social solidarity. Strange times we now live in.
Monday, 19 November 2007
Sunday, 18 November 2007
First frosts have struck and brought down the leaves in the gardens all over Richmond.
The Head Gardener's team at Ham House is busy and making full use of modern machines, and mini-tractors. Imagine the army of employed gardeners and who would have been kept busy in 1610. On other hand, imagine that in 1610 the trees would have been tiny saplings, freshly planted, and the lawns would have been a bit bare as the newly sown grass began to take hold.
Saturday, 17 November 2007
The camera remains perfectly horizontal as the Bar Fly lists gently to port. (Oh, dear. That's an unplanned pun. It just slipped out. Sorry.)
Another, in the occasional Richmond upon Thames "Bar Fly series". Have a happy and peaceful weekend.
Friday, 16 November 2007
...we continue our walk along the Twickenham bank of the Thames opposite Richmond, snapping things from different angles.
This prestigious luxury development stands on the the site of one of those weird planning and commercial development disasters that are typical of the dreaded plagues that attack the reputations local municipal councils.
The site originally hosted an important and much liked ice rink - a valuable sports facility for quite a wide area. The council promoted a redevelopment of the site but, after an enormous amount of wrangling, "fouled up" and totally failed to negotiate a replacement of the rink. The politicians and officers may say that "it was not for want of trying".........but the burgers of Richmond still (rightly in most people's opinion) blame them for a massive failure. So, today, Richmond has no ice rink, and the nearest one is quite a long journey away.
Thursday, 15 November 2007
Soft! But see, how clothed in gaudy, rough and scratchy Day we are comforted in the mind; but Night, enwrapping us in soft velvet, startles and afrights. The sleepy cat of day becomes at night the cruel, alert and sharp clawed predator of the tiny, timorous mouse.
One of the very rare "surreal Richmond" series:
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
We're still on the theme of "looking at things from a different angle" (it's a bit strained, I know; but this City Daily Photo thing is a tough task, especially when you are desperately trying to adapt a shrinking archive until you can get out to take a whole new series).
Here's a "less photographed view" of the excellent White Cross Inn seen from the Twickenham side looking through the arch of Richmond Bridge. Most people congregate around the White Cross and the other establishments along the Richmond bank.
It's a calm and soothing riverside scene. Compare it with my shot taken last March showing the river ripping through the arches of the bridge.
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Normally people snap the views through and around the Richmond Bridge (built 1778) from the other side. Here, I have chosen to stand on the Twickenham bank looking at the bridge from a far less photographed angle, and looking towards the spot shown in http://richmonduponthamesdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2007/10/amazing-what-bit-of-sunshine-can-do-270.html
For most of you, none of this matters; but I'm trying to discover some of the less photographed views, or experiment to show a little angle that might go unnoticed.