Friday, 31 August 2007

Enjoying the company of others - # 216

Around Richmond there are many excellent and very old inns that still retain many of their original oak beams and walls that are hundreds of years old.

I am trying capture the atmosphere and quality of these places, but this involves research and hard work - as you can imagine! Several repeat visits may be necessary.

Strand on the Green is an interesting riverside settlement that is also "under my microscope".

Here is my rendering of "The Bull's Head", a very old riverside pub at Strand on the Green, near Kew Bridge.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Where have we come from? Where are we going to? - # 215

This isn't smoke (it's an amazing rain cloud I snapped in May - and yes, I got a bit wet).

But, it could have been smoke. Growing up in the 1950s I actually remember smoking chimneys, the smell of coal, the heavy pong of low grade petrol in the air (which I rather liked!) and the Great Smog of December 1952 which led to the introduction of the Clean Air Act. Following that Act the levels of sunlight registered in our industrial cities leapt by 20% - if my memory is correct.

My father, if alive, would have become 100yrs old last week. I've been thinking about him and reflecting on what has changed and what has not. The attached URL indicates that the Meteorological Office, set up in 1900, immediately started to examine the problem, but it took 52 years before "somebody did something" - the problem being that until then we did not have the technology. At this point I remember that Britain was the first country in the world to build a nuclear power station, with engineers saying "energy would be so cheap we would not need to meter it"! And of course the energy was CLEAN.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

the Mini Moke - # 213

Do you remember the Mini Moke?
I bet Richard of Zurich does! Do look at his Porsche.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Dawn mist burning off- # 212

I've moved due east from the low lying Ham Pond (yesterday's post) , and climbed about 30-40 meters higher onto the great acid grassland plateau of Richmond Park.

This snap was taken 40 minutes after the pond shots, and you can see that the mist is already disappearing fast. I was pleased with the photos from around the pond, but I prefer this one.

Gloom is fine under the right circumstances, but on the whole I'm a chap who prefers the light.

There was one big disappointment with this moment..........I had just packed up and was setting off home when, right on queue, a group of deer emerged from the bushes and stood to enjoy their early breakfast in the sunlight. Alas, I could only admire, but not photograph. The moment was lost.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Ham Pond and Gordon House in fog - # 210

This view of the mid 18th Century "Gordon House" across Ham Pond is wonderful in any light.

To capture the colours of the water plants in the foreground I used a small amount of reduced power flash. The film sensitivity was set at 400 ISO, and the camera (on auto) fired at 125th/sec.

It's by no means a perfect shot, but I'm still pleased with the result of my efforts to make something of the scene.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

...and there went up a great mist from the earth - # 210

Yesterday morning was surprising. After a cold, grey wet week Saturday dawned with a thick fog. This is NOT what you expect in August!

I rushed out at 06.00 to take pictures of the fog and rising dawn. I have never tried this type of photography before, so forgive the quality. I have chosen what I think are the best and will show them over the next 3 or 4 days.

Here is a view of the pond on Ham Common looking southeast.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

You can't beat it! - # 209

Here is that "rare catch". It speeds past, you whip up the camera and either you catch it or you miss it. Fortunately I caught it - just.

It's worth clicking on the picture to enlarge it and see the laughter and joy of the riders.

Looking closely at the engine housing this looks as if it is a Rolls Royce powered fire engine dating from the late 1920s. Fire engine technology has moved on since then. Comments from fire engine chassis buffs are welcome.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Cultivated flower - # 208

When my computer crashed a week ago I lost a set of vibrant and very lively street scenes, not easily remade.

So I've fallen back on the technique of simply looking at what's close, easy to hand, and worth celebrating. To my surprise, it's not been difficult to find. It's day to day "hand to mouth", but what could be nicer than this pretty pink cultivated specimen in the Richmond Park flower bed, to contrast with yesterday's pretty pink weed specimen in the Richmond Park bramble bed?

Afterall, most of the world's population has to put up with what it's got, and stop moaning. That does not mean that we sit and accept poor conditions and no progress, but trying to express joy certainly helps to move us forward.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Wild flower - # 207

These flowers grow around the blackberry bushes. The intensity of colour is very pleasing.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Late Summer delight - # 206

Have people forgotten about the fun of collecting blackberries?

The weather is all wrong, but the berries are OK.

Instead of blue sky and steady weather we have, today, more heavy rain, battleship grey cloud, north wind and 18 degrees C.

But the blackberries are coming on well, and they are full and sweet thanks to enough rain and good sun some weeks ago. There are plenty of bramble patches around us, but relatively few pickers! Here is a free harvest that is healthy and delicious, but the "townies" seem to prefer to buy little plastic boxes of exotic fruit flown in from Bongoland far away.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Enjoying hanging out - # 205

I am still using archived shots while I wait to recover from the recent computer software accident. I thought my backup routine was good, but you live and learn.

I managed to find this image in my old store. It was taken last year when we had hot dry weather, not like today which feels as if winter is upon us!

The picture was taken through the arch tunnel of Kingston Bridge (Kingston is the next town up river from Richmond). I like the contrasts of the brick, the metal stair rails, and of course the "light at the end of the tunnel".

Monday, 20 August 2007

Mineral meets vegetable meets molecular - # 204

Scrabbling in my archive held on a separate disc I found this, taken last year. I remember that I was impressed by the harshness of the metal engine against the leaves and the water.

Added to this were the slight traces of oil on water, the late afternoon sunlight, the "aged and battered" appearance of the plastic boat. It all had a strong presence that made it more like a scene from a "Manga comic" than an outboard on a boat near Kingston upon Thames.

I probably "think too much".

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Cloud cover - # 203

Rainy days are back in Richmond. To my mind this snap of the cloudscape is very pleasing (but only so long as it does not go on for weeks on end without relief).

It will be a week before I know whether or not the 10 days worth of posting photos locked in my laptop wil be released.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Hitting the blank wall - # 202

Shortly after I had downloaded about 10 days worth of posting shots, and before I had backed them up to the emergency store, my laptop had a serious accident. Google, Microsoft and probably others (but not me - I did everything according to instructions) played a nefarious role, but of course they are legally absolved because I use them at my own risk, don't I.
A friend of mine who is world renowned for photographic skill once said to me "When in trouble, go for Textures". So, for the time being, Textures is what it will be.
This is the Texture of my brick wall surrounding the front garden. Just pray that I can get my archive back soon, because tomorrow you will be getting another Texture (but actually it's rather nice, so don't worry too much).
Joyous thanks for the nice spare computer reserved for my wife. This one remains untweaked in the clean condition as it came out of the box, and that's how it will stay.... NO TWEAKING.

Friday, 17 August 2007

What became of the little red shoes? - # 201

To his credit, Richard has reminded me (in a comment on yesterday's post) that we should be seeing the little red driving shoes of the motor racing heroin. They were tucked away in a glass cabinet and my photographic imagination failed snap!

All I can ask you to do is cast your mind back to 1907 with the winning little Asian style cupola of the original club house and then rocket forward 100 years to the brand new Mercedes Benz World that has arisen alongside the old buildings.

The "Spirit of Brooklands" lives on.............and we can be sure that the "little red shoes" will be forever popular, regardless of whose feet they are on. Thank heavens for that, because without them the stainless steel and glass is deadly dull!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Celebrating the achievements of fast women - # 200

Yesterday I jumped away from Brooklands because I wanted to show the seasonal quality of the light on Richmond Bridge, before the right moment was lost

Now I want to return to signal the efforts of women in the early ages of motor sport. This picture shows the club room set aside for lady racing drivers. It's in the style of the late '20s-30s. The exhibits include rather glamorous little red leather driving shoes and a leather suit and helmet all in red, and a rather luxurious silk helmet. These cars were not easy to handle, and it must have required great physical courage to drive them at speed.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Setting sun on Richmond Bridge - # 199

As we move through August the quality of the light is changing. We notice this at dawn and at sunset. On this occasion the sunset had a special golden tone that is unusual. This was probably caused by the strange wet weather we are having. The view towards Richmond Hill was particularly remarkable.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Fast relief for the world's fastest moving - # 198

Here it is! The lovingly restored original "gent's" in the Members Only club house at Brooklands. The most illustrious and fastest moving names in the worlds of motorsport and aviation stood here between 1907 and 1939, and thereafter geniuses of aeronautical science such as Barnes Wallis. Stand here and you know for certain that you are in the presence of Great Men.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Bugatti - # 197

Let's stay for a while at Brooklands: the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit, built in 1907 by Mr. Hugh Locke King, near Weybridge.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

The legacy of Empire - # 196

Why, around 1900, did English architects adopt these forms found on our Edwardian villas and club houses? Puzzling over the pleasing shapes and little pointed architectural roof decorations I suddenly remembered a book I have, "Soldier Artist in Wartime India 1941-45". James Fletcher-Watson went to India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to build military defences. He painted the scenery and published the story in a very fine book in year 2000.

Above is his painting of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, and a tomb beside it.

So it's quite clear that the pointy things on our old club houses and Edwardian villas, and the graceful curved cupolas, like at Brooklands, were brought to England by Britons who went out to India at the height of Empire, appreciated its forms, and brought the ideas home.

I did not know this, but photoblogging helped me to discover it for myself.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Empire revived - # 195

.......all is not lost. Here is the fully restored elegant viewing pagoda atop the club house of the world's first ever purpose build motor racing circuit at Brooklands, near Weybrdige, about 15 miles from Richmond.
The club house and circuit were built and completed in 1907. More of that later - the old race track has been declared a National Monument.
Our hunt continues........where did this pleasing and elegant style come from? It is classic England 1900-14: so smooth, so calming, so elegant, so remarkable yet so understated. More tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Relic of Empire? - # 194

All over Britain there are decaying sports pavilions and summer houses and villas with these features, all dating from Edwardian times; pointy things on top, and elegant little pillars to surround and make more elegant.
There are other things, too. Why? Perhaps architectural historians know, but I've developed my own idea. The hunt is on - but it won't take too long.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Cafe Rouge, Strand on the Green (for Richard) - # 193

Richard at is a great inspiration for me, because he is an fine photographer whose pictures, mainly in B & W, "speak" to me in a special way, personal to me.

Richard loves Strand on the Green near Richmond and I am in the process of collecting several shots for him.

There are few atmospheres and "ambiances" more enjoyable than the old-style French cafe. "Cafe Rouge" replicates this nicely, and at Strand on the Green they have found a suitable building to work the magic for us. Admire the little decorative motif around the edge, and appreciate the way the designers have sympathetically cleaned up and presented the 1900s "corner triangle" style building.

I tried this in B&W, but it didn't work so well. It needs the warm red. I wonder how Richard would have captured it.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Japanese anemone - # 192

Nosing about in my front garden I discovered a terrible thing. I have delayed the weeding and now find that one weed sort has gone to seed. I hope I've pulled them all out just in time. I will have to wait until next year to know the worst. Have any seeds been dropped and gained a hold in the earth? Let's hope that any that did fall, fell on stoney ground.

This is the last shot in my tiny "front garden" series.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Ferry for April of Cologne - # 191

This posting is for April in Cologne who on 29 July showed a similar popular foot ferry crossing the great and magnificent River Rhine. Here you can see the ever popular Hammerton's Ferry with it's excellent ferryman crossing the tinier but no less magnificent Thames at Ham, near Richmond. You may like to refer back to my earlier posting

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Coreopsis - # 190

Here's my coreopsis. This year seems to have been absolutely ideal for helping it to expand and "go large". That's a bonus for having had to put up with the grey wet days for so long. Today we've got sun and "extra" coreopsis.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Heleniums - # 189

Welcome to my front garden. Have a happy weekend.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Police have an accident - # 188

The Police really must learn to stop having accidents. This time they've blocked the whole road.

(actually this is a broken gas main that has totally cut the road between Richmond and Kingston.....this is serious. The road is tiny, yet important, and very busy: medieval road carrying 21st century traffic volumes. This important communication route is sandwiched between the river Thames and the Richmond Park, so there's no way to avoid the blockage without making a huge detour. Buses are blocked and commuter trips to the station become difficult.)

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The bouncer - # 187

Trying to photograph a village green cricket match with anything less than a 175mm high brightness lens is a dangerous game for fools: better to have a 500mm whopper and hide well away in the far distance.
Hiding behind a metal kit box at the edge of the village green I snapped this with my modest 100mm and used Picasa2 to crop and zoom in. More than once, that little red bullet flew towards me and I had to retreat.
Here we see the batsman ducking as the bowler delivers a "bouncer". Cricket requires courage and a special kind of stamina. It's not for wimps. (Clicking the photo to enlarge it will give a reasonable view)

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Polo at Ham - # 186

Ham Polo Club is another asset to the area around Richmond where spectators can even enjoy the game free of charge. Sorry about the quality of this picture, but I was demanding more of my camera lens than I had the right to expect.