Thursday 31 January 2008

Jesus wore Ray Bans here - # 08/03

Looming through the morning mists, on the main road across from the river is the Brentford MacDonalds, accompanied by factories and social housing units, and close-by luxury apartments (It's a good mixed community). About 17 years ago it was still one of those rather rough, terrifying pubs with a large back room where "Indi-Bands" could play and the Landlord gave them a share of the takings. My son played there on his Fender Stratocaster, with his mates. At that time Russian business colleagues would slap me on the back in Moscow and say "Hey, tell me! How is Jesus?"

Recently the British Government approved MacDonalds's training courses as giving the equivalent to an "A Level" (18 year old school leaver's certificate). The newspaper reports I saw gave a very favourable impression. So good old MacDonalds!! But "Good Bye, Jesus".

Wednesday 30 January 2008

Haven for "alternative" styles - # 08/02

Brentford is an old community at the point where the Brent enters the Thames. It's an old inland harbour and convenient crossing point. Today the old wharves give excellent moorings to converted Dutch motor barges. They make bizarrely decorated and intriguing dwellings.

Camera: Olympus E3

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Something old, something new......- # 08/01

........something being discarded, something being proposed, and something being pushed into the background.

Just across the Richmond Bridge, on the northern bank of Thames, lies the community of Brentford. It's an amalgamation of very old, very new, and, unlike Richmond, it's wholly "industrial" in essence. While Richmond tends to live off the spending power of others, it is in communities like Brentford where spending power is created. Actually, in today's modern economy and demography of Britain that's not a proposition I would like to argue over, or be tested too closely on: but in very crude, general terms it differentiates the nature of the two areas. Richmond = leisure, Brentford = manufacturing.

Over the coming days we'll walk about in Brentford.

Camera: Olympus E3. Weather: very misty, about 8 degrees C.

Monday 28 January 2008

Changing gear - # 08/00

Thanks to all who kindly sent their good wishes celebrating 365 days.

@Freefalling.......?????? - I thought you would like an exceptional mention rather than a generic nod. Is there a hidden reticence lurking under that leathery tan?

Don't panic, dear lurkers. I have not deserted to the "Darkside". Nor have I invaded Ham's lair. This snap of the London Eye is too good to miss out. It's very nice in colour, too.

Sunday 27 January 2008

The funky flautist - # 365

Have a happy weekend! As for 'roony........he's achieved one whole year of City Daily Photo.

At times it has been exhausting. It's amazing how you suddenly find you have developed a sense of responsibility towards your loyal supporters.

My thanks go in the first place to DXBluey of Dubai (currently resting) who started me off (although Eric of Paris, who started CDP, takes the head of the table as King Overall).

Thereafter, Gerald England of Hyde, Isabella in Naples, Denton in Ohio, OldManLincoln, Lynn of Cheltenham, Ham of London, and the masterly Richard in Zurich must be saluted because of their welcoming style and great helpfulness.

I must mention dear Jing, in Shanghai (although she may not know it because of the "Great Firewall of China").

There is of course a certain Peter in Paris, who supports us all.......he has enormously broad shoulders.

The rest, Jilly, Jules, Fabrizio, Z, Curly, Nathalie, Cergie, and a whole bunch of others are counted as kind "cyber friends" whose contributions challenge, excite and encourage (Freefalling of Australia is not forgotten).

The music will continue to play.

Camera: Olympus E3.

Saturday 26 January 2008

Running away from big trees - # 364

We'll make this the last of the shots of the enormous (I reckon they must be at least 200 years old - bear with me, and I will ask the Council's tree department) plane trees.

Thanks are owed to the "French School" for their kind comments. I'm sure that in France these trees would have been "pollarded" and held within some rather tight "rational" limits that conform to "Theory" rather than "Common Sense". Please allow me my small "John Bull" joke about our beloved conquerors who arrived in 1066 and decided to stay.

I read the other day a nice, perceptive comment in an authoritative journal........"Success in either France or Britain tends to drive the one or the other into a frenzy of productive anger and competition that has a beneficial outcome". Indeed, what would Britain be without France?

Friday 25 January 2008

One of London's finest - # 363B

(.....why the funny numbering # 362B? I realised my numbers were out of synch with the real number of posts. This is a balancing item.)

We are still with "Big Tree" shots. This plane tree is marked as being on of London's largest trees. As such it is rather difficult to picture. Stand too far away and you don't get an idea of the real size. Stand closer and all you get is a lump of wood but no actual "tree". On second thoughts, perhaps I should have placed the camera on the ground immediately under it. I snapped it last March, and my techniques have improved a bit since then. Anyway.....believe me, it's BIG.

Camera: Olympus C7070 WZ

Thursday 24 January 2008

More big trees - # 363

Oh, dear.....he's posted another "Big Tree" shot (I hear you say).

But...they are spectacularly large trees. They look nice, and they have been there for a very long time, so you get a sort of "good feeling" about them. It's also an opportunity for me to show some PEOPLE......who don't often appear.

Nathalie at Avignon has recently posted good tree shots.

The French have their own characteristic style of tree management. They love to "pollard" their French trees. The English do sometimes "pollard", but more often we go for the "expansive and wild" look. There are good reasons for both methods, and a well-managed tree is a delight to mankind all over the world. And, as a reflection, isn't it interesting that two nations develop such different styles and attitudes towards things. My wife tells me that I must celebrate "diversity". One thing is certain.....Gordon Brown is not the same as Nicholas Sarkozy. Vive La France, but let's not get over-excited, eh!

Wednesday 23 January 2008

The warmest January day on record - # 362

......and I think the day after was even slightly warmer.

You've seen this view from a different angle on a more sunny day. It's immediately outside Tidetables Cafe.

Over the next couple of days I will post some shots of the huge trees that grow around here (probably so old that even Karl Moritz saw them in 1782 when they were very small), and there might even be a few more people...something rarely seen in my photography.

Although the weather was very cloudy and appeared very grey, there was an enormous amount of light. For Ming the Merciless in New York, here is information on the White Balance...I set the camera on Cloudy and tweaked this setting to increase the red tone by one extra tick - I have the technology ;-). I under-exposed by -0.3 EV because the light level seemed so high. (No doubt the picture would have looked good even without all this clever fiddling...but it gives a nerd something to do).

Camera: Olympus C7070 WZ

Tuesday 22 January 2008

Warm reflections - # 361

Tidetables Cafe inside an arch of Richmond Bridge is a warm and popular haunt.
I've featured it before, but could not resist this new image showing the busy welcoming interior and the reflections of the riverside houses.

Camera: Olympus C7070 WZ

Monday 21 January 2008

All nicely in step - # 360

Saturday, Richmond Riverside, near the White Cross.

Camera: Olympus C7070 WZ

Sunday 20 January 2008

Trials and tribulations of success - # 359

......'roony turns towards home after his day out. He turns for a last look at the City of London, powerhouse of the world's foreign exchange money market, and the premier market for raising new capital and trading derivative financial products. And yet, even here, where financial expertise allegedly reigns supreme, the American subprime mortgage scandal has spread its tentacles.

In this picture we are looking at the riverside edge of an area measuring approximately one half square mile. The City - apart from Canary Wharf, further East - is just one mile square, so this picture shows the edge of roughly half of it.

If you think it looks like an unholy muddle......then, yes, you are absolutely right. But, golly, it sure is exciting.

Camera: Olympus E3

Saturday 19 January 2008

Away with the grey!!!! - # 358

This photo is being posted as a sort of protest (or cry for help) against the effects of La Nina on the British weather today.

Last Saturday we had one brief moment of relief before the rain and thick grey clouds returned. Day after day, and without a single break, relentless thick grey cloud covers the skies (sometimes two or three layers deep) and rain pours down in almost tropical quantities.

This bright and sun-filled photo shows window cleaners on the South Bank arts centre. It was taken last weekend when 'roony invaded Ham's territory -

Camera: Olympus E3

Friday 18 January 2008

Darth Vader has no hope at all!- # 357

Ask your search engine about the "Dicken Medal"
This is a British decoration awarded to animals who have performed brilliantly in war and saved lives by their actions. The role of honour includes, alongside dogs and horses, (I hope I'm correct) about 52 pigeons and one cat. The pigeons all have illustrious names and pedigrees and Simon the Royal Navy cat did a remarkably important job comforting the wounded and protecting the dwindling food supply from rats on board HMS Amethyst.

Thursday 17 January 2008

The Empire makes a pathetic attempt to strike back - # 356

While enjoying his few hours of release onto the town, 'roony spotted these two posers on a parapet.

Wednesday 16 January 2008

'roony is let out for the day - # 355

......yeeaaahhh, what fun!!!!!

Camera: Olympus E3

Tuesday 15 January 2008

"The Cruel Sea" in memoriam - # 354

Today there are flood warnings again all around Britain as the foul weather surges in from the Atlantic bringing dangerously high winds and huge quantities of rain.

I'm pleased to say that I captured the scene just as I wanted it......the waves on the pond, the flotilla of little coots toughing it out. They make me think of WWII corvettes on anti-submarine patrol in the Atlantic in 1941.
Camera: Olympus E3

Monday 14 January 2008

Olympian enjoyment - # 353 glad you all liked yesterday's (accidentally) blue cobbles. Here is the nice ice pattern on my blue car last Saturday.

Camera: Olympus E3.

Sunday 13 January 2008

Olympian confusion on Richmond cobbles......- # 352

Playing with the new Olympus E3 I accidentally took this strange photo of the cobbles along the riverside. The blue was the result of accidentally mixing two "White Balance" settings.

I found this quote in a learned German tome (Schmatz/Zobernig "Farbenlehre") on the subject of "Colour Theory".

.......Pythagoras wrote 6th Century B.C.
"Bodies have a surface. Colour. Colours have a gender. White, Black, Red, Yellow. The surface is the exterior of the body. Their exteriors differentiate animals from each other. The differences lie in food, the environment where they live, and the different latitudes under the heavens that they inhabit. That is what determines the multitudinous differences in their natures. The mixing of the elements results in the mixing of the colours. Touch the surface and deep down the colour rubs off. It’s one and the same thing. One thing follows the other in harmony. Like recognises like."

Saturday 12 January 2008

Terrace Gardens, Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park - # 351

I tried this in B&W but decided I liked it best in colour. The sun is brilliant but it was quite cold. Those who know Richmond will speak enthusiastically about this spot. And it's great for plane spotting, too!

Friday 11 January 2008

Shapes and shadows - # 350

Just me playing with textures and light and shapes.

Thursday 10 January 2008

Blocks and shapes and shadows - # 349

This probably won't set the blood racing through the veins of my "lookers and lurkers", so why is it here?

As said a couple of days ago, I like the effect of buildings glimpsed quickly through trees etc. and I'm intrigued as to why the blocks, curves and corner angles of buildings "please" us. I'm also intrigued as to why they look better (often, but not always) in B&W. What is it about variations of grey? This building is nothing to "write home about", but it has pleasing features that are worth picking out. It's location and view from the top of the ridge looking out from Richmond Park is stunning.

Over the next few days some more blocks, shapes and shadows will appear.

Camera: Olympus C7070 WZ

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Fat tree, small man - # 348

I imagine that this oak tree could be 400 yrs old. It looks as if its top has been taken for wood (to build a battleship?) or knocked off in a storm, and the crown has grown back on the massive base. Incidentally, Winter 2006/07 and the Spring of 07 were, it seems, ideal for oak trees. All over my garden young oaks have sprung up from acorns planted by the squirrels. I have never before noticed so many popping up.

Tuesday 8 January 2008

Civilisation is never far away - # 347

I just love catching little glimpses of architecture seen through tress and undergrowth, or coming round a bend in a country road. So, you have to indulge me and appreciate this nice carpet of woodland leaves surrounding old oak tress and beeches as we catch a glimpse of the Roehampton Estate from Richmond Park. Looking down on London from high in space (using Google Earth) you can see the Park as a large green blob .

Monday 7 January 2008

Cold, damp and wild in Richmond Park 5- # 346

Walking from the valley, up through the woods we come out on the high plateau. As we come out of the trees we notice.......a large group of red deer stags perfectly camouflaged, their antlers looking like dead wood sticking up among the bracken.

In October the stags were fighting and staking out their piece of ground and guarding their group of ladies. Now, the stags all bunch together in male harmony, and the ladies, likewise, browse in female groups.

To answer a couple of questions;

@Peter yesterday.....they generally move away if you get closer than 50 meters, so they are not so easy to photograph nicely with a standard camera.

@Freefalling.....the deer don't attack, but if dogs or people annoy them they do become dangerously aggressive, especially the stags. In October the stags are very agressive.

Camera: Olympus E3 at about 200mm hand-held, 1/320 sec, f4.0. Auto WB.

Sunday 6 January 2008

Cold, damp and wild in Richmond Park 4 - # 345

Needless to say, this photo will not win "Wildlife Photographer of the Year". Nevertheless it was exciting to come upon 20 or so Roe Deer stags hiding in the bracken. I found it hard to chose which picture to show.

See how well camouflaged they are. Notice how the spots on the back of the one on the right edge help to hide him. At first, I almost missed the group.

I chose this picture because it shows the face and head very nicely, and also shows off the body size. The one in front is younger than the one behind, judging by the development of the antlers and the build of the head.

Camera: Olympus E3.

Saturday 5 January 2008

Cold, damp and wild in Richmond Park 3- # 344

Old trees and tress brought down by storms are stacked to provide homes for beetles and fungi to flourish in. I liked the twists in this old trunk (a bit like a barber's pole). The shaft of sunlight was a nice accident and I chose this out of three or four versions taken on the Olympus C7070 WZ.

Thanks to all the kind visitors who left birthday comments yesterday. My replies are:
@ RamblingRound…thanking you, and wishing well also. Yr visits are always appreciated.

@Neva… are very kind. I must say I was psd to catch these two relaxing away from their gang of cousins.

@Fabrizio… Italian is never late, because his arrival is always welcomed. And yes, I am tired and the days when I could jump up at 23.00 hrs and say “Let’s drive 1,000 miles NOW, to see our Italian friends" are certainly gone. Tks for dropping in. A glass of Barrolo will always be ready for you.

@Freefalling….your visits are a treat, and stimulating. A: No, the deer are not on Common Land. It’s Crown Land. That means it’s my land but it isn’t my land. I can still stake out my goat on Common Land, but not on Crown Land. However, by the graciousness of Her Majesty (who is ultimately myself depending on which side of the law I am standing) I am allowed to pick up sticks on Crown Land (my land) to take home for my humble fire. My Profound Thing to Share?… 63/64 you feel the same as you did at 18. If only we could benefit more from “experience”, and find a way to extract more of the gold that lies deep within everyone.

@April….Tks. I assume you are German. Germany has always been good to me, and my career was based on knowing the German language.

@Z…..How nice, and how characteristic that my Indian(?) cyber-friend and wheat expert calls me Chuckles….that’s nice. I am a great fan of India and this is made even more enjoyable by my Punjabi daughter-in-law who is frightfully joyful and very, very noisy.

@Tony…..Tks mate! Have one for me in the White Cross.

@Jacqui…..Tks. I do enjoy your regular little “macro-shots”; always pleasing and calming.

@Antonia….Bulgaria has visited!!! Always welcome here.

@Jilly…..Dear Jilly, No honest, I am still only 8. I can be utterly childish at times.

@MarydeB…..Thank you.

@Oldmanl…..Abe, the stags are the “Queen’s Own”, so actually they are mine!!! However, the “Queen” would be very cross if I shot one. As you can tell, I am a long way away from the beasts, and using the 400mm lens. They knew I was there, but knew they could deal with me “He’s puny. I’m big”.

@Richard…..tks. Your visits are always warmly welcomed.

Friday 4 January 2008

I'm 64, you know - # 343

......... Really? You don't look a day over 8.

Today is my birthday! I snapped these two handsome chaps (7-8 year olds by my estimate counting the points on their antlers) a couple of days ago.

My good wishes to all of you out there.

Thursday 3 January 2008

Cold, damp and wild in Richmond Park 2 - # 342

The area near Kingston Gate is low, darkish and damp (being part of the depression that is the valley of the Beverley Brook). There is a stand of large Beech Trees. At this time the branches are bare. The branches look like the amazing fan vaulting of a magnificent, high, North European Gothic cathedral.

Camera: Olympus C7070 WZ

Wednesday 2 January 2008

Cold, damp and wild in Richmond Park - # 341

Jules of Rabaul DP in Papua New Guninea will give you a much lusher and more overwhelmingly exciting stream than this as she pictures her tropical rain forest paradise.

However, the Beverley Brook is a very ancient stream that winds over a long distance and graces Richmond Park for the last couple of miles of its journey before it enters the Thames. (In fact, the latest maps, drawn to indicate the degree of catastrophe that could be caused by climate change and extreme flood levels, show the tiny valley becoming a huge finger of water stretching deep into parts that might never dream that the seas could ever reach them).

That aside, the tiny stream is charming at any time of the year, and the fast flowing water is delightful as it reflects the ancient willows that grow all along the banks.

Camera detail:
Olympus E-3 - on full-auto with image stabiliser "on"
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/3.2
Focal Length: 50 mm (the E3 uses a 4/3 format that means the 50mm is equivalent to 100mm in 35mm format)

Tuesday 1 January 2008

Cloudscape- # 340

1st Jan 2008 has dawned grey and wet, fairly mild, but with a promise of worsening weather as the week progresses. We may even have snow down here in south-east. This will improve the photography opportunities outdoors. If not, I shall have to find some nice museums and architectural interiors.

At least these clouds made a pleasant pattern as the sun tried to break through over Richmond Park.

I wish you all a peaceful 2008. (Camera: Olympus C7070 WZ)