Saturday 31 May 2008

Mother and child - # -8/120

Great news from Ham Pond! Some time ago I told you the story of the demise of the resident swan family because of the uncontrolled dog. This year the new resident swan (who arrived after a season with no swans at all occupying the pond) found a mate, and four new cygnets hatched out about 3 days ago. I saw the new babies shortly after hatching, but had no camera. Here is my very first, carefully selected, shot (I'll show all four tomorrow).

Camera: Olympus E3

Friday 30 May 2008

Richmond upon Thames Daily Photo: The day of the ant - # 08/119

Richmond upon Thames Daily Photo: The day of the ant - # 08/119

The day of the ant - # 08/119

Ants are invading and exploring our kitchen, and leaving piles of fine earth all over the door step, and even swimming across water to taste food left in a basin surrounded by water. The ants are heaving and hauling and working very hard.

So, with this little "hand-held" macro shot, I hail the ant.....and hope it will soon go away. It's worth clicking on the photo to see enlarge it and see the ant's little eyes.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Photoshop moment in green and pink - # 08/118

Those Photoshop effects that slot in a colour figure within a B&W print are clever, and a useful special effect, but I don't really like them as much as I like a "real photo", created in the camera.

A couple of days ago I spotted this genuine "Photoshop Moment" as I crossed the Petersham Copse. In the middle of all the springtime greenery the little girl in her pink outfit stood out nicely and made a happy scene. Of course, I had to show it in full colour (Sorry).

Wednesday 28 May 2008

The ingenious opportunist - # 08/117

I invested in a squirrel proof birdseed feeder. Finally, after many weeks he has worked it out! His script goes like this: "You swing like this and you tilt the feeder, and then you hang there while the seeds tumble out of the glass container, slide down the base and fall into your open mouth. You just hang, and hang, until you simply cannot eat any more - or until the householder shoooos you off.
Then......being too full to run away, you stay up in the tree, close to the feeder, and taunt the householder and see how cross you can make him!! It's great! Try it! They can't catch you."

Click on the photos to enlarge them. It's even better!!

Tuesday 27 May 2008

An unexpected find - # 08/116

If you get caught by the in-rushing high tide flooding across the road in yesterday's photo (and if the high tide is severe, watch out!!! - It will be up to your knees) you will have to make a quick detour up the rise of nature's natural embankment, now known as Sion Rd.

This row of 18th century houses (about 1720 I believe) is an unexpected find in such a place. But it is on higher ground and the old builders probably knew what they were doing. Notice that the white-walled house, closest to us, and lower down, has a set of steps up to its raised entrance.

Monday 26 May 2008

The tide is high - # 08/115

No glamour here. Blondie may lull us with the pleasant song of that title, but the high tide at the foot of Ferry Rd, Twickenham, brings the flotsam of modern Britain. Imagine all the rubbish repeated endlessly all around the world, over thousands of miles of rivers in every country. No wonder there are whole areas of the world's oceans thick with this stuff.

Sunday 25 May 2008

Enough said! - # 08/114

One of the old ferry points from Twickenham across to Ham. Believe it or not, it's at the bottom of Ferry Rd. At high Spring tides the water rises high up the lamp post and blocks the road.

Saturday 24 May 2008

Twickenham after dark - # 08/113

In the evening Church Lane, Twickenham, is closed to cars. Restaurants are allowed to put out tables . The street becomes free for wanderers. Live R&B music flows from the Fox Inn and Eel Pie customers overflow onto the street.

ISO 800. 1/25sec @ f2.8. 100mm. Red filter. Olympus E3

Friday 23 May 2008

Wasting assets - # 08/112

We're continuing our walk along the riverside of "old" Twickenham, moving towards Hammerton's Ferry opposite Ham House. Not far to the right of this view is the busy repair yard on Eel Pie island. Perhaps these boats will be re-cycled one day, and sold "as new" to another proud owner.

This kind of riverside dereliction always puzzles me. The engine alone is worth a lot of money (unless it's totally burned out). But you see it all the time: derelict little "pride-and-joys" totally abandoned by owners who have realised that the idyll of a "little craft on the river" ain't so idyllic after all. However, marine dereliction is very photogenic.

Thursday 22 May 2008

Last night's hot news - # 08/111

We enjoyed a fine day and a wonderful early-Summer evening yesterday. Here is the sunset seen from the riverside opposite Twickenham near Ham House. No tweaks: straight from the camera.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Traditional fare - # 08/110

Continuing our little walk through the heart of old Twickenham beside the river we pass "the Eel Pie" inn.

I contemplated B&W because of the pleasant tones in this picture, but the colour hues are also very gentle and easy on the eye: so I went for colour, especially in honour of the floral display in the hanging flower baskets that matches the yellowish tones of sign boards so well. A good design consultant seems to have been at work here. The slight dampness of a recent rain shower makes the pavement shine, and has laid a slight misty puff over the trees in the background. B&W would have wiped that out.

Eel Pie also refers to the river island opposite Twickenham - a community of artists, eccentrics, philosophers and inventors that is so discrete and hidden away that it is hard to photograph.

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Through the gate, down the alley, through the garden etc...- # 08/109

We're still in Church Lane, Twickenham. This is the alley taking us through the garden of the Fox Inn - known to have been an inn on this site since at least the 1640s.

The Bar Fly told me that this inn sells "Real Ale" from local prize winning brewers.....must check it out.

Monday 19 May 2008

Church Lane on the afternoon of the F.A. Cup Final - # 08/108

Church Lane, Twickenham, is normally full. But last Saturday no-one was on the street and loud roars came from the pubs. The F.A. Cup Final (Soccer for the Americans among you) was played between Cardiff and Portsmouth.

Church Lane is at the tiny core of 17th - 18th century Twickenham, where houses of "town scape merit" cluster around the Georgian church. Before the coming of the railways Richmond and Twickenham were very tiny riverside communities relying on the trades of barge traffic loading and carrying agricultural products, milling grain, brewing beer, and the employment provided by a number of royal palaces and the houses of the first, second and third rate gentry who wanted to be close to royal influence.

After 1845 (beginning of the railway age) the population of these towns exploded, agricultural land was swallowed up and the scenery became definitely "urban".

Sunday 18 May 2008

Another piece of fancy stuff - # 08/107

Last weekend we enjoyed the sight of the lamps on the pedestrian bridge across Richmond Lock. Here we see the elegant curves of the bridge housing the sluice gate controls. The sluices hold back the whole River Thames, so they must be immensely strong. But this massive iron structure is totally elegant and pleasing on the eye.

Saturday 17 May 2008

One just can't get the servants these days - # 08/106

Ham House is a "1,000 hours house". That means that the collection of tapestries, funiture, paintings and decorated wood floors is highly sensitive to degradation by UV rays and the entry of sunlight is controlled, and severely restricted. Consequently one is often treated to evocative glimpses and engaging patterns of light and shade that in my opinion, enhance the atmosphere and make it even more enjoyable.

Here, a conservation cleaner has slightly raised the special anti-UV blinds while she cleans one of the state rooms.

Friday 16 May 2008

Richmond riverside on a hot day - # 08/105

Last Saturday was unusually hot for the time of year, a bit muggy and soporific and although the sun was strong, there was a bit of "London Overcast" which is normal in these conditions.

A whole battalion of tourists and locals are seen here enjoying the delights of the riverside. "Personal Space" was ignored as we all ambled along the tow path, jostled and dodged each other, a bit like busy ants .......... (The real ants decided that this was the moment to invade my kitchen. Ants obviously have highly advanced communication skills.)

P.S. look closely near the bottom and you will see one of the bizarre and poignant rose stems I showed in the post of a few days ago.

Thursday 15 May 2008

The photgraphic model - # 08/104

Please bear with me while I struggle through my J.G. Ballard moment.

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Wood seen as a reflector of light - # 08/103

Perhaps I shouldn't do this on a City Daily Photo...but I have so there.

We are in Richmond Park, in the Isabella Plantation. This large log has been cut to make a seat. It has become a bit polished by many trousers and the weather is working away at the grain.

The sun is strong and the light bounces back, almost as if firing a flashlight into a mirror. It's another one of the natural beauties to be seen in the Park.

Monday 12 May 2008

Light shining through ferns - # 08/101

Walking through the Water Garden in the Isabella Plantation , Richmond Park I enjoyed the way the sunlight shone through the lush, green ferns. B&W makes it look like a huge, mysterious jungle.

Sunday 11 May 2008

Streetside cafe culture - # 08/100

The open street cafe is a feature of life in the most unexpected places these days. Britain is far less grey and "indoorsy" than it once seemed to be. Or is that just my imagination?

Brilliant early morning sun brings an extra "something" to the early morning workman's coffee.

He's sitting in deep shade. Spot metering sorted out the shadows.

Saturday 10 May 2008

Engineering excellence - # 08/99

The lanterns on the late 19th/early 20th century construction of Richmond Lock on the Thames are remarkably good looking.

Friday 9 May 2008

Looking from St. Margarets back towards Brentford - # 08/98

.....we have walked through Bentford canal docks, seen the "Golden Mile", passed through Syon Park with the magnificent glasshouse and rare breed cattle, stopped for an apple pie in the London Apprentice inn, and are now halfway back to Richmond. We take a glance backwards, seeing the old ferry landing-point at Isleworth and in the distance the rising towers of "greyscale" Brentford on the Golden Mile. A tiny world of past and present, and the bit in the middle of that, all in the cup of your hand.

Grey day or sunny day, it's always a good photo.

Thursday 8 May 2008

How do we capture Spring? - # 08/97

Yesterday Richard made an interesting comment about the Mr. Fox photo. I have been trying to capture the amazing carpet of wild flowers we have around here at the moment. Each attempt seems to defy the technology of photography...or my mastery of it.

Richard pointed out the "Impressionist" effect. Indeed, day by day my transit through the Petersham Copse is assailed by the vision of the "pointilliste" painters. This looks great on a French painter's canvas but confusing and annoying in a colour photo, and B&W totally fails.

Richard is right when he questions Mr. Fox's presence. But wrong in thinking it was the fox that provoked the picture. The picture wanted to capture the carpet of "pointilliste" Spring flowers. The fox suddenly popped up, and being a sucker for fury animals I included him.

What do you think? Was the picture worth seeing without the fox? Should I have risked the "no-fox" version?

Today I'm practicing (not very well) my macro shots. See:

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Mr. Fox is late coming home - # 08/96

The meadows are jam packed with spring flowers. This is a "good" Spring.

This morning I stopped to snap the wild flowers in the ha-ha outside Ham House and spotted the fox. It's about 08.55, so he is late returning from his night-time hunt.

I hardly had any time to set the camera, so the image is all rough and fuzzy. But there he is - just one of our local foxes.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

'roony relaxes with apple pie - # 08/95

In Isleworth, beside the Thames, is the London Apprentice inn. It's old. It sits beside the even older church and the ancient ferry crossing over to Richmond. It serves nice apple pie.

Monday 5 May 2008

Isleworth Church from Syon Park - # 08/94

Moving westward out of the idyllic atmosphere of Syon Park with its grazing cattle and magnificent glasshouse, and its great house we see the tower of the medieval church by the river Thames at Isleworth.

No matter where I am, city or country, here or in foreign lands I am drawn by the effect of buildings and landscape grouped together in their unique local styles.

Sunday 4 May 2008

Portrait - # 08/93

Saturday 3 May 2008

The exhibition of local artists' work - # 08/92

Today I went to an exhibition of local artists' work. The sun shone. I love these local exhibitions. People try so hard with their hobbies. Somebody is obviously buying something.

Friday 2 May 2008

Cattle in field with oak tree - # 08/91

Traditional, rare breed longhorn cattle (I think they are most likely Scottish Highland Longhorns, but I'm not certain) graze in the parkland of the Duke of Northumberland's great house at Syon, near Isleworth.

This parkland also contains the magnificent glasshouse I showed several days ago.

From Brentford canal docks we cross the River Brent and enter Syon Park. We move from the Industrial Revolution and urban "grey" into the "English Landscape" within little more than 200 metres.

Over the next few days we'll walk from there back along the Thames into Richmond.

Thursday 1 May 2008

Trapped - # 08/90

The concept of Resurrection is powerful stuff, but the idea of Ascension goes even further. Ascension Day is an important festival in the mind of "Old Europe", and perhaps this is rightly so.

Regardless of sectarian faith, Ascension must surely appeal to all of mankind. The opportunity to ascend out of the clutches of whatever seems to hold us back is something we all crave.

Urban life is wonderful for some and a retarding drudge for many. It has robbed us of the benefits of many natural instincts and dis-empowered many to care for themselves because they have come to rely on "the system" or "government" to provide. That's only half the story, because living in a desert land without civilisation is also not much fun.

Anyway..........whatever/whoever you are: Happy Ascension - may you achieve yours.