Sunday 31 August 2008

The arch of time - # 08/205

400,000 years ago an "interglacial hominid" - homo erectus - stood here on the high, dry ground above a soggy river valley and looked out to where the first glacier had stopped just short of today's London and poured out its mass of sand and gravel.

He looked, and dropped his bag of tools.

A second glacier came, stopped and washed out its sand and gravel.

Homo erectus evolved into homo sapiens. He discovered the science of metallurgy and the principles of mathematics, developed the science of glass making and optics and electronics, and made up games like football to amuse himself.

Modern engineers then built the brand new Wembley Football Stadium (the home of football) on the spot where the glacier had stopped and poured out its gravel.

I came, and stood on the very spot where archaeologists had found the "hominid's" abandoned bag of tools and took this photo of the Wembley Arch. The tool bag had no name tag inside, so cannot be returned.

The arch is about 7 miles distant. In the photo you can also see the surrounding structure of the rest of the new stadium. The detail that can be seen is a remarkable tribute to the science of opitcs and lens making.

(With acknowledgement to David McDowall and his "the Walker's Guide to Richmond Park" - an excellent little pocket book.)

Friday 29 August 2008

Reflections tones and illusions - # 08/204

Photography through the window of a new furniture store provides a complex vision.

The new store occupies what was the Central Post Office............closing post offices is a sign of how the electronic age is radically changing the way things are done; how we administer our interaction with the "form filling" bureaucracy and how we communicate by phone and e-mail. Many feel that Post Office closures are ripping the heart out of local communities. That's an extreme view, but it is widely held. It fails to see that change is the normal course of life. How is it in your country?

Thursday 28 August 2008

Having fun scaring ourselves - # 08/203

Do you remember how you used to pull on your wellingtons, go and find Jack and run off to the scary pool deep down in the green dark wood, and say that even if you just looked at it, it would suck you in - (saying the word "suck" with a special sort voice) - and imagine how if Grendel popped his head up you would whack him with your pointed stick? And how you would be one ofJulius Caesar's men finding this pool for the first time when you landed in Britain, and how a crashing pilot parachuted into it and was never seen again; and do you know, it goes all the way down to Australia.

No it doesn't! Oh Yes it does. Really!

Wednesday 27 August 2008

It's that time of year - # 08/202

In the forests of France and England and Italy the truffle hunters are out with their dogs and their pigs on harnesses hunting for truffles which are particularly good this year because of the damp conditions.

On the oak trees, like this one, remarkable fungi are appearing, looking strange and magnificent.

Tuesday 26 August 2008

End of the evening - # 08/201

It's late and the restaurants along the Kew Rd at the entry to Richmond will soon close. The inner rooms are cleared and the outside tables are deserted. A couple of lads head down into the centre to seek out the late night clubs nearer the railway station and the river. Cars stream home. The lights of the restaurants throw their colour tones into the night and the camera records them, white balance adjusted for the spectrum and exposure set to minimise the glare. Out in the back yard the rubbish of the evening is being bagged and binned. The photographer takes a last snap, packs up his bag and tripod, and heads for home.

Monday 25 August 2008

Polo - # 08/200

Ham Polo

Sunday 24 August 2008

Things I do - # 08/199

At Ham House the Earl's library is full of rare books. It would be nice for people to see what's in them.

Here is one of the Library Volunteers setting up a book to show some interesting pages discovered by the Archivist - perhaps with a note hand written in 1771 saying what the Earl thought about a new essay by Voltaire, or a note by the Countess written into an 1850s cookery book.

On the photo rig is my Olympus C7070 wz 7.1 mega pixel compact camera. This camera is well suited to this sort of job. It allows total manual control of all settings, and has an excellent macro capability giving pin sharp reproduction and a realistic appearance to the pages. The extremely useful swiveling viewfinder screen (see it sitting upright on the camera) helps us to position the pages perfectly and the technical screen display aids easy tweaking of the camera settings. Electronic wireless shutter release control helps us to work swiftly.

The selected pages will be on display. The books are too old and sensitive to be frequently handled by the general public, but our display will help them to discover that this library is not only rare and serious, but often amusing and engaging. It was a library that people really used - just like the internet is used today.

Click on the Ham House National Trust Link on the right hand side to see more details of Ham House.

Technical: Snapped with Olympus E3 set on Aperture priority f5.6 and set at ISO 200 using Olympus 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 zoom lens (the one I dropped onto the stone floor! As you can see; it's perfect!).

Saturday 23 August 2008

That one's gone for a four - # 08/198

...some excellent village green cricket was being played today on the Green in front of the 300 yr old St. Anne's church at Kew. Bright warm sun, a pleasant breeze with a touch of cloud from time to time all making for a pleasant combination. Cricket has been played here since 1737:

The batting was exciting, with both men aggressively hitting to score. Fielding was also good, with fast accurate throw-backs and recovery.

I've decided to offer a "spot the ball" competition. The winner can have an A4 colour print of this posted to the address of their choice. My decision is final.

Technical: Olympus E3, Lens set at 400mm, aperture priority at f5.6 and ISO 200. Camera selected 1/320th second.

Friday 22 August 2008

Atlas - # 08/197

Greek myth tells us that Atlas held the World on his shoulders.

The Landlord of the Bell Inn at East Molesey does exactly that. The building dates from at least 1460 and is quite obviously "hand made". One can even imagine it standing here for another 600 years. Traditionally built means "Strong, flexible, robust. A combination of the light and the massive" in this case. The wooden beams could today already be 1,000 yrs old, cut in 1460 from trees in ancient forests.

While the Landlord chatted and made us feel comfortable and welcome the Bar Fly's trusty Olympus C7070 compact camera went into action to catch this unposed natural snap. This camera is compact enough to be discrete; large enough to be easy to set up manually in dim lighting without fumbling.

For the technical: ISO 100, f2.8, 2 seconds exposure, lens at 28mm wide angle. Camera nestling in trusty bean bag on the table.

Thursday 21 August 2008

Not your usual daily Richmond 4 - # 08/196

Minimal footfall. Fast traffic. Richmond is not purely for gourmet diners. "We hardly ever close, and we cater for all tastes" could be the motto of the area that used to be known as "the World's End".

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Two figures in a dream - # 08/195

This piece of "Expressionism" is a pure photograph, which came direct from the camera. i.e. this is how I set up the camera and this is the result. No Photoshop or post processing were involved except for a minor darkening of the shadow area.

a) Do you like it? b) How did I do it?

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Monday 18 August 2008

There are no Russians in Richmond Park - # 08/193

People who leave large foot prints are much in the news today as the Russian Army enjoys its Summer Holidays in sunny Georgia.

Yesterday I spotted this brand new foot print in Richmond Park. Only one animal in Britain can leave a print like this.............a Badger (an appropriate name for the circumstances, perhaps). He's been digging a new set in sandy soil and must have left his mark only a few hours before I arrived. Badgers are protected beasts, so nobody will dare call a conference to discuss (at great length) how to remove him.

Sunday 17 August 2008

Me? I'm just a sweeeet bundle of testosterone - # 08/192

Here he is. A handsome "5 pointer" enjoying his fresh blackberries (thorns included), and so engrossed he took no notice of me.

It's hard to imagine that in about 8 weeks time he'll be a brawling woman crazy stag warning everyone to keep away.

Saturday 16 August 2008

Drama - # 08/191

The heavy cloud and rain throughout July and August have been rather wearisome, but now and then the sun has broken through to give stark contrast and magnificent "battleship grey" cloud backgrounds.

In this case the copper domes, brick and sandstone of Richmond theatre are bathed in late afternoon sun set against a background of dramatic grey cloud. A really "dramatic" spectacle.

Friday 15 August 2008

Marble Hill at night - # 08/190

I showed Marble Hill in full sunlight about 9 months ago. This recent (sun-down) night shot does it full justice and shows the excellent work of the lighting experts who have managed to display it so well. The house sits beside the Thames. (On reflection I should have cropped out some of the dark lawn - but even so it's a nice view of the house).

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Happy Helenium - # 08/189

Yesterday, my telephoto zoom weighing around 800 grms crashed to the floor as I disconnected it from the tripod.

The heavy lens fell almost 2 meters, hitting the stone floor with a very loud and sickening crash.

The magnesium metal "foot" for attaching it to the tripod took the shock and split. The lens is unmarked and functions perfectly. This shot was taken at the equivalent of 400mm on full auto. It looks perfect.

Obviously the fall has some elements of good luck but this is a tribute to the robust quality of the Olympus lens.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Two trees with cloud and aeroplane - # 08/188

.......look closely.

Monday 11 August 2008

@roony's big day out - # 08/187

'roony was allowed out of the house today and drove 60 miles into the country aiming for a certain spot. He passed an inn at about 57 miles which proved to have a gourmet chef in action. This is the lunch 'roony had.

Sunday 10 August 2008

3 things you did not know that you did not know - # 08/186

Dear old Rumsfeldt will at least be remembered for giving us this neat concept.

Here, the weather is foul, with almost permanent 10/10 thick grey rain cloud cover. Recently there was a sudden clearance, and low and behold, at 33,000 feet these three contrails presented me with a simple and enjoyable little snap. They were there all the time, but I didn't know until the clouds cleared. (Well, sort of. You know what I mean).

Saturday 9 August 2008

Enlightenment - # 08/185

See! The door that once barred our way to brilliance and clarity of mind now stands open, and knowledge beckons. At the end there flickers the promise that we may dine with the gods; become as they are, and know Truth. But we hesitate.

Thursday 7 August 2008

Not your usual daily Richmond 3 - # 08/184

High security .....notwithstanding it all, I liked the finishing touch of the spikes nailed to the top of the entrance gate.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Not your usual daily Richmond 2 - # 08/183

Wherever there is a fine restaurant there is a curving back stair, a loud hum of fans, a major waste removal issue, and more often than not a chappy sneeking out for a smoke.

Tuesday 5 August 2008

The Street of Good Living - # 08/183

As you enter Richmond from London via Kew Bridge and the Kew Road the first thing you see is a line of fine restaurants standing like a gateway to the town. In the evening the traffic dies down and a pleasant evening of fine-dining begins.

Monday 4 August 2008

Not your usual daily Richmond 1 - # 08/182

Here's an attempt at "urban renewal". This new office complex has appeared like a mushroom on a derelict industrial yard. It sits in it's little enclave surrounded by bijou workmen's cottages dating from the 1870s.

From 04.30 in the mornig until late at night it is overflown every 90 seconds by low flying airliners bound for the South Runway at Heathrow Airport.

I feel sorry for it.

Sunday 3 August 2008

At the supermarket - # 08/181

The ranks of trolleys doubled up by the reflection in the window provide endless fun for the photographer. The "dragon's teeth" effect is especially attractive.

Saturday 2 August 2008

Boat builder's paradise - # 08/180

The little workshop complex under Richmond Bridge always provides good material.

The little rowing boat seems to be a camping set-up with iron hoops to take the canvass cover at night. By the way: skiff camping on the upper reaches of the Thames from Oxford down to Hampton Court (a nice long skiff used as a tented sleeper overnight) - just like in Jerome K. Jerome's "Three Men in a Boat" - is still popular and a great way to experience the "real Thames".

Friday 1 August 2008

1664 - # 08/179

The Richmond upon Thames Bar Fly went out for a buzzz about last night and got caught in a time warp. If you think this looks harrowing.....well it was. The conversation ranged from the form and photogeneity of Bauhaus architecture to the beauty that arises by sticking to the discipline of the Sonnet form. Since the pub dates from the roughly the same year (more or less) as that stamped on the glasses (and before Australia had a name) it failed to provide the linear forms of Tempelhof airport that the Bar Fly was craving for.
This tortured effort was the best he could do to capture the play of light and shadow, of curve and straight line. (Enlarging the photo may help; but don't spend too much time on it.)