Tuesday 22 December 2009

Pause in service

Hello, this is Christopher, Stuart's son.

The Richmond upon Thames Daily Photo blog will be taking a short break.

My father had a nasty fall yesterday, slipping on some black ice. He will be in hospital for a while and then home for lots of rest and physiotherapy for a broken shoulder, hip and femur.

I know that he enjoys all the support and encouragement he gets from those of you who follow his blog.

If you feel like leaving some words of support, please do so - he will read them as soon as he is back online!


Sunday 20 December 2009

Tribute to L.S. Lowry - # 09/166

The painter L.S. Lowery delighted us all with his clever primitive-style paintings of people rushing rushing about in bleak industrial cities of the North of England.

The other day I noticed this crowd of shoppers on their way back to the multi-storey car park laden with bags, and I immediately thought of Lowery.

Friday 18 December 2009

When we walked on streets of gold - # 09/165

And do you remember when we walked on streets of gold?

Out late last night to photograph the party season crowd milling around the night club area.  The severe weather warning came true and left Trevor and me slaving over a freezing cold camera seeking sites that were a bit sheltered from the icey blast.  The car traffic was down to a miserable trickle and the bouncers were cowering in the entry doors.  Trevor struggled to keep the umbrella in a position where it shielded the lens, stayed out of shot, and was not at an angle that allowed the wind to catch it and whip it away.  Just remember one thing..........night shots are fun.  (Note and afterthought: wives were a bit quiet and unwelcoming when we finally got home. Must get to the bottom of that.)

Camera: Olympus E3. Fully Manual settings. ISO 100 f11.0 Shutter various around 3.5 to 10.0 secs.  Lens Olympus 14mm - 35mm f2.0.  White balance auto, tweaked later to slightly enhance blue and gold.  The B&W version lacks impact, so chose colour. 

Tuesday 15 December 2009

The British Grenadier - # 09/164

Two young Grenadiers in the helicopter returning from a gruelling tour in Helmand.

This photo was taken by Cpt Alexander Allan, Grenadier Guards.  He will not mind my showing it and mentioning my profound support and respect for these men.

I bought this copy as a contribution in support for the British soldiers wounded in this campaign.  Cpt Allan has now published a book of photographs.

On 29 October 2009, Third Millennium Publishing, launched  "Afghanistan: A Tour of Duty", the very first book of its kind, which reveals a remarkable photographic portrait of the Afghanistan campaign, taken by the former Grenadier Guards officer operating from the front line in the Helmand province. All profits from the book will be donated by Third Millennium to BLESMA (British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association).

Monday 7 December 2009

Study - # 09/163

Me experimenting and studying depth of field effects with lens set on f 2.0 aperture.

Friday 4 December 2009

Done and dusted - Baroque style - # 09/162

The toil of the last couple of weeks is done, and the great baroque house (1610) by the Thames is illuminated and decorated,  ready for its Christmas programme.  The Emperors around the wall seem to look satisfied with the treatment we've given them.

Here's a quick shot of the finished result, lights on for testing the effect, and last a minute check for correct alignment of the spot lamps, early this evening. Guests for the first evening programme will soon arrive.

Sunday 29 November 2009

From the Dogger Bank to Trafalgar via Tyne, and right across the Med - # 09/161

Hugely bad weather sweeps across the whole of Europe and the British Isles - torrential rain and wind.

So here's a rather dramatic looking shot of the Les Alpes Maritimes behind Menton taken last Summer. 

Saturday 28 November 2009

Big Glitcher! - # 09/160

Wooo! Scareeee!

I've got 3 hard drives and suddenly the one carrying the main Lightroom Catalogue glitched.  Thanks to the excellence of Lightroom and having over 2,000 photos backed up on 2 drives I rebuilt the whole catalogue in a trice thanks to the Lightroom back-up catalogue system.

Don't ask me what happened, but here's a photo that does what all photos should.....it tells a story!  This character occupies the Ham House messroom. Yes. It's a scary one. 

Sunday 22 November 2009

Who's hiding in here then? - # 09/159

I know that you enjoy the Ham House moments. 

Here the House has been "put to bed" for the winter and the conservation work continues while the visitors are kept firmly outside! 

The "conservation cleaner" is hunting for signs of the insect world who may have decided to try to move in and eat the house for dinner when no-one is watching.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Figures at the end of a gallery - # 09/158

You see the scene and sometimes your heart stops for a moment.  1 + 1 suddenly equals an infinity of emotion. 

Camera: Olympus C7070 wz.

Sunday 15 November 2009

The pond, the inn and the pick-up truck - # 09/157

The pond is probably tens of thousands of years old - if not a hundred thousand; the inn is a listed building with original parts at about 600 years old, and the Japanese pick-up truck is a recent model.

The photo shows the Plough Inn and pond, remnants of the village of "Old" Malden, at the 1930s suburb of Worcester Park, within the Borough of Kingston upon Thames. You can drive past it all without even realising it is there.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Something else worth seeing - # 09/156

Following along after yesterday's "delight",  here are two little late 19th Century villas, well cared for in Canbury Park Rd, Kingston.  Please enlarge the picture and spend a few moments noticing the tiny details and little differences.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Disney-Land in Kingston upon Thames - # 09/155

After more than 60 years of familiarity with Kingston I have to confess that I had never noticed this group of houses until today.  To be fair, it is at a spot where, although I passed frequently, I was always on a bus or driving a car, or too tiny to pay attention to such a marvel.  However, it just goes to show how much we miss, or fail to learn about our surroundings.

This group is at the bottom of Kingston Hill near the traffic circle at the junction with Park Rd.  Amazing!  Enalrge the photo to appreciate some of the detail.

Saturday 7 November 2009

The rain drop - # 09/154

We are having a wonderful Autumn, so this might be a bit unfair!

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Saturday 31 October 2009

Night time at Barnes Pond - # 09/152

The title speaks for itself.  The mediaeval riverside community of Barnes has a pond and an ancient church, many centuries old (and much re-built after ravages of fire and age).  The pond is surrounded by elegant late 19th century villas and the Sun Inn (a great "Bar Fly" venue) looks out towards the water.

Barnes now part of the Borough of Richmond and can be counted as part of London's great "Suburbia".  Is it nice in Barnes?  Again, let the photo speak.

Friday 30 October 2009

Stop messing about! - # 09/151

You probably wish I would post some nice photos of the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, I can only assure you I'm keen to get back to that point.  But it's not always that simple.

Anyway, I took a friend out to Barnes Common to play about with some night photography.  Things got out of hand and we ended up messing about with the lighting along Barnes railway bridge across the Thames.  Sorry!

Friday 23 October 2009

Food for deer - # 09/149

Autumn in Richmond Park.  The nuts are falling providing lots of fattening winter food for the deer.

Monday 19 October 2009

The working man- # 09/148

.....I'm still hard at it but unable to leave you totally abandoned without a nice cliche-ridden B&W: hope you like it.  (FYI.....the workman (not me) is replacing the anti-UV filters on the Ham House windows.  The House is a very strictly controlled to prevent destructive UV rays getting at the collection).

Thursday 15 October 2009

The working table - # 09/147

This little item proved difficult to get right.  It's still not exactly as I'd like it to be.  Anyway, there will now be a short period of inaction, with no postings for a little while.  I'm busy on another project which needs some time spent on it...........rather like this tantalising table with its grain, highlights, contrasting smooth, shiny chairs and angles and curves, sunlight and shadow.

Sunday 11 October 2009

Hidden delights - # 09/146

...another heavilly magnified crop, but worth displaying.

The green parrots enjoy eating Ham House for breakfast, and swarm about, early in the morning, attaching themselves to the brickwork.  We guess they have found something in the 17th century lime mortar that appeals to their taste, or perhaps they like to extract the grittiness to help diges the seeds they have eaten.

The parrot's lovely underside colouring is generally hidden from view until we photograph it in flight.  Likewise, visitors to Ham House probably fail to look up and notice the rich detail in the soffit of the roof.  This detail was of course included to show off the wealth of the owner when the house was extended in 1672.

Saturday 10 October 2009

Leather!- # 09/145

Those of you who like the arty Ham House shots might like to see this simple snap I did for a feature in the local newspapers promoting the display of a luxurious leather wall hanging that has been hidden away in store and in separate exhibition rooms.  It has been rehung on display so that more visitors can admire it in its proper context.

You will recognise the floor (see earlier "Servant Girl").  The wall covering is entirely of leather, and of course the pretty hanging above the table is the wall hanging just brought out for general display.  All the leather is the original 1672/3 "re-decoration" of the house.

Enlarge the photo and admire it.  Better still, go and see it before the house closes for the winter. (That's the time when I become most busy helping with all the winter maintenance.)

Thursday 8 October 2009

Colourful migrant - # 09/144

London has long been the home for spectacular Green Parrots who stem from an escaped pair and have now extended themselves across London so much that recently they were declared a "Pest" and you can get a licence to cull them if need be.

This snap has been extremely magnified from a 400mm telephoto shot and the bird was also flying at speed, but you can see the amazing colour scheme that nature has given to this parrot.  (I also forgot to switch on the image stabilizer which did not help the definition, either).

It's a Green Parrot, but the fanned tail and the underside of the wings displays beautiful colours that we down below rarely see, except when the high speed camera catches them.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Monday 5 October 2009

Let in the light - # 09/142

I'll bet they enjoyed all this just as much in the 17th Century as I do now.  Curves, angles, straight lines, sudden unexpected vistas, floods of light, deep shadows that form shapes, the incentive to just stop and look at how it's all arranged around you, everything pleasing the eye.

Friday 2 October 2009

Open door with open book - # 09/141

I just love catching glimpses through open doors and trying to capture the atmosphere or the feeling of surprise.  The glimpse in the mirror of a 17th Century tapestry is intriguing.  The angle of the table, the carpet, the open book seemed to have certain harmony in them.  How the mind likes to play games with us!

Thursday 1 October 2009

Servant girl - # 09/140

Another playful mock 17th Century bit of fun. I decided to show this because the "antique greyscale" treatment, in combination with the natural light, makes the most of the magnificent marquetry floor. This floor is very precious, and I'm only allowed to walk on it if I put on special slippers. The Olympus C7070 compact camera has done a good job capturing the details of the furnishings and the shiny tones created by the natural sunlight coming through the special double-layered anti-UV blinds that protect the treasures of Ham House.
I like this simple picture. It really pleases me: but without the servant girl it would be severely depleted. Now there's a thought.

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Crossing paths - # 09/139

The Copse behind Ham House. Slabs of light and shade in the late afternoon sun.

Tuesday 29 September 2009

So Yesterday, Darling! - # 09/138

Ham House has to be "felt" as much as seen. You are indeed back in the 17th Century. The light here is coming only from the dim, low wattage electric "candle lamps" that light the rooms one by one. The shutters are closed. The house is dark, waiting for the visitors to arrive. I wander, glimpse the scene and try to capture the feeling. Take yourself back to 1673.

Sunday 27 September 2009

Friday 25 September 2009

The Bar-Fly observes circles of influence - # 09/135

Isn't it strange how some people are "in" and some are definitely "out"? "Nobody ever tells me what's going on". "I've watched people going up and people going down; but they couldn't see it, or control it".

It's a long time since I did a decent "Bar-Fly", and I don't rate this one very high in the series. Bar-Flies are spontaneous but, actually, they aren't. They have to come together in a mysterious unplanned way, where numerous components just suddenly "fit". Like "circles of influence" in the cosmos and in human affairs, lots of other things have to happen in a precise way, and actually they are highly complex and organised forms of chaos.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Texture and shadow........ - # 09/134

..........and a lot of obscurity.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

The shape of light - # 09/133

I'm really sorry about yesterday's incident. I can't think what came over me.

Monday 21 September 2009

The macaroon and the coffee cup - # 09/132

Playing about with my "Lightroom 2.5" I produced this. Now I feel unnerved and disconcerted. Why? At least I did not do this on an iPhone.

Sunday 20 September 2009

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning - # 09/131

Don't you just love the tonality of my kitchen early in the morning? (I was also playing around with the 300mm focal length).
Don't worry: musings on B&W are finished (I just needed to make some personal explorations, for my own benefit).

Friday 18 September 2009

No contest - # 09/130

Here's the colour version of the Ham Dip Pond (thanks for waiting patiently). For me there's no contest. The B&W is "busy" and confusing to my eye, whereas the colour removes the confusion. For me this image is not a gut-wrencher, but it pleases me more.

Tomorrow, some more musings. Can you stand it? It's going to be a stunner in B&W.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Portrait of Richmond - # 09/129

We'll continue the little discussion on the difficulties of B&W tomorrow, with the promised showing of the colour version. Thanks to "Richmond" and "Virginia" for their contributions/helpful comments.

Meanwhile, allow me a moment of self-publicity to announce the publication of the my photo-book.

It is available on Amazon - even on Amazon Japan I have noticed - and also in "The Open Book" an excellent independent shop at 10 King St. Richmond and in the shop at Ham House.

Stocks will arrive in the shops over the next day or two. I am grateful to the Publisher, Halsgrove, for the design and presentation of the book as one of their very wide range of books featuring the towns and regions of Britain.

Monday 14 September 2009

Dilemma in B&W - # 09/128

There are two ponds near Ham Gate in Richmond Park. David McDowall's "Walker's Guide to Richmond Park" tells us about the evidence of Iron Age agriculture and the site of a 17th Century house that once stood here, close to Ham Dip Pond (this, the higher of the two ponds).
I am fascinated by this spot - it often has a lone Heron - which cries out to be captured. Perhaps it would be easier in a painting. Photographically it is, for me at least, a hard challenge. Perhaps I must get up earlier or stay later in the evening.
The B&W photo appears to me confusing and fails to celebrate the smooth tonality I like in B&W; nor does it do justice to the water and the vegetation.
There are plenty of grey and black tones in this, but I feel the shot fails to capture or convey the atmosphere that I experience. This site ought to be a "B&W gut wrencher", but it isn't.
Tomorrow I'll post the same version in colour.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Lone bench in B&W (Richmond Park) - # 09/127

Throughout Richmond Park there are many well-placed benches where walkers may rest and take in a particular view.
I've decided to try to work in B&W for while and explore the complexities of it. Colour is so much easier (duck as boots are thrown), and there are certain combinations that do not work so well in B&W as they do in colour.
I didn't find this subject easy. It lacks a human interest (solitary figure); it would be better taken from behind towards the view (but hanging trees and extreme contrast made that impossible); the photo needed a bit - not a strong amount, certainly a fair degree - of tweeking to get the contrast, exposure and tonal quality to be as I felt they should be.
However, the dappled shadows on the path and the general tonal effect are as I saw them in my mind, and worth capturing.
NB......"Portrait of Richmond", my book, is now available for order on Amazon and will also be in stock in "The Open Book" in King St. Richmond and in the shop at Ham House as from 21st September.

Friday 11 September 2009

The fair golf courses of Coombe - # 09/126

The sinking September sun casts long shadows across the luxurious golf courses that stretch across the heights of Kingston Hill. Twice a year, for a short period in late Spring or early Autumn, you can go up in the evening and just drink in the scene, when the angle of the setting sun and the quality of the light are "just perfect".

Thursday 10 September 2009

Flash roses - # 09/125

....just messing about with flash-light and shadow.
(By the way: in spite of my lack of ouput and rather introspective and unfocussed content of late, I've actually picked up another "regular watcher". Thank you, whoever you are. Believe it or not 20 souls gasp for my infrequent renderings. Daily stuff is too hard these days.)

Sunday 6 September 2009

Monday 31 August 2009

The Edge - # 09/123

On the edge of London there is Kingston and on the edge of Kingston is Esher. On the edge of Esher there are great hills of sand, washed out millions of years ago from the edge of the Great Ice Cap when it stopped at the northern edge of London.

At the edge of the sand hills there is a steep vertical cliff; a true "edge" where unwary travellers could fall perhaps 20 meters or more down in the night time darkness.

At the foot of the edge is the River Mole. This photo was taken on the edge of the river bank.

The water reflected the light from the totally grey cloud-covered sky, but the picture was difficult as I worked at the edge of the light.

Camera: Olympus E3. ISO 200. Lens 100mm. Aperture f8.0. Shutter 1/10th second

Saturday 29 August 2009

English Grapes - # 09/122

The grapes are doing nicely in the garden at Ham House. So the excessively cloudy weather cannot have been totally bad.

Thursday 27 August 2009

Shadow - # 09/121

Those commenting on yesterday's photo rightly reminded me that certain parts of Europe have suffered from extreme heat. So, here's something that might help to calm and cool us all down. The utilitarian, squared-off little box is a climate control sensor. What irony! What pleasant tones.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Summer cloudscape - # 09/120

It's dramatic and quite attractive when it appears like this, but on the whole I am totally fed up with this so-called Summer. Today, the flat grey featureless cloud and the rain make it even worse. I have a painting on my wall showing the coastline of Northern France. The clouds look very similar in that picture. I wish Mr. Sarkozy would keep his weather to his side of the Channel.

Saturday 22 August 2009

The Bar Fly discovers Kepler's Dream - # 09/119

The Bar Fly's companion in conspiracy resurfaced after a little time away on mysterious missions "out East".

Where are we off to tonight? Canbury! Where? Canbury: it's the old industrial slum area of Kingston. The leather tanneries and early metal works and even the pre 1914 Hawker's aircraft factory are now long gone, and it's all "gentrified". I've discovered this old pub "the Canbury Arms" - they have an excellent food menu and a good atmosphere.

Great. I'll bring along my copy of Johannes Kepler's 1634 book about travel to the moon. It's an early "space travel" novel. We can discuss it. Unfortunately I don't have the original German edition.

Kepler! Wonderful! I can't wait. Don't you just love those 17th century mathematicians?

Thursday 20 August 2009

1/15sec #2 - # 09/118

It's not so speedy here! The rule is: Just snap randomly at 1/15th second. Having stowed the bike I dive into Ham House and snap randomly (honest; it's random) as I enter the "dungeon" where those of us who are too horrible to be seen in full daylight toil and strive to repair the unrepairable.

This is a random shot of a striving colleague.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

1/15sec #1 - # 09/117

I decided to see what would happen if I just attached a wide angle lens, locked the shutter at 1/15th second and simply clicked away randomly.

So, be prepared a for a load of weird shots. At least it's a way for me to climb out of the dearth of photos and themes that has built up after a rather abnormal Summer of bad weather and dealing with all kinds of "wot-not" that has taken my time and attention away from creating nice photos.

Here I am, speeding towards Ham House. Ahead is one of my "favourite trees", looking rather brown. I must investigate to find out why. Don't you just love it when you come across diverging foot paths?