Wednesday 25 February 2009

Grey days in Richmond upon Thames - # 09/26

When the cloud cover is constant, day after day, with no dawn and no sunset, and no feature in the cloudscape - just a flat grey - you must experiment and make the best of it.

Looking towards Richmond Bridge from Petersham Meadows we at least get a shine on the water as it tries to reflect the featureless sky, and the lens picks out the distant bridge and puts some texture into the water.

It's late afternoon. There should be a fine sunset from behind me; but there ain't.

Camera: Olympus E3 Lens: Olympus 14-35 1:2

Monday 23 February 2009

6 lines set and two mates to chat - # 09/25

Fishing, one bright day at Kingston riverside.

Camera: Olympus E3. Lens: Olympus 9 - 18mm 1:4.0 - 5.6

Friday 20 February 2009

Black swan washing - # 09/24

Still at the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes: here's an Australian black swan washing itself.

I took several frames of this bird going through the antics of twisting itself into amazing coils, reaching every part of its body in the cleaning operation. I missed the moments when water was showering in all directions, but this is my choice photo showing off the "contortions".

Perhaps I ought to have cropped out some of the water area, but at least the bird is in context and does not overwhelm the whole picture

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Two ducks, male and female - # 09/23

This is not my usual style of photo, but as Spring appoaches I couldn't resist this charming picture of "Him and Her" in their new home inside an old canoe. It was taken at the

Wildlife is under pressure and the Wetlands Centre is a remarkable example of how a huge 19th Century city water processing and distribution "miracle of engineering" can be converted into a magnificent and successful haven for water fowl.

A day out at the Centre is a delight for photographers and families, whatever their interests. It's like a world tour accomplished in a few hours.

Monday 16 February 2009

Oh merrie Thames! See......... - # 09/22

……… broad-shouldered Rhone and Rhine do thrust and jostle their rumbustuous way to South and North, seeking by sheer superfluity of volume to make their mark upon this tiny globe.

But thou, oh bright, happy stream, dost flow, modest and gently sparkling, beguilingly from West to East, thus capturing with cunning wit the wisdom of all the universe in thy sun-arced track.

Sunday 15 February 2009

Walk gently into that sweet light - # 09/21

You've seen similar perspectives from this view point, but in this one the light is different.

For many days, even weeks and weeks on end we've had no dawn and no sunset; just endless cloud. Now, as we move towards the Spring we can see a small change. The quality of light is definitely changing, and we've even had the occasional dawn and sunset (but not many!).

This clean steely-grey sundown endows the water with its magic quality and the river reflects it back, with gratitude.

The river tow path is wet with the remains of rain, snow and flooding as water rushes down from higher up river.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

The trompe l'oeil painter - # 09/20

It's always nice to see someone working. At Ham House we are boxing-in a delicate table marble-topped table piece that needs to be protected at certain times and in certain conditions.

Tim and I painted and prepared the wood with an ultra smooth finish, laying on about 5 coats of paint to very precise instructions, each coat being a different type of paint and smoothing down each layer to a mirror-smooth finish before the next one was applied.

This work prepared the base for the trompe l'oeil painter who created a realistic marble top that matches the original hidden underneath the box, and now she is applying a design that will match the surrounding wall panels, which you can see at the back.

It looks great! I tweaked the contrast a bit to emphasise the shadows, but you can already see the realistic effect emerging on the flat surface.

See other "At work in Ham House scenes" in posts # 10, 12, 33, 49, 296, 08/06, 08/73, 08/78, 08/158, 08/167, 08/259, 08/265.

Monday 9 February 2009

300 million years too young - # 09/19

Richmond Park is a rare thing: an area of acid grassland 8 miles in circumference and a site of special scientific interest.

It's a rich source for photographers. When conditions are right I try to turn it into "The Land that Time Forgot". Fortunately the dinosaurs are all away for the day when I go out to play.

This relic of a storm-felled tree made me think of the carboniferous age when our great hard-coal seams, essential to the making of iron and steel and the driving of giant steam engines, were laid down.

Saturday 7 February 2009

The Retreat from Moscow - # 09/18

As we moan and complain about our cars getting stuck on our modern roads in snow, it's appropriate, in my opinion, to remember how fortunate we are and that even in the 1930s there were still many, many roads that looked like this track across Richmond Park. What have we lost? What have we gained?

It's not surprising that Napoleon, and after him, Hitler, had a problem. I'm glad I wasn't there. I'm pleased every time I see a helicopter and a heavy haulage machine.

Friday 6 February 2009

Coot on ice! - # 09/17

Don't you just love his huge feet, his little red cap, his shiny black feathers, and admire the way he toughs out the frozen lake regardless of wind and weather?

Image taken at Pen Ponds, Richmond Park.

Monday 2 February 2009

An Event in Suburbia - # 09/16

We no longer have "severe weather". We now have "Severe Weather Events". And so the unnecessary inclusion of extra words, and pseudo-scientific-speak goes ever onward.

Will this "event" include all kinds of extra side-shows and spontaneous "happenings" in addition to the pure and simple unusually high snow fall - the worst for 18 years? So much so that I discovered that my wellingtons had perished as they lay unused in the cupboard under the stairs, and the rubber sole of my bad-weather shoes had come unstuck and was letting in the damp.

Anyway, I'm starting to betray my age by such common-sensical griping. And "NO, I do not go along with the moaning about Not Being Prepared For The's so rare that the investment in necessary equipment is not worth it." That's not precisely what I think, but it will do for now.

Here is my beloved London Suburbia looking unusually pretty at 07.00 hrs this morning.

Sunday 1 February 2009

Chinese New Year! - # 09/15

The local Chinese community performed a special Dragon Dance to entertain shoppers in Kingston and invited us to join in their New Year celebration.

I have just watched an enthralling 1 hour BBC TV programme in which Richard Attenbrough told us all about Darwin's great discoveries and demonstrated to us that, in a certain way, we are all related to oneanother right through the chain from the earliest slimey thing in the primeaeval ocean 572 million years ago up to man. We are indeed, all animals and all men, all one family.

This gave me a lot to think about and ponder.