Tuesday 31 March 2009

Version 2 - # 09/41

I'm still dithering, so here's the colour version of yesterday's. Which do you prefer?

Monday 30 March 2009

Sunlight across Ham Pond March 2009 - # 09/40

We've moved away from Surbiton/Kingston back up to Richmond.

Some of you will recognise the Pond on Ham Common with Gordon House behind.

Here's another attempt to capture the brilliant reflection of the sunlight across the water. I dithered over whether to use colour or b&w. Sorry about the cars at the back - but that's the curse of urban living.

You can enlarge the picture by clicking on it. It's full size, so that you can roam around a bit.

(For the technically minded, I confess to a tweak using an "oh, so soft and slight" touch with the very useful Neutral Density Graduated Filter tool in Lightroom 2.3. The shaft of sunlight was OK "in camera" but I felt it needed softening slightly).

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

Sunday 29 March 2009

Imperial Post Office 1898 (Surbiton) - # 09/39

This magnificent post office was built in 1898. (Expand the photo to admire everything about it that is superb right down to the Imperial Crown over the doorway).

At that time the North West Frontier of the British Indian empire was the liveliest border region in the world. The worst outbreak of tribal disturbances in the Khyber Pass region came in 1897, when the British even had to abandon Ali Masjid. Military control was not restored until the following year.

The symbolic contrast of this British suburban building set against the conditions on the North West Frontier in 1898 is quite overwhelming. That contrast is no less today - perhaps it is even greater.

There are only 70 years (one man's lifetime) between 1898 and 1968; the year when the film "Carry On up the Khyber" was made - a typically British piece of popular humour that reminds us that the Khyber Pass, Afghanistan and North West India (now Pakistan) are deeply burned into the British psyche.

You can experience that event here:


It's quite lengthy, but stay with it to the awful climax.

After that NOTE WELL...........this magnificent Imperial Post Office is now an Italian Restaurant.

Saturday 28 March 2009

St Andrew's Square II - # 09/38

I just wanted to show the fine impression made by the whole length of the Square in general.

For the unaware; Richard's comment yesterday referred to the missing iron railings.....all removed in the Second World War in a misguided effort to provide scrap metal for weapons. (You will see many "railing-less" terraces in Britain). I understand that the scrap was useless because the metal was unsuitable. The scars of this patriotic endeavour remain.

Tomorrow we'll take a trip back in time and accompany the British Army up the Khyber Pass.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Magnificent Imperial Surbiton - # 09/37

It's too easy to make fun of Surbiton, so please feast your eyes for a while on magnificent St. Andrew's Sq: built at the end of the 19th century at the height of "Imperial Magnificence" when the world atlas was indeed almost totally red. Click to enlarge and enjoy the attention to detail in these fine houses.

Monday 23 March 2009

Sub-urban-burbiton - # 09/36

First: a compliment to Freefalling who caught the sense of what I was trying to capture in the previous post # 09/35. The derelict catchment pools of Seething Wells have a degree of "sinisterosity" that is remarkably strong. It's nice to know that sometimes a photgraph "works" like you want it to.

While Seething Wells has a kind of presence that overawes, the post # 09/34 tried to capture a sort of "magical non-event"..............No. 1 Electric Parade is a garage housing a woodworking outfit: and No! it is not the secret laboratory of either Batman or even Flash Gordon, although I wish it were.

So what's this # 09/36 (a co-incidence of number, for I'm now talking 1930 or thereabouts).........It's an exciting Art Deco icon of suburban blandness. Kingston.....once the Capital City of Saxon England of the 10th Century....is now the ultimate Suburbia; a suburban town that actually has its own suburbs! Hence "sub-urban-burbiton" or to put it blandly Surbiton, the ultimate suburb of the England of the 1930s - Oh, Brave New World!

The mini-series "Suburban Sundown" tried to capture some of it. But here we go again. A magical non-event if ever there was one.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Seething Wells! - # 09/35

Close to Electric Parade (# 09/34) is or are Seething Wells.

Once upon a time this was said to be a hot spring. The Romans certainly knew about it. They built a large military camp nearby, where they re-equipped and rested before fighting their way across the Thames shortly after their original landing on the South coast.

Now it's the remnants of a huge Victorian water pumping and processing station; part derelict, part new housing estate, part university halls of residence. The site is overall totally un-photogenic, but here, where the sun is catching the water in a derelict catchment pen, there seemed to be something worth capturing.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

No. 1 Electric Parade! - # 09/34

Now wouldn't you just love to have an address like that? 1 Electric Parade: an address to conjure with.

'roony's been lost and casting around for an anchor point. You've all felt his deep psychological malaise. He thinks he's at last found a strong stable point where he can attach himself. What can it be? What is it about Electric Parade that inspires him and renews his strength?

Do yourself a favour and enlarge the picture with a simple click.

Monday 16 March 2009

Friday 13 March 2009

Decision time for the Boss! - # 09/32

Budget cuts, new operational decisions, customer service levels, staff loyalty, income, profit and investment. Nothing is black and white. The shades of grey are subtle. Look towards the unknown.

Wednesday 11 March 2009

The 99p Store! - # 09/31

Business is booming! Everything less than £1.00. Kingston upon Thames - a major premium grade shopping centre outside Central London (if I remember correctly).

Tuesday 10 March 2009

The passing of old friends - # 09/30

We've lived with it all our lives. It was a well known part of the town landscape, and now in every town all over the country it's a large gaping hole boarded-up against vandals and squatters.

Woolworths was an institution. In the more recent years it had lost its way a bit, but for millions of kids and their parents it still meant good value in toys, sweets and hardware and everyday clothes.

We all feel sad and rather stunned. It's like sitting in a life boat and watching your ship sink under the waves.

"Where were you when they announced the The Death of Woolworths"?

The extrawide angle lens adds a twist to the image and, for me, makes it even more poignant. I'm sad.

Friday 6 March 2009

Da Bar Fly's got rhythm - # 09/29

My friend, the Bar Fly, turned up last night and insisted on going to the Grey Horse in Kingston. "Delores Hylton is singing with great bongo, sax, and two guitars in support!"

"But" (I reminded him) " I always get carried away and go beyond myself at the Grey Horse. As a live venue it's just too exciting for me".

"Tush! We're going to hear Delores" he said.

So, here we are (or rather: here she is).

I used the Olympus C7070wz compact, which is a little bit under powered for this job; but the lens has done extremely well picking out the brick work which at least stood still! Being a masochist I enjoy struggling with available light shots.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Sunday 1 March 2009

Evening water - # 09/27

There's still not much going on under these skies, and there's even more rain and cloud forecast for the coming days.

This is an excuse for not finding much inspiration, and being unwilling to set up my tripod in the kitchen to do intriguing macro photos of rotting fruit (Ah! An idea!!!!).

However, yesterday evening the Thames at Kingston looked attractive as it reflected the (briefly) brightening sky. I enjoyed just standing and looking at it.