Thursday 24 November 2011

String of Pearls - # 142/2011

Not the finest macro shot in the world (hand held and the camera waving about all over the place) but nevertheless very, very nice indeed.

The recent heavy fog covered Europe from England across to Norway and all the way down over France and Germany to Vienna, Austria.  That's a very big cloud of fog - which is an excellent metaphore for the fumblings of European politicians failing to manage the Euro-crisis.

Unlike the efforts of Sarkozy and Merkel this string on the spider's web hangs together extremely well and does not unravel within milliseconds of the next (bad) decision being taken.  

Saturday 19 November 2011

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Thames at Richmond - # 140/2011

No "big deals" here, but it's time to re-visit the usual scenes and show them as they are right now on certain days in November.

This is the time of very low tides and the river is almost totally "switched off" by the closure of Teddington Weir to allow inspection and maintenance.  So the low water is both natural and also managed by modern man.

Here's the view of the Thames opposite Petersham Meadows.  The Sun is brilliant but there is that noticeable and delightful mistiness in the atmosphere that adds something to a photograph.  It's just a snap, but it sums up why the area has been loved and appreciated by poets and painters for hundreds of years. 

Sunday 13 November 2011

Bath - Pultney Bridge - # 139/2011

A short trip to Bath this week supporting club members presenting their panels to gain Licentiate of Royal Photographic Society distinction.  All three gained the Licentiate.

I took this night shot of the Pultney Bridge in Bath which, as many of you will know, is famous for its hot water springs enjoyed by the Romans:,_Somerset

Saturday 12 November 2011

Camolflage lesson - # 138/2011

Nothing posted for a week: busy etc.

Yesterday I snatched a chance to walk deeper into one of the more densely wooded areas of Richmond Park to see who was hiding there.

The rut is over, and the stags are once again gathered in peaceful groups of "All Boys together".  Fighting? What? Us? Never! We're mates!

I almost walked past this quiet group hunkered down in the bracken, their antlers looking exactly like the fallen tree branches, and their coats the same colour as the Autumn vegetation.   

Thursday 3 November 2011

After the rain in London - # 137/2011

This one looks rather good in B&W but the colours are so attractive I decided to stay with colour.

We've jumped back from Richmond and Twickenham in November, and are revisiting Central London in August.  The weather is (it seems to me) a bit better now than it was then - well sort of, plus a few "Ah, well, Yes, if that's what you want to says" thrown in.

Anyway; a nice touristical snap showing from right to left, the Ministry of Defence, Old Scotland Yard (the Police HQ before they built New Scotland Yard) the new parliamentary office buildings and then of course Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament themselves. 

The wide angle lens has given it all a bit of a curve, but who cares!

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Mud, mud......- # 136/2011

It's the season of very low tides again, and soon the Thames will be "switched off" by closing Teddington Lock.  The Annual Draw Down will allow inspection of banks and boats and no doubt will yield the usual haul of discarded firearms and other ammazing finds other than engineering "issues" for the city's engineering department.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

More London - # 135/2011

In stark contrast to yesterday's image of quiet Twickenham we have this view of the modern architecture in the new development called More London close to Tower Bridge, in the centre of London. 

Monday 31 October 2011

Twickenham riverside with nice sky -# 134/2011

Just a nice standard "City Daily Photo".

Sunday 30 October 2011

Weird ice cream - # 133/2011

Yesterday I heard on the BBC News a report about a Dutch farmer who is starting to export camel's milk ice cream to Britain.  The reporter tasted it, declared it very good, with its own unique qualities that made it recognisable and highly acceptable, and the farmer said that it is essential for the camel to be happy. "A happy camel gives plenty of good milk".  Unhappy camels do not. So that's good news about the farming method.

This ice cream, in the photo, was made from buffalo milk. I tried it several weeks ago. It's also very good. It has a very substantial constistency and a fully rounded flavour that is not overpowering - a fullish start with a light finish might be a good description (if my memory serves me well). It leaves you well satisfied but not over sated.

I liked it so much that I actually tweaked the sky in the photo to enhance the image of the ice cream!!  ;-)  So let's give it more !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!marks. 

Saturday 29 October 2011

Sunlight through trees - # 132/2011

I know it's hackneyed - everybody does one at this time. But it's nice to see. The sun cutting through the trees on a brilliant Autumn afternoon in Richmond Park: no shafts of light created by mist or smoke, or points of light created by using a very small aperture, but pleasant shadows.

Friday 28 October 2011

The lone tree - # 131/2011

'nuff said.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

A corner of a field - # 130/2011

Rupert Brooke, the First World War poet, wrote "If I should die, think only this of me: that there's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England".

Rememberance Day is coming up on the 11th November.  I am constantly amazed by the capacity of Britain to continue to shed its blood in foreign fields.  These fields near Oxford reminded me of the poem.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Mediaeval - # 129/2011

We're now going back a long way.  A pleasant day out near Oxford brought me to this ancient landscape where the impact of ancient farming and village organisation is clear to see but not so simple to photograph.  I dithered for ages about which shot to choose. 

I settled on this one.  You can read about medieval Ridge and Furrow here   The fact that its remains can still be seen amazes me.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Having a scratch - # 128/2011

Seeking an iconic "Monarch of the glen" I found nothing but this chap scratching his nose.  I even had to put up with a bit of fencing where the Parks Management is doing restoration work.

Monday 17 October 2011

Teapot c1672 - # 127/2011

......just messing about: but.............I love this teapot, so I've tried to give it some special treatment.  It is in Ham House.  It was made in China in about 1672 and exported to England as a "luxury good".  The crackle on the glaze is rare and unusual, and done on purpose by the makers, thus demonstrating their high skill as makers of expensive, decorative ceramic ware.  This alone, apart from the other attractive features adds to the quality and aesthetic value of the pot.  Even more remarkable: this teapot was made in about 1672, so you see, the design of a good teapot has not changed.  It is believed that tea has been served from this pot, in Ham House, where it sits, since 1675.

Sunday 16 October 2011

All the fuss is over - # 126/2011

A few weeks ago a fellow Richmond area photographer, Robert Piper, captured some moments of extremely violent aggression in Bushey Park as stags fought during the annual rut.  His photos made the national press and went even further around the world.

My trip to Richmond Park, during the same period, was obviously poorly orchestrated!  I found nothing but peace and harmony.  I kept my distance from this huge bruiser as he sat with his 20 or so hinds.  I didn't want to annoy him.  However, this extreme crop from the 400mm lens has come out well, to show that life is not always "total war" - depending on the precise moment when you view it. 

Saturday 15 October 2011

Richmond Bridge - # 125/2011

.......a nice B&W of Richmond Bridge.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Junk - # 124/2011

We're still at Richmond Palace. I hope you enjoyed discovering the comment about the 16th C flushing toilets in the wiki notes.

I chose this rather harsh looking treatment for the B&W photo because I wanted to enhance the texture of the ancient brickwork - which is also why I took the photo.  You can clearly see remnants of the very old structure (filled in arches).  I guess that what we are seeing here are windows put in during a late 17th or early 18th C development.  I also notice that a car roof has sneaked in.......arrrrgghh!!!  The grey overcast weather (cloudy but surprisingly warm) was ideal for B&W photography.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Richmond Palace 1501 - # 123/2011

At long last I'm feeling like getting out a about again, fit enough to walk about more and carry the dreaded "heavy camera". I can take very nice photos with the "little camera", but the "big one" gives me more exercise.

So it's time to get back to trying to show some more of Richmond and try it in B&W. Here's Richmond Palace - it's very old...............but not much of it is left: .

I chose this shot because it's got a figure in it.  Nobody came along when I was taking some slightly better angles, and although I don't "do" people I felt that the archway needed a figure. These days the acursed car cannot be avoided and is too hard to clone out.

Be warned - more B&Ws (as opposed to BMWs) are on the way.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Changing London - # 122/2011

"As solid as the Bank of England" used to sum up just about everything in the architecture of  The City - massive, grey, somewhat dirty and still a bit smoke-scarred by WW2 bombing and not particularly "uplifting", but definitely "resilient".  I liked working in The City but I didn't enjoy the built environment very much. That's changed. New Change was the site of some typically massive offices once occupied by the Bank of England (I believe) - the bank building itself is a little further down the street.

New Change was knocked down and this year replaced by a steel and glass marvel that prays to the gods of shopping as well as commerce: the circulation of money rather than the careful stewardship thereof.

I like this 6 floor miracle of modern architecture in the new City of London. Interestingly, the whole structure seems to fade away into nothing when given certain kinds of photographic treatment. Is that also symbolic of our modern, post 1945 economy based on consumption rather than solid investment? 

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Your table awaits - # 121/2011

Those who live in the London area will know that we have had exceptionally warm, sunny weather for the last several days (also some abnormally cloudy and nasty weather, too). Sun in September is normal, cloud is not normal, but temperatures of 28 degrees C are highly unusual and absolutely delightful!  Delightful, too, is this little scene on a cafe-barge moored beside the bank at Richmond. Hot, sunny, and overall, very, very nice indeed.


Tuesday 27 September 2011

Colour - # 120/2011

Detail of rudder and rope "fender" on canal barge, moored at Little Venice, on Grand Union  Canal, Paddington, London.

Friday 23 September 2011

Cockle-shell hero - # 119/2011

British lads of a certain age will recognise the title - a film about the British wartime submariners who as "frogmen" piloted midget submarines and tiny kayaks on dangerous missions to mine enemy battle ships.

This boat is traditional sail driven cockle dredger operating from Southend on the Thames Estuary.  "Endeavour" was built in 1926. She sailed to Dunkirk in 1940 as one of the "little ships" which rescued more than 300,000 men of the British Army from the beaches of Dunkirk.  She is still going strong and carries her Hero badge with pride.  History of Endeavour

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Park hues - # 118/2011

Still at Pen Ponds, but looking at the colours that appear in the water and the surroundings. This spot didplays a million changes of mood.

Friday 16 September 2011

Tonal exercises - # 117/2011

At last we're back in Richmond (not sure for how long - there are so many other things to photograph).

Pen Ponds in Richmond Park are an ever changing scene. This shot is not supposed to be representational. I'm experimenting and enjoying the "tonality" presented by the Ponds under varying skies. 

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Tower Bridge after the rain-storm - # 116/2011

Looking through the glass of the high-speed river bus the scene is slightly brown-tinted and shows some traces of rain and river water droplets. But this actually enhances the drama. The terrific rain storm has passed, the sky is blue, but more "weather" is building up.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Diagonal - # 114/2011

Another abstract impression of a glass and metal marvel opposite the Lloyd's building in the City of London.

Here's the original shot.  Sunlight shines on the aluminium and glass and produces are a wonderful effect.  London is no longer city of heavy grey stone, blackened by smoke.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Squirly whirly - # 113/2011

In the area roughly where Cannon St. and King St. meet we find this modern structure.  Here is my photographer's view. Below is the everyday view.

Monday 5 September 2011

All change at New Change 112/2011

I'm experimenting trying to "see" things differently.  Here is my vision of the magnificent glass and steel creation on the No. 1 New Change site that opened this year, opposite St.Paul's.

Below is what it looks like to the "unimaginative" eye.  I really like the light, ethereal, ultra-smooth, smokey-glass structure. Packed inside is an Aladin's Cave of shopping and commercial delights. The previous post showed how it offered a new and enjoyable view of its neighbour, St. Paul's Cathedral.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Split St. Paul's - # 111/2011

Another new, unexpected vista created by the new architecture in the City of London.  "New Change" was a large office block and is now a major new shopping centre and commercial area.  Looking out towards St. Paul's Cathedral the glass structure creates this vision.

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Lost in the City - # 110/2011

Over the last 20 years the City of London (the Square Mile - financial and trading district) has continued to go through a rapid and radical and highly expensive period of building renewal and transformation.  Here, glass and stone and natural light work together to create a new vista, and a new way of seeing things in a very old part of London close to the spot where the Romans founded their first London quayside.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Bright City - # 109/2011

Yes, it's real.  While America was suffering from the severe storm that wrecked the east coast all the way up beyond NYC, I went down to the mouth of the Thames to photograph the views around the Thames Barrier - the massive defensive system built decades ago to defend London from rising sea levels.  We need it and, it is regularly deployed, several times a year, to block the incoming waters that would under certain conditions devastate London all the way up to Richmond. 

Looking west towards London and the Barrier we were confronted with the sight of this massive rain storm appoaching fast.  The grey clouds above us were shedding a surprising amount of light that, unexpededly, illuminated the huge towers of the Canary Wharf financial area. In the left corner of the photo you can see that one of the massive grey walls of the Barrier has actually been raised, although all the other passages remained open.

The photo was taken at about 17.30 hrs.  By 18.30 London was once again rejoicing under brilliant blue, rain-washed-clean, sun-blessed skies. Amazing!

Monday 29 August 2011

On Whitechapel Station 108/2011

Continuing my series of random shots from around London we reach Whitechapel in East London. The railway here, dating from 1876, so not as old as others in London which go back to 1854!!!!! has been totally renewed.

The Whitechapel area of East London is ancient and for centuries has been the settling ground for foreign refugees and immigrants - 16th century Huguenots,Jews, and now Bangladeshies and Somalis. The bright new enamel panels along the platform celebrate the immigrant and traditional local cultures of the area.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Elegant metal-work - # 107/2011

The huge Paddington Station in west London is being restored and developed and all the glorious beauty of the massive roof is being put on display.

The station is huge and always extremely busy, so "artistic" photos are hard and maybe even totally  impossible. However, I was able to capture the beatuful flower petal pattern that decorates the roof arches.  The restoration work will bring these back to our view in all their glory.

Monday 22 August 2011

Oh dear - # 106/2011

Oh dear! The tide is out and the muddy bank presents this weird image. Who or what is under the umbrella?  Did they sink down into the mud? 

Saturday 20 August 2011

Lamp light at Richmond Lock - # 105/2011

Night falls and the lamps at Richmond Lock light up.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Slack water - # 104/2011

Slack water - that period when the tide is neither flowing in nor out. The water becomes calm and the lighting effect becomes special.  The setting sun begins to flood the sky with remarkable colours that change by the minute. For about 20 minutes every photo will be different. The air is still. The scene holds its breath waiting for the night.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Night fall at Richmond Lock - ~ 103/2011

It's the time of year when night photography is getting interesting again thanks to the earlier hour and the rewarding bursts of colour in the sky.  I missed the sky. Was using a fixed focus lens, but my companion, using a lens with a wider angle got a similar but far better shot which included a magnificent red sky.

Anyway, as the lights come on, the lock head watch house takes on a magical appearance.

Thursday 11 August 2011

Iron work - # 102/2011

I've left you somewhat bereft for a while. There are reasons for that, but none of them bad.

Walking around London these days one sees that (not withstanding the nasty riots in certain areas - which will pass, and which for various reasons happen as history wends its way forward, always looking back) this great city is looking remarkably good these days, and will be looking even better by the time the Olympic Games open next year. That's an understatement: it's going to look super!!!

I'm taking a close photographic look at the architectural forms and how they work to create supporting structure and also to please the eye.  Things went a bit wrong in the 1960s and 1970s but they are much improved now, and '60s-'70s monstrosities are fast being demolished.

Massive ironwork from the 19th century Canal and Steam age manages to endure and look eternally pleasing. Here is a detail of the ironwork in a bridge over the Grand Union Canal in Little Venice, near Paddington railway station.  Take the Underground to Warwick Avenue, and walk 200 yards down to Little Venice. 

Wednesday 27 July 2011

The melancholy of the late evening hut - # 101/2011

"It's time to pack up now, dear!":  that dreaded statement at the close of a lovely childhood day on the beach at THE HUT!  The smell of the interior of the hut, the warm cosiness, the packing up and plodding back home on foot. The lingering smell of egg and cress sandwiches and smell of Daddy's war time infantryman's primus stove for boiling water in the whistling kettle. The smell of salty sea air and the shock of discovering sea borne fuel oil stuck to your feet and swimming trunks. 

Friday 22 July 2011

a Strong Woman - # 100/2011

...........a "feminist" term that seems to be increasingly popular these days.  I've nothing whatsoever against "strong women", but I sometimes find the term a bit annoying.

Anyway, here's a good metaphor for a really "strong woman". It's a massive and immensely strong, traditionally built wooden "clinker hull" fishing boat; on the beach at Hastings, alongside the old bulldover used to push it down to the water and haul it out again when it comes home. 

Hastings is the home of a very large beach-launched traditional-style fishing fleet that works the English Channel and catches fish in a sustainable and ecologically sound way. That's also a popular term these days, but it certainly does not annoy me! 

Sunday 17 July 2011

End of the day - end of the line - # 99/2011

At the end of a long sunny day at Hastings I came to the west end of the beach where the town has petered out and things seem to get a bit less busy.  I found a few enthusiasts' fishing boats and this line of huts. (Heaven knows what the huge shed behind them is for - actually I never noticed it, I was so engrossed by the huts and the boats! Strange but true!).

I can't explain why I like this scene. I just do. It might have something to do with the quietness and the "end of the line" atmosphere. I don't know.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Little Venice - # 98/2011

Before the railway age great canals were built to carry goods from the industrial midlands and the farm lands into London.  The Grand Union canal entered the Thames at Brentford near Richmond, but a spur was built to travel around the northern edge (it is no longer "the edge") of London to connect with the docks and the canals serving the eastern side of England.  Here at "Little Venice", close to Paddington Station, in West London the Grand Union met the Regent's Canal and a Y shaped basin was created. This is a delightful spot in the Capital. It's a "must see" for any tourist or even resident.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Police on call - # 97/2011

The photo shows a London River Police boat streaking down river, blue lights and sirens wailing, past the 1980's Docklands apartments towards the distant towers of the mighty Canary Wharf finance district.

In the late '70s and early '80s the derelict docks of the old Port of London were developed into funky flats and "loft apartments" for City bankers. Rupert Murdoch busted the Printers' Union stranglehold on Fleet St. and moved to a brand new Dockland site, using modern computer technology in old dockland Wapping.  A little later the financial "Big Bang" lead to the construction of a gigantic addition to London's financial district in the Canary Wharf development, on more derelict dockland, about 3 miles away from the old City Square Mile 

The power of London as a world leading financial and news information hub was re-confirmed, and its might grew even stronger.

Move forward a few years - not so long after the flawed British politician, Gordon Brown, heralded the opening of Lehman Brothers offices in Canary Wharf the "toxic mortgages" crisis in America brought down Lehman's and triggered the current world financial crisis. Bankers were justifiably vilified, and now Rupert Murdoch's empire is under police investigation in Britain, America and Australia.  

30 years is a long, long time.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Batman's London - # 96/2011

You'll have noticed a lack of "content". While looking about for a bit more inspiration and something "different" I've been spending some time trying to take a look at "the new London", and trying to see what I can make of it. Richmond itself will come back one day, but I need a rest.

This week end took me to the area around Tower Bridge and London Bridge where they are building  the new "Shard" tower  all around there is stunning new architecture with creative view points and vistas. This is indeed 21st Century London, straight out of a 1950s Marvel Comic; and one expects Batman to turn up at any moment, or maybe Superman to snatch somebody to safety, away from an oncoming red London Transport bus. I like it.

And it's very photogenic.