The completed Alexis Diaz art work

Last week as I was wandering around Brick Lane I ran across Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz working on a beautiful new work on Hanbury St. He was painting this by hand using small brushes and had been going for the best part of a week before I saw him.

I finally went back today to have a look at the completed work. It is magnificent !

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The detail is amazing.

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It was a very humid morning and quite unpleasant for walking around – and trust me, I have walked in some serious humidity… London is just unpleasant in this weather. So it was only a short walk,but on the way I also spotted these other pieces I have not seen before.

Dan Kitchener.

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A newly complted work by Alex Senna that was sadly partially blocked by a car.

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And next to that a newish piece by Eoin.

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It was a good but short time out.

A stormy night in London town.

Tuesday 23 July 2013 – London.

The two and half weeks of pretty much perfect weather had to end at some stage and it did in the wee hours of this morning – in fairly spectacular style! The television news had reported that thunder storms were expected overnight in London so before I went to bed I dug my tripod out in case something special happened.

It was a very humid night and I really did not expect to get a lot of sleep but must have dropped off as I was awoken by the rumble of thunder around 1:30 am. I lay there for a while before finally deciding to go and have a look at the action as I was awake and unlikely to go back to sleep any time soon. Disappointingly there was nothing really happening on my side of the block and I stood there on the deck for a while watching the flashes of light in the clouds from the lightening out of sight on the other side of the building. I went into the kitchen for a look out one of the side windows and could see a massive rain storm sweeping in from the north west. All of a sudden the wind hit the side of the building and started blowing things around the kitchen as it howled through the open window, it was so strong I struggled to push the large window closed. That was it, photography was on !

When I got back onto the deck with my camera set up on the tripod the horizon to the South had all but disappeared in the rain.

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I had not taken photos of lightening before and experimented with a few methods without really knowing the results until I uploaded to my laptop this morning. This was the first one I got, a lucky break on a ten second exposure. The wind was really starting to hit so this is a bit soft.

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The rain soon followed the wind gusts into the deck and I made a hurried exit back into the house 🙂

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I also realised I was being a bit daft shooting straight off the deck when I could turn the camera forty degrees and I would have Tower Bridge as my back drop. As I waited for the wind to drop I swapped lenses from the 16-35mm to the good old nifty fifty as the images were just not sharp enough on the wide angle.

I took a lot of twenty and thirty second exposures, just hoping lightening would strike while the shutter was open. More often than not it didn’t, seemingly arriving just as the shutter closed. I have an awful lot of images of the skyline.

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But I was very lucky a few times….

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It was a great storm, spectacular, and it only lasted for a few minutes before it blew away to the east and I could go back to bed.

It was well worth the effort, as photography often is – I just need to remind myself of this more frequently and get out and do it.

Southbank photo walk.

Thursday 18 July 2013 – London.

Well it has been a pretty busy week with social activities happening every day. It is a pity I cannot say the same on the job front, but I am still plugging away at it with a couple of agencies rung and jobs applied for, one day, one day.

Today I had two things on, a visit to Sydenham to see the new street art which I  wrote about in the previous post and then in the evening I met up with a fellow photographer and music lover Steve for a photo walk along South Bank – though I will say not a lot of photographer happened.

I have been waiting for the shutters to be down on these shops near my house so I could get a photo of the old Malarky paintings. The last time I saw them down I did not have my camera on me.

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I met Steve at the skate park and took some photos while I waited, there was not a lot of action at the time but I did manage to get a couple of good shots, I am a bit gutted I cut his hand off, otherwise this would be near perfect !

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The next one was a better photo, just the action wasnt as good 🙂

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Steve and I didn’t take any photos between the skate park and London Bridge, we walked and chatted and battled out way through the crowds taking advantage of another lovely summer evening. I stopped for a look at Hays Galleria on the far side of London Bridge and there were some people playing petanque over a glass of plonk (or more I suspect).

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We walked around the More London area for a while, past the Batman logo of the PWC building.

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We had a bit of a play with some of the angles in the buildings around here.

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As we passed Tower Bridge I took this picture to add to my collection of skylines. You have to love that sky!

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I had heard that the barge I photographed earlier in the week with a new painting on it by Alice Pasquini was being painted some more so we walked up to have a look, but the new painting was hidden behind an old sailing barge so there was not much to see apart from this on a wall.

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We crossed over Tower bridge and took a walk around the rich kids play ground of St Katherines dock, we were looking for a decent angle to get a sunset over Tower Bridge but there was not much happening there so we decided to head back over to the south side of the Thames and grab a pint or two. As we were crossing the bridge the alarm went, the gates were closed and the bridge was raised. This was very cool, I have never seen the bridge up before – a new experience.

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We did end up having a couple of pints, it was a good night and an end to a good day.

Sydenham Street Art Walk

Thursday 18 July 2013 – Sydenham, London.

When I was looking at the new street art over in Shoreditch on Monday I ran into fellow street art aficionado Darryl taking pictures of Alexis Diaz working on a new piece. Neither of us had been down to Sydenham to see the results of a recent festival so decided to head down and check it out.

It was another bright and hot day, nice for being outside but not so great for mid-day photography !

We got to see the bulk of the street art work, but missed out on all the pieces painted on shop shutters – rudely the shops were all open for business, during the day. So inconsiderate! This shop also had stacked their wares over a couple of pieces as well.

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What we did see was pretty cool and it was nice that it was all reasonably well contained in the high street.

The Alo door and JoyceTreasure piece were the only viewable bits from the second hand furniture store.

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Luckily all the big works were very visible and we were very lucky that on a third walk past the entire Millo and Hunto joint piece was visible. The first two visits had a car parked under the no parking sign!

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Louis Masai mural – “Save the lemurs”.

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I love this large piece by Alice Pasquini.

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Dr Zadok.

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This fabulous and large mural by Bailon was very hard to photograph in its entirety as it was up an alleyway. I took a few images with a plan to stitch them together, it sort of worked. I do need to practise on my pano stitching, I just don’t have the time right now. Enough to give you an idea though.

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It was a good couple of hours out and about, thanks Darryl!

Shoreditch street art updated.

Monday 15 July 2013 – Shoreditch, London.

Shhhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone, but it was another glorious glorious day here in London with nary a cloud in the sky all day – so it’s a good day to for a ride up to Shoreditch for a street art walk/ride then! I have not been to Shoreditch for at least a week so of course there is a load of new things to see and photograph, and having the bike meant getting further – and more coolly. By cool I am, of course, referring to temperature, not me being stylish – something I definitely was not today!

I had a great few hours out and about around Shoreditch, I got to see a few things I was looking for and finally found a massive wall by ROA that I have tried to find twice before. I also ran into fellow street art aficionado Darryl who I met once before while watching RUN paint the wall at the Village Underground.

One of the things I had been planning on doing for a while was visiting the exhibition by RUN and Dscreet at the Cock and Bull Gallery in the basement of The Tramshed in Rivington st. It was really worth the wait as there were some great pieces on show there, as well as a very cool backdrop of painted walls, I bought a booklet on the show and am tempted to buy an art work as well.

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After a wee coffee break I rode up Bethnal Green Road in search of the large wall painted by ROA a few weeks ago, and this time I found it. Though only having a fixed fifty mm lens on the Canon I could only shoot some of the details as there were too many cars in the narrow alley way to get a wide shot. I will go back as it is such a cool cool painting.

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From there I rode around the streets of Shoreditch and snapped a few photos, most are on Flickr, but below are a couple as a sampler.

In a park behind Brick Lane I found a theatre group doing an outdoor rehearsal so I watched them for a while which was cool.

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I was really excited to find this Phlegm that I knew was around but had never seen before, again I was not able to capture it all due to today’s lens choice. Weight won over flexibility – plus it is always good to shoot with a fixed a lens every now and then – keeps me honest!

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Alex Diaz has been painstakingly painting this wall by hand with a tiny brush for most of a week, stunning piece.

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A Jana and JS I have been looking for, I really like their stuff.

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And a Stik I haven’t seen before.

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It was a great few hours out 🙂

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A bike ride to Richmond

Wednesday 10 July 2013 – London.

We have had fine weather for ten days now, loving it ! I decided I would take the bike for a ride over to Hampton Court as I haven’t been there in decades. It is very expensive to get in, but I planned on just visiting the outside, with the journey being the main activity.

Though, I actually never made it to Hampton Court. I am just a little too competitive on the road and just cannot pootle along slowly and enjoy the view, or read road signs. I did make it according to my plan as far as Putney Bridge but got a bit misplaced after that and ended up barrelling along Upper Richmond Road, where I had a hand gesture argument with a dickhead in a Range Rover. He failed to understand that the large area at traffic lights with a bike painted on it is for bikes, not dickheads in Range Rovers – I did try to educate him.

After that wee burst of energy I arrived in the lovely zone of calm that is Richmond Park. I was sort of looking for some of the many deer that live here and found a large heard relaxing under some trees. It was then I realised I didn’t have my camera on me, so all photos are courtesy of my phone, sorry – they are pretty crap…

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It was then I decided I would not ride the few extra miles to Hampton Court, but enjoy the park and force myself to ride slowly back home as far as I could along the Thames tow path.

Bizarrely, even though I lived in Richmond for almost two years in the eighties I never actually turned right at Richmond Bridge and went along the path to Kew, well I certainly do not remember it. I was surprised to find there was a lovely shaded pedal along an unsealed path.

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It was hard to believe I was still in London.

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The ride was really nice, and I did manage to take it nice and slow and enjoy some of the view and make the most of the cooling breeze in the shade as I pedalled through the mid-day heat.

Eventually it popped back out in to normal south west London Thames side city life – it is not quite the same on the east side of London…

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I stopped for a very nice cold drink, coffee and a muffin in Mortlake to cool down for a while.

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Before crossing over Putney Bridge and riding back through Chelsea to the city.

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It was a pretty good ride. On my rides so far I have found most drivers are very courteous to bike riders, though sadly there are always exceptions. The roads are OK, a lot of the main routes, like this one on Chelsea Embankment, have clear bike lanes and a good surface and there are signs other roads are being fixed as well. I really like how this clearly goes around the bus stop and not through it, which really sucks when there is a bus.

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My only quibble is with signage. I got misplaced a couple of times today, and not really because I was going too fast and not paying attention, I assure you (mum) I pay lots of attention to the road when I am riding. The bike path signage is just inconsistent; in the main there are good sized signs up high so you can see them, but then there will be things like this at intersections. Impossible to read if there is a large vehicle in front…

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Sort this out Boris and I will be an even happier rider.

Time to rethink blogging…

Sunday 07 July 2013 – London.

Hmm, I was just writing another long missive that seemed to be documenting everything I did in the past week except visits to the loo. Yes, even I will admit my weekly blog posts have become boring and way too long to read.

It is supposed to be my record of my travels, but the thing is – I have stopped travelling, Maybe I should stop blogging too and just post photos that I like? I have become a little cynical about the ‘blogosphere’ as well as my motivations for blogging, so time to think on it all. Anyway I have deleted everything I wrote over the past few hours and have started again.

So here is a brief and semi-visual review of the last week. The weather has been pretty good lately so I have been out and about on the bike a bit with a couple of long rides, including up to the Serpentine.

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I spent a great day on Wednesday with Sanjeev, who I met on leg one of my Africa trip. Sanjeev and his wife Vaishali have just moved to Cambridge from Boston and came down to London for the day. Vaishali was busy with work so Sanjeev and I roamed London for a few hours.

My first Trooping of the Colour for a very long time, crazy busy !





We had to visit South Bank of course.


Sanjeev has an interest in some of the street art I have posted on my travels so we took a walk over to Shoreditch as well, it was a bit quieter there….




Leadenhall Market for an ice cream.


Before heading back over London Bridge and calling it a day.


On Saturday El and I visited Kew Gardens for a walk in the sun, my favourite part was the indoor Lady Di memorial garden.





Very unusual to come across a lizard in London !


Kew Palace.




Maybe if people didnt leave banana skins around it would be safer!


Contemplating blogging ? Nah – just enjoying a sunny walk with El in a small part of Epping Forest – just before a very average pub lunch…


Long Live South Bank skate park, – BMX action

I took another trip back up to Southbank yesterday evening to see what was happening and hoping to see some of the BMXers who also use the skate park in action, and for a change I was lucky!

I will confess to being way out of touch with who is who in the biking and skating world, but this sole BMXer who was using the park was damn good, pretty much pulling off every trick seamlessly.  He was great to watch.

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I need to learn some leasons shooting both skaters and BMXer’s, I missed the important part of the tale whip, getting the bike 180 degrees out from the rider.

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But I got most of them right….

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Maybe not this one….

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or this whip again 🙂

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I will end on a positive note though.

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I really enjoyed watching this guy ride and aim to go back tonight and see if there is a repeat, now that I know what I need to sort out photographically. I was pretty happy with my images, pretty well in focus, pretty well exposed, as sharp as I would expect shooting a moving object without flash from sunlight into shade against a confusing backdrop. So yeah, happy.

I am enjoying my photography for a change!

If you are reading my blog for the first time, The Southbank Centre have proposed an expansion of the Southbank site to allow more space for art and music, which I do agree with…. What I do NOT agree with is the taking of the undercroft skate park to turn into it retail space to help pay for the expansion. The skate park is one of the oldest existing skate parks in the world and has existed here since 1976. Its is wrong in so many ways to close it.

To read more about it and support those fighting the change read more here. LLSB!