Millennium Bridge

28 January 2014 – London

I have not logged into here for ages and have just noticed the date of my last post – wow, it has been such a long time. I do have a post in the wings, a general, sort of quick wrap-up of those missing months, but it has been in the wings for rather a long time. I must finish it in the next day or so as I am heading back to New Zealand for a holiday tomorrow and I do not want to have old blog baggage hanging over my head…

Rather than finish that post off I am going to procrastinate on it further by doing this post instead.

I took a brief walk along the south bank this afternoon, I went to have a look at the Landscape Photographer of the Year photos on display at the National Theatre. I was suitably impressed, and also depressed at my lack of out-put this year, plus the fact I really am going to have to get the Canon or the wide angle lens looked at as the images are really ‘soft’ and I am not sure why.

The secondary purpose of the walk was a vain hope of getting a sunset – though the forecast was for showers, it had been reasonably fine all day. I have been following a couple on Instragram who have been coming up with some great London images lately and I had been looking to them for some motivation, and sunsets always make for some great images.

There was no sunset… But I did like watching the clouds come in from the south and skip over the Thames so I took a few photos of that instead. The light was quite flat and the sky grey so I have converted and them all into monochrome.

Trees by the IBM building.

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Rain starting to fall as the clouds cross over Waterloo Bridge.

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I was going to walk over to St Pauls as the light was looking quite good and there was the possibility of some dramatic shots, however as I walked up the Millennium Bridge the rain started to fall – and the Big Issue seller scurried away soon after.

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I took a few shots of St Pauls over the arch of the bridge, before calling it quits and walking home.

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This is my favourite shot from the walk, the clouds were sweeping in, slowly filling the clear patches of sky.

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It was good to get some practice in before my New Zealand trip, and I have now decided I will take the Canon rather than the smaller and lighter Panasonic. A decision I had been pondering on for a few days. Whew!

Thames Night Shoot

Friday 20 September 2013 – London.

I am finally catching up with editing a few photos that I have taken over the past few weeks. Seeing as I am still not working I cannot believe I just do not seem to have time to do these things. Though I must say I am glad I do keep myself busy – and before anyone asks, no! I not become addicted to day time soaps. In fact I barely watch any TV at all, accept the weekend now that it is football season.

A few weeks ago I signed up to a bunch of photography based MeetUp groups in an effort to get back out taking photos again and maybe getting a bit further afield than I am. Like a lot of things recently circumstances seem to conspire against me and the only shoots I am interested in are on weekends I am already doing something else, for instance this weekend is the international Kelby photo walk and I am meeting friends in Cambridge – something I am very much looking forward to!

I did, however, meet a bunch of other photographers one evening outside the Houses of Parliament and we did a photo walk up the Thames. It was a lot of fun – I had forgotten a lot of tricks with night photography so it was a relearning experience as well.

I took this one on the way.

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We started on Westminster Bridge and took photos both East and West.

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And then moved a bit further down the bridge. I wasa going for quite long exposures to capture some of the movement in and on the river.

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We walked along the Southbank, stopping here and there to grap a few shots, as it was early evening there were a lot of people about. I tried to get some good ghost motion shots of people but none of them really turned out how I wanted.

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Then it was up to Waterloo Bridge to shoot the brightly lit National Theatre – a horrendously ugly concrete block edifice turned colourful and bright by night. I was looking for buses…

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We then caught one of the buses to the Tate Modern end of Bankside and walked down on to the side of the Thames, the tide was out so we could get down quite low which was very cool.

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And yes, I know the horizon is not straight…. I am always happy to break rules for effect.

It was a great four hours out and about, I had a lot of fun shooting and chatting but the main thing I learned is that is perfectly safe to be doing solo night shoots on the Thames, something that had prevented me from going and doing it myself.

Life is about using the whole box of crayons.

Friday June 21 2013 – London.

To save having to repeat myself I should just refer you, dear reader, back to the opening paragraph of my last week wrap-up post which discusses the complete lack of progress on the job front… Oh well, good things come with time.

On Monday I signed myself up to Twitter, not that I can ever see myself tweeting, there is no way I can say anything in just one hundred and sixty characters! I signed up because it seems to be the best way to find out about things I am interested in, in the most expedient way. Hopefully from now on I will not miss so many good gigs and interesting exhibitions, plus of course football results when the season starts.

On Monday night El and I went to see Siouxsie Sioux and band perform at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Yoko Ono curated Meltdown Festival. I had only heard about the gig quite late so by the time I got tickets we were in the third row from the back. There were so many great acts playing as part of the festival, I would have really liked to have seen Patti Smith and the Stooges – especially supported by Savages, a young English band who I really like.

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What can I say about the gig ? I guess “Wow” sums it up pretty well. The sound and lights were amazing, Siouxsie looked amazing in a skin tight white vinyl body suit and her voice had not changed in thirty years, she sounded fantastic. The band was not the Banshees, but still good.

The bulk of the set was the album Kalaidoscope played from start to finish, with the opener ‘Happy house’ sending shivers up my spine – it sounded that good. It was a surprise as I really expected a greatest hits show, but it is a great album, so no complaints. There were a couple of encores, with a bunch of classics ‘Israel’, ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Arabian nights’ being the highlights. They did of course do the big hit ‘Prudence’, but meh, a Beatles track is never going to be a favourite of mine, though the rest of the crowd loved it ! Siouxsie did a few songs off a solo album I have never heard and none of them really got me going – average rock songs I thought. It was great show – hour and half long, awesome venue and she still has the voice and the moves. Siouxsie was supported by another old punk hero, Viv Albertine from The Slits, who performed some songs from her first album in twenty five years. She was pretty good too.

As the gig was just up the Southbank from my place we walked home. its not bad walk..

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On Tuesday I walked back up to the Southbank again as I noticed some of the graffiti had changed at the skate park and I really liked this new one and thought I should photograph it before it was painted over.

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I walked back home via the streets rather than the river side and found this little Space Invader under one of the arches for the train tracks to Blackfriars station.

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I also found a wonderful photography exhibition from members of the Arena group at the Menier Gallery in Southwark. I was there for a good hour, which is pretty remarkable for me in a gallery. There was a good range of styles on display from a number of very good photographers. I loved it and would have liked to have shared it with El but it finished later in the week sadly.

In the evening I went over to Dartford to visit my uncle and to pick up my tri-pod -I must do some night photography sometime soon, no excuses now!

On Wednesday I had arranged to meet a friend for lunch in Shephards Bush so took the train over to Westbourne Grove and had walked over to SheBu and looked for some of the small patches of street art in the area – it is the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea so I was not expecting too much. There is an old Banksy at the far end of Portobello Rd though.

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I caught up with my cousin for a beer in Soho in the late afternoon which was great, I have been very slack with catching up with family and for that I do apologise !!

I have been thinking about getting a pushbike for a while now and on Friday I decided to start having a serious look around, I found a couple of bike shops on the internet that were reasonably local and went for a walk to see if I could find something. Sadly one place no longer existed and the second did not have anything I wanted – basically a single speed with raised mountain bike style bars. I am not in a particular rush but it would mean I could roam a bit further without having to use public transport – plus I want to be able to ride to work if I can, when I get the elusive job!

I found out on Twitter (only time it has been useful so far! ) that it was world skate day today so I waited to late in the afternoon and then grabbed my big camera and zoom lens for a change and went out to have a look see. There were a lot of skaters there and a couple of them were pretty good. I watched from the wings for a while, snapped a few photos and then started the walk back home.

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It was great to be out with the big camera and long lens and I took quite few other photos around and from South bank. It was all good fun.

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The skyline of London is slowly changing, especially over the ‘city’. The tall building in the middle is known as the cheese grater. It is designed like this so that it does not sit in the sightline of St Pauls – the council allows that no building should spoil some designated clear sights of St Pauls, which I think is pretty cool, especially when I get shots like the one below.

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Outside the Tate Modern some buskers were bubble blowing massive bubbles to the delight of a lot of children – and one or two adults as well.

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Further along the Thames at Bankside I found these young buskers playing cellos which sounded amazing in the tunnel of the arches.

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It was a pretty good week, I didn’t achieve much on the work front but I saw some good stuff, heard some great music and spent some time with some great people!