X lights the spot

Earlier this month I was in the Hackney Wick area. My object was to check out that particular stretch of water known as the Hertford Union Canal, which is the straight line of water that connects what describes itself on maps as “River Lee Navigation”, at the bit of that next to the Olympic Park, to the Regency Canal, at the bit of that at the south west end of Victoria Park. The Hertford Union Canal marks the southern edge of Victoria Park.

And I duly checked it out. As I said in that earlier posting, there’s a lot of graffiti in that part of London, and the Hertford Union Canal is also thus decorated. Or violated, if that’s how you feel about graffiti.

Here is an example of the graffiti to be seen, this time under some bridges which take the A12 and a local road alongside it across the canal:

However, by the time I took that photo the ubiquitous graffiti had ceased any longer to register. What I was interested in was the light. Photography is light.

And look what the light did next:

A mere splurge of light has been sharpened, presumably by the sunlight no longer being diffused by a cloud, and it is then being sliced into two distinct sheets of light by some kind of roadside fence or barrier (which you can dimly see in the top picture above).

Let’s take a closer look at that light, and what happens to it when it hits the canal:

Okay, let’s itemise what’s happening there. We have here an X, with four arms.

Top right arm: the light slices between the bridges and hits the wall on the far side of the canal, and the boat parked on the far side of the canal.

Bottom right: what happens top right is bounced off the water on its way to me, rather than bouncing directly to me off the far wall and directly off the boat.

Top left, and now it starts getting a bit confusing:

I think what we see there is the light bouncing off the water into the boat.

And bottom left? Now I’m becoming even more confused:

What I think we see there is the light directly striking the surface of the water, lighting up all the particles floating on it, and also penetrating the water and turning it green.

If someone painted a picture looking like all that, we’d say: you’re taking the piss. Nothing looks like that. But, it did.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Meanwhile in East London …

Indeed:

Click on that sliver of horizontality to see the building in question.

No doubt this has already received much www attention. And now, I attend to it. Photos taken by me, outside Hampton Wick Overground Station, yesterday.

The graffiti in the Hampton Hackney Wick and surrounding areas is dispiritingly ubiquitous. I prefer the way my part of town handles graffiti, which is for it all to happen in a tunnel.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

City peddlers etc.

A few hours after I took this photo (and not before all the latest terrorist dramas that were happening on the other side of the river (which I later crossed)), I took this photo, outside the Bank of England:

This combines four things that interest me.

First, most obviously, it is a photo of an unusual means of transport. Rather confusingly, this contraption had “PedalBus.com” written on it. But when you type that into the www, you get redirected to pedibus.co.uk. Where you also discover photos of contraptions with “PedalBus.com” on them. Very confusing.

Second, the persons on the pedibus/PedalBus are making a spectacle of themselves. People who make a spectacle of themselves are not entitled to anonymity, or not at this blog. Photoers going about their photoing business do, mostly, get anonymity here. But people yelling drunkenly, albeit goodnaturedly, and striking dramatic attitudes when I photo them, not.

Third, I like these downward counting numbers on the pedestrian light bits of traffic lights, which London apparently got from New Zealand. (Blog and learn.) Very useful. I like to photo them, preferably in combination with other interesting things. Score. Score again, because there is not just one 7 in this photo, there are two 7s. This particular time of the day, just when it is starting to become dark, is the best time to photo these numbers.

And fourth, I am becoming increasingly interested by London’s many statues, as often as not commemorating the heroes of earlier conflicts. I think one of the things I like about them is the sense of a very particular place that they radiate, just as the more showoffy Big Things do, but even more precisely. They thus facilitate meeting up with people. “In front of the Bank of England” might prove too vague. “Next to Wellington” pins it down far more exactly.

The Wellington statue makes a splendid contrast with the pedi/PedalBussers. Wellington is Wellington, seated on his horse (Copenhagen presumably), very dignified and patrician. And the peddlers are the kind of people he commanded in his battles.

I don’t get why this statue is in front of the Bank of England. Why isn’t there a Wellington statue at Waterloo?

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Leake Street photoers

Today I journeyed to Waterloo, and then walked from Waterloo to the City, there to inspect the latest batch of City Big Things that they are busy erecting. My inspecting done, I made my weary way to Monument Tube Station, which I reached just as it was starting to rain.

And Monument Tube Station was shut. No District Line. The City is like a morgue at the weekend, that being why I chose the weekend to be there. I wanted to see buildings, not people. The City being the City, there were no buses to anywhere, or not that I could detect. So I trudged, in the rain, as it got heavier, across the river, intending to get to Southwark Tube if all else failed. I did have my umbrella with me, thank goodness, but rain with an umbrella is still far worse than no rain. But then a bus showed up on its way to Waterloo, and at Waterloo I quickly found another bus back home, near enough. So there I was, home, damp, knackered. It could have been far, far worse, but I was still in no state to be doing anything fancy here.

So, here is just one photo that I took today, in Leake Street, right at the beginning of my wanderings. Leake Street is the graffiti tunnel under Waterloo:

Photoers, surprise surprise. But, I like it.

I took a lot of other photos that I like. Later, maybe, although I promise nothing.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog