For the last few weeks, a strange glitch has been afflicting this blog, involving spacing. If I stick up just the one photo, stretching all the way across the width of the blog’s column of text, all is well. But if I stick up a gallery of photos, which is something I very much like doing, there has been a problem. Too much space was suddenly, ever since a recent software update or some such thing, created below the gallery. Any attempt I made to remove this space only resulted in further spatial havoc below, in the form of too much space between subsequent paragraphs of text.
But now, either because the guardians of this software have sorted this out, or because the technical curator of this blog, Michael Jennings, has sorted this out, things are back to how they were. Good. Very good. I attach great importance to how this blog looks. If it looks wrong, I hate that. It demoralises me and makes me want to ignore the damn thing rather than keep on updating it the way I actually do. This was especially so given that galleries look so very good when they are working properly.
Well, as I say, things have now reverted to their previous state of visual just-so-ness. And I will now celebrate, with yet another gallery:
The above gallery, however, is not a gallery of my photos, but rather a gallery of photos photoed by Michael Jennings, all, I believe, with his mobile phone. Not having got out much lately, I have found the photos Michael has photoed while taking exercise, and then stuck up on Facebook, reminding me of how my beloved London has been looking, to be a great source of comfort during the last few months. And I actually like photoing in his part of London more than I do in my own part. This may just be familiarity breeding something like contempt, but is still a definite thing with me.
I started out having in mind to pick just four photos, which makes a convenient gallery. Then I thought, make it nine. I ended up with twenty four. It would have been twenty five (also a convenient number), except that one of the ones I chose was a different shape, which might have complicated things, so I scrubbed that one from the gallery.
But you can still look at that one. Because none of this means that you need be confined only to my particular favourites. Go here and keep on right clicking to see all of them.
I have displayed my picks here in chronological order, the first of the above photos having been photoed in October of last year. The final photo (which is what you get to if you follow the second link in the previous paragraph), of the church, which I learned of today, and which is the only one done outside London, is something of a celebration, of the fact that Michael is now able to travel outside London without breaking any rules, or such is my understanding. (Plus, I like those unnatural trees (see also photo number 9)).
Patrick Crozier, the man I do recorded conversations with (see the previous post), is a particular fan of Viscount Alanbrooke, Churchill’s long suffering chief military adviser during WW2. So he’ll like that this church is where Alanbrooke is buried.
I encountered this glorious airplane on Twitter, but just now Twitter is refusing to load onto my computer, for some idiot reason to do with me refusing to update or generally do as commanded, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. The posting in question is, in any case, unworthy of a link because if was one of those “15 airplanes that should never have been built”, adorned by an annoyingly small version of the above photo. Like a fool I took the bate bait (see first comment), and there were more like a hundred airplanes, many of them rather sensible, but none of them were the above goose airbus. Liars. I really should know by now not to disappear into these multi-click lists of foolishness. But then I googled “goose airbus” and found the bigger version of the photo that you see above.
Speaking of clickbate clickbait, yesterday I emailed David Thompson, with news of this crane inserts London bus into London pub garden posting here, in the hope that he might include it in his Friday ephemera clutch today, and he did (“Crane use of note”). So traffic here has jumped upwards. Check it out if you’ve not seen this. It’s a great photo. (This posting is now going to be another of these.)
Now is not a good time for wandering about in London photoing photos. And anyway, if you do go a-wandering, is putting the photo-results on your blog the smart thing to do? You need a good story to explain why your wanderings were actually essential. Who needs all that nonsense?
So, instead, I’ve been wandering in my photo-archives, which get steadily better as the years go by and as they record circumstances ever more distant in time.
Circumstances like how Battersea Power Station, one of my favourite London Big Things, was look in the summer of 2004:
Battersea Power Station is now surrounded by flats. No cranes will be seen anywhere near it, once the flats are all finished. And I’ve not seen many boats like that since then, with red sales.
In a recent posting here, I speculated that my next “camera” might also be my next mobile. Setting aside the question of whether I live long enough to be making any such decision, I think I probably blogged too soon. I did mention zoom, as something a mobile phone might not do well enough, and zoom might indeed be, for me, a deal breaker. Below are three images which illustrate what I mean.
Here is a photo I photoed, in the summer of 2016, from favourite-London-location-of-mine, now shut of course, the top of the Tate Modern Extension:
That photo being favourite genre of mine: Big Things (in this case Ancient Big Things) in alignment with each other. In descending order of recognisability, and going from nearest to furthest, those are Big Ben, the twin towers of Westminster Abbey, and the single but splendid tower of Westminster Cathedral. The little green tower in the foreground is on the top of County Hall.
But here is my camera pointing in the exact same direction, minus any zoom:
I know. You can’t really tell where that clock and those cathedrals even are. Well. the scene in the top photo is to be observed just to the right of the right hand lift shaft of those two lift shafts, and just to the left of the angular glass top of 240 Blackfriars.
If I tried getting the same view with my current mobile, that view would probably look – and here I’m quoting and expanding, so to speak, from the relevant bit of the photo above – more like this:
I love these sorts of alignments and juxtapositions. Often, as above, they can only be photoed with lots of zoom. Just getting closer to the Big Things in question would not be an option, because the alignment only happens if you are in the right high-up spot where you can see it from, and this may be a long way from the aligned Big Things. So, I have to have lots of zoom.
Mobiles achieve megazoom by actually having separate cameras for different amounts of zooming. Will this ever get as good as my present camera type camera? Maybe, but in the sort of time-frame I am looking at now I rather doubt it.
Ah happy days, of the sort I spend just wandering about in London, photoing whatever I see that seems amusing, in whatever seem like amusing ways:
But sadly, these photos were not photoed today or yesterday or some such very recent day. On no. They were photoed on March 3rd 2012, in other words just over nine years ago. Because of the cold and the effort (both of which I feel more now) and because of Lockdown (which can actually be ignored but I don’t like the ubiquitous propaganda and pressure I feel when I do that (also a function of getting old (oldies being more nervous of these sorts of vague atmospherics))), I am now doing very little of this kind of thing. I hoping that may change in the summer.
I was using a then very recently acquired camera, a Panasonic Lumix FZ150. My more recent cameras, an FZ200 and an FZ300, having been very similar to that one. Basically, around five or more years ago, they stopped improving such cameras, and threw all their money at the cameras in mobile phones. If they manage to beef up the zoom on those, I might very well make my next “camera” my next mobile, and forget about getting any sort of better “camera”. Just like millions of others.
I plan on spending my afternoon and evening today concentrating entirely on … something else, so here, it’s quota photo time, just to get it out of the way and out of my head.
Which happens to mean a couple more crowd scenes. To add to the collection.
First up, on the South Bank, and in particular on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall:
Photoed, I’m pretty sure, from a balcony near the top of the Royal Festival Hall. A bit wonky, but I like it as it is. Wouldn’t want to be cropping those cranes in the distance. Which are gone now, I assume. The only crane cluster left in London that I can think of off hand is the one in Battersea.
And here is another crowd scene, this time from way back in 2004:
Which, I think, makes it somewhat more interesting. (Photoed down from the Westminster Bridge approach, south end. I was near to the Lion statue.)
Following on from Alastair’s comments on this posting, about the stabilisation of casual fashion during the last two decades or so, I think we see in that photo the last casual fashion switch, which concerns the tucking-in of shirts. I still do this, under my always worn (because it’s full of vital stuff like wallet, handkerchiefs, purse, etc.) jacket. I still, always, tuck my shirt in, no matter how casual I’m being. But very few others were still doing this, even back in 2004. I’m looking in particular at the three guys in blue shirts, bottom left, one of whom is holding hands with the orange hair lady. One shirt tucked in, two not. Behind them, a guy in a white shirt, and a jacket, the way I still do, but that’s already rare. Note how two of the blue shirt guys at the front have small man bags instead of jackets.
I could go on, but like I say, I have other matters to attend to now.
What we have here, photoed five years and a day ago, is one of those window cleaning cranes, and the Moon. In the first photo there, we see all the ingredients, but this is not the Photo itself. It is merely the photo with the ingredients that went into the actual Photo.
Very little is said about window cleaning cranes, and the aesthetics of window cleaning cranes. Yet they often become the biggest feature in a particular scene.
I just wrote the sentence: “There is nothing temporary about them”, concerning these window cranes, but that’s not right. Sometimes they reach up out of their buildings, spread themselves, and dominate the scene. But somethings they fold themselves up into almost nothing. Or, they literally hide themselves inside their buildings, and become nothing.
They are invisible to some, because if you pick the right moment, they are invisible, nearly so or completely so.