Gas works before lockdown ends?

I did quite a bit of writing today, but none of it for here, today. So, quota photo time, and again, it’s photoed in the well-lit dark with my Samsung Galaxy A40 mobile phone. I don’t know if gas work is what is happening, but that’s my bet, and if that’s right there is a lot of it about. I’m guessing they don’t like big rearrangements of the gas pipes when it’s freezing cold, as it was a week or two ago, but they want to get anything they want done done, before lockdown ends. And I further guess that this, at the junction of Warwick Way and Tachbrook Street was part of it:

I’ve been seeing gas work everywhere, like in Vauxhall Bridge Road. And are those smaller orange pipes also for gas. Guess: yes.

While wondering what verbiage to attach to the above photo, which I like simply for artistic effect and because of that sign about social distancing, I came upon this photo I photoed quite a bit earlier, at a spot I often shop at, where Horseferry Road does its big kink, where I often do very local shopping, and where I get my hair cut:

That’s definitely gas they’re working on there, because it says so. And it also goes on about social distancing, which at least fits with the social distancing sign in the first photo.

These annoying signs are becoming my most vivid recollection of lockdown, and it’s gone on for so damn long I can still photo more of them whenever I see them, as I surely will for quite a while.

A ball point pen for eight pence!

Here are two more photos photoed with my Samsung Galaxy Something mobile phone:

I came upon these pens while seeking something else, as you do. I then took these photos because what I was seeing reminded me of a conversation I recently had with Michael Jennings about why the cameras in things like my Samsung Galaxy Something mobile phone are so good. He said that when you are ordering up the cameras for a production run of mobile phones like mine, or for an iPhone or some such thing (Michael J has the latest iPhone (with which he now takes photos like these)) you’re talking about ordering a billion of the things, literally. When you are working on that sort of scale, then the economies of scale really start to kick in. A camera which would have cost five times what the mere phone costs now, if you sold it only to photographers, now costs only a dozen or two quid for my phone, or a couple of hundred for the latest iPhone. He’s not wrong.

Research and development for dedicated cameras has pretty much stopped about five years ago. All the effort now goes into making mobile phone cameras into miracle machines, and that’s really starting to be visible in the results.

I remember thinking, when digital cameras first arrived, that in the long run, cameras would have no reason to look like old school cameras, of the sort that had film in them. But at first they all did, because that was what people felt comfortable with. But now, that long run is starting to arrive. Cameras now consist only of a screen, and what is more a screen that can do a hundred other things besides photo photos.

And the above photos illustrate this same economies-of-scale which can fund mega-research-into-making-them-even-cheaper principle in action down at the bottom of the market, where they thrash out ball point pens by the billion. One pound for a dozen of them! Like I say in the title of this, that’s hardly more than eight pence a pen. And that’s after all the transport costs and retail mark-ups and goodness knows what else have also been paid. Amazing.

Shame they can’t make food and heating and rent that cheap. The one thing that never seems to get any cheaper nowadays is energy, aka the essentials of life. Are we due another human transformation, to go beside this one, when energy gets miraculously cheaper? Nuclear? Fusion? Bring it on.

That previous kink, I recently read in one of Anton Howes‘s pieces, was maybe made to seem more abrupt than it really was by the fact that there came a moment when they finally worked out how to extract and distribute energy on a serious scale, but energy remained quite expensive, hence the sudden kink upwards in the numbers. Actually, life had been getting better for some time, and didn’t suddenly get a hundred times better, merely about three or four times times every few decades.

Meanwhile, things like absurdly good cameras and absurdly cheap ball point pens don’t show up in graphs of how much mere money everyone is chucking around. Which causes people in a country like mine to underestimate the improvements of recent decades. These have not taken the form of us all having tons more money. No. What has been changing is the stuff we can now buy with the same money. Like my latest (mobile phone) camera, and like ball point pens. Provided you have some cash left over after you have fed and housed yourself and kept yourself warm (not everyone does), then life has got lots more fun, given how many and how much better are the toys and times you can now buy for the same money.

Life has not improved much for those who have fun only when the fun they get is too expensive for most others to be able to indulge in. But that’s a thought for a different posting.

Big yellow pipes

Vauxhall Bridge Road is a bit of a shambles just now, because it is being dug up. It’s as if they’ve told whoever it is doing this pipe work that now is the time to doing this sort of thing, or never.

A few days ago, on my way to the shops, I encountered some of these pipes, all gathered together on the road and ready to be buried:

And then, a bit further up, nearer to the junction with Warwick Way, I came across some of these pipes actually being buried:

It was all a big reminder that roads are not simple unchanging surfaces. Rather are they elaborate volumes, volumes that are constantly being tinkered with and rearranged.

These photos were photoed, like the photo of that piano, with my Samsung Galaxy something something Forty. It’s recent rather than the very latest thing, and definitely not the latest iPhone. Yet look how it performs in very limited and completely artificial light. Okay the buildings in the background are more than somewhat distorted, but the pipes are clear as day.

Moonset behind Ely Cathedral

I “follow” all sorts of people on Twitter, but if they haven’t recently posted at just the moment when I look at my Twitter feed, I am liable to miss things.

Things like this photo, by Andrew Sharpe, of a “moonset” behind his beloved Ely Cathedral, which he posted on December 30th:

Outstanding.

If Sharpe hadn’t posted something about vaccines, just when I happened to be doing a little lurking on Twitter, I might never have bothered looking at his latest stuff, and I might have missed this completely.

Waves reflected on the side of a boat in Belle Isle

Having the previous day taken off from London City Airport, I am in Belle Isle, off the coast of Brittany. It is the summer of 2014. The light is especially strong. I notice some reflections:

If I had never seen sunlight bounced off water onto another surface in this way, would I ever have imagined that it could look like that? Like some sort of net? Seriously, it’s like these reflections are constructed out of string, just like nets. The effect is particularly strong in the second of the seven photos above. There are even knots to be seen. Weird.

Reflections, eh? Make you think.

Quota gallery of views photoed from the top of Westminster Cathedral Tower

Photoing big collections of photos like this, photoed in October 2017, …:

… is one the many things I now miss doing. I can’t tell from this if you can actually do this again. No mention of Covid, which there surely should be. I suspect this website could use some updating.

I think they get more interesting as what I’m photoing gets closer,

There are a couple of apparent duplications, but in each case, the lighting was very different.

A regular view of Battersea Power Station – but in the morning!

A couple more photos from Christmas Eve, the first was showing what a weird, for me, time of day it was, even though I was already two-thirds walked home by then:

I know. 10.20am. AM!!! That’s the big clock at the top of Victoria Bus Station. And yes indeed, look at the weather, too.

Yet the funny thing is about that time in the morning is that in many ways it resembles the time when it is about to get dark again.

Consider, for instance, this next photo, of a favourite view of mine taken from the same spot and at the same time as the photo above, but just pointing in the opposite direction:

That’s one of my favourite views in London, being from the road where Warwick Way turns right, past the big bus terminal, over the big railway line into Victoria, and towards Posh Pimlico and its posh antique shops, as you go towards Sloane Square, which was where I had just come from.

I have photoed the slowly changing scene that has been Battersea Power Station over the last few decades, many a time during those years. And I have photoed photos where the evening sun was bouncing up at me like a short-pitched cricket delivery off the pitch in front of me, from railway lines like that. But I don’t recall ever having before photoed Battersea Power Station in the morning and combined that with the reflecting railways lines effect. But Christmas Eve morning having been the morning, the sun was coming from the opposite of the usual direction, and there it all was.

I like how the railway line has to climb, and also curve like that to get itself in line, past those sheds on the left, in order to be high enough and pointing in the right direction to get across the river bridge.

This is really just a posting to see if posting has got any easier from the mess it was yesterday, but I also owe regulars here, after yesterday’s single and decidedly fiascotic (also time-cheated (small hours of this morning) posting. Which means I am now going to save it in my Word-clone before trying to post it here.

Seems to be working better. Good.

Good morning Mozart

This morning, really quite early in the morning as it happened, I was able to walk past that Mozart statue, in what I think of as Pimlico Square. And because I’m not a morning person, and because the statue is so small and rather hidden away, I did walk past it, and had to retrace my steps. But back I went, and attempted more photos of it:

Once again, however, Young Mozart was silhouetted, this time by not himself being able to partake of the morning sun, but also by buildings behind him which did better. The only way to see his face was to zoom in on it.

Just like those Parliament Square statues I struggled to photo even okay for so long, I suspect the trick might be to go back there in the summer, but with clouds to stop the light all coming from the same direction.

I like how this statue says that already, even at his young age, Mozart already knew just what he was doing and how to command an audience. Or, maybe it’s just a case of him standing on a pedestal, which puts him in command automatically.

The great thing about statues is they stay put, and you can keep going back until you get them right. (See also Bartok.)

Signs reflected in cars (and other things (like water))

One of the unconsidered visual trifles of urban life is the reflections you can, if you want to, see in the bodies of cars.

Reflections like this:

It’s one of these.

Here are some reflections-in-cars photos that I posted here in 2019. I never managed much in the way of reflected signs, though. Memo to self …

If robot cars ever abolish cars as we now know them, as they well might, the explosion of nostalgia for these shiny old cars, cars that are now largely ignored from the aesthetic point of view by all but a few petrol heads, will be something to see.

You hate the look of whatever threatens to engulf you. You switch to liking it when it retreats and threatens to disappear. Neon signs are now in retreat, it would seem, so this Real Photographer guy in Boston now likes them. The cars are just one of his ways to notice the signs.

The chaos from which buildings arise

It is the sundrenched late afternoon of April 21st 2009, and they’re busy building something:

What I’m getting at with the above imagery is:

(1) This is a construction site, and these people clearly know what they are doing. Constructions almost always turn out exactly as planned.

And:

(2) Look at the state of it!!!

I recognise various individual bits of tech there, like the reinforcing rod tubes, and that big blue propeller for digging holes, to put such things as reinforcing rod tubes in. But all that stuff jammed together in a confined space like that? It looks like someone’s attic for goodness sake.

Yet, it was from this outdoor attic that there duly emerged … the Shard.