Taking off from London City Airport in 2014

There’s no way I’d be inflicted the job of sticking up these thirty photos upon myself, let along the actual photos on any of you, were it not for the magic of WordPress Gallery, which enables me to shove them all up in one big lump, and you to click through them with just twenty nice clicks. Or not. As you please.

As if often the case, I display them in spite of their photographical quality, but because what they show is so interesting. My plane that day took off right over my favourite clutch of places in the whole world.

Here’s where the plane took off from, flying from right to left:

And here is what I photoed from it, presumably in defiance of the instructions of the people bossing the plane, from just before take-off until we arrived, I’m pretty sure, at the English Channel. I was on the left of plane, pointing my camera south towards the River, at any rate at first:

I particularly like the early ones there, of the territory between the western bit of the Victoria Dock and the River. We clearly see the Thames Barrier, and the Dome of course, but I love all that ever-changing muddle in between. I may well, although of course I promise nothing, be using some of those photos again, one at a time, when discussing the details of how this part of London has changed, is changing and will change. No way does it look the same now.

Later you can see, I think, the Walthamstow reservoirs (which call themselves the Walthamstow “Wetlands”), a golf course (which one, I have no idea), a very particular road intersection (ditto), and an aerial view of The Scream, that painting of a woman screaming, with a friend. Then, would that be the Isle of Wight? Don’t know. Commenters who like this kind of thing can, if they wish, elucidate.

If that’s right we did a 270 degree turn, first going north and then going south, on our way to Brittany. Presumably this was to make sure we kept well clear of anything to do with Heathrow.

John Duffin painting on Blackfriars Bridge ten years ago

Ten years plus a few days ago, I was checking out the work that was beginning to be done making the new BlackFriars Bridge railway station. And today, I checked out the resulting photos, Here are six of them:

Photo 2: Sampson House and Ludgate House, again. Photo 4: The Shard, just getting started. Soon after those photos, I photoed that black bus.

It was a somewhat gloomy day, and my camera wasn’t as good as what I have now, so I was glad to come across a couple of photos of a painting. And because I took such a good note of the painting, in the form of a photo of the painting and of its title and creator – memo to self: always do this – I was able quickly to track down a better digital version of the painting:

Reminds me of this photo of mine, but it’s far less of a muddle.

John Duffin, it would appear, sees London in the same way I do and, I’m guessing, the way lots of others do. He pays attention to landmark buildings, and all those bridges of course, and kind of recedes everything else more into the background. Cameras don’t discriminate. You have to point them at particular things if you want them to emphasise those things. Otherwise, to emphasise this or that, you have to do bullshit graphics manipulation. Or if you can’t or won’t do that (that would be me), write an essay.

I thought: does John Duffin have a website? Of course he does.

Here are a couple more Duffins:

On the left, many more London bridges, from the Albert (I think) Bridge in the foreground, all the way to Tower Bridge. And on the right, oh look, that’s Lord’s cricket ground. Nice player shadows.

I love how, with a camera, and provided you photoed notes as well as photos, you can pick up where you left off a decade ago.

Signs in Seattle


I agree with what Matthew Continetti says in this piece, which the above photo adorns, that this is froth. History as farce, Tom Wolf style. This “Seattle Soviet” is going nowhere. It’s “signs and notices”, to quote one of my more frequent categories here, rather than revolutionary architecture of any substance. That being why the above photo is the most informative one I have seen concerning these dramas.

As Kurt Schlichter (who his now being seriously noticed by his enemies) says, the important thing about this Seattle drama is the impact it has on the forthcoming Presidential election in November. Will Trump get the blame for it? Or will the local Democrat politicians? And by extension, the Democrats nationally? Schlichter says the Democrats will get the blame for this Seattle farce, this being why Trump is leaving the local Democrats to not deal with it, until America landslides in his favour. “Silent majority” and all that.

Schlichter combines partisan rhetoric way beyond the point of self-parody with very shrewd observations and analysis. I read him regularly. He is like one of those crazy American lawyers, who seems insane, yet who is taken very seriously, and for good reasons, by his enemies. And as I understand him, which is only a bit, this is because Schlichter is one of those crazy American lawyers, who seems insane, yet who is taken very seriously, and for good reasons, by his enemies.

New River walk with GodDaughter1 from Bounds Green to Enfield

On April 2nd 2016, GodDaughter1 and I went on a photo-expedition along the New River. It was most enjoyable, and I prepared another of those big photo-clutches that I could seldom bother to do on the Old Blog, so that you can now, if you feel like it, click-click-click through them on this New Blog. But I also wanted to link back to an earlier posting I did about a rather exotic looking duck that we had encountered that same day.

For reasons explained in this posting, all postings on the Old Blog linked back to from this blog have to have been transferred to the New Blog. So, here I am linking back to What sort of duck is this?

But, problem. That posting itself linked back to a posting about Trees pruned into strange sculptures, because GD1 and I encountered a really strange piece of tree surgery (photo (6.2), on that same expedition.

Which, in its turn linked back to Losing the leaves in Victoria Park, because, well, because it did. So that had to be transferred across too.

When I put it like that, it all seems pretty simple. But following the link chain backwards and then forwards again, opening up each posting about four times over, was the Grandma of all muddles that I had not seen coming, and muddles you do not see coming can get really muddled.

Anyway, it’s all sorted now, and here are all those photos I mentioned, at the top of this:

My favourite is the plate-shaped foliage that has been emptied upside down into the water (photo 28 (4.4)).

There’s lots more I could say about all these photos, but this posting has already gone on far too long, and I confine myself now to saying: See also the plaque about Sir Hugh Myddelton (photo 37 (5.5)), who designed the New River. Designed? You don’t design rivers. They’re just there. But yes, he designed it. The point being it was designed and built, to supply London with fresh water, right at the beginning of the seventeenth century. So, at a time when so many stupid things were in the process of happening, something truly creative also happened.

Well, one other thing: the occasional interpolation of extreme urbanness (e.g. a newspaper headline about Ronnie Corbett (photo 27 (4.3)) and the van covered in stickers (photo 21 (3.5)) is because when you walk along beside the New River, it sometimes dives underground and you have to go up to regular London, until you get to the next bit.

3D printed architectural models might soon get good at doing colour

Question asked, by me – 3D printed architectural models are now no good at doing colour:

Note also that if the clever people now developing 3D printing for architectural models were to make it easy to include quite accurate and quite detailed colour variety, then that could make a huge difference when it comes to making high colour architecture for real.

Question answered, by 3D Printing ProgressMimicking Nature for Fast, Colourful 3D Printing:

Brilliantly colored chameleons, butterflies, opals – and now some 3D-printed materials – reflect color by using nanoscale structures called photonic crystals.

A new study that demonstrates how a modified 3D-printing process provides a versatile approach to producing multiple colors from a single ink is published in the journal Science Advances.

These things always take their time turning from “a new study” into a real thing. But give it about a decade, and architectural models will be looking fabulous.

Statues do matter

Or so the recent dramas in Parliament Square would suggest, during which graffiti was attached to the statues of Churchill and Lincoln. Cue angry history lessons from Old People.

So here are a few more statue photos I photoed recently in Parliament Square, including the above two personages, but adding Gandhi and Millicent Fawcett, basically because I like the photos:

And while I’m on the subject of statues, I recently checked out the statues of Lord Dowding (of Battle of Britain fame) and Bomber Harris (of WW2 bombing offensive infamy) outside St Clement Danes, at the other end of the Strand from Trafalgar Square:

I knew that, when I got to this spot, I’d encounter Dowding and Harris. Ben Johnson and Gladstone were both surprises.

Memo to people intending to end up as statues in London: Join the RAF and wear a hat with a flat top sloping slightly backwards. That way, you won’t get pigeon shit on your face. Seriously, someone badly needs to invent an invisible pigeon scarer. Some kind of tiny electronic device that vibrates in a pigeon-scaring way, solar powered so it will go on working for ever.

The above link to my recent pigeon scaring posting being the only link in this posting, apart from the one at the top about the graffiti (so as people reading this in a year’s time will understand which current events I’m referring to), which is a bit lazy and a bit egocentric, but I’m in a hurry to get ready for something else. You surely have all the words you need to find out whatever you want to find out, e.g. if you are a Young Person wanting to find out if Churchill was anything else besides being a racist, or if Lincoln did or said anything about black slavery in America, besides being President at a time when there were still black slaves. (While you’re learning about that, try finding out what Gandhi said about Apartheid, when he was younger and living in South Africa.)

China Monty

Last night, as already mentioned earlier today, I went to Sainsburys in Wilton Road. On my way there, I passed the Royal Trinity Hospice charity shop, also in Wilton Road, where I photoed thus, through the its annoyingly shiny shop window:

On the left, a very reflection-ridden photo of a generic beefeater jug, and a Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery jug. On the right, a better close-up of the Monty jug. Well, I think they’re jugs. I couldn’t see if there were handles on the back. But they sure look like they’re one of these and one of these.

And if that’s right, then they are both products of that exact same pottery enterprise, Royal Doulton, that used to be at that China Works place I’ve just recently been out photoing.

When I photoed these jugs last night, I did not know this.

Somewhat more seriously, I think it worth asking why public statues are not more realistic, in this exact sort of highly colourful way. Why, to put it another way, were these guys (on of them being Monty again) were not done in a similar way to the way that the above items of pottery were done?

Is it that statues please people by being very obviously statues, and not actual people? Too realistic, and statues would freak people out. I’m more sure that this is an interesting question than I am about the answer. Maybe it’s just that people have got used to statues being monochrome, and they expect them to go on being that way. Maybe they tried doing them in colour, but people complained that they looked too much like china jugs, rather than like proper statues.

But as the technology of this kind of thing gets better, and as colourful architecture becomes more of a regular thing, will public statues suddenly become colourful also, again?

Zooming in on Millais

In January 2018, I see that I did a blog posting, in which I expressed interest in this camera, the Nikon Coolpix B700, including that link in that earlier posting. Late last year, I bought one of these cameras. This was partly for its x60 optical zoom, but also because the camera is red, and a red camera that looks like it should be black is, I think, cool. Also, it is easy to tell at a glance which of the two cameras I now use is which. It helped that it was going cheap, on Amazon, as I recall.

It proved ever so slightly disappointing, impressive though the zoom proved to be, sometimes. Here are three photos I photoed with it soon after getting it, that show just how powerful that zoom is:

These photos were taken last November, from the top of the steps outside Tate Ancient.

On the left, note the dark building made of three bits, of varying heights, looking a bit like a rude gesture made with the middle finger. In the middle photo, we observe the top of the middle and tallest bit of this building. And on the right, with the zoom going full blast, we see the cleaning crane at the top of the tower.

Technically, I was impressed. But, did I really need to be taking long distance photos of things which I could surely photo just as well by just getting a bit nearer. After all, much of the point of my photoing is to get me out of my home and taking some exercise. x25 would mean rather more exercise, so, the new x60 camera was that most unwelcome of phenomena, the solution to circumstances that were not a problem.

Until a few days ago, when I went out with my x25 black camera and my x60 red camera, and I photoed this photo, with the latter:

That was taken of John Everett Millais, at maximum x60 zoom, from quite a lont way away.

With the result that I was not photoing the underneath of his chin, but photoing him something more like from his level. I was still below him, but the angle I was coming up at him was much smaller. Basically, I wasn’t photoing his adam’s apple.

Compare that with this, which, with apologies for the repetition, I had earlier photoed (and earlier shown here) of JEM with the x24 black camera:

I actually think that the black x25 photo is pretty good also, but given the choice for photoing the faces of statues, I now prefer the notion of using the red x60 camera, or at the very least having that option. There could be statues when its better angle will make quite a difference.

I like human faces, but there are problems with just photoing interesting faces and then shoving them up on a blog. Privacy, etc. I respect that.

I could show lots of photos of my own face, but I fear looking like a narcissist. (I also fear that one of the symptoms of narcissism is the fear of being thought a narcissist, but I’ll set that aside.) But there are no issues with photoing statues, and you can go in as close as you like on their faces. Also, most statues are of very interesting people. So, I like to photo them.

And now, I have photoing equipment that is that little bit better for doing that.

Millais statue close up

Yesterday, I had another go, since I was passing that way, at photoing the Millais statue behind Tate Ancient, following an earlier effort last week (number 2 of these).

The light was the same as then, unhelpfully perfect. But this time I knew to try photoing the great man in close up, as well as from a distance with the whole statue visible. The distance ones were pretty much silhouettes, but one of the close-ups was quite good:

I tried to find a picture (for instance by googling Millais self portrait, or for that matter a photo, of Sir John, to put next to the photo above, to see how much they agreed. But nobody does regular pictures from the angle I photoed that statue photo from, so there didn’t seem any point.

I intend to go back there when the weather’s less good. The great thing about statues, from the photographic point of view, is that, like buildings, they don’t change from one day to the next and they stay where they are.

Five years ago today on the South Bank

Yes, another retro-photo-meander, on May 11th 2015

Photo 1: This doesn’t exactly nail down the date, does it? This could be a headline from any day during the last two decades. False, every time. The only time we got tough on the EU was when the mere voters voted to leave.

But Photo 2 is suitably fixed in time, the time when they were just finishing those rather lavish looking student apartments, on the far side of Westminster Bridge. In my day, we lived in digs. These were holes in the road. Just kidding.

Photo 3: Just as photos of people wearing face masks take on a new meaning now, so now do crowd scenes. Who are those people wearing blue caps? No idea. Memo to self: gather up more crowd scenes. I haven’t done many of these. In future, I’m guessing now I’ll do more.

Photo 4: The Big Purple Cow is – was? – a comedy venue.

Photos 5 to 9 explain themselves. Above the streaks on concrete is a sign saying where we are.

Photo 10: On the right, that’s the ME Hotel Radio Rooftop Bar.

I can never remember what the roof clutter i Photo 12 is on the roof of, but I always like to photo it.

The vapour trail in Photo 15 was also this vapour trail. If vapour trails always looked this black and horrible, there would now be no planes flying.