Perpignan photos

A year ago yesterday I was in St Cyprien, and a year ago today I was in Perpignan. However, I was in Perpignan again on January 9th of this year, when the weather was much better and hence so were my photos. Here is a selection of the photos I took then, there:

Not only was the weather better last January than it had been in April of last year; there was also a temporary Wheel in place (photos 20, 21, 22, 26). And (see photo 9) there was an exhibition on of some photos by former President of France Jacques Chirac. How about that?

A feature of any visit to Perpignan is, or should be, a journey to the department store called Galeries Lafayette (the big white building in photo 18), the views from the top of which are excellent (photos 19-28). The views on the way down from the stairs are pretty good too (photos 28-30).

Other than that, it was the usual. Amusing signs in French, roof clutter, strange plants, pollarded trees, various sorts of sculpture ancient and modern, bridges, left over Christmas signs, a motorbike. All good stuff, and all looking much better in the much better light there was in Perpignan on January 9th. Click and enjoy.

40 Strand

Alastair wondered, in a comment, what this building is, as had I. Today, the weather looked good again, and having nowhere in particular to go, I thought I’d do what I hadn’t done earlier, which was find out exactly what this building is.

Here are nine photos, the first of which I photoed last Tuesday, just before photoing the photo shown in that previous posting, and the other eight of which I took this afternoon:

The first, as I say, taken seconds before that previous night scene I showed earlier, shows the shape of the building, instead of just a pretty pattern. The second photo above is clearly of the same building. The third shows the same building, but with some context, in particular showing where it is in relation to the big arched edifice of offices over Charing Cross Station.

At which point I knew where to go looking, and I soon got right next to the Thing. Photo 4 makes it clear that this is that same building, while photo 5 clarifies that at the foot of it is to be found the Theodore Bullfrog. I took a note (photo 6) of exactly where I was.

But, there seemed to be no very welcoming entrance to the building I was trying to find out about. So I went around to the front of it, which seemed to be in the Strand. Photo 7 and photo 8, are close-ups of the entrance I found. And photo 9 shows the entire building from a bit of distance, from the other side to my earlier photos.

Photo 8 was of a sign saying … “40 Strand”, was it?

A little photo-enhancement …:

… confirmed that yes, this was 40 Strand. But was 40 Strand and the building we saw from the other side one and the same building?

Google Maps gave me the answer to that when I got home:

Yes. 40 Strand is the whole thing, including the bits at the back that I had been photoing so attentively. The presence of the little red balloon in the middle of the building, right next to the more distant of the windows I had been photoing proved that this was job done.

So now you know. More to the point, now Alastair knows. I don’t get many regular commenters here, so the ones I do have get the Rolls Royce treatment. (When I feel like it, I mean. I promise nothing.)

Trees and other Things

I’ve not being doing much out-and-abouting lately. But yesterday the weather looked good and I managed a photo-expedition. My odyssey was a familiar one. I walked past the Channel 4 TV headquarters building to Victoria Street, checked out the progress of The Broadway. (That seems to e its name, by the way. It’s not One Broadwy or Ten Broadway, just The Broadway.) Then I walked down Victoria Street to Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square, and then across Westminster Bridge and along the South Bank, and then back across the River to Embankment Tube and home again.

But I knew there’d be new stuff to see, or maybe old stuff that I had seen many times before but not noticed. Stuff like … trees. Here are sixteen of the photos I photoed, involving trees:

Trees look as they do, especially when uninterrupted by leaves, not because trees naturally look like that, but because a not-that-small and very full-time army of tree barbers and tree surgeons (that being the word they prefer), caused them to be so. Every twist and turn of a branch is a decision made by someone wielding a chainsaw (this time click on “Gallery”) or commanding someone wielding a chainsaw. If trees ever do grow “naturally”, that too is a string of decisions that someone made and went on making. Every tree in London is a clutch of design decisions.

And as I say, no leaves. Which means that other things were to be seen also. The Broadway, the Wheel, the Crimea statue, stuff around Parliament Square (much of it smothered in scaffolding), the Wheel from closer up, Big Ben (smothered in scaffolding), the sign outside Foyles saying “FOYLES”, a big puddle, and so forth and so on. Lovely.

BT Tower reflected – as seen from outside Warren Street Tube

At the top end of Tottenham Court Road, where it hits Euston Road and then bashes its way across Euston Road and changes its name to Hampstead Road, there is some photo-fun to be had, especially on bright and sunny days, with the way that the BT Tower is reflected back from the building on the far side, at the opposite corner from Warren Street Tube. Warren Street Tube being a Tube Station I often emerge from, on my way to Curry’s PC World whenever I need something electrical that i want to look at before I buy it.

Here’s a clutch of such photos that I photoed on June 29th 2015:

I know. They’re vertical, rather than horizontal. Not my usual thing. For which there is a reason, namely: that my cameras, Windows and my graphics programme don’t see eye to eye when vertical photos are involved. So, I had some sorting out to do with these photos, but I made it work eventually. But that’s also why I’m only posting this clutch of photos now rather than in 2015. Clutches of photos (reprise) used to be very complicated, and any further complication, like this vertical nonsense, I just did not need.

Some of the above photos, the bottom middle one especially, feature another building besides the BT Tower. That’s because the windows that stuff is being reflected in are at a 45 degree angle to the ones where the BT Tower is to be seen. This is clear from photos 3, 4 and 6, and especially if you look at the top of the building. Which might be why photo 5 is definitely my favourite of these. I often, as here, like it when the photo is a bit of a puzzle. What’s happening here? But I also like to try to say what is happening, which is why I include the other five. That way it’s a puzzle, but a puzzle solved.

I also like that effect you often get with reflections, which is that the sky is blue with any clouds being clearly visible, in the reflected bits, but bright white when you look straight at the sky. The human eye sees both as sky, by altering its light setting as it scans the scene. Cameras can’t do that. Or not nearly so easily. They need graphics package help to communicate that kind of thing.

By the way, when I categorise something as “reflections”, that means literal reflections, of light. I’m not claiming that I am myself “reflecting”, any more deeply than usual. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. Different argument.

Sneaky selfies

A sneaky selfie by me, a week ago:

And a dozen sneaky selfies by Vivian Maier, photoed somewhat longer ago:

The point being that selfies are selfies, but sneaky selfies are selfies but with lots of other stuff going on as well.

Vivian Maier being my favourite of all the photographers whose work I have got to know by being a regular reader of Mick Hartley‘s blog.

Those Frenchies do love their motorbikes

Yes they do. Here are some I photoed on my recent trip to their country:

And here is a particularly interesting motorbike specimen, which I spotted inside a shop in Perpignan:

You see what they did there? They put a classic motorbike next to one of the great design classics of the twentieth century, the Barcelona Chair. What this says to me is: This motorbike is a work of art also. My photos are not works of art, on account of unwanted reflections, but they make the point I’m making well enough.

The best motorbike I encountered, and photoed with its owner’s proud permissions, was this one, photoed right at the end of my stay, while being driven back to Carcassone Airport:

The nearest thing to this bike I could find on the www was this. Not a perfect match, but an exact match on the colour scheme front.

I like to think that the French see something philosophical, Sartrian, existentialist, in their bikes. What with you riding a motorbike, today could be your last day alive! So climb on your bike and find your true self! Or something. I put this or something like it to a friend earlier this evening, and she said maybe they like bikes because unlike us lot here, they have roads where you can really ride motorbike on properly. Sadly, I think that makes more sense.

Electric tree

Last week I dined in Putney with friends. Delightful, even if it did make my coughing worse. And then, almost as delightful was the electric tree I encountered next to the big red building, aka Novaat Victoria Station, having arrived there by bus at about one in the morning.

These photos are only so-so, but I think the tree deserves celebrating nevertheless. I especially like how it looks so different from different angles:

The main reason I’m posting these particular photos, vertical ones, is to make sure I can. My Photoshop(clone) and Windows Photo Viewer between them manage to introduce confusion about whether vertical photos are really vertical, or need rotating. It turns out they need rotating through ninety degrees, and then in Windows they seem like the tree has been laid down on its side. But when I then transfer them into the blog, they come out standing upright.

By the way, the third photo is the tree reflected in a nearby shop window.

Boundary Dragon – Boundary Dragon shadow

I love the City of London Boundary Dragons, and I am pretty sure that the photo below is my favourite City of London Boundary Dragon photo that I have ever photoed:

That is one of the two Dragons on the south end of London Bridge. I photoed this photo on August 12th 2008.

When a strong shadow and weirdness are involved, the Thing itself is usually clear, but the shadow is weird. But in the above photo, the Thing is weird. And the shadow makes everything clear again. Which is an effect that I especially like. And I think we can tell from the framing that I noticed this at the time. This was not a fluke, except in the sense that this effect was there to be noticed and I had the luck to notice it. What I mean is: I did notice it at the time. It didn’t just happen to show up in a photo that I photoed for other reasons, or for no reason.

And what of that building reflected in the window? I rather think that may now have been obliterated, to make way for The Boomerang. Memo to self: go back and do the same photo again, preferably at the same time of day. On August 12th 2020 perhaps? But even without the shadow, a different (or maybe the same) reflection would be worth a go.

Context needed

Some photos are very clear. Here’s a photo. You look at it, to see straight away what it’s of. And, you do see. All is clear. It may or may not be interesting, but it is at least clear.

Other photos can be almost completely baffling, like this one, which I photoed in the summer of 2014:

I say “almost” completely baffling, because you can clearly see Big Ben in there, reflected in … whatever it’s reflected in. Reflected no less than four times. But what are all those bluey-grey and shiny shapes? Is it a car? Guess: yes. But is another car reflected in an original car? Are those shiny reflective surfaces glass or metal? But which surfaces, on what sort of car? Or cars? Side window? Back window? Maybe you can tell, but I just can’t work out what the full story is there.

This is one of those times when I badly need a back-up photo to explain what’s going on, less zoomy, with context. At least we’d know which way up we are, and what the original reflecting object consists of.

What I like best are photos in between the clear ones and the baffling ones, where you can work out what you’re looking at, but only after having given it some thought. (Examples of which may, or then again my not, follow.)

This one is of interest because, simply as an abstract pattern, this does have something going for it. The colours are nice, with the yellow Big Bens brightly lit up by the sunshine of that summer day. The shapes are nice, in a Zaha Hadid sort of way. But, what is it?

I’m photoing in the rain

Contrary to English myth, and myth elsewhere for all I know, it doesn’t actually rain that much in England, and when it does, it doesn’t usually rain that heavily. The reason we fret about rain so much is that there is just enough for it to be a nuisance, and not enough for us to get properly organised to deal with it effectively. See also: snow.

Photoing rainy weather is a whole speciality in itself, caused by such things as the fact that rain makes things shinier and more reflective. Personally I don’t enjoy photoing in the rain. The light is less good, and you are liable to get rain all over the front of your lens. And yourself. For which I will not (see above) be properly organised. So, showable-here photos photoed by me, taken in rainy weather, are rare.

Nevertheless, here is a recent rainy weather photo that I photoed that I quite like:

This was photoed the same day I photoed that lady photoing her ice cream. This lady was photoing her mere companion, so not so fascinating on that front, but I do like the umbrella, the wheely-suitcase and the all round shininess of everything, reflecting the various colours bouncing around in that part of Soho, which is where I was. (Hence the massage advert top left.)

You can even see the green bike reflected in the smooth but wet pavement upon which it stands.

But the mere fact that this lady was content to have her suitcase out in the open like this is proof that this was not serious rain.

For what that is like, let us again consult a recent blog posting by 6k, who lives in South Africa:

It’s been raining for about 12 hours now, it’s still raining, and we’re already approaching an incredible 100mm. The pool is overcapacity, the gutters overflowing, the drains overwhelmed and the beagle is …

Well, it turns out the beagle wasn’t that bothered, because he was indoors. But you get the point. There’s rain like in London, in my photo. And then there’s rain, like that.