Remembrance photos

Today, to mark Remembrance Sunday, I photoed poppies outside Westminster Abbey, and got the sort of photos I usually do get at this particular time of year:

But then, I made my way along Whitehall, where wreaths had earlier been laid at the Cenotaph, and then turned right towards Embankment tube. Thus it was that I walked past the Royal Tank Regiment Memorial …:

and I photoed one of the messages that had been placed on it:

To me that brings it home more vividly.

I wonder how long that life together lasted.

Poppies and tablets

Five years ago, to mark the centenary of the outbreak outbreak of World War 1, poppies surrounded the Tower of London

Like many others I photoed the poppies, and I photoed a few of those photoing the poppies.

Above are four poppy photos I photoed of photoers using tablets to do their photoing. The second is, I guess, the strangest one. But all it is is a man showing his wife (?) the photo that he has just photoed.

My impression is that tablets were used to photo at that time a lot more than they are now.

Or then again, it could just be that the number of photoers of these poppies was so huge that there were bound to be a few tablets on show. And by their nature (them being big) I noticed and photoed all the tablets that were being used in my vicinity. Maybe photoing with tablets was as rare then as it is now.

But, for whatever it may be worth or signify, I don’t think so.

There is nice history, of things like tablets and digital photoing. And there is not so nice history, of things like World War 1. We should pay respectful attention to both sorts of history, I think.

Tasting the sunshine out east last August

Yes, last summer I went on several exeditions to such places as the Dome, and beyond. Here is a clutch of photos I photoed in the beyond category. On August 11th, I journeyed to the Dome, then took the Dangleway across the River to the Victoria Docks, and walked along the north side of them, ending my wanderings at the City Airport DLR station:

There are two of these favourite sculptures to be seen, in Photo 7 and Photo 11.

There are 35 photos in all. I think maybe my favourite is 33, which includes an advert that says: “OH REALLY?” I like that, for some reason.

Photo 27 has a sign, on the side of the Tate & Lyle factory, saying “TASTE THE SUNSHINE”. It was a very sunny day. I count three that include shadow selfies (23, 24, 31).

It is so much easier doing this kind of thing than it was at The Old Blog. (My thanks yet again to Michael J, who did this new blog for me.)

My four most favourite London sculptures

All photoed by me, in 2015, apart from the last one, which was photoed by me earlier this year:

They are: the statue of Mercury on top of Telephone House (also featured in this photo); the Big Olympic Thing; Pavlova; and the Optic Cloak.

I have many photos in the archives of all of these four. All of the above photos show context, as well as the Thing itself. I love these sculptures for what they are, but also for what they do for their surroundings.

There are many, many other sculptures and statues in London that I like a lot, but those four are my current front runners.

Julius Caesar in London

First up, the Julius Caesar statue outside Tower Hill tube station, with a couple having some photo-fun with him:

Second, some photo-evidence I acquired, when Darren and I recently visited the Oval, of the time when Julius Caesar played cricket for Surrey:

I reckon they cheated. It should read: “J Caesar Esq”.

He was born and brought up in Godalming.

Queen Victoria backed by modernity

I love statues. Mostly, you don’t have the exact same one in several different spots, so when you see a familiar one, you know you are here and nowhere else.

And while checking out a statue near Blackfriars Station recently, I encountered another statue that I also like:

Photoing statues can be tricky, and I found this one particularly difficult. Very black and very shiny, lit by a sun that was crashing in from what seemed like entirely the wrong direction, was an awkward combination of circumstances, which made photoing Queen Vic’s face especially difficult. But, the outline comes out well enough.

Two of the photos, 5 and 9, have benefitted (or I hope they have) from a little post-production enhancement.

Photos 7 and 8 each feature a crane, and also the Oxo Tower. I like how the green of that container-office (7) echoes the green of the faraway tower. The crane is one of many working on the big London mega-sewer. Photo 9 features the tower of Tate Modern.

Creature stuff

First up: Otters chasing a butterfly.

Next, zebras:

One of these photos. Jordan Peterson would surely like this photo.

In case you didn’t realise, Cats bond with their people too. I’m already convinced. When GD2’s family’s cat Oscar got home after going awol, he slept for about a solid day. This says to me that he was stressed out when away from home, but not when home with his humans.

From Laughing Squid, a paper cameleon, a trampolining fox, and a raven who speaks German.

Lastly, and most depressingly: Animal painter known as ‘Galician Picasso’ found half eaten by own dogs.

A beaver shadow in Oxford Street

August 18th 2017 was one of those bright-light-on-light-coloured-buildings-turning-the-sky-darkest-blue sort of a day:

But when I photoed that particular photo, in Oxford Street, the mere bright-lightedness of the buildings or the darkness of the dark blue sky were not what I was focussing on, or at any rate trying to focus on. I know this, because the very next photo I photoed was this:

What I was interested in was that shadow. And it just has to be a beaver, doesn’t it? No other creature has quite that granny-bod shape. (The shadow is clearly not of that bobble on the right, as, with my terrible eyesight, I may have been guessing at the time.)

Sadly, however, I didn’t manage to get a look at or a photo a photo of the original beaver statue that was the cause of this shadow. I think I must have been too close to the building. Or, I tried to but not hard enough, and then forgot the beaver and looked at all the other things to be seen from Oxford Street that this same light was lighting up. Yes, probably that.

But then, earlier this week, while wandering through the archives, and spotting this beaver shadow as an obvious solution to the what-to-blog-on-Friday question which I face every Friday, it occurred to my slowing old brain that I didn’t just have a mysterious photo of a beaver shadow to ponder about and never explain. I also had a word – “beaver” – and that once you have a word, the internet becomes searchable, even if all you really have is an image and a guess about a word. So, “beaver oxford street”, and bingo, all was explained, instantly.

Why Are There Statues of Beavers On Top Of This Oxford Street Shop? asked Londonist, 32 months ago. Question asked, question answered:

If you glance up at the top of 105 to 109 Oxford Street (the building currently home to Tiger and Footlocker), you’ll see a strange quartet of creatures decorating the roof.

Four beavers, the top one holding a scroll(!), have been peering down on Oxford Street shoppers for 130 years.

Ah, I should have glanced. Then, I’d have seen them, or at least one of them. All I did was look, and then give up.

This is because 105 to 109 Oxford Street used to be Henry Heath’s Hat Factory and for many years, the hats made here were felted with beaver fur.

Londonist goes on to note that there is a big sign round the back of this building saying “HAT FACTORY” “HENRY HEATH Oxford Street”, and proves this with a photo. I recall taking a photo of this signage, several times. But where, in my ever more voluminous photo-archives, are such photos to be found? Search me. And I could search my V P-As, but it would take far too long.

One of the rules of blogging that I have had to learn is that if I have something to say, and want to say more but can’t, I should just say what I have to say, and leave the rest for later or never. So, the beaver shadow photos go up here, today, and any photos I have photoed of signs saying HENRY HEATH HAT FACTORY will just have to wait for another day or decade, in the event that one fine day or dark night I stumble upon them while looking for something else.

However, I do have just one more beaver photo to show you.

I occasionally visit John Lewis in Oxford Street, because it sells fine produce. Whenever I do this, I also, unless the weather is particularly bad, visit the very fine John Lewis Roof Garden, and take photos from it of the rest of London. So, I wondered if I had any photos taken from that spot, of any beavers, photoed in the direction of Centre Point, which is the big tower at the eastern end of Oxford Street, after which Oxford Street turns into New Oxford Street. Since I knew which directories to be looking in, this was a photo-archival search that made sense.

And, long story a bit less long, I came upon this photo (which I photoed in 2015):

And I took a closer-up look at this photo, in the spot where a beaver might be seen. And here, in the middle of the above photo, is that beaver, looking like a granny supporting herself with her umbrella (although this is really a “scroll(!)”):

Now clearly, even more than is the case with all the other photos of mine that I show here, this photo is no work of art. Canaletto can rest easy in his grave. But, as with so many of my photos, it’s the principle of the thing. This photo is photoable, well, because look, I actually did photo it, badly.

I could even go back to this same spot and trying to photo the same photo, better.

Memo to self: do that, some time soon.

Urban picturesque

Indeed:

Photoed by me in September 2013.

I have labelled this photo “NearlyEverything” because for me, it has nearly everything. Scaffolding, roof clutter ancient and modern, a crane, Magic Hour light, the lot. Well, not the lot, there are things I like that are not present in this photo. But a lot of the lot.

There is even present a favourite item of London public sculpture, in the form of the statue of Mercury that adorns a building on the north bank of the River called Telephone House. If you follow that link, you’ll learn nothing about this sculpture being there. But it is.

Googling for “mercury statue” is greatly confused by the fact that a statue of pop singer Freddie Mercury has recently been on display outside the Dominion Theatre, across the road from Centre Point.

An elephant in a City shop

Last Sunday, I visited the Big Things of The City, up close and very impersonal. Sunday in the City is a strange time/place combination, which I like a lot. All those spaces to be occupied by thousands of people, but all the people away for the weekend. Memo to self: do this more often. Especially on great days like last Sunday was.

I photoed the Big Things very happily, and also photoed this big wooden elephant, which was in a shop window:

Shop windows are Photoshop before Photoshop, combining this scene with that scene, this wooden elephant with that Gherkin.

I recently added “Reflections” to the category list. Overdue.