This posting began several evenings ago as a quota photo post, with this pretty little scene being the beginning and the end of it:
But then I again got thinking about how significant it is that, typically, vapour trails look at they do above, but do not look like this, below:
That evil vapour trail (there’s another dimmer one further away) is made dark and evil by a line of cloud in the distance, in the evening, allowing the sun to continue lighting up the sky, but throwing a huge shadow over the vapour trail itself. This combination of circumstances, with everything all lined up just so, is rather rare.
Finally, here’s a fun photo, where the shadow from the evening cloud doesn’t engulf all of the vapour trail, merely some of it:
I know I keep banging on about how air travel wouldn’t be so popular if vapour trails typically didn’t look so pretty, but I really think this is true.
Equally significant is that the nastiest internal combustion engine pollution is now invisible. Just about all the actual smoke, certainly in London (where all of the above photos were photoed), has been done away with. If you do see smoke in London, chances are something’s on fire, in an undeliberate way.
I was browsing through the photo-archives and I encountered this favourite photo from two years ago:
Makes a nice contrast with this photo recently posted here, and this one of the Royal Albert Hall. The point being, in those two photos, they got pretty much the effect they wanted, whereas with this earlier one, they got something a lot more interesting than they were going for.
Had I done an earlier posting featuring the above photo? That the photo had a name as well as a number in the archives suggested: yes. And so it proved.
Photos like this don’t date. If anything, after what they are of has vanished, they get better. Click on that link, and you’ll also see another photo of the same thing, done with a slightly wider angle, and including the entire crane that you can only seen the bottom of in the above photo.
So, for him and for anyone else interested in such things, here’s another such circumstance, much more recent (February of this year), and much more spectacular. It’s the Royal Albert Hall, no less:
On the left, the big picture. And on the right, we can see the three elements involved in this sort of process. Top left, the ancient Greek looking frieze, that’s the actual Royal Albert Hall itself. On the right, the scaffolding, under a bog standard white covering. And then bottom left, occupying most of the picture, the photo (if that’s what it originally was) of the exact bit (or so I assume) of the Royal Albert Hall that it is covering.
The bit in the middle behind the statue is the also the building itself. “Shadows” is included in the categories list below, on account of there not being any real shadows, just fake ones, when it is just a flat surface. Which makes a real difference to how easy it is to see what the original building consists of. That difficulty actually being an early clue as to what’s really going on.
As often, the trees, although at least leafless, are not helping.
The statue in the front is of Prince Albert. On the other side of the Royal Albert Hall is his Memorial. For a view of the Royal Albert Hall from the same angle, but with rather less scaffolding, and also for some closer-up of this Prince Albert statue, see Royal Albert and his Hall.
LATER: In the original posting, the photo above on the left was a bad choice. I had a better one available, and that has now replaced the first photo.
One of the last really successful photo-walkabouts I had in London was on May 30th of this year. I remember having two designated destinations, rather than just the one. There was where they are starting to build these Things, as noted in this posting, and then there were some statues, of Lord Dowding and Bomber Harris, back across the River, that I wanted to check out. As I duly did.
But before all that, I did lots of photoing in the victoria Street Parliament Square Westminster Bridge part of town where I so like to photo:
Those photos are not the ones I might normally have chosen. I would have gone for more information, and less artistic impression (which quite often involves suppressing mere information thereby isolating the mere effect and making it that little bit more effective). But the light that day was so strong, and doing such amusing things that my photo-selection is strongly skewed in the direction of lighting effects and away from mere facts about statues, buildings and the like. So: lots of reflections and lots of shadows and lots of silhouettes, all of which work especially well in very strong light, and lots of light illuminating those big sheets that scaffolders like to decorate their scaffolding with these days.
Originally the photo that caught my attention was photo 12, and the original plan was just to show that one. But I soon realised that there were lots more I also felt like showing you, so there they all are. I hope that at least some coming here will be entertained.
I only seriously noticed e-scooters this year. But whenever I seriously notice something, the pattern is usually that I have already noticed it, but rather less seriously.
So it was with e-scooters. Here are the two earliest photoings of these devices that I’ve so far been able to discover in the photo-archives.
This one was spotted and photoed by me in July of last year, in the vicinity of the Tate Gallery (ancient version):
And then, two weeks later, in August, there was this, beside Victoria Dock, out east:
A piece of up-and-coming technology being driven towards some ancient tech that is now only a sculpture. When I say ancient tech, I’m talking about the lower reaches of the old dock crane there, not the ship. The ship is still a real ship. Well, nearly. It’s now a hotel. But it could surely still travel, if business would be better elsewhere. And behind all that is the footbridge across the dock, a particular favourite of mine.
My next task is to discover what e-developments suddenly made e-scooters possible, during the last five years or so? Was it just that e-motors got smaller? Was it the batteries that made the difference? Once again, the Internet falls over itself to tell me how to buy an e-scooter, but is less forthcoming about why I am suddenly able buy such a thing at all.
My taxis-with-adverts enthusiasm is no more than an aesthetically driven hobby, the way my granny used to collect ornamental plates, or so I recall it. Watching what happens to and with e-scooters during the next few years will be to watch a little slice of transport history.
Remember Jeppe Hein’s red seat sculptures outside the Royal Festival Hall. Well, when I went back there, in early May of this year, when Lockdown was getting started, to see how the red seats looked in bright sunshine (strictly for the essential exercise you understand), I discovered that what Stein called his Modified Social Benches had been modified, to look like miniature crime scenes. They had been smothered in red and white tape, thus:
However, towards the end of the time I spent photoing all these benches that had been modified to make them anti-social, I photoed this lady and her bike, resting in one of the benches:
She either didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to be sitting there, or she knew but she didn’t care.
You can see how they wouldn’t want the tape to be, to echo the name of some popular entertainers of yesteryear, simply red. (a) Too much like smothering these things in red tape, and (b) what with the benches already being red, the red tape might be rather hard to see.
Other famous birds were also present, and photoers, knowing of their fame, were photoing them also:
But maybe my favourite photoer photo that I photoed that day was this, also bird related:
Real Photographers work away to contrive the exact photographs they want, and then they photograph them. But good luck contriving that one, ladies and gentlemen. Photoers like me just photo lots of photos, and then pick out the best ones to show somewhere like here, whether we contrived them or whether they were just flukes.
Recently I was in the general vicinity of Lambeth, Stoke Newington, that sort of part of London, seeing things like a lion statue. But that lion was nothing to what came later.
Which was this:
This being a truly amazing place called Abney Park.
There are plenty of forests in London. And God knows (because invariably He becomes involved in all such arrangements), there are plenty of graveyards.
But, have you ever seen an honest-to-God graveyard, in an honest-to-God forest? Well, now I have, in the shape of Abney Park. The photos above all emphasise this weird and wonderful combined fact.
The roots of the trees have yanked a lot of the graves way out of the vertical. And we’re not talking about modest little graves. A lot of these are guy-with-biggest-grave-wins graves, erected in honour of seriously rich people, including lots of celebs and luvvies. There’s one with a big lion on it, and what’s more a far more impressive lion than that statue I photoed earlier. There’s even a big old statue, of this guy.
When I and the friend who showed me this amazing place were there, the weather was that particularly perfect sort of perfect that consist of perfection which had been preceded by rain. My photos (with the possible exception of photo 0 (or photo 2.4 if you prefer) don’t really show that, but trust me, it was weather to die for.
More about Abney Park in this. Turns out the guy buried under the lion was a lion tamer.
A while back I was walking along by the River, just upstream from Lambeth Bridge, and photoed this photo (number 5 of these) of the China Works Tower (thank you commenter Alastair for identifying it):
Also a while ago now, I went back there, yes, to photo stuff like all the signs at the other end of that link, but basically to check out this China Works building from close-up:
In an earlier posting here about would-be applier of architectural decoration Adam Nathaniel Furman, I said:
Furman intends to apply ornament with colourful abandon.
But, not the old sort of ornament that the Victorians liked to do, and against whom the original Modernists reacted with such disgust. …
Well, the above photos are of just this old sort of ornament, the sort that Furman doesn’t want to do. But, technologically, he intends to use very similar techniques. Ceramics. Also known as: China. (Odd that, naming a material after the big old country where they got the idea from. Are there any strange things called, in foreign parts, Britain or England? So, how’s your meat? Okay, but it could use a dash of Britain. Your skirt’s falling down, try using an England.)
This China Works Tower is surrounded and jostled aggressively by modern buildings, designed by the sort of people who grew up believing all the old sort of ornament to be an aesthetic abomination, or at the very least an aesthetic dead-end.
The most aggressive architectural jostler is a fire station, immediately the other side of a very narrow road. Which happens to be the start of Lambeth High Street, which is odd but there you go. Here are photos I took of all that jostling, with the fire station in the middle photo here:
You can see the white roof of the fire station in the photo at the top of this posting.
Luckily, the China Works Tower is not entirely isolated, and is hence not totally smothered by later buildings. It was once only a small part of a bigger collection of buildings, and a decent chunk of those earlier buildings remains, attached to the Tower and keeping it company:
There was a lot of sunshine and shade colliding on the facade of the Tower, so that doesn’t look so good there. But the blander, less decorated and bigger stretch of the old building was easier to photo, as you can see.
I shouldn’t grumble too much. At least the Tower survived, along with a chunk of the earlier buildings it presided over. The Tower was the architectural advert, so to speak, for a real business, one that survived longer than most Victorian-era enterprises, way past World War 2. And then the Tower was saved by an early manifestation of the Conservation Movement, in the form of two rich fogeys, aesthetically speaking. The link above, in paragraph one of this, concerning the history of this place and what they’re now doing with it is well worth a follow, so here is that link again.
I wouldn’t want London to consist only of such ornamented antiquities, but I am glad that quite a lot of such oddities still survive, and that they now look like having a decent future, to follow their distinguished past. And I am glad to have lived long enough to have experienced a time when this past can be easily learned about. During the last century, I would see such a building, wonder about it for about one minute, and then forget it and move on to the next equally baffling oddity.
This afternoon, I ventured out of doors. What with the weather being so nice:
Because public transport has recently been something that Non-essential Workers (apparently the world can do without personal blogs if it has to) have been discouraged from using, so for the last few weeks, I couldn’t just go somewhere by tube or bus, then walk where I wanted to for as far as I wanted too, and then grab the nearest tube or bus back home. It no longer works like that. The further I now walk, the further I have to be willing to walk back.
So, me and my camera are focusing in a whole new way on places within easy walking distance of home.
Today, I walked through the back alleys of Millbank, past pollarded trees just beginning to assert themselves with leaves, but not so much as to become boring. I went past the statue of John Everett Millais (I took photo-notes), who stands at the back of Tate Ancient, and was then beside the River, looking at Things on the other side, and at Lambeth Bridge, which I had in mind to cross. This time, the tide was higher
What is that Ancient Tower that looks like someone stole it from Tower Bridge? The one in Photo 5 above, in the middle. I’m too tired to track it down. I was out walking in London today, and I am too knackered to care, for now. Anyone?
I did cross Lambeth Bridge, St Mary’s Gardens being just on the other side of it, next to a church, St Mary’s Church presumably.
And then I wandered in the general direction of Waterloo, and made a strange discovery, which I’ll tell you all about some other time, maybe, I promise nothing.
This is a little patch of nearby London that I have very seldom explored. I know what I will see on the other side of Vauxhall Bridge, because I often go to Vauxhall Station, or beyond to the Oval, to say nothing of being intrigued by that weird Bus Thing. And I used constantly to cross Westminster Bridge, photoing photoers, and in search of classical CDs in Lower Marsh, and of much else, like closer-up views of how the City of London’s Big Things have been progressing. I still do, quite often. But the little patch of London life beyond Lambeth Bridge, along Lambeth Road and nearby roads, is far less well known to me. I know it a bit better now.
And then when my wanderings were done and I was knackered, I tried, for the first time since Lockdown started, to take a bus back home. And I succeeded! The bus was three quarters empty. The driver made no attempt to persuade me to continue walking, and nor did anyone else. Plus, the driver was taped off, like he was a crime scene, which was a sufficiently strange circumstance for me to reckon it worth photoing, and again, nobody thought to interrupt me while I did this:
All of which meant that I got back home sooner than I feared I would, and far less knackered than I feared I would be.