Out and across Lambeth Bridge

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.

But still knackered.

Statues in Parliament Square

Being unable to use public transport, but still allowed to venture out of doors on foot, I have been concentrating my photographic attention on nearby places. And I have become especially fixated on the statues in Parliament Square.

Here are a couple of photos of one of these statues, a recently installed one, of Millicent Garrett Fawcett:

I show you the one on the left because it shows when not to try photoing some of these statues, namely those on the opposite side of Parliament Square from Parliament itself. I photoed that one on April 6th, in the quite late afternoon. Don’t try to photo these statues late in the afternoon, when the light is behind them to the west, unless all you want is silhouettes.

On the right is a photo I took this morning, when the light was coming from the east.

But the light coming from the east needed to be of a particular sort, which at first I got rather wrong, as the next two photos illustrate:

That’s Nelson Mandela, as I am sure you realise. The one on the left is a photo I took on the morning of April 26th, a morning I chose because it was so sunny. However, it was too sunny. By then, there were leaves (I constantly find leaves to be the enemy of successful photoing) casting random shadows over everything, and making it hard to discern the patterns on the surface of the statue,and totally messing up his face.

So, when I returned today, in the morning, I had chosen a less sunny morning, to see if that made things better. It did. Instead of the light crashing like a searchlight upon everything, and remembering all the things that had got in its way on the way to its destination, the light this morning wasn’t crashing anywhere. It was merely flowing gently, everywhere, in all directions, like a set of blurry lamps instead of one brutal searchlight. Hence the relative success of the photo on the right.

Until now, I have not tried very hard to photo statues. I have tried, but not very hard. I just photoed and hoped for the best, without wondering why it worked sometimes rather than at other times. But, I had begun to think that the sort of light I normally most enjoy for photoing, bright sunshine, might not be the best sort of light for statues. This morning, I paid attention to this notion, and it seemed to work very well.

So, here are several more photos that I took this morning, this next lot showing facial details of a sort I have never managed to get before, from these particular statues. These ones are close-ups of six of the statues that are at the west end of the square – Mandela (again), Disreali, Gandhi, Fawcett (again), Lincoln, and Canning:

I forgot Peel and Derby, this morning. Or I think I did. I got in a bit of a muddle, forgetting that “Lord Beaconsfield” was really Disraeli. Maybe I have photos of Peel and Derby from earlier expeditions. If not, I might go back and do them too. Easy to do, what with all these Things being a walk away. (Photo rule: try to photo-obsess only about things within easy reach.)

Anyway, I’ll end this with three more photos I photoed this morning, two of them of one of my favourite statues in this square, Jan Smuts. I don’t know much about the man himself, but I really like this statue of him. I like that it’s green. And leaning forwards, like he’s skating:

I have photoed Smuts a lot, because he doesn’t always look like a mere silhouette in the afternoon. In these photos he has scaffolding behind him, and regulars here know how I feel about scaffolding. Also behind Smuts in the left hand photo of him there are the statues of Lloyd George and Churchill, which are properly photoed in the middle photo, again with scaffolding in the mix. Again, favourite subjects of mine, even though I don’t much like the statue of Lloyd George. To be exact, I don’t like his coat, which doesn’t look like a coat at all. More like metal. Which might be because it is metal.

Shame about all the birdshit.

Private jet with tent

Indeed:

Photoed by Michael Jennings at Madras Municipal Airport, and posted on Facebook on August 21st 2017.

Said Michael, next to the photo:

All accommodation in this town has been sold out for three years. It doesn’t matter if you arrive in your own jet – you are still sleeping in a tent.

What Michael didn’t say was what the circumstances of this accommodation shortage were. Was something in particular happening at that particular time, or is accommodation in Madras always something you have to book three years in advance? Michael?

Ever since I got it clear in my head that Michael allows all photos he posts on Facebook to be re-posted here, provided there is a little globe logo above them (which means that the whole world is welcome to read and share what he has put), and provided I give him the credit for having photoed them, I have been trawling through the photos he has posted. The above photo is now one of my favourites of his that I have encountered so far.

This link works for me, because I am “on” Facebook (although I have yet to put anything there myself). Does it work for you? Do you have to be a Facebooker for it to work? Or will that link get you to Michael’s Facebook posting anyway? Questions questions.

I like that Michael’s shadow is present, bottom left.

“Architecture” is in the category list for this not so much because of the very forgettable airport building, but because of the tent. Are tents architecture? I think so, and a highly significant form of architecture. A form of architecture that has transformed the nature of “homelessness” by providing homeless people with … homes! When I was a kid, we had to “pitch” a tend by banging wooded pegs into the ground, which consequently had to be soft. Try doing that at an airport. Or on a city pavement. These new tends that you merely have keep weighted down have changed the world.

Whenever I encounter such tents on the streets of London I have been photoing them, ever since the above thoughts first crossed my mind. Real Soon Now (although I promise nothing) I should dig up all my tent photos and do a posting about this.

Those thirty-five photoer photos from October 20th 2007 that I promised you

Yes, as earlier promised:

There’s a lot I could say, by way of a photo-essay, about these photoer photos. But, do you know what the best thing about them is, in my opinion? How good they are. Oh, technically, they’re a bit rubbish, but I don’t care about that. I just really like them. Even the one of me. But especially the one of the bloke lying face down on the ground playing a guitar behind his head.

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.

More trees (including the shadow of a tree)

This time trees of the regular sort, some even with leaves, in the vicinity of the Tate Gallery, the ancient one that’s a walk away from my home:

Lots of pollarding.

The last photo, with the tree shadow, is of the outside of the Tate Gallery itself.

Shadows are interesting for many reasons, one being that the camera registers them so much more clearly than the eye does. When a human looks at a scene, he/she makes a model of it inside his/her head. Eyes move about restlessly to build the model. Shadows are irrelevant for most purposes, so get screened out, so to speak. But when a camera looks at a shadow, it sees it and registers it. It’s eye stays in one place and looks just the once. If there is a shadow, the shadow remains. When the human looks at the photo, he/she can’t then look past it, to the scene itself. There is only the photo to be seen`dxz9

One of the skills of photography is learning to see things as a camera does, so that you can see photos worth photoing, which you would not see if you were merely looking the way a human does.

Bird and bird shadow

Charlie Waite hits the photographic spot for me hits the photographic spot for me:

(Again.)

Verticals. Horizontals. Excellent shadow. Symmetry. Beautiful blue and grey and white colours.

A commenter comments:

Any thoughts on cropping out the bird in flight altogether.

Question mark. Well, there’s nothing to stop you doing that if you’d like to. I tried it. Yes, quite nice.

I did a Charlie Waite twitter search. Reommended. Not the same as his mere twitter home.

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.

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.)