The Shard and me photoing the Shard

Here are two photos that go nicely together.

First there is this photo:

Not the greatest shard photo ever taken, although a bit better of Guy’s Hospital, next to it. That is because it’s maximum zoom.

But now, taken with minimum zoom, with me standing in the exact same spot, pointing my camera in the exact same direction:

You can actually see the Shard in the faraway background.

I bought the Lumix SZ150, then the Lumix SZ200, and now my current SZ300, because these cameras all have in common that they have both quite impressive zoom for very distant scenes, and an quite impressive wide angle coverage on close-up scenes. Both features help a lot with architecture.

These two photos taken at the beginning of last month, at East India DLR station, on my way home from a photo-expedition.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Roz is now being quoted

This is not an advert for a book. Well, it is, but that’s not my purpose in showing it here. My angle is my niece, the crime fiction writer Roz Watkins, who is quoted here, enthusing about the book:

The point being that, with what seems to me like remarkable speed, Roz has turned herself into someone whose opinion about other people’s writing is considered worth quoting.

I found the above graphic at her Twitter feed, along with her thanks for having been described as “the great Roz Watkins” by a grateful publisher. Everything about Roz’s public and social media presence says to me, and I am sure to everyone else who is following her, that she is very serious about her writing career. Deadly serious, you might say.

This matters, because readers of crime fiction need to know that, if they invest their time and curiosity and shelf space, to say nothing of their cash, in a leading character, this investment will pay off. The energetic and upbeat way that Roz presents herself says that there will be plenty more books about her lead detective. There is already a second Meg Dalton tale coming out next April, and if several more Meg Daltons do not follow, at a speed no faster than (but no slower than) is consistent with the maintenance of quality, I for one will be very surprised.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The view across The Broadway

One from the I Just Like It directory:

That’s the view you get of Central Hall Westminster, that you now get looking over where New Scotland Yard used to be. I walk past this view whenever I go to St James’s Park tube. Well, that’s the view you get if you go to as much trouble as I did to frame Central Hall Westminster with a concrete pump.

There is now a glut of new luxury apartments in London, so I suppose it’s possible that this view may become a bit less temporary than it would have been two or three years ago. But my guess is that The Broadway, which (from a helicopter) will look very approximately like this…:

…, is now too far advanced for it to make sense for them not to finish it. Although maybe not as ostentatiously as that picture suggests.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Photo-edited from zero to hero

I remember, during the reign of President Bush Jnr., how I used to blog about how photography was used to glorify President Bush. Well, here’s another political photo of a rather similar sort, which has been an open window on my computer for some time:

What I find entertaining about this photo is the extreme contrast between the clearly very humdrum appearance, for real, of the old guy in the photo, and the way that (I suspect) pushing just one Photoshop button has turned this same guy into something almost heroic.

The headline above the photo is telling:

The most consequential conservative leader of the century? He’s still alive, in office and owed an apology

The old guy in the photo-edited photo is US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom the Tea Party people used to regard as a waste-of-space sell-out, but who is now being lauded to the skies by the Trumpsters.

Says Jewish Chronicle writer Marc A. Thiessen:

While President Trump deserves credit for making outstanding judicial nominations, long before Trump declared his candidacy McConnell was laying the groundwork for a conservative transformation of the federal judiciary. It was, he told me in an interview last week, “entirely premeditated.”

McConnell reminds me of a particular American actor, whom I recall having seen in a number of movies. Trouble is, that actor is the sort of actor you recognise the face of, but whose name you never quite register. It’s that sort of face.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Darren gets it

Incoming from Darren:

Took this photo a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t help think of you. …:

… I didn’t discover that the photoer had been caught in the picture until later. Taken from on a train while going through Blackfriars station. As you can probably tell, it was just taken using a phone.

I emailed Darren back, saying I’d feature his photo here. He then said that I shouldn’t feel in any way obligated to do this. He just thought I’d like the photo.

I thought about why I was so glad to receive this photo, and so keen to show it here, along with what he says about it. I think the reason is that Darren clearly “gets”, as they say, this blog. He gets that I am fond of the unfolding and ongoing drama of the architecture of central London. He gets that I notice how others like to photo London, too, it’s not just me. He gets that I am fond of the new Blackfriars railway station, straddling the river the way it does, and that I love the sort of views you can see and photo from it. And, Darren gets that I am deeply impressed by the photographic prowess of mobile phones.

He even refers to his photographer as a “photoer”. Until now, that was just me.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Unfixable Twitter

This makes sense:

There are three separate things the larger Twitter user base demands from the company:

– the ability to send messages out to the entire world

– the ability to interact with fellow users

– the ability to send messages without the fear of toxic responses

The problem is it’s basically impossible to guarantee all three at once. Call it the “Twitter impossibility theorem,” to ape Kenneth Arrow. You can have an open Twitter, you can have an interactive Twitter, and you can have a troll-free Twitter, but it is basically impossible to have all three. One of the demands must be dropped.

Twitter reminds me of that fish in The Hitchhiker’s Guide, which jumps into your ear and translates all the languages of the gallaxy into your language, which started wars because it meant that everyone could understand what you had said, and hate it, and be understood by you hating it.

Twitter doesn’t translate, but it connects the hitherto unconnected.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Sign of our time

Seen recently on Facebook:

I like all the reflections in the background. And what happens to the guy’s head. Real Photographers tend to avoid all that stuff. I seek it out.

Is this a reference to Brexit, Trump etc., or am I reading too much into this?

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The title of my talk at Christian Michel’s on Jan 6th 2019

I have just been contacted by Christian Michel for the title of my annual 6/20 talk at the beginning of next year. I kept him waiting for a day, because I wanted to get this more right than I would have if I had just dashed off a reply in a few minutes. But the job got done, as best I could manage.

Here it is: “The difficulty and the ease of the making of and the distribution of cultural objects: A history of human civilisation in three layers”.

Does that explain itself? It doesn’t? Maybe you should attempt to attend. Maybe I’ll write it out beforehand, read it out on the night (that often works very well), and post it here.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Old and cross

Photoed by me, on the same day that I most recently photoed Bartok:

As I get older, I find myself, every so often, getting crosser. Not all the time, you understand, just in occasional eruptions.

But I am not cross about this photo. That is exactly how it came out of the camera. No cropping or Photoshop(clone)ing. Just as was. I love that light, as I have been saying here for about a week now.

I love that effect when the light is very strong and almost exactly in line with the wall but not quite, at a just sufficient angle to light it up, and at the slightest excuse cover it in big shadows. If it didn’t say: “City of Westminster”, you’d think you could be in the South of France or some such sunlit place.

More about the Compton Cross.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Sardar Patel goes large

I do like Dezeen. Mostly it’s just Posh Modernism, but every so often it reports on something a lot more interesting.

Like: what is now the world’s tallest statue, four times the size of the Statue of Liberty, recently erected in Gujarat state, India.

This looks for all the world like it’s Photoshopped, but it truly isn’t:

Vallabhbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950), popularly known as Sardar Patel, was an Indian politician who served as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was an Indian barrister and statesman, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and a founding father of the Republic of India who played a leading role in the country’s struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation. …

Prediction: a Global Big Statue Race.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog