Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Chuck Pergiel on White van reflexology
Darren on Two photographers photoing me
Simon Gibbs on Digital photography ballet
Brian Micklethwait on My next camera?
Brian Micklethwait on My next camera?
Michael Jennings on No wicket in fourth over shock
Alastair on A blast from the photographic past
Brian Micklethwait on Photographers by the river
Darren on Photographers by the river
Laban on Out and about with GD1 (5): Stoke Newington's Amazing Castle
Most recent entries
- William Hague on the collapse of the centre left
- Weird wide angle lens effect
- Shiny little car
- On clapping in between movements at classical concerts
- Brightly lit against a dark background
- Alcoholic Architecture sign
- Big Ben through the legs of Gandhi statue in Parliament Square
- You can’t make a skyscraper out of containers
- A couple of old squares
- Further spectacular information storage progress (which will immediately become very useful)
- A big Black Cab advert picture for a Samizdata posting
- Designing and building with glass
- White van reflexology
- Photoing down by the river
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
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Category archive: Transport
I believe I may have said here recently that I did not care for selfies, although I cannot find where I said this. But whether I said this or not, it is not entirely true. There is a kind of selfie that I do like, which is when I am photoing some scene or other, and I am able to sneak a selfie into it, in a small part of the picture.
Partly this is because my understanding is that Real Photographers go to enormous trouble to avoid such selfie effects. As with PR experts, if the Photographer is the story, or any part of the story, then he isn’t telling the story right. The Real Photographer is not doing his job, which is to create a photo of whatever he is photoing, not of him, the Real Photographer, photoing it. The Real Photographer is supposed to be invisible.
Well, fair enough, business is business. But I am not in business. I am wandering about, having fun. If I show up in one of my photos, that’s fine, because that was what was going on in front of my camera. There was this mirror or this window or this shiny windscreen or whatever, and my face bounced back to my camera off of it. It happens, and it’s all part of how cameras work and what can happen with them.
Besides which, more fundamentally, I am not trying to persuade you that you were or are actually there. No. This is a photo. Photos are different from what you actually see if you are there, that being a great deal of the point of them, and a great deal of the fun of them. Cameras see and tell you about things that you might very well have missed, if you had merely been there, just as I do constantly miss stuff when I was there taking the photo, and only see later. It’s not reality. It’s a photo. Which means that someone stood there, with a camera, and took that photo. And, sometimes, the camera sees that. Why is that wrong?
All of which is a preamble-stroke-excuse for the following selfie:
I am the bloke in the light green shirt and the dark jacket, reflected in the bus window, underneath the “38” of “38 Victoria”.
Now, I approach my original point, the point referred to in the title of this. To me, it doesn’t look as if I am standing where I obviously had to be standing. No, it looks like the bloke in the light green shirt can’t be me, because the bus, all of it, and especially the bit with the reflection of the green shirt bloke, is a bit to my right. Ergo, green shirt bloke had to have been standing a minimum of about three yards to the right of me, me being the bloke who took the picture. But, despite all appearances to the contrary, me and green shirt bloke are one and the same.
I presume that this odd effect is the consequence of the lens (there is only one) in my camera being of the very wide angle sort. This means that the camera takes a very wide view, but then makes the result look not so wide. Everything that would be seen by the eye as being way off to the side is squeezed into the picture. And things on the far left, to the left of the photographer at the time, are squeezed into looking as if they were on his right, in the picture.
I don’t think I’d have been able to see this nearly so vividly if this picture had not been, among other things, a selfie. On the other hand, it was not a selfie in the sense that I deliberately included myself in the picture. I am pretty sure that just happened, without me trying.
At the time, all I thought I was photoing was a bus, covered in a popcorn advert.
I was out and about in Soho earlier this evening. I was with someone, but someone mercifully sympathetic to me taking photos so I got the chance to grab this shot:
I like how the ostentatiously silver colour of this vehicle grabbed every bit of light there was (as did my Lumix Camera). And I like how I can now learn what the shiny vehicle was advertising, even though I had little idea at the time. Capital Golf could have been something financial, for all I knew. But, it actually is advertising golf, the game, or to be more exact a golfing equipment store. When I looked more closely at my photo, “London’s Finest Golf Store” was a definite clue.
I could even read the website, and go straight there. But this website is really boring. Although that may just be me projecting upon it my personal opinion of golf.
Actually, I only tell myself that golf is boring. I remember once having a go at it, when I was at my expensive public school in the middle of the last century. I still remember hitting one golf ball really sweetly and deciding, right then and there, that I would never do this again, because if I did, there was a definite danger that golf would take over my entire life. And I wasn’t having that.
This combines two interests of mine, the use of containers to make buildings, and the use of colour, to make buildings look more colourful:
But is it serious? It shouldn’t be. Making a skyscraper by piling containers on top of each other makes no sense, because the ones at the bottom have to be able to support the ones at the top. And the ones at the top have to be very light. The idea of having all the containers of the same structural strength and hence the same weight is foolishness containerised. The ones at the top will be far too heavy for what they are doing and the ones at the bottom will be squashed flat.
And if you are not piling containers on top of each other, but are merely slotting them into an already constructed structure, then here’s a plan. Why not save bother by not using big, heavy, lumpy old containers. The simple fact is, containers are only useful for making regular old buildings of the sort of height that buildings used to be before they invented mechanical lifts and structural steel (even though containers are themselves made of structural steel) and reinforced concrete.
Besides which, it surely only makes sense to make a building out of containers if you can get some leftover containers on the cheap. There’s no way they could get that many containers by just waiting for them to fall off a container ship.
I’m concocting a short Samizdata posting which will need, if and when it ever materialises, its readers to be able to read what it says in this:
Samizdata readers! If you need this bigger to read it, click on it!
I always regard it as a sign that I am onto something when 6k notices me noticing whatever it is, and he did notice that.
This outburst was prompted by the experience of photoing the lovely Pavlova, twice, and once through trees of the sort which, had the photo been taken later in the year, like now, would have been totally clogged up with leaves.
Here is another photo of this sort:
Take a careful look at that (perhaps by clicking on it to get it a decent size). Look how many Big Things would be invisible if all the branches and twigs there all had leaves stuck on them, as happens during the summer. The photo would be nothing. Just a station sign, and lots of damn leaves.
Or how about this?
That’s Vincent Square, which is a two minute walk from where I live. Both the above photos were taken in March of this year.
Several Quite Big Old Things there, along with The Wheel of course. And although leaves wouldn’t totally blot all that out, they’d also do severe damage to that view. The top of Big Ben would still be visible, but The Wheel would be half gone and the Other Parliament Tower almost totally so. If – the horror - TV aerials sprouted leaves during the summer, that would do for the other half of The Wheel and most of Big Ben, because there is a little clutch of TV aerials right between them.
Despite being very London, I do not object to this picturesque view, even though it is so classically England countryside in its effects. You can almost smell the warm beer.
Photoed by me, outside Earls Court Tube, last night:
Click on that to get the bigger, truer, duller, original picture.
Or maybe that should be “pedicab”.
I’m somewhat surprised that I don’t see this more often:
By this, I mean the short of slim, attractive woman whom you regularly see paying to exercise on a stationary bicycle, through the windows of exercise parlours. So, why not put all that peddling to good use, and why not get paid for it?
Something tells me that this is just too much exercise, and of the wrong sort.
But, interesting lady, I think. I wonder what the rest of her life will consist of? Something quite interesting, would be my guess. What she is doing requires not just an above average physique but also a certain independence of mind, to just not be bothered about all the surprised and “admiring” looks she must regularly get. (To say nothing of all the photos.)
My photo of her is recent, taken earlier this month in Victoria Street.
Time today only for three rather antiquated Citroens.
First, a Citroen DS23, photoed by me in Lower Marsh this afternoon, 3.45 pm:
Second, a second Citroen DS23, photoed by me in the Kings Road this afternoon, 5.06 pm:
To see one of these beauties is a beautiful thing. To see two, within the space of less than two hours, is to be doubly blessed.
I know they were both DS23s because I also photoed where they both said they were DS23s, at the back.
And then, before the two hours were up, I also snapped this:
It just turned off the Kings Road, right in front of me.
Magnifique. J’aime Londres.
That last one reminds me that I also took this photo, earlier in the week, in Strutton Ground:
A form of transport that is even more antiquated than are the automobiles pictured above. See also: this.
By the way, I rather enjoyed it when I just image-googled automobile. All I was doing at first was checking the spelling.
Today, a truly wonderful White Van sped through my field of vision, but by the time I had extracted my camera from my bag it had been and gone. But, I remembered the name advertised on it ("Upshot"), and better yet the service advertised ("Ground Based Aerial Photography"), and when I got home I looked the story up. A truly twenty first centurion would have looked it up on the spot.
I had to look up the acronyms UAV and ROV. UAV is Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and ROV is Remotely Operated Vehicle. I sort of knew those, but needed to be sure. But yes, drones.
The language at this website is pervasively evasive:
Given the nature of our work we cannot always advertise the scope of our experience, ...
Indeed. The word “surveillance"s occurs quite a lot. It’s all a bit creepy. But then, photography so often is, I think.
But, I did like this photo, of lots of photographers:
Click to get it bigger.
Photoed by me this afternoon, in Victoria Street:
That’s right. You can drive straight at us pedestrians and we will always see you, because we look both ways. We pedestrians have eyes in the backs of our heads.
Many signs exhort people to be more vigilant, or else disaster will ensue. But here is a sign that says: relax. When it comes to cars in their vicinity, pedestrians are omniscient. There may seem to be a problem, with cars driving about, seeming to threaten pedestrians. But actually, no. No problemo.
Seriously? What this sign shows is that sometimes, just sometimes, exclamation marks have their uses, not just to enable you to shout in writing, but to say something different. Without punctuation, this sign is a bit ambiguous. It does the job, but maybe it could do that job better. To a pedant like me, it suggests that what merely should happen, is already happening. With punctuation, the sign could be made unambiguous.
Pedestrians! Look both ways!
Trouble is, that would set a precedent, for using shouty punctuation even when it is not needed to clarify meaning.
I spent the morning not doing anything here, and then the later morning making sure that there were no Ashes mishaps. Then I spent from the middle of the day almost to the end of the night attending a wedding. I took about eight hundred pictures, but for now, one must suffice, not very wedding related, other than it was taken from where the reception took place, namely from the upstairs bar and terrace of Doggett’s Coat and Badge.
I am often out and about in London as the sun sinks, but seldom in a place like this, a crucial few dozen feet higher up than usual. I think this affected the effect of the sun on the Big Things of the City.
Although, it could just be that I was in a good mood and the view was slightly unfamiliar. After all, I was high enough to see over the new Blackfriars Bridge Station, and thus see those Big Things from an angle I’m not used to.
I am not used to the Gherkin being totally hidden by the Cheesegrater, which in this shot it just happens to be. Perhaps that is what is making the Cheesegrater look so good, to me, today. There is no bulge bulging out from behind it.
As you can see, one of the cranes was on fire with the light of the sun.
More and more, I find myself interested in not only architecture but vehicles. Time was when I would always wait for vehicles to move out of the way, while I took photos of more properly photographic things, like buildings. But vehicles are also interesting. It is interesting, for instance, that most of the photographers I like to observe still regard vehicles only as an aesthetic interruption, rather than as being worthy of aesthetic reflection in their own right.
A particular category of vehicle I have recently been hoovering up with my Lumix FZ200 is “black cabs that aren’t actually black”. I chose this particular specimen because this is Friday and there is a big cat involved:
For Londoners, it’s an obvious fact, a fact not worth discussing, that whereas many black cabs are indeed black, many are not. But how many of those unfortunates who do not live in London, or who do not even visit London regularly, or who may never have visited London, know that black cabs aren’t necessarily black? Such persons may be interested by this, to them, unobvious fact.
Okay, not so very interesting, especially if you are a Londoner. But what do you make of this car?:
I photoed that soon after photoing the bald selfie stick guy in this earlier posting.
As it sped away I took another photo of this car, which was very blurry but which did just about tell me what its very distinct number plate was. And I can definitely tell you that the car is this car. It’s an example of something called “car wrapping”, whatever that may be. Comments anyone?
Even weirder is this car, which I photoed yesterday afternoon, in Victoria Street, soon after photoing the taxi in picture number one above:
What on earth is that? The www told me nothing.
I note that this weirdmobile has a distinctly Middle Eastern flavour to it, including what looked (in other blurrier pictures) like quite a lot of Middle Eastern writing on it, in among the English verbiage. But what it all means, or what kind of service is being sold or publicised, I have no idea. Again: can anyone tell me more?
I need to get out less, and this weather is not helping.
Tomorrow, the weather will be helping very much:
This is perfect. My life today, in the last few days, and for the last few weeks, has been one mad social whirl after another, my contented solitude being having been violated seemingly every other evening and sometimes more often even than that, which is all fun and all that, but I find that an evening out puts a blight on creativity for the entire day, because what if I start something, want to finish it, but then don’t have time to, because I have a social whirl to attend and to get ready for and to find my way to and to find out about finding my way to? Last night I whirled out to watch theatrical stuff in an unfamiliar and transportationally complicated part of town with a theatrical friend. Tonight, I face another social whirl, to meet Perry II. Every time I go out I take photos, but because of all this going out I have no time to show them to you people or not with the sort of insightful commentary that I want to attach to them without which what’s the point? - They’re just pictures.
So tomorrow (a day during which I have nothing else planned), I will stay in all day, and try (although I promise nothing) to do here a mammoth day of catch-up blogging, showing you a tiny fraction of the pictures I have been taking lately, all properly explained, and anything else I’ve been meaning to put here for some time that I decide to put here tomorrow, in not one, not two, but many postings.
We shall see.
Another of those Wicked Camper vans, from the same fleet as this one:
It was never a totally White Van, but someone has painted some white on it.
I recently saw another of these vans with something like “Chuck Norris is the only person who can slam a revolving door”, but my photoing reflexes were too slow to capture it. When I do photo this, I’ll try to remember that I said I might put the picture up here.
I agree with you. Yes, it is a good marketing strategy. Both of us are right about that. And I see that these arseholes have been helping.
At the time, all I thought I was photoing was a slightly amusing van. One of those supplied by this enterprise. Photoed by me earlier this evening in Lower Marsh.
The van is nothing to do with the shop. It was just backing into the small Wicked Campers park next to it.