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Category archive: Cranes
More photos of things past
More because I have already done a posting entitled Photos of things past, as I discovered when trying to save the text file I wrote prior to posting this.
I must say, I do find myself missing this Thing. If they hadn’t smashed it to bits, I would definitely be thinking that they should, but now that they have, this kind of Thing is on the defensive, and you find yourself siding with the architectural underdog. I’d certainly not be happy if all traces of New Brutalism were brutally expunged. We need a bit of it to hang around, if only as a warning of how mad architects can get, when they get mad.
This Thing was situated in the roundabout on the far side of Westminster Bridge, now occupied by the big hotel featured in picture 1.3 below. Someone told me a few days back, when I was talking about having posted an earlier picture of it here, that it was a G(reater) L(ondon) C(council) office annex, reached by a tunnel under the road from the main building. So, now that London’s local politicians have moved downstream, to The Testicle, this Thing became superfluous to requirements.
It was destroyed in October 2006, as these photos, taken on October 13th of that year, prove:
On that same day, October 13th 2006, I took other photos, of other things that have moved on, or which soon might.
The first two of these next snaps are of cranes, temporary by their nature. Who knows what that crane cluster (1.1) was building? I could probably work it out, but that isn’t the point. The point is: what an excellent crane cluster! And I think I found another picture I took of it, this time looking along The Strand.
What that blue crane was doing, floating on the river, posing in front of The Wheel, I also can’t remember.
I include the bus (2.1), with its entertaining reflections, because the London Double Decker Bus has now been redesigned, and all other London Double Deckers could soon be Things of the past.
Those wind propellers, on the top of Palestra House, the Big Thing just across the road from Southwark Tube Station, are long gone.
And the final snap there (2.3) reminds us of another kind of temporariness, which is that sooner or later, we all must move on. That snap is of flowers and pictures, placed outside Westminster Abbey, in memory of the then recently murdered (it’s still unsolved) Anna Politkovskaya.
Anyone interested in new public sculpture should try googling for news about: Falkirk, Kelpies, sculpture, and such things. And be sure to include images in your searchings.
My favourite photos of these newly completed Kelpies are, I think, these ones, which were taken while they were still being constructed, and in particular, I like this one:
Horses heads, and also cranes.
I also like the one with the road sign in the foreground.
STV (Scottish TV presumably) news report today:
The Kelpies, by sculptor Andy Scott, are a monument to Central Scotland’s horse-powered heritage.
Each stands at a towering 30m and weighs over 300 tonnes. At a cost of £5m, the project is intended to be a symbol of regeneration in the Forth Valley.
They are part of the £43m Helix redevelopment of around 350 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth, including new parkland and pathways. It is hoped the site will attract thousands more tourists to the region and boost the local economy.
The statues were inspired by the supernatural water horses of Celtic mythology as well as the powerful heavy horses that were used in the early days of the industrial revolution.
Mr Scott, who also created the Heavy Horse sculpture on the M8 near Glasgow, said: “During the conceptual stages, I visualised the Kelpies as monuments to the horse and a paean to the lost industries of the Falkirk area and of Scotland.
I just caught the fag end of a TV news report on this, and google did the rest.
As I keep saying, photos often age well, like wine.
This, of the City of London, was taken with my previous camera but one, from the inside of the top of Tower Bridge, in December of 2006. How time flies when I’m taking photos.
Memo to self. Must go back there, and take the same picture. Things will have changed quite a lot.
LATER: After further rootling, I think I prefer this version:
You get more of a feeling of where you are, as in where I was, when there’s something in the foreground.
And while I’m adding stuff to this posting, here is another view that will look very different, when I photo that one again:
Sunrise from my roof
Rob Fisher asks, in a comment on the posting immediately below, whether my photography at dawn yesterday went as intended. Yes it did. Yes the weather was every bit as good as forecast. I took many photos, but will confine myself to five. The delay showig them is because the effort of getting up earlier enough to take them knocked all the stuffing out of me for the rest of the day, and had to confine myself to essential business.
What I had in mind was to photo this …:
… but behind this …:
Or to put it another way, this …:
… behind this ...:
… or even this:
In November, not possible. The sun rises way to the right of the Shard, let alone Parliament.
But if the door to the roof remains open, I will return on an equally clear morning in late June of next year, and see what happens then.
Nevertheless, where the sun did rise, in late October, was pretty good. Thanks to the presence of cranes.
I was up there before dawn, which was 6.50 am. As you can see, it was at least 7.30 am (see Big Ben) before I went back down home again. So, I took many other snaps besides these few, and (although I promise nothing) I may show more of these at a later date.
Good news sometimes comes in a disguise.
Yesterday afternoon, I paid a visit to my toilet, but was disturbed from my evacuative task by a steady dripping sound. The dripping sound was drips. Coming from the flat above. I placed a bowl under the drips. Then, I ran upstairs and banged on their door. No answer. There were water-related noises coming from above the flat upstairs, so I did the same to the door of the flat above the flat above. Again, no answer. And still the watery-related noise seemed be even higher up. So I went up more stairs, only to discover that the flats had run out. All that remained was the door out onto the roof.
Which is now always locked, or so I thought. A few years ago, I went out on the roof to take photos. But slightly fewer years ago, I tried to do it again, and the door to the roof was locked. And again a few months later, and I gave up on trying ever to get out there ever again.
But, yesterday, this door was ajar. I went out onto the roof. Was amazed at what I saw. Ran downstairs again, noted that the dripping had now stopped, grabbed my camera and ran upstairs again, in case an invisible Worker might soon shut it. This afternoon, the door was still open. More photos. I’ve been on some really good photo-expeditions recently (concerning which I hope to write more but promise nothing), but these two excusions were right up there with the best.
The number of Big Things you can see from this anonymous London place is amazing.
There is Big Ben, and the other Parliament Tower with the four spikes and The Wheel (1.2), Westminster Cathedral tower (1.3), Methodist Central Hall (2.1), St George Wharf (the ones with the winged roofs – 2.25), Millbank Tower (3.1), Big Ben again (3.2), that big tower in Vauxhall just past St George Wharf that the helocopter crashed into the crane of (4.1)), Millbank Tower again (4.3), the Vauxhall tower again (5.1), the Shard (5.2), Battersea Power Station (6.1), Millbank Tower again (6.2), and again (6.3). And that’s only the Big Things that made in into my picture selection.
Plus, there are cranes beyond counting to be seen.
But even better, this place is Roof Clutter heaven, as you can see, both because of the Roof Clutter right there, and because of all the Roof Clutter you can see from it.
I have also shown the open door (2.3), because that’s how it all happened. This afternoon, I kept checking to make sure nobody had shut it, because if they did, I’d have been stuck up there.
They’ve painted the floor white, since I last visited.
Yes more cranes, which I spotted yesterday afternoon, at the top end of Victoria Street. So again, very near to Victoria Station.
I’m afraid that, yet again, I had to do some twisting to get that vertical and horizontal. I am cursed with the desire to photograph verticals and horizontals, but not to be able to get them looking right straight out of the camera.
Cardinal Place has a pointy end, which is basically just two huge windows, so you can see right through that. Below this paragraph, on the right, a photo from the exact same spot in the exact same direction, but with the zoom not operating, so you can see better what this is of.
Perhaps there are some readers wondering what the hell is so fascinating about cranes. Well for one thing, they’re cranes, with all that this entails, in terms of structural magnificence, aesthetic beauty, functional just-so-ness. Also, cranes mean new Things, coming soon. Not necessarily good Things, but … Things. Cranes are a vote of confidence in whatever place they are operating in. Cranes in London say: hurrah for London.
Also, cranes are, unless something has gone badly wrong, temporary. It will be great fun to stand, in two years time, in the exact same spot, and see how different things then look.
This time taken just before I arrived at Victoria Station:
Roof clutter (ancient and modern), a brightly coloured crane, another crane, a bright blue sky, scaffolding, one of those foundation-making machines that looks like it’s a cross between a horse, a giraffe and the Pink Panther, howling out a mating call … Lovely. And it didn’t even need to be twisted.
There is a lot of rebuilding going on around there.
It’s been a while since I featured a vertically thin picture. So, photoed by me at King’s Cross early last night:
Click on it to get the bigger picture.
Following along from the previous posting, more impressive looking sky:
Photoed last Monday evening, from the far end of Vauxall Bridge from me.
The thing like an upside down table is Battersea Power Station, which is about to be redeveloped. Not obliterated and turned into something else entirely. Just turned into something that looks the same but is of some use.
You can visit it as is this weekend. Then, not for a year or two.
In that earlier posting here about reflections in cars, I wrote about how the brain interprets, while a camera only sees.
I think this also explains a related phenomenon, which is that when I go out on one of my photo-expeditions, I often need time to appreciate which are the best photos I took. When I look at all my photos from a day out as soon as I get home that evening, my memory of what I photoed is still, approximately speaking, fresh in my mind. Which means that I cannot see the photos objectively. I cannot separate the pictures I was trying to take from the pictures I actually took.
But later, as the memory of the trip fades, and all I have is the photos, and the memories those photos still manage to trigger, I am able to look at the photos as if I were looking at someone else’s photos. And I can then see far more clearly which the best ones are.
So, for instance, on September 5th, I went on a pilgrimage to the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park, partly to see what the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park is, but mostly to try to check out the big cranes at the new London Gateway container port. With luck I’d be able to see the cranes from the south end of the park, looking east north east downstream, and so it proved. And, of course, I took a zillion photos,of the cranes and of everything else that caught my eye.
Of these photos, it is now clear to me that two of the best are the two below.
I took many photos of the cranes, of which this was the best, I now think. And that despite me later having got somewhat nearer to them than I did when snapping this:
I think what I like about this photo is that the inevitable blurriness of the cranes, what with them being so far away and the zoom operating at its most zoomy, is offset by the not so blurry pylons nearer to us. In almost all half decent photos, something in them is in sharp focus. Not everything, just something.
And then later in the day, just when I thought all the excitement was over, I took a whole batch of photos like this, of the sky:
Of which that one is now my favourite.
I don’t think I’ve ever before managed to photo, quite as well as that, those lines of light that sometimes emanate from the sun when it is behind clouds. The reason this worked so well on September 5th was that there were not only regular clouds, but also a general mistiness or cloudiness in the air, all of it, which picked up these lines and really emphasised them. Not even I could fail to photo the results interestingly.
Earlier, that same general cloudiness and mistiness had made photoing the cranes rather harder, but all in all, I was very glad of it.
Original (bigger and better) photo here.
This was a ship delivering these cranes to baltimore harbor. they had to go under the Bay Bridge at low tide with the bridge closed to traffic. It was a sight to see!
This morning, in connection with a Samizdata posting about Europe, I found myself googling for info about London’s new container port, which I had heard about, but which I heard about some more last night.
It looks rather impressive:
I found that picture here, that being how things were looking in May of this year.
The Unions are not happy.
I have a vague recollection of posting something here about some big new cranes arriving in London, for, presumably, this. Yes, here. These cranes are “taller than the London Eye”, according to the quote I found then. So, these cranes ought to be visible and photo-able from quite a distance. Stanford-Le-Hope here I come.
That was taken from Vauxhall Bridge, looking over all those nebulous office buildings on the other side of the river from me, rumoured to be occupied by spooks. Occupied in a less obvious way than the MI6 Building, I mean. The MI6 Building being right next to all the nebulous office blocks.
Cranes, with a great sunset behind them. What could possibly go wrong with a shot like that?
It’s just a bunch of birds, that’s what:
You want cranes? These are cranes:
Birds picture via here.
I’m still on about last Tuesday, and about what a fine day it was to be taking photographs, and about what sort of photographs I took.
I confirmed that the weather was going to be just as fabulous as the weather forecasters had been saying for the best part of a week that it would be, from the moment I stepped out of my front door. Because, what I then felt was that very particular early spring experience, namely: feeling warmer than I did indoors. It comes from the bricks in my home being a heat store, or in the case of winter a cold store. To be more exact, the sun outside is hot and it warms up the air outside a treat, but it will take way longer for it to warm up those bricks, still busy sucking the heat out of my indoors.
So, I was in a fine mood from the start, and duly ticked off my official objective (plus second semi-official objective close by), so that the other half of the fun might begin. For me, the point is to get out there, preferably to places I have not visited lately, on a fine day, and to make sure I set forth with appropriate resolve and soon enough for it still to be light, I need an official objective. Those coloured buildings served that purpose very well. But then, there followed the unofficial pleasure, so to speak, of just meandering about and noticing things.
If you only click on one photo of those below, click on the first one, top left. That scene was actually quite a long way away, but thanks to the brightness of the sunshine and the power of my zoom lens, it looks like I’m right next to it.
Otherwise, there are my usual preoccupations. There is scaffolding, the other scaffolding being on Blackfriars Bridge, middle middle, where they are still finishing the new station on the bridge, with its oddly fluctuating roof. There are cranes, the same cranes each time, I suspect, on the top of a new erection arising somewhere on the other side of the river, between Waterloo and Tate Modern. And there is a particularly choice reflection effect, this time (I am almost certain) Tower 42 (the NatWest Tower that was) torched by the evening sun and reflected in the glass at the top of Tate Modern. There are bridges, no less then three in the picture bottom left, and five different bridges if you also count the ghostly columns of the Blackfriars Bridge that never was, next to Actual Blackfriars Bridge. And seven if you could the three views of the Millenium Footbridge as three different bridges. There is the Wheel, twice. And photographers of course, thrice.
I sought out the river because, as the light began to fade, by the river there would still be a huge (completely cloudless) sky full of the stuff to sustain me, in contrast to the streets north of the river where the light struggles to reach ground level.