Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Michael Jennings on Scum?
Jackie D on Plan as energy
Drone Misfits on Van – grey but very interesting
Drone Misfits on Droneverts
Michael Thomas on The art of taxi advertising
Mark Rousell on Views from Waterlow Park
6000 on Some more lighthouses for 6k
Michael Jennings on Don't be fooled by the smallness of the building
Gerry on I never thought that we could win
Brian Micklethwait on Strand Palace Hotel footbridge
Most recent entries
- Packaging that is too good
- Tidying up
- To Tottenham (1): A fine day (especially for scaffolding)
- Quota Citroen DS
- Plan as energy
- One mobile phone photoer now
- Somebody needs to invent electronically changeable paint
- Clocking clocks
- What indeed?
- Sunlight on sea
- Some more lighthouses for 6k
- Views from Waterlow Park
- Don’t be fooled by the smallness of the building
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
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Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
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Category archive: My photographs
Friday is the day here for cats and other creatures, so here, among other things, is a panda:
What this photo illustrates is the perennial problem of trying to chuck stuff out, which is that all too often, stuff is just too nice to chuck out.
I recall, a year or two after the Berlin Wall was dismantled, meeting an Eastern European lady, who complained about how the packages and pots and bottles in which produce was suddenly now sold was too good to chuck out. Bloody capitalism. Capitalist rubbish was better than what they had previously had as actual stuff.
In a modified form, I now suffer from this syndrome. It has crept up on me more gradually, but throughout my lifetime, packaging has been getting ever better, probably because it is the sort of industry that politicians disapprove of, and have hence left to its own devices, an industry’s own devices invariably being better than any devices devised by politicians and superimposed upon it. The packaging industry, not having been “helped”, has thrived.
Beer bottles (the one in the picture still has beer in it so that will be consumed first), I have learned not to miss. But even they are sometimes so artfully designed that it seems wrong to throw them away.
The coffee jar I will keep, because coffee jars are so structurally impressive.
But that panda has got to go.
The first of my two trips earlier this week to Tottenham was on Monday, and, as soon as I stepped beyond the front door that I share with my neighbours, the weather put me in very a good mood. It was exactly as had been prophesied, namely: perfect. Sky, fifty shades of blue, depending on what else you put next to it, thus:
All of these photos involve scaffolding, which is a thing I love, along with cranes. (Also bridges.) Scaffolding says that Men Are Working, building a better future for us all. Scaffolding says that Men With Money think that here, there is more money to be made, selling or renting new or newly refurbished places. Cranes say the same. (Bridges say: here are two places worth connecting.)
On a day such as Monday was, scaffolding can look especially fine, because Monday was the kind of day when just about anything was looking fine.
1.1 is of some home improvement going on as seen from just outside my front door. 1.2 and 2.1 are both of the building going on across my courtyard, where they are turning a posh office into posh flats. And 2.2 is of some scaffolding to be seen in Vauxhall Bridge Road. (Although there seems to be disagreement between the sign in my photo and the only relevant website I could find, concerning what number to ring to get Superior Access Scaffolding.)
And all of this before I had even arrived at Pimlico Tube. It was an auspicious start. The rest of the day did not disappoint.
Indeed. This is not one of all-too typical late night, last minute postings. This is me getting my blogging here done before I depart again to Tottenham, because when I get back I will be completely knackered.
Photoed by me last week, in Lower Marsh, where for some reason antique automobiles are often to be seen:
Considering how dark it was, this came out pretty well, I think. I took several other shots of this goddess, most too blurry to be any good.
When I showed the surviving clutch of non-blurry photos that I took of this car to a friend over the weekend, it suddenly seemed to me that this particular photo makes this car look a bit like the E-type Jag. This is not an argument. But it was a definite feeling.
Here is an E-type viewed from a similar angle.
I think what made me see this similarity is that this is the angle that de-emphasises that characteristic upward bulge on the E-type bonnet, a bulge which means that from most angles, the Citroen DS and the E-type do not look the same.
More on my fascination (widely shared) for antique cars in this earlier posting.
People taking photos with their mobile phones, now more commonly known as smartphones because of all the other things they can do also besides phoning people when out and about, is now something you see everywhere. Above is a typical such photoer, whom I photoed at the top of the Big Olympic Thing last Tuesday, just before it got dark, on the same day I took these photos.
1.1 and 1.2 both show classic finger-work, of the sort I have long been familiar with, but which I nevertheless never tire of seeing and photoing. These shapes always make me smile.
2.2 is a classic screen shot, with everything on the screen very visible, as it is often not. Normally I like bright, outdoor light, but when it comes to photoing other people’s screens, the worse the light is the better.
Perhaps 2.1 is the most interesting one, because it shows what dirty windows there are up there. The human eye doesn’t see through dirty windows very well, but cameras do this better, unless the camera is photoing the dirt, in which case it really photos it.
Memo to self. Whenever you see a clock, photo it. Why? Because that will ensure that you actually know what time all those photos that day were taken, what real clocks moving back and forth but my camera’s clock: not. I usually get the date right. The time, often not.
One day, when a clutch of my photos taken several years ago are crucial to establishing or destroying an alibi for a criminal suspect, knowing the exact time could turn out to be very important.
It helps that I like clocks and tend to photo them anyway. Now I will try to make a habit of it.
This clock …:
… is to be found at the top of a rather intriguing building in nearby Victoria, now the National Audit Office, but which used to be an airline terminal.
I photoed this clock from the roof of my home, on the same day I took these photos.
I took this photo …:
This rather alarming message was displayed in the Waterloo Station concourse area, in rather large lettering, and you can see more of that if you click on the above horizontal visual slice.
All it was was part of an advert for the Top Gear replacement that Clarkson, Hammond and May are now doing for Amazon. But photography sometimes does this. But “this”, I mean that it can snatch messages out of the flux of everyday life – especially everyday advertising – and bestow upon them a portentousness that they don’t really radiate, when they are merely doing their job. Now that adverts can change their screens, there can be one message, and then another, like a TV advert. And the result is these snatches of text that can pack far more of a punch than they do in real life, so to speak.
While searching yesterday for Brittany lighthouses, I came upon this photo of some Brittany sea:
Judging by the other photos taken at the same time, this one was grabbed through the window of a moving car. If that’s right, not bad, although I attempted some straightening, with rather imperfect results. Those programmes that can rotate in 0.1 degree increments, rather than just in 1.0 degree increments, have a definite edge, in my opinion.
Mostly, when I try to photo very bright light, my camera either tones the bright bit down or it turns everything else far too dark, one way or another trying to balance everything, and the effect is lost. By which I mean, it is not anything like what I saw. But sometimes it seems to know exactly what I wanted, and this time was, I think, one of those.
I hope to do something rather more substantial here tomorrow.
I then went on to explore nearby Waterlow Park. Since it was only March, the trees in that park were unencumbered by leaves, and I was able to take pictures, from Waterlow Park, like this …:
… and this:
Very nice, I think. So why didn’t I show any of these pictures here at the time? It was, I think, indecision. Which ones should I show? Just the above two? Or perhaps this one, which combines the two above scenes?:
But then again, so does this one:
Could I show lots? What if they were too similar to each other?
I had got as far as collecting some of the best photos I took from Waterlow Park that day, in a special subdirectory, together with a few other shots of the park itself. I probably then expanded the posting in my head, to include some thoughts about the history and origins of Waterlow Park, and about Waterlow himself, and about the general principle that nice public places can be established by private individuals. But it all got too complicated.
Only now am I remembering Waterlow Park.
I recommend clicking on this:
What’s so entertaining about what you get is how commonplace the building is. How small. How suburban.
Ah, but if you go down to the basement, and if you can persuade them to give you the key to the purple door (which they won’t but you never know your luck), then in the act of entering, you step through a wormhole and find yourself at the huge BIS base that orbits around Alpha Centauri, which is like the Clapham Junction of our part of the Milky Way.
Meanwhile, this deceptively humdrum little place, disguised as a mere space travel fan club, is to be found a short walk across the river away from my home.
I took my photos of this building and its amusing sign on the same day I took this photo and these photos and this photo and this photo. That was a good expedition. Not as good as the expeditions the inner core of the British Interplanetary Society go on, from time to time (think about that), but good.
Ah the countryside, where the other creatures - other than cats, I mean - live:
And contribute about as much to the world as most cats do, by the look of them.
Actually this is not really the countryside. It is north east London. To be more exact, it is the gap between the King George’s Reservoir and the William Girling Reservoir, which is named after William Girling, who was the Chairman of the Metropolitan Water Board at the time of the reservoir’s opening.
I found myself in this spot in the summer of 2015, and don’t worry, I had a destination in mind that was nothing to do with horses. I was on my way to Yardley Hill, to take photos like this:
As I made my way towards Chingford Station, I also came upon a horse, wondering whether to kick a dog or run away from it. And I also encountered an Indian elephant, outside an Indian restaurant:
But I kept well clear of the cattle.
A few days back, I did a posting about a plan to illuminate London’s bridges. What, I think, will make this new plan different and striking is that all the bridges will be lit up, all at once. So, for instance, it will be possible to see them all lit up from above, from places like the Shard, and like the top of the Hotel ME.
Because, as some have told me recently, it is not as if London’s bridges, one at a time, have never been lit up before.
Proof of which observation comes in the form of another photo I took in 2006 (while seeking mobile phones being used as cameras), of London Bridge, looking upstream from Tower Bridge. And London Bridge is all lit up:
Okay, it’s only in one colour, but it’s still lit up.
I spent today doing more tidying, and searching through my photoarchives from the second half of the year 2006, looking for people using mobile phones to take photos, as already mentioned here in this recent posting. The second half of 2006 being, it would seem, when that got started.
I found quite a few such photos, as I will surely relate here, some time soonish. But in among finding them, I also came across this, which I really like:
That’s exactly how it emerged from my camera, in Parliament Square, way back then in the late summer of 2006. I like it as it is, capturing as it does both the movement of the man on his roller blades and the hurried wave of chaos that engulfs me when I take such photos.
If you disagree, and think that the rollerblader should be cropped into greater prominence, and straightened, well, click to get the bigger version and crank up whatever version of Photoshop you have and get to work. Or, just look carefully and tilt your head.
Once again, I start a posting. It gets too elaborate. I can’t finish it in time to post today. I instead dig out a quota photo:
Taken in the summer of 2010, although the date doesn’t matter. Tower Bridge isn’t going anywhere.
I like the colour contrast, between the cream of the underside of the bridge and the blue not only of the rest of the bridge but also of the background, which was really grey, but this is a photo.
What we see there is early evening sunlight bouncing off the river and up at the underside of the bridge, which is an effect I have learned to look out for whenever I see a bridge over water, when there is also sunshine. In the early evening.
Yes, two photos from the archives.
First, David Cameron, in November 2006, somewhat more than a year after he had become the Leader of the Opposition. Cameron is no longer the Prime Minister. The Globalisation Institute is no longer.
And, photoed about a week later, a Remembrance photoer, outside Westminster Abbey.
I took over seven hundred photos that day, including photos of many, many photoers. Not one single solitary one of them was using a mobile phone to do photoing. So I guess that means that that had not then started.
I’ve already shown a very similar picture of this building …:
… at this blog, in this posting. The above photo is only very slightly different, in that it includes the Spraycan on the right, but excludes the Walkie-Talkie. Also, I was able to compose it because I was on the platform of Battersea Park station, rather than in a train and just taking a chance.
I show another shot of this thing, because, well, I just like it. There’s something about the way it gets lighter at the top, and how photos of this thing end up looking like they’ve been faked up by an architect’s office before the thing has even been built. Photos of it don’t look real. They look like Photoshop.
When I started doing this posting, I had it in mind for tomorrow (which is a busy day), having already done a rather perfunctory posting about a cat, Friday being my day for cat-blogging. But it turns out that this blue building is also all about cats and other creatures. I tried googling it for that earlier posting, without success. But I just gave that another go, this time typing “"blue new building Battersea” or some such word combo into the great computer in the sky, and this time it worked. This blue building is the recently opened Battersea Dogs (and now also Cats) Home Veterinary Clinic & Centre of Excellence.
Blog and learn.