Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: My photographs

Tuesday December 11 2018

Outside Westminster Abbey, in June of this year:

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The first is just the general scene.  Big Ben smothered in scaffolding in the distance, beyond Parliament Square.  Lots of people standing around, enjoying themselves, photoing each other.  And me first noticing a classic croucher photoer, in the middle.  Photo 2, I zoom in on the croucher photoer.  Photo 4 has me including my shadow in the composition, making three photoers in all.  Top left, a photoer’s shadow.  Then the croucher.  Then my shadow.  Nice.  Or so I think.

But Photo 3 (2.1), which I believe was something of an accident at the time, is now my favourite, because of what happens to my shadow.  Part of it falls on the croucher photoer herself.  But the left side of my head’s shadow misses her and hits the ground right behind her, making it invisible to me and my camera and making it look like the side of my actual head has been removed.  In some ways, nicer.  Or so I think.

Photography is light.  And when the light is bright, and when selfie shadows are a feature rather than (as with Real Photographers) a bug, there can be some real fun to be had.

Sunday December 09 2018

Just came across this, photoed by me in Piccadilly, on June 4th of this year:

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So, right around now.

Saturday December 08 2018

Stow-Away is a recent arrival in Lower Marsh:

Stow-Away is a new sustainable and eco friendly apart hotel concept. Stow-Away Waterloo is our first London base made from 26 re-purposed shipping containers, stylishly designed to provide a snug comfortable Stow-Away sleeping experience.

Lots of people have tried to do architecture with old shipping containers, but personally I doubt if it makes much sense.  But, if your task is to sell hotel rooms, then shipping containers are perhaps a good gimmick, for attracting attention and for giving guests something to talk about.  “I slept in a shipping container.” Etc.  I’ve never done this.

It got my attention:

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I enjoy in particular the various reflections there.

All but the last of these photos were photoed in one burst, last September.  The final photo was photoed more recently, in the evening.

I think this hotel is quite good fun, especially those strange looking shades, red on the inside, that are a feature of the front.  But, I regret the trend of which this “apart hotel” is a part, which is the transformation of Lower Marsh from a fascinating and quite cheap thoroughfare, full of diverting shops and eateries, into a dreary and expensive thoroughfare, stripped of all those diverting shops and eateries.

This happens all the time.  A street contains lots of lively and amusing stuff.  Word of that liveliness spreads, and the rents then go through the roof.  The liveliness is priced off to another part of town.  Such is urban life.

What I am really saying is: RIP Gramex.  Follow that link and you find “an important message to our much-valued customers”.  That would be me.  But this “important message” is dated 4th August 2017.  I gave up hope at least a year ago.

Friday December 07 2018

You know how it is.  You go hunting, in your voluminous photo-archives, for a favourite recent photo, and damn it, you can’t for the life of you find it.  But you find other nice photos, and you stick them up on your blog instead.  We’ve all been there.

But today I did the opposite of that.  I went looking for some nice photos to stick up here, and discovered a very favourite photo, which I had previously searched for without success.

This photo was photoed outside Westminster Abbey and looking up Victoria Street.  You can surely see why I like it.

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Number one, it’s a statue.  I like statues, because I do, and in particular because they tend not to be mass produced, which means they immediately tell you where you are.  You are next to this statue.  There it is.  You can’t be anywhere else.  Knowing where you are is, I think, greatly to be preferred to not knowing where you are.  But even worse is when by the nature of the objects around you, you cannot learn where you are, because all the objects in your vicinity can tell you is that could be anywhere.

And, number two reason why I like this photo is that behind the statue, and with the most prominent bit of it clearly line up to be directly behind the statue but safely above it, there is roof clutter.  Not roof clutter that is uniquely voluminous, but still pretty good.  And mistily lit, in such a way that the building upon whose roof the clutter is cluttered does not upstage the statue by rendering it invisible.

The greenery on the right and the building bottom right I am less keen on, but they are, I hope you agree, not too annoying.  To the left, there was some somewhat more annoying stuff, which meant that the cropping on the left isn’t ideal.  But all-in-all, I like it a lot.

The statue is this one.  And the building behind it is called, at any rate by people trying to sell you office space in it, is called Windsor House.  I know it as that quite Big Thing next to the Albert.

This being Friday, is there a Cats or Other Creatures connection?  Well, yes: cats.  Big cats.  Four lions which are to be seen at the bottom of the column upon which the bloke scratching his back with a backscratcher is perched.  These lions do not appear in my photo, but there are there, at the bottom of the statue.

Also, the bloke on the top who seems to be scratching his back with a backscratcher is actually St George, and he has a dragon under his feet, which he is getting ready to clobber with a sword.

Thursday December 06 2018

On the same day, September 24th 2013, that I took all those artistic photos not of cranes, I also photoed something else that wasn’t a crane either.  In addition to liking cranes I also like bridges, but this other something wasn’t a bridge either, despite looking a lot like one.  I refer to this contrivance:

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So far as I can work it out, this is a structure to protect a road against some power lines which are crossing that road.  The road in question being the A1014, aka “The Manorway”, just before it runs out of puff at a roundabout.

I know.  Why this one structure, there?  What’s so special about these power lines?  Were people about to start working on them, and were they scared that they might fall on the road and set light to a lorry laden with some highly inflammable liquid, of the sort they concern themselves with in Coryton?  Could be.  According to this, there used to be a refinery there (hence yesterday’s ruins).  Now, there either already is or there is about to be a diesel import terminal.  Yes, apparently this got going last year.

Maybe the structure I photoed is somehow a consequence of this change.

Wednesday December 05 2018

So I was looking, as I do from time to time, through one of my Stanford-le-Hope directories (the one memorialising September 24th 2013), expecting to be amazed by photos of the giant cranes of London Gateway.  Instead I noticed how much else there was in the Stanford-le-Hope vicinity besides giant cranes:

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There was decaying industrialisation.  There was vegetation.  There were pylons.  There was roof clutter.  Even ground clutter.

So I went all the way to Stanford-le-Hope, so far away from London that I had to pay to get there, and some of my favourite things were things that we have lots of in London.  But, it was great.  Out there in Beyond London, everything is all spread out, and it is easier to photo things.  But, you need to check beforehand that there are things.  And there were lots of things at or near London Gateway, even back in 2013

Time I checked out London Gateway again.  Some time next summer, I think.

Tuesday December 04 2018

Indeed:

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Photoed last March, which I suppose is not yet Spring.  If that’s right, then that makes WInter the longest season.

Wouldn’t it be great, for me I mean, if leaves happened in Winter, but if all the other seasons were too hot for them?

Monday December 03 2018

October 21st of this year was a good photoday for me.  There was this, and then this.  Now let me show you nine chimney pot photos, taken on that same day:

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The first four were photoed in the vicinity of South Kesington tube station.  Then I tubed myself to the West End, which is where the rest of these photos were photoed.

I think my favourite is the fifth, or perhaps 3.2, depending on how you prefer your numbering to be done.  But I like them all, or I’d not have shown them to you.

The final one, 9 or 3.3, was taken from the inside of the top of Foyles.

I’ve called this “chimney pots” because all these photos have that in common.  But there are many other kinds of roof clutter also on show.  I rejected including “roof clutter” in the title, because although most chimney pot arrays do indeed beome very cluttered, as in randomly varied and chaotic, that cannot be said of photo 4, aka 2.1.

The satellite dish in 1.3, aka 3, looks, to a casual observer, aka me when I first encountered it in the directory (not when I actually photoed I), the moon.

Which I like.  And I also like it when there are chimney shadows, as in 1.1 (1), and 5 (2.2).  And there are other sorts of shadows in 6 (2.3).

Plus there’s a crane (7 (3.1)). and a pigeon (9 (3.3)).  But, not any scaffolding that I can see.

Saturday December 01 2018

I spent most of today, and am about to spend the rest of it, recovering from some combination of a cold, and drinking too much last night, at my Last Friday of the Month evening.  It went very well, but very well is not how I felt this morning, or feel now.

So, quota photo time.

I could rhapsodise indefinitely about this photo (which I photoed on the same afternoon I photoed this photo of Centre Point):

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The thing I want you all to realise is that the light hitting the white sheet is hitting it from both sides.  There is the sun behind the white sheet.  And there is the sun bouncing off the windows on this side of the street, a lot of it in window shaped shapes.

The next project is to track down the building and see what it looks like without all the scaffolding.

Friday November 30 2018

On the eleventh day of this month, which was the one hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, I showed a little clutch of Remembrance photos, taken by me outside Westminster Abbey on November 10th.

Here, just before the month of November 2018 ends, are a few more photos taken at that same time:

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These photos all focus – literally focus - on individual regiments and their circular signs.  My angle, today being a Friday, is how such enterprises often characterise themselves as animals, or use animals to remember where they had done military service.  Here we see two leopards, a sphinx (sphynx?), and a deer.

Click on each square above to get the bigger originals, with more poppies, and more crucifixes.

Wednesday November 28 2018

On the back of a bus, near Victoria Station:

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Photoed by me a few days ago.

Quoth Google:

No results found for “a true gleaming sincerity”

That had to change, and now it has, assuming Google acklowledges the existence of this now very antique blog.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali. on the other hand …

It’s in wonderful indonesia.  As are these four ladies, wearing complicated hats and holding what appear to be complicated fans:

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More True Gleaming Sincerity there.

Also photoed by me, a quarter of an hour later, also near Victoria Station.

Monday November 26 2018

As I earlier said, about this taxi, and various photoshopped variants of it:

I hope I chance upon the original, and get a go at photoing it myself.

Well, yesterday, in Warwick Way, I did chance upon it:

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I speculated recently that photoing sculpture might be easier to do well in cloudy light.  I also recently speculated that something similar might well apply with brightly coloured vehicles.  The above bright yellow taxi would seem to confirm this.

Next advert-taxi target, this very cute Swarovski taxi.  I have already spotted one of these taxis twice, but my first sighting was in the dark with me burdened with laundrette stuff, and my second sighting was yesterday morning, but after I had been shopping and was thus similarly burdened.  I tried to photo it, but it had moved on before I could.

Photoing taxis is a lot easier when they are parked.  It is also easier if the driver is not present.  If he is, I say I am interested in his advert, and ask permission to photo first.  Once they know you aren’t snooping on their parking habits, they’re usually very agreeable.

Sunday November 25 2018

Yesterday I found myself in Duke of York Square, which is just along the King’s Road from Sloane Square.  So, what with the Duke of York being one of Britain’s most under-rated military leaders, at any rate according to this book, I thought that, this might be a statue of the Duke himself.

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But a closer look at the plinth told me different:

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Wikipedia tells us more about this, the original Sloane, from whom, of course, Sloane Square took its name, and because of whom Sloanes are called Sloanes.  Sir Hans Sloane, it seems, was the collector of scientific specimens who first got the British Museum started.  Plus, this:

He is credited with creating drinking chocolate.

Blog and learn.  Here is a rather more artistic close-up of this same statue:

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This statue is a recreation by Simon Smith of a statue carved in 1737 by John Rysbrack.  Smith’s new statue was unveiled in 2007:

The original statue, now deteriorated, is housed in the British Museum, with a cast in the Chelsea Physic Garden. The sculptor, Simon Smith, said: “`I wanted the sculpture to show Sir Hans Sloane as a kind man with a sharp intellect and an enquiring mind. An approachable man of principle and logic, who’s morals and philanthropy are still of benefit to us today.”
The light yesterday was very dim, even early in the afternoon.  But whereas buildings often respond well to bright sunlight, I find that statue photos are often deranged if sunlight is unimpeded, and better when the light is more spread around and is coming from lots of different directions, as happens under cloud.  Less light, but of the right sort, does the job.

Saturday November 24 2018

On April Fools Day 2009 (the same day and just before I took these photos (that being how I came across this photo (which I took just north of Charing Cross station))), a man decides that he doesn’t want either a massive jacket or a crazy “T/shirt”:

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Perhaps he feared that, what with it being April Fools Day, he might discover that the T/shirts were all pretty sensible, and the jackets only of moderate size, albeit both quite persuasively priced.

I tried googling “Tommy Coopers clothing”, but could find nothing that looked like this enterprise.  Only references to a certain comedy hat.

Moments earlier, on that same photo-walk, next to St-Martin-in-the-Fields off Trafalgar Square, I took this photo, of a van:

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I love how certain very bright paint colours look all the brighter on dull days.  Hartley would surely like this one.

Friday November 23 2018

So, Friday, and something about cats, or dogs, or other creatures.  Dogs, as it turns out.

I took the following two photos a month or two ago, when rootling around in East London in the District Line DLR sort of area, where the City of London is busy turning into Docklands.  And I am pretty that this first photo was intended, in my mind, to be of the notices in the foreground:

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But then I noticed the background.  Was that a lorry?  On top of a building?  For no reason?  With no obvious way back down?

Yes it was:

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Not an entirely clear photo, and it was also getting dark which didn’t help.  But trust me, there was no easy way up, or down, for this vehicle.  A lot of trouble was gone to, by someone.  But, why?

No, I don’t know either.  But sometimes mysteries are the funnest things to photo.