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

Saturday February 09 2019

Yes, that’s what this Thing is called:

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And, as I think you will probably deduce from the number of photos I took of it, I rather like it.

It is to be found just south of The Dome, and I got a look at it from across the river when I visited Docklands, pn Thursday January 17th of this year, where I also took other photos, like this one, and these ones, and these ones.

I don’t really know why I like this thing so much, but I surmise that part of it may be that it contrasts itself with the surrounding banal architectural rectangularities not by being completely different, but by being more subtly different.  Sculpture often seeks separation from its urban surroundings by going totally curvey.  No straight lines at all, except maybe in the form of a flat plinth.  This Thing stands out too, but in a more dignified and respectful way.

Plus. It’s a lot of fun how different it looks depending on the exact direction of any sunlight coming towards it.  I only got about two versions of this, but there are surely many more to be enjoyed.

Plus, it’s bigger than your usual Art.  I like that.

Soon, I will return to that part of London but an extra Tube stop away, and I will take a closer and more 360 degree look at this very pleasing Thing.

Friday February 08 2019

When I was a kid, “Air Forces Memorial” meant this building which looks out over Runnymede, and which was only a walk away from where we lived.

But there are, of course, several RAF Memorials in London, and here is a photo I often try to take but seldom do very well with, of the eagle which perches on this memorial:

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This eagle usually comes out blurry, with only the trees behind coming out well.  All that reflected light off the gold of the eagle seems to frazzle the brain of my camera.  But not on the Monday before last.

The above photo was taken from the other side of the river, with maximum zoom.  Swivel to the left a bit and you see this even more famous item, which is now, as already noted, smothered in scaffolding:

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I especially like the pile of staircases on the left of the scaffolding.

Monday February 04 2019

Last night I dined at Chateau Samizdata, which is in the Fulham Road.  I always get there early, but like to be exactly on time in order not to disrupt the preparations.  So, I typically walk about a bit, looking for photo-ops.

Last night I walked east along the Fulham Road towards the centre of London, and came upon Michelin House, which I knew was somewhere around there, but had never clocked before as being so very near to Chateau Samizdata.  This building occurs at the point where the Fulham Road is turning into Brompton Road.

It has a wonderfully eccentric stained glass window, at the front, at the top ...:

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… which had been thoughtfully lit from behind.

I image-googled this building, and I could not find this particular view of it.  There are one or two views to be seen of this window from inside the building, but none that home in on the window, in the dark, from the outside, with that all-important internal lighting.

I think that this window deserves to be viewable in as many ways as possible, from inside, and from outside.  As does the whole building.

I considered cropping my photo, but the photo exactly as taken supplies just that little bit of architectural context, so I left it as was.

Sunday February 03 2019

Last Sunday, I was again photoing photoers, among other favourite photoer spots, on Westminster Bridge:

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All four photos were chosen for their artistic effect rather than to make any point, but despite that, the point makes itself.  All smartphones.  I especially like the one with the Eiffel Tower on it.

The world is starting to speculate that the Age of the Smartphone may, like the Age of the Personal Computer before it, be drawing to a close.  But what this means is merely that the age of selling millions upon millions of new smartphones may be ending.  Smartphones will still go on being used, because people like them and have got used to them, and see no cause to jack them in for an only slightly better but hideously expensive replacement.  Similarly, I periodically upgrade the personal computer that I am typing this on, with new appendages which are now priced like the generic commodities that they are, but I have no plans to stop using this contraption.

Saturday February 02 2019

Recently I paid a visit to Docklands.  The Big Things there add up to a quite impressive cluster, but are, on the whole, individually, unlike quite a few of those in The City, rather characterless and bland.

There is, however, an exception.  This:

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It’s One Park Drive, now nearing completion.

Here are a few more photos of it that I photoed:

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Circular in plan.  Its surface changes from one effect to another as you move up or down.  Next to a stretch of water.  I’m guessing they were thinking of these two towers in Chicago.

Thursday January 31 2019

Last Sunday was the second near-as-makes-no-difference cloudless day of 2019, and I love it when sunlight bounces around London, in the way that it did in, for instance, this photo:

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That’s the scaffolding covering, at the bottom of Big Ben, and those reflections are from the windows of the building across Westminster Bridge Road, with the big towers on the top, the one where the MPs have their offices.  The one on top of Westminster Tube Station.  Portcullis House, that’s the one.

This next photo shows rather better what’s going on:

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As you can see, and as all Londoners will already know, Big Ben is smothered in scaffolding, while it gets a makeover.  The sunlight, as you can now see more clearly, is coming from over Parliament, bouncing back off the windows of Portcullis House on the right, and hitting that white surface at the bottom of Big Ben.

Wednesday January 30 2019

I like One Kemble Street, and I like the BT (two links here) Tower.  So, imagine my delight when, while exploring my photo-vaults, I came across this very sweet Big Thing alignment, photoed from the top of the main bit of Tate Modern (i.e. not the taller Extension building behind):

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This was taken in February 2008.  Which means that that the BT Tower still had its big circular things attached.

Tuesday January 29 2019

I do like an interesting hat, when I photo a photoer:

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And I admire this photoer’s choice of subject matter.  The Scalpel was looking especially fine, its angle catching what was left of the setting sunlight.  We’re at the top of the Tate Modern Extension, by the way.  A favourite spot of mine.

But, going back to that hat.  What does it say on it?  P........S?  Philadelphia Eagles?  Pittsburgh Steelers? A bit long, but conceivably one of those.

Hang on, I wonder if I photoed any more photos of that same photoer, which might shed light on the matter.

Yes:

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I hope a robot couldn’t identify this guy from that photo, what with it being so blurry, although I dare say his loved ones could.  But, anyway, what that says is that the hat goes P....OTS.  And we have our answer.  He is a supporter of the New England Patriots.

And no wonder he is proud to be sporting this celebratory headgear.  The Patriots are due to contest Super Bowl “LIII” (53), against the Los Angeles Rams, this coming Sunday, which I will be watching on my TV.  Here is a Daily Telegraph report about that.

The game will be played in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium, of which, the Telegraph says:

That jagged-looking roof opens and closes in a very pleasing way:

The “:” is there because there then follows video of this pleasing effect (that being it on YouTube).  I greatly enjoyed this.

Blog and learn.

Monday January 28 2019

Strenuous day out, in the sunshine, but also in the cold, which I was really feeling.

Many photos, of which this was one of the more fun ones.  Deliberately Bald photoer.  Photoer in hat.  Interesting shadow of moi, also clearly photoing.  Tick, tick, tick.

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I remember taking that one.  No calculation.  Just saw the guys right there in front of me, one with a Deliberately Bald head, which I especially like.  Click.  My shadow, complete with the right forefinger on the button, with all of that landing right on them, seamlessly, because the sun was exactly behind me, was all just a happy accident.  Sometimes, I get lucky.

Behind, County Hall.  The Bald Guy is photoing The Wheel.

Wednesday January 23 2019

Yes, more on the towers and trees theme, this time with a photo taken in December 2007.

One of London’s most significant recent buildings, I believe.

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Photo photoed from the vicinity of another more antique tower, the Tower of London.  The Tower, because for several centuries, there was just the one.

Tuesday January 22 2019

On the sunniest day of the year so far, I went, as earlier noted, east, to Docklands.

I photoed the blue sky, the leafless trees, and the many towers of Docklands:

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Nice.  Lots of pollarding.

Almost anything looks nice in weather like that.

I felt the cold so you don’t have to.

Thursday January 17 2019

Today, as I promised myself on Tuesday, I went east.  The weather was even better than was forecasted, and among the very first photos I photoed was this, before I even got to the tube station:

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But the good weather came at a price, paid in degrees of temperature.  No clouds and there’s nothing to keep the warmth in.  It was cold.  And all the walking I did has taken it out of me.  Also, I met up with occasional commenter here and good friend Alastair, and that meant me getting up and out earlier than usual.  So, I am knackered, and I can’t now even summon up the energy to explain what exactly is going on in the above photo, let alone show you any more photos.  It doesn’t now help (although it will) that I have nearly six hundred photos to look at and pick from and ruminate about.

Now: early to bed.

Sunday January 13 2019

The reason I’m showing so many ancient photos here just now is because the weather in London is so very dreary, and I’m not going out much.  Instead, I am doing lots of tidying up and chucking out, provoked by those sofas.  And, I’m back to doing more at Samizdata than of late.

Here’s another relic from another era.  This is Southwark Towers, photoed by me on May 31st 2006:

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Relic because this really quite Big Thing was demolished in 2008, to make way for London’s ultimate Big Thing, The Shard.

At the time I took this photo, I had no idea that what I was photoing was about to disappear.

If in doubt, photo the photo.

Saturday January 12 2019

It’s been a while since I visited the Isle of Dogs.  Here are some photos I photoed of a building site there, next to the river, in January 2014:

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I wonder how all this looks now.  I’m pretty sure I know where this is.  Google Maps is good enough for that.  But not for the up-to-date story.

In decades to come, if will presumably be possible to go pretty much anywhere that’s public, virtually, without leaving your dwelling pod..  But for now, the only way to be sure about a place like this is to go there and see.

Friday January 11 2019

I was in the West End earlier this evening.  Not having done any blogging here today, and today being Friday, I kept my eyes open for something creaturely.

I spotted this, in the window of one of those very Old School shops, in Cecil Court:

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Ah, cigarette cards.  Never had them here before.  And I don’t think poultry have been featured here before either.

Click to get them a bit bigger.