Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Category archive: Travel

Sunday February 23 2014

Yes, I’m afraid I’ve been doing rather a lot of quota posting of late.

So anyway, here’s the link.

And here is the quota photo:

image

That’s actually one of my more favourite recent photos.  It was taken just before Christmas, in Twickenham, where Patrick Crozier lives, through the window of a shop where they sell … things like that.

I like the water on the window.

Sunday February 02 2014

The other day, I stuck up a couple of pictures I took in Paris, in February 2012.  Here are three more Paris pictures, taken a few days later, from one of the upper floors of the mighty Montparnasse Tower, which is just about the only very tall, modern tower block anywhere very near to the centre of Paris.  My host for the week, Antoine Clarke, had a mate who worked in this building.

I love the photo at the other end of that link, a classic in the Lined Up Big Things genre, the Big Things in this case being the Montparnasse and Eiffel Towers, and behind them, we see, once again the distant Big Things of La Defense.

On the left, I’me looking in the same direction, but instead of photoing the Montparnasse Tower, I am photoing from the Montparnasse Tower, thereby lining up the two things that were in the two separate pictures in the earlier posting, namely the Eiffel Tower and La Défense:

image image image

In the middle of the middle picture is the Big Thing from which my earlier two photos were taken, the Pompidou Centre.  This is not a view I have seen very much.  Usually the Pompidou seems to be photoed from below.  Very impressive roof clutter, even if a bit arty and self-conscious.

On the right, we see the Sacré Coeur in the far distance, and in between, how Paris looks, on a very cold but sunny day.  Paris, untouched during WW2, looks a lot different to London, doesn’t it?

The sky is so dark because actually, the city itself was so bright.

Thursday January 30 2014

Much humour is to be had by modifying a cliché, and something similar applies to photography.  The Eiffel Tower features in many photos.  The chimney pots of Paris, not quite so much.

image

That was taken on February 2nd 2012, from the Pompidou Centre.

I an still stunned by how brilliant my new, cheap computer screen is.  Pictures like this one become hugely better than I remember them first time around, and wandering around in my photo-archives is more enjoyable than ever before.

Here is another picture taken at the same time from the same place.  Also lots of chimneys, though you have to look a bit more closely this time.  But in the background there, La Défense, Paris’s Big New Thing district.

image

What that big dome is in the foreground, I don’t know.  I was staying with Antoine Clarke when I took these snaps, and in fact he was up there with me when I took these.  Maybe he can tell us what that big curvey thing is.  When you take pictures of some big thing, there is a presumption that you do care what it is, but personally, in this case, I don’t really care.  There are more than enough mysterious buildings like this in London to keep me wondering, without me fretting about mystery buildings in Paris.  But maybe you would like to know.

And yes, I am almost certain that is a crane.

One other thing.  This new screen has me thinking that maybe the size of pictures I am putting up here may be a bit wrong.  When you click on the above two, you’ll get them at 1200x900, which is bigger than I usually do, because now my own screen is bigger.  Is this either too big, or too small?  I’d welcome anyone’s opinion on that.

Tuesday January 21 2014

As I said in the previous post, my talk about digital photography at Christian Michel’s last night went well, in the sense of me feeling it went well, and it seeming to be well received.  I occasionally put my sheets of paper down and extemporised upon some point I was making, but mostly, this was it.  No links, no photos, no extras.  (They may come later, I hope, but I promise nothing.) Just the bare text that I read out, complete with all the errors of grammar and spelling, of fact and interpretation, that may or may not be present:

I have given several talks in this 6/20 series, but until now this has been because I have had both questions and answers to offer to the assembled throng.  I have had theses to present, clutches of facts to pass on.

This time I don’t know the answers.  I merely want to know the answers.  What is the impact of digital photography? What is it doing to us?  Since fixing this subject matter with Christian I have made, I think, some progress in arriving at answers, but only some.  Tonight I expect to make further progress.

Luckily, for my purposes, we have all been alive throughout the period of digital photography’s mass use, and have observed it in action, even if we may not always have wanted to.  Has anyone here not taken a digital photo?  Just as I thought.  (It actually says that here.  And this.)

*****

I will start my remarks by quoting a remark made by an American whom I overheard about fifty years ago, on the Acropolis in Athens, the place where what is left of the Parthenon stands.  I was there trying to do some sketching, a skill I never got any good at but spent a few years attempting.  He was doing pictures with his seriously pre-digital camera.  As soon as he had finished photoing, he wanted to leave, presumably to get to his next photoing place.  But his family were enjoying the Acropolis in the morning sunshine.  Said he to his family: “Come one, come on!  We’ll look at it when we get home!”

This outburst captures a great deal about what people object to about digital photography, but it also reminds us that photography, by Everyman as opposed to by professionals, is nothing new.  Digital photography is partly just the intensification of a process that has been in place in our culture for well over a century.  But it is more than that.

Friday January 17 2014

Incoming from Simon Gibbs:

Interesting building

Near the mayors blob

And there was a photograph attached to this message, “sent from my Sony Xperia™ smartphone”:

image

On the left there, as we look at it, is the Mayor’s Blob that Simon mentions, near the Shard, and a building I am very familiar with, at any rate from the outside.  In the middle, something new, which Simon knew I might be keen to check out.  So, he photos it, and sends it to me. 

Neither Simon nor I are asking anyone to think that this is a good photograph, in the technical sense.  Don’t click on it, because it is quite big enough as is.  Simon is probably a bit appalled that I am even showing it to anyone, even in the almost total privacy that is BrianMicklethwaitDotCom.  But the photo suffices for its purpose, which is not to delight attenders at an art gallery (real or virtual), merely to provide me with information, should I be interested.  (Although actually, this is the kind of thing you often do see in an art gallery nowadays, put there by an artist trying, as most artists must these days, to be contrary.  “Good” photos are so twentieth century, my dears.  Imagine the blurb, as written by this guy.)

I show this casual snap because it illustrates a typical use of digital photography, which is the communication of information, potentially in real time.  Me being so hopelessly twentieth century in my uses of twenty-first century tech, I don’t know when he took this photo.  It duly arrived on my desk, via my clunky old twentieth century desktop computer.  Was it taken only seconds before Simon sent it to me?  Perhaps he can tell us.  But my point here is that he could have.  And like him, I could have been as much on the move as he clearly was, while still as connected to the world as he was.

Here we see photography not as the nineteenth and then twentieth century mechanisation of oil painting, but as a twenty first century amplification of conversation.  “Ooh, Brian might like to see that, snap.  Hi Brian.  Take a look at this.” Try doing that with a twentieth century phone.  You could, in this case, after a fashion, but it wouldn’t be nearly so quick, definite and easy.

I am giving a talk on Monday evening at Christian Michel’s about The Impact of Digital Photography, and this is the kind of thing I will be talking about.

Digital photography was, or so I recall reading recently, invented by NASA, not so much to take photos, as to communicate photos, of other planets from robot cameras on space-ships, back to planet earth.  Yes.

The logical mid-to-late twentieth century end-point of episodes like this, after you have thrown in a big dash of this sort of stuff, is (see above): telepathy.

Thursday December 26 2013

Now on display in the window of a local Oxfam shop, the one in Strutton Ground:

image

Here it is on Amazon.

(Further Amazon thoughts from me here.  The weird thing about Amazon is that it seems, still, to be a hangover from the dot com boom bust era.  It doesn’t make a profit, but still people want to own its shares.  Explanations anyone?)

But back to the latest England Ashes tour, which has become another very tough one.  Day One at Melbourne was hard going for England, not at all like their previous Day One at Melbourne.  And you can bet Clarke remembered that day when he put England in this time around.  This time over, he wanted to knock England over for something like 98, and end the day with Australia on something like 157-0.  At least England escaped that.  They didn’t do terribly badly, just not terribly well.  All the England top five got starts.  Only Pietersen got past 50.  It won’t be enough.  Australia will surely score quicker, get a lead, and win well, again.

Trott broken.  Swann gone.  They’re “playing for pride” now.  The pride, that is to say, of not being beaten 5-0, which they probably will be.

Australia aren’t especially good, and England aren’t especially bad.  But Australia are now definitely better in all departments, and with no interruptions or fluctuations caused by the weather like in England, they just keep on winning and England keep on losing, not just every match but pretty much every session.  Oh well.  Only a game.

England’s problem now is that the formerly great oldies (Cook, Pietersen, Bell, Anderson), are not yet bad enough to drop, and the newbies are not yet good enough.  But, if they don’t drop the oldies, the newbies will never get good.

Sunday December 22 2013

According to Michael Jennings, the Mercedes-Benz W123 is the vehicle of choice for all taxi drivers in Morocco, which basically means that all transport in Morocco other than by means of legs, human or animal, is the Mercedes W123.

Here is a picture of lots of Mercedes-Benz W123s which Michael took on his travels.  They are resting, presumably:

image

Michael was telling Patrick Crozier and me about this iconic vehicle, and just as he was telling us, look what we found ourselves walking right past, on our way to our pub lunch:

image

That’s not quite a Mercedes-Benz W123, apparently.  But it is the exact same shape.

One of the things I like to photograph, on my walks, is vehicles that are strange or interesting for some reason.  Another for the collection.

It may not look much like a Volkeswagen, but it sort of is that.  Sturdy enough and mechanically simple enough for it not to break down often, and to be locally mendable when it does.  They stopped making them in the eighties, but they are still going strong.

Saturday December 21 2013

Went out to lunch today, to Twickenham, to dine with Patrick and Michael.

Here are some Big Things, viewed from Vauxhall Station, in today’s lousy weather:

image

Cheesegrater, Gherkin, Walky-Talky.  And they now plan to finish the Helter Skelter.

And here are some smaller things, viewed on the way back, up on the new Waterloo Station elevated shopping deck:

image

Those two coloured sheep were outside what I assume was some kind of wool-related enterprise, although I did not check.  Googling left me none the wiser.

Saturday December 14 2013

Incoming from Michael Jennings:

image

There is the end of Cape Bojador. This now scores high in the Brian blogs and Michael then goes there stakes.

Not very appetising looking, that having been my original point.  I just reread that piece.  Not bad.

LATER:

And when you get south of the point:

image

Not a helpful place to sale next to.

Monday December 09 2013

Here is recent confirmation of the map app effect, i.e. the replacement of paper maps by electric maps. 

The pictures below were all taken on June 4th of this year.  Soon after that date I picked out these nine snaps of digital photographers doing their things, with a view to showing them here, but I never got around to doing that.  I made my selections without any particular thought of maps.  So far as I can tell, I picked my winners on a variety of grounds, three of them, it would appear, because of interesting backgrounds, in particular the one (2.1) with the word VISIONS to be seen in the background, on the side of what looks like a TV van.  My selection is also biased towards facial non-recognisability.

Here are eight of the nine I picked.

No maps:

image image image imageimage image image image

And here is the ninth.

A map:

image

Was that ratio a fair reflection of the ratio for the entire lot of photos I took that day?  No.  It was not.  I took about 350 snaps, of which about third to a half were of digital photographers. That’s a lot.  Number of maps being flaunted by photographers: one.  That one.  Otherwise, no maps to be seen.  This does not of course mean that no other maps were being carried.  But it is telling, I think.

Four of these snaps, by my calculation, feature pictures being taken with smartphones.  I think I was a bit biased towards that also, but the fact that I had so many examples of that to pick out is likewise telling.

Goddaughter Two is in town.  She was already spontaneously talking about this map thing, before she knew I had any interest in it.  She and a friend are now being London tourists.  They are seeing a few maps, but only a few.

Change is not just the new stuff.  It’s the old stuff that you don’t see any more.

JUST BEFORE POSTING THIS: Goddaughter One’s dad dropped by.  He was recently wondering about maps, his question being: How do I best tell fellow engineers, visiting London for a footbridge conference, where London’s best footbridges are to be found?  Give them a paper map and mark the bridges on that map?  No.  Paper maps don’t sell any more.  At all. Ergo, they are rapidly ceasing to make them.  Answer: Given them electric map references.  They get you to within ten yards of each bridge, no worries.

Tuesday December 03 2013

I’ve recently been doing a lot of trawling through old picture archives, and in the course of this I found a directory devoted to Digital Photographers Holding On To Their Maps.

So here is an enormous clutch of such photos, with the little squares below all homing in on the maps.  Click to see the photographers in action, if you wish.

image image image imageimage image image imageimage image image imageimage image image imageimage image image imageimage image image imageimage image image imageimage image image image

The photos you get by clicking are exactly as taken, but the little squares involved quite a lot of enhancement - brightening, contrasting, sharpening, etc. - the better to reveal their mapitude.

If you don’t wish to click on any of these map squares, fine, but at least reflect with me on how the age of maps, on paper, like this, is now drawing to a close.  The above snaps were snapped between 2005 and 2007.  I wonder how many such photographs I’d be able to take now.  Next time I go out snapping snappers, I’ll make a point of trying to see if paper maps are still being carried by photographers.

My guess would be, yes, just a few.  This would be because the keener you are on photography, the more likely you were to have had a nice camera before the smartphone thing kicked in, and the less likely you might be to get a brand new smartphone, to replace your regular, mapless old phone.  So maps being held by people with regular cameras are still, I am guessing, around.

But, nobody taking photos with a smartphone will now be simultaneously waving a paper map.  Such a person already has a map.

It’s surely worth me adding that I got my smartphone entirely for its map app.  It’s lighter than an A-Z and much lighter than all the A-Zs you’d need if you travelled much, and also much nicer than google maps printouts from my computer, because my smartphone, crucially, tells me where I am.  For me, a smartphone is a book of magic maps which also does occasional phone calls and textings, not the other way around.

Going back to the pictures above, it’s not just the map-flaunting that is now looking quaint.  So do a lot of the cameras.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  A picture collection is like a well stocked wine cellar.  It gets better with age.

Saturday November 23 2013

Marc Sidwell, who just happens to be my next Brian’s Last Friday speaker, certainly has a way with words:

Like the space in an Elizabethan court masque that the performers left for the courtiers themselves to step forward and take part, today everyone needs to work out how to create a stage on which the constellation of divas formerly known as the audience will strike their own pose.

That’s to be found under this headline:

The Long View: Bob Dylan and the selfie: The world’s now a stage and we’re all performing

And under this photo:

image

Are yes, selfies.  Says Sidwell, re this new word:

Even as I cling to my old-fashioned desire to take photographs of the things that I see, “selfie” – the new nickname for a photographic self-portrait – has been declared Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year, following a 17,000 per cent increase in usage year-on-year.

I have been long been studying this phenomenon.  We may not have had the word “selfie” in 2007, but there were already many, many people doing selfies:

image

That being one of my all time favourites from my selfies archive.

LATER: Incoming from Michael Jennings:

image

Taken, says Michael, on a ferry between Greece and Albania in July.

Tuesday November 19 2013

A few days ago I did a posting, featuring one of those faked up photos, about how they are talking of moving a bridge in Porto from down by the river to uptown.  Unfortunately, I muddled up two different bridges.  Michael Jennings informed me by phone of this muddle and then he added to the posting this further clarificatory comment:

The Dom Luis Bridge is in the centre of town, and is the principal pedestrian route from one side of the river the the other, the vehicle route for local traffic from close to the river one one side to close to the river on the other, and also (on the top deck) carries Porto’s light metro. The Maria Pia Bridge is the rail bridge a kilometre upstream that is no longer in use.

The Maria Pia Bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel, although his employee Téophile Seyrig did much of the work. At the time it was the longest arch bridge in the world. Seyrig then (no longer working for Eiffel) built the Dom Luis Bridge, which then broke the record that had been held by the Maria Pia bridge. The two structures are similar, although the Maria Pia bridge lacks the bottom deck that the Dom Lewis bridge has. The two bridges are often confused. Also, perhaps rather sweetly, Dom Luis and Maria Pia were married to one other.

The plan to move the bridge away from the river seems a flight of fancy to me, although the basic problem that the bridge is very beautiful, very historically significant, and not presently used for anything does remain.

Michael spelt it Dom Lewis, but I’ve changed it to Dom Luis, because that does seem to be the proper spelling.  Or maybe it is Don.  Maybe it’s either Don Luis or Dom Lewis, and you can’t mix them.  Whatever.

Michael, who happened to be just about to visit Porto when I said all this, was urged to send back photos of these two bridges.  He did, for which much thanks.

Here is the bridge that is still very much in use, the Dom Luis Bridge, with a railway at the top and a road for cars and pedestrians at the bottom:

image

Taken with his iPad camera.  Michael apologised for that, but I think it’s rather dramatic.

Later Michael sent two more pictures, presumably taken with a rather fancier camera.

First we have, again, the Dom Luis Bridge:

image

And here is the one they are talking about moving, the Maria Pia Bridge:

image

You can see why Portoans like their bridges, and why it seems like a nice idea to turn the disused one into a big piece of public sculpture.

Meanwhile, I repeat my earlier questions.  Will people be allowed on top of the bridge to take photos from it?  And: If Porto doesn’t want this bridge any more, can London please have it?

Tuesday September 17 2013

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:

image

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:

image

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.

Wednesday August 28 2013

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:

image

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.