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Category archive: Architecture

Monday January 22 2018

On the fifth and eighteenth days of this month I was in Lower Marsh, which is just south of Waterloo Station, as I often am.  On each of these days, there was bright sunshine, and cloud.

On each day, after I had done my business in Lower Marsh and continued on to Blackfriars Road, and to its two newly constructed edifices: One Blackfriars (the curvey one) and 240 Blackfriars (the “crystaline” one).

The first of these photos, !.1, shows One, and One reflected in 240:

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I love a good crane, and 1.2 is rather remarkable, because it shows (a) two construction cranes, (b) these cranes reflected in 240 Blackfriars, and (c) on the surface of that same building and above the reflections of the cranes, the shadows of those same cranes.  If you click on nothing else, click on that.

Photo 1.3 tells us where we are, and shows One of that road scraping the sky,

In 2.1, 2.3 and 3.3, we see another joy of winter, trees without leaves.

The final photo of this little set, 3.3, shows the tower of a crane with some of those trees, and is included because the colours are what you would expect with regular lighting.

Ah, but what if the lighting is irregular?  What if there is bright sunlight hitting a crane tower, but with dark cloud instead of blue sky behind it?  3.2 is what then happens.  Worth another click, I’d say.

And 3.1 shows clouds of a very different sort, again reflected in 240 Blackriars.  Also pretty dramatic.

1.1 to 2.1 taken on the fifth.  2.3 to 3.3 on the eighteenth.

What, no photos of photoers?  Was I the only one photoing?  Could nobody else see the epic dramas of light and dark, construction and reflection, scaffolding and skeletal trees, that I was seeing?  Apparently not.

On the fifth, soon after I had taken the first four of the above photos, my fellow photoers had been all over the man with the flaming tuba.

Photography is light.  But I guess for most photoers, mere light, bouncing off of dreary things like modern buildings, cranes, trees, scaffolding and the like, is not enough.

Wednesday January 17 2018

Ten years ago yesterday, to be exact about it:

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Memo to self: go back to the same spot and take the same photo again, some time soon.

Tuesday January 16 2018

Remember a while back, when I showed you this photo:

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I took that photo back on January 5th.  As soon as I started working on it, I got sidetracked into realising that my camera was not misbehaving after all, i.e. not turning everything yellow.  Phew.

But the reason I started work on that photo was that it is an illustration of that special sort of weather that happens when there are both dark clouds, and holes in those clouds, through which light comes ripping through, sometimes lighting up buidlings that stand in front of dark clouds.  The above blue roof was not the first of such brightly-lit-thing-against-a-dark-background that I saw and photoed that day, and I felt sure that it would not be the last.

And boy was I not wrong?  As in: I definitely was not wrong.  Because, soon after photoing yesterday’s flaming tuba player, under Blackheath Bridge and its railway station, I climbed up into Blackheath Bridge and its railway station, and through the windows on the downstream side, I found myself staring in amazement at this:

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I seldom photo St Paul’s Cathedral.  I understand why people admire Ancient Architecture, but I find Modern Architecture more intriquing to think about.  But I couldn’t resist that.  That is not your usual St Paul’s Cathedral photo.  To me it looks not so much like a photo as like a collage, where I have stuck a cut-out of St Paul’s Cathedral onto a dark background, but chose paper that was too light for the Cathedral, to make sure it showed up clearly.

I knew that this effect would not last, and sure enough, it did not:

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That being a photo I took of St Paul’s Cathedral less than a minute later.

Here is a cropped version of the special effects photo above, to make the contrast even clearer:

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I know, lots of reflections in the glass windows of Blackfriars Station, through which the photos were taken.  Guess what.  I don’t care. So, the photos were taken through windows?  So what.  And actually, I think the glass may have increased the contrast, by darkening the sky somewhat bit, but not being able to darken the Cathedral, because it was just too brightly lit by the sun.

Photography is light.

Thursday January 11 2018

Yesterday’s photo, taken at Primrose Hill before Christmas, was very pretty.  That lovely light you get when the sun is low, which it always is, which is nice because it’s nice, and nice because it means you can see what’s on people’s screens.  Trees uncluttered by leaves.  Distant Big Things.  Wonderful.  Which is why there were so many other photoers in action:

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No computer-recognisable faces, but lots of winter clothing, including woolly hats and woolly gloves.

18 photos there, and just two of them (2.1 and 5.1) do not feature smartphones.  I chose the photos entirely for artistic impression.  It merely turned out that way.

See also 1.3.  It looks like she’s holding a giant cock of the unmentionable sort.  But, it’s a glove.  So (see 4.2): No Bad Vibes.

Wednesday January 10 2018

Incoming from GodDaughter2:

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Pimlico in Kensington, said the email, photoed near her place of work.  She knows the kind of thing I like, doesn’t she?

Are such vans rare and exotic in Kensington?  I see them all the time, in and around Pimlico.

Tuesday January 09 2018

Yes, panic over.  The situation seemed very bad, but instead is as described above.

Consider this photo, of the roof of the long snakey shed that looks like it’s for growing tomatoes, where the Euro-trains used to arrive and depart from:

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I was viewing that in Windows Photo Viewer, but then I found myself simultaneously viewing that same photo in in my photo-editing software, thus:

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Do you see?  Of course you do.  Windows Photo Viewer, on the left, has introduced, from nowhere, a cream background, and shoved it behind and into the photo.  On the right, Photoshop(clone) has ignored this cream under(over)lay, and has restored the pure blue of that Waterloo Station roof and has taken the ominous yellow tinge out of the dark grey sky.  The white bits of the roof are back to being white.  Put the photo in some different software for viewing my archives, and it is similarly cleansed of yellowness.  All was well with the original photo, as it emerged from my camera.  Windows Photo Viewer is the problem and the only problem.

So, no panic about my camera.  Just a question about Windows Photo Viewer.  How do I get that to behave itself?  I have worked out how to change the brown at the top and bottom of the photo to any other colour you or I would like.  But can I get it to stop with the cream?  Can I random-punctuation-marks-in-an-angry-little-line.  Suggestions anyone?

Sunday January 07 2018

One of the problems of getting old is that it becomes gradually harder to do more than one thing in a day.  This being why my daily postings here are often rather perfunctory.

This morning, for instance, I had a most enjoyable meeting with a friend, and then, the weather being so good, I went wandering about in Soho.  That’s two things there, right away.  Now, all I am capable of is rather incoherent rambling about nothing very much.

I did, while meandering about in the south of Oxford Street area, finally manage to track down the latest issue of the BBC Music (by which is meant classical music) magazine, which is getting harder to come by with every year that passes.  Another symptom of advancing years being that it gets harder to buy the things that you particularly like, as others who also like that thing die off.

But, good news: the BBC’s preferred best performance of the Beethoven Hammerklavier Sonata was a rather obscure recording by the rather obscure pianist, Peter Serkin, who is the less famous son of the famous pianist Rudolf Serkin.  I have so many CDs that I often can’t be sure whether I own some particular CD or not, and so it was with this one.  But after some rootling around, I discovered that I do possess this CD.  I love it when that happens.

And yes, since you ask, I am influenced by critics.  If someone who knows the piece in question very well thinks that this or that performance is very, very good, then I know that I will at least want to hear this performance, even if I don’t end up sharing the critic’s high opinion, which often I do.  This recommendation means I will now listen to this CD again.

The other thing I did was take a close look at a camera that I have been tempted by, but will probably not be buying, although it was interesting.  This was in a shop called Park Cameras in Rathbone Place.

Inside Park Cameras Rathbone Place I also took this photo, with the camera that I already possess:

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Good to encounter a new bridge of interest, even if it is only a miniature Lego version of an old bridge.  I have no idea why such a bridge was in Park Cameras Rathbone Place, but I wasn’t complaining.

I get the distinct impression that a golden age of bridge building arrived about thirty or forty years ago, but has now departed.  I just picture googled new bridge, and I mostly got bridges I have known about for quite a while.

I digress.

Wednesday January 03 2018

Over at Dezeen, they’ve got a posting about the growth of the City of London Skyscraper Cluster, which describes that process by showing how it is reckoned it will look in 2026.

And they reckon it will look like this:

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From other angles, though, it can look more like it’s three clusters.

To give you more of an idea how the architecture of the City is changing, here is a photo I took in May of this year:

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Here is the bit from another of the dezeen clutch of fake-photos, fake-taken from pretty much the same angle (although from a bit nearer than mine), which lets you see what they are busy building now:

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And here, by way of a bonus, and mostly because I Just Like It, is a photo I took of the same cluster but from the other side, last November:

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That photo was taken from a big patch of grass in the Bethnal Green area called Weavers Fields.

That link points out the Huguenot connection with Weavers Fields.  Blog and learn.  (My mother’s maiden name was Bosanquet.  Her Bosanquet ancestor was one of those Huguenots, who arrived here from France following The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.  (For cricket fans: another Bosanquet, who is a distant cousin of mine.  (But I digress.)))

Tuesday January 02 2018

I’ve not yet finished what was going to be today’s posting, so here, to be going on with, is a link to this Londonist list of eleven things to look forward to in London in 2018.  From their list, my bronze, silver and gold medalists are:

Bronze: Crossrail.

Silver: The new Spurs stadium.

Gold: The swimming pool in the sky.

Here is what that Gold medalist will, we must all hope, look like:

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Says Londonist:

It’s been over two years since it was announced that London was getting a swimming pool in the sky, right next to the new U.S. Embassy, and it’s finally diving onto the London skyline in 2018. The bad news: it’s not for you - unless you are one of the lucky few who could afford to splash out on an apartment in Nine Elms’ Embassy Gardens development (starting price £602,000). The rest of us will have to make do with our local leisure centre.

But I don’t want to live there.  What I want to know is: Will I be able to photo other people swimming in the sky pool?  I’m guessing it’ll be out of public sight.

Maybe you are thinking: Yes, but that’s a bit pervey.  If you are thinking that, I agree.  It is.  But the best photos often are.

Monday January 01 2018

Many decades ago, there was a TV show called Juke Box Jury.  I liked it best when someone said: “I like the backin’.” Subsequently, upon maturer reflection, I felt that I was quite right to zero in on that dictum, and I still do.  So often, with pop music, it is the musical backing, rather than the mere singing, which turns pop inadequacy into something distinctive and entertaining.

Something similar can be said for photography.  When a Real Photographer friend of mine was once upon a time telling me about how to do photoing, he too said: get the background right.

All of which is the preamble to this photo, which I took this afternoon, and the backin’ of which I like a lot:

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That is a statue (so far so obvious) of (not so obvious) Prince Albert.  When you image google for “Prince Albert statue London”, you get a lot of photos of him in golden splendour, seated inside his Memorial in Hyde Park, but not so many photos of this one.  Judging by the other photos I did find of it, here, here (he calls it “the politest statue in London") and here, this statue has recently been cleaned.

I am surprised at how much I have come to like statues, and public sculpture in general.  Three of the photos in this posting of mine, which I linked to from here yesterday evening, are of public sculptures, two of them statues, of Beau Brummell and of Anna Pavlova.  I didn’t plan this.  It just turned out that way.

Happy New Year, by the way.  I’ve had a good 2018, so far.

Friday December 29 2017

This evening I had a party at my home.  All the people I invite to my Last Friday of the Month meetings were invited, and almost exactly the same number of people showed up as tend to show up for the meetings.  How do they do this?

I am now completely knackered, but it wasn’t the party alone that knackered me; it was … alas, I find that I am too knackered to explain.  Maybe, although I promise nothing, later.

So instead, a quota photo, of Southwark Cathedral not being dwarfed by modernity:

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Taken out of the train window, on my way to Hither Green.

Spot the Gherkin.

Tuesday December 26 2017

After that trip to Primrose Hill with GodDaughter2, when my camera stopped cooperating, and I later got it working again, I went back there, on my own.  I couldn’t be content until I had taken as many photos there as I would like to have taken on the previous visit.

One of the better photos I took on that second trip, of photoers photoing, was this:

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Is that guy photoing his photoer lady-friend, as she photos the view?  Judging by the red blob on his screen, which has got to be her bright red rucksack, I would say: yes he is.  What a peculiar man, wanting to take a photo like that.

Joking aside, there is something else about my camera that troubles me, besides having spent a day thinking it was completely bust.  Do you remember that day earlier this year when the sky turned yellow, because of some North African dust storm, or some such thing.  Well, when my camera is set on automatic - and when I use it it is always set on automatic – it does this all the time.  Everything comes out yellower than it should.  Blues are diminished into white.  The merest suggesting of actual yellow is intensified.  Not good.

The above photo, effective though I think it is, illustrates this only too clearly.  Notice how even my photo of the guy’s screen has his sky bluer than my version of the sky.  Which means that his screen must have been very blue.

I tried reading the camera manual, but unfortunately this is written in a Serbo-Croation dialect of Sanskrit.  Not one word of it makes any sense to me at all.  And I tried fiddling around with the camera itself, without any success.  I couldn’t even find anywhere on the www where I might be able to ask my question, and more to the point, maybe get some worthwhile answers.  Help.  I realise that Boxing day is not a good day to be saying such a thing, but I say it anyway.  By the time anyone gets around to reading this, the problem is unlikely to have gone away.

Thursday December 14 2017

My camera has conked out.  The autofocussing is refusing to autofocus.  Which is nasty.  And even nastier given that I only found out about this when I was trying, with it, to take photos, this afternoon, like this one:

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That’s from the top of Primrose Hill, as photoed by my mobile phone, which is a Google Nexus 4.  That one wasn’t too bad, but most of the phone-photos I phone-photoed with this annoying gadget, truly good only for telling me where I am and how soon I will reach my tube destination and what the cricket scores are, were rubbish.

Here is one of the few other good ones, taken from one of the bridges over the Regent’s Canal:

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That red boat is the Feng Shang Princess.

GodDaughter 2 was with me.  Since I couldn’t take lots of photos, there was nothing for it, I had to make do with talking to her.  And also listening to her.  Which worked out quite well.

Saturday December 09 2017

Yesterday’s panda posting had all the appearance of a quota panda posting.  But it wasn’t because there’d already been a posting earlier.  Who could forget those Thameslink Seats?

But this really is a quota posting.  It features a photo of plants in summer (the summer of 2012 as it happens) that are pretending to be a trees in winter, by having branches but no leaves.  That means you can see through them to the Big Things in the distance:

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That wasn’t in the I Just Like It directory, but it could have been, because I do really like it.  The view is looking back across Victoria Park, which is out east, the other side of those Big Things from me.  The Big Things are way out of focus but still clearly recognisable, which is just what you want from Big Things.  The rule is: a photo is fine if something in it is in focus, like these plants.  If everything is out of focus, well, that’s a problem.  But even that can sometimes be quite good.

In a few years from now, that view will look very different, with several more really big Big Things, two in particular, now at various points in the pipeline.

Sunday December 03 2017

I knew this would happen.  Ever since I noticed those leaning tower cranes of London, which looked like they might be about to collapse through the unbalanced weight at the top of them, I knew that as I wandered through my photo-archives I’d find more such pairs of leaning tower cranes, leaning in opposite directions to each other, and looking like they should have collapsed and caused a flurry of shocked news reports, but which never actually did that.

And I just did:

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Taken from the top of the Monument, on the same day as the photo below of the Walkie-Talkie.

At the time, all I thought I was photoing was a nice sunset and some nice cranes, posing nicely in front of The Wheel.  But those two cranes on the right there seem to be in that same state of strong disagreement about what exactly vertical is, and for the same reason.

Yet, if either of those cranes had collapsed, late on in the year 2012, I am sure that we would have heard about it, and that I would have remembered it.  Clearly, they did not collapse.  They were just leaning over a bit.

All those cranes that we see were working on, among other buildings, two rather striking buildings that are now finished.  I’m talking about the two stumps now blocking the view of the Shell Building.  There is, on the right, in between the two leaning cranes discussed above, 240 Blackfriars.  And to the left of 240 Blackfriars, as we look, the innards of the Tate Modern Extension, from which further lovely views out over lovely London were to materialise.