Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
fathers day 2017 on New River Walk
Brian Micklethwait on Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
Michael Jennings on Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
Brian Micklethwait on Photoing last Friday's Last Friday meeting
Michael Jennings on Photoing last Friday's Last Friday meeting
Brian Micklethwait on Tim Marshall on 'Sykes-Picot'
Patrick Crozier on Tim Marshall on 'Sykes-Picot'
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- And in Other creatures news …
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- Looking up in the City
- Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
- Leake Street photo session
- Longer life would make most of us (certainly me) more energetic and ambitious
- Azure Window broken
- Beltane & Pop van parked on the South Bank yesterday afternoon
- New River Walk
- Die Meistersinger was very good
- Spring in Islington
- ROH Covent Garden here I come
- Today’s plan
- Photoing the faces of strangers (or in my case: not)
- England crush Scotland in the 6N – plus the hugeness of home advantage
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This and that
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.
Today I visited Tottenham, and I intend to return tomorrow, both expeditions having been prompted by these two weather forecasts:
That I have already decided this evening where I will be going tomorrow, and that I already knew last night what I was going to do today, is typical of how I now do these expeditions. Trying to work out, in the morning, where I’ll go that day, given that the day is turning out nice, tends not to work so well. Being old and tired and physically lazy, I have to have an interesting and attractive destination in mind as soon as the day starts, in order to force me out the front door soon enough for the expedition to amount to something.
In this respect, I am turning into my Dad. When I was a kid I used to tease my Dad about all the planning that would go into family expeditions, and he used to justify this with questions starting with the words “What if?” What if, we get into an accident? What if, one of us gets sick? What if, the trains are disrupted? We need a plan capable of taking care of everything. I used to think he was being over-cautious, and that we ought to just get started and deal with problems as and when they happened, which they mostly wouldn’t.
Well, as I get older, I become less good at adapting, by which I mean that I can change a plan in mid plan, but that it takes longer and is more stressful.
But more fundamentally, I now suspect that my Dad may have needed his plan just to get him going at all. Without a plan to drive the expedition forward, with artificially created deadlines and reasonably enticing objectives, maybe he just wouldn’t have been able to muster the energy he needed to lead us forth into the world at all. Like me, he knew that he would be happier if he did get stuck into an expedition, and would be depressed if all he did was sit at home doing this or that amusing but trivial thing. So, he would devise plans to make himself do what he wanted to do. My Dad’s plans were not as he sold them to me, mere precautions. His plans were energisers.
But maybe that’s just me.
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.
Or maybe it has been invented and the answer is it’s called lots of little flat screen televisions.
This thought was provoked by seeing this picture, at Mick Hartley‘s:
There’s nothing wrong with this Big Thing that painting it entertainingly wouldn’t put right, in fact very right indeed. It could become a well-loved landmark, if only it was spruced up a bit, with some bright colours. This Big Thing is called the Edificio Torres Blancas, and it is in Madrid. In Spain they like bright colours, right?
But, what bright colours? The answer is to copy what they now do in Trafalgar Square, with that Fourth Plinth. In Trafalgar Square, they have solved the problem of what to put on the Fourth Plinth by keeping on changing it. That way, everyone gets to like some of the objects they put on the Plinth, and that way everyone who dislikes what is there now can comfort themselves with the thought that it will soon be gone. All can photo the ones they like and ignore the rest. Eventually, a winner may be declared. Eventually, a thing will be put there that seems to right, to so many people, that it will be decided to keep that thing there for ever.
That’s what they should do with the colouring of the above Big Thing in Madrid.
So, techies, get to work. What we need is a new sort of paint that you just slap on, but whose colours, down to the minutest detail, can then be controlled by a big old computer at ground level.
Or, this is already possible, as the advertisers are now proving with their changeable screens, and all that it missing is that this is, for a mere building, as opposed to a commercially profitable message, for the time being, too expensive.
Also, maybe the architect is still alive and vetoing any such notions, insisting that his masterpiece remain blancas, or failing that then at least grey all over. Time will soon correct this sorry state of affairs, if state of affairs it be.
From the BBC updates on the Scotland v Georgia rugby game at Murrayfield this afternoon:
Scotland have really struggled against the Georgian scum in the second-half.
Hastily corrected to “scrum”. Should have done a screen capture. As it is, you just have to take my word for it.
Actually Georgia is a great place. It recently came sixth in the world in one of those economic freedom charts, as I mentioned in passing in this posting
LATER: Oh dear. Not Murrayfield. Kilmarnock. Whenever you moan about someone else’s error, you make an error. It’s inevitable.
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.
As promised (a rarity with me – both the promise and the fact that it is being so rapidly fulfilled), a somewhat more substantial posting.
In the form of a clutch of photos taken yesterday, in and around Stratford. I don’t mean Stratford on Avon, I mean Stratford. Stratford, London, where the Olympic Games recently happened.
1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2 and 6.1: Some of the big, bland modernism to be seen springing up there. 1.4, 2.1: A couple of views taken from within Stratford Station. What, you are asking, are those strange green and yellow lozenges? What indeed? i.e.: Art. 4.2 is a sign about the languages spoken in, I think, a hairdressing enterprise, which my friend and I encountered in a little clutch of ethnic enterprises to be found inside the Westfield Centre. 1.3, 2.3, 2.4, 3.4, 4.2, 5.2, 5.4, 6.2 and 6.3 all feature cranes. You can’t avoid cranes in London even if you want to, and I don’t want to. 1.4 and 5.2: The Big Olympic Thing. 4.4 and 5.1: Big Olympic rings. 5.3 is the Olympic Velodrome, which my friend wanted to show me. I agree, nice.
And nice light.
The puzzles are 3.3, and 4.3: Disco balls in a pram, and a shiny ball on stilts, like a cheap SF movie alien. How come?
But that’s the whole point of big cities. You can’t expect to understand everything just by looking at it.
The place is only in the very early stages of coming alive. At the moment it reminds me of the posh, for-foreigners bit of old East Berlin, before the USSR fell to pieces, which I visited in the mid-80s. Expensive, but lifeless. Soon Stratford and its surroundings will look more like East Berlin presumably looks now.
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.
For the last week or two or more, I have been unable to reach the 6k blog, which is one of my favourites. I’ve been able to reach everything else I wanted to, but not 6k. Odd. My computer has been behaving strangely in recent weeks, so it’s almost certainly me rather than him. Or maybe, as The Guru suggests, it might be my internet provider. Whatever the reason, it’s been a frustration and a worry.
But today, for no reason that I can think of, I clicked on 6k yet again, and back it came, like it had never been away.
To celebrate, here are some more lighthouses, something which 6k likes, and which in a more ignorant and casual way I do too:
That’s a crop from the middle of a hastily snatched shop-window shot, full of reflections and general confusion. Memo to self. Next time I visit my friends in Brittany: better lighthouse shots. Of postcards, of toy lighthouses like these ones (I seem to recall entire walls of lighthouses in tourist crap shops), and of actual lighthouses.
6k likes lighthouses so much that the little square graphic at the top of the window where his blog is windowed, or whatever is the word for that, is a red, white and blue square from a red and white lighthouse picture.
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.
A problem stated is often a problem solved.
Problem: There is too much dust in my home and I need to do lots of vacuuming. Problem: But I like to listen to music, of the sort that can’t outgun a vacuum cleaner. These two things don’t go together. Solution: I don’t vacuum. But, problem: I don’t vacuum.
Solution? A device that I can be watching while vacuuming, to amuse myself and vacuum. Answer? Google glasses, to watch movies while vacuuming. Too expensive. Too stupid.
No. Answer: Headphones and a portable music box in one of my pockets, while I vacuum. Good. Problem stated, problem solved.
I find a music box. A small plasicated discus-like object that will perhaps be persuadable to play CDs.
But, it needs AA batteries. I have an abundance of AAA batteries, but cannot immediately put my hands on any AA batteries. I believe I have plenty of AA batteries, but the places where AA batteries are likely to be found are mostly all covered in thick layers of dust.
Ah, the twenty first century and its problems. Well, at least the problem of sticking something up here every day however ridiculous is now solved, for today.
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.
I have a new CD player which has the delightful property that it does not put a little pause in between tracks. My previous CD player, an abomination perpetrated by something called Cambridge Audio, does insert such gaps. This doesn’t matter, mostly, because mostly the tracks I want to listen to have gaps between them anyway, so gaps that are a tiny bit bigger are not a problem. But if you are listening to one of those classical pieces which is played in one continuous lump, but which is divided up into episodes on the CD, and when each of these episodes is given a separate track, the effect is disastrous. A total deal breaker. Strauss Alpine Symphony Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini or Corelli Variations. Almost any opera. There are actually a lot of such pieces.
Just after buying this abominable device, and before I started suffering from its vile gap habit, I also acquired a CD of Daniil Trifonov doing several Rachmaninov variations pieces, and it was while attempting to listen to this CD that I discovered how appalling this Cambridge Audio CD player was.
So now I have a new CD player, which leaves no gaps, and I went looking for that Trifonov CD, in order to actually enjoy it for the first time. But then came the mystery. I couldn’t find it. I have a vague recollection of putting this CD in a different place, to play it on a different player, I think. But what different place? Did I even own this CD at all? Had I only imagined owning it, and had I actually played another CD of those Rachmaninov pieces?
As I searched I realised that I was tidying up. I guess there are two ways to look for something. You made the place even more of a mess, or you make it less of a mess. And, if only because there was nowhere to put any mess I created, I found myself actually reducing the mess. And once I found myself doing that, I also found myself rereading this, which is me telling me about an earlier effort along similar lines.
I may never find that Trifonov CD. But if an imaginary CD causes me to contrive the reality of a more tidy home, ...
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.
A few days ago, the weather was gorgeous, in the early morning. Forewarned by a typically omniscient short-term weather forecast, I got up early and went up to the roof of my block of flats. I particularly wanted to photo the progress of the building work opposite, and more distantly, the progress of the new US Embassy over towards Battersea, which happens to be very visible from this spot. But I also photoed roof clutter, near and far:
1.1 That building, on the far side of Victoria Street from me, used to be New Scotland Yard, but the Metropolitan Police are moving (to a building right next to the original Scotland Yard), and it seems that one of London’s finer roof clutter clusters will soon be no more, to be replaced by these new towers. Blog and learn.
1.2 Some of the scaffolding opposite, mingling with aerials, and with an older kind of aerial for tuning in to messages from the heavens, otherwise known as a church spire.
2.1 Clutter at its most cluttered close up. Is that stuff in the foreground maybe something to do with mobile phones? In the distance, Battersea Power Sation, with one of its chimneys yet to be completely reconstructed.
2.2 Me photoing a satellite dish, and my shadow photoing the shadow of the satellite dish.
Tomorrow’s weather is also due to be gorgeous.
I’m half way through another photo-posting but it’s taking too long, so here in the meantime is a link to a Trump victory piece I did this morning, at stupid o’clock, a time of day I rather like the sound of.
I like a Rob Fisher comment at Samizdata, attached to this posting, about the anti-Trump Twitter-rage that is now in full broil:
It’s certainly hilarious on Twitter already. They’ve created a caricature monster in their heads and they believe it and they’re wetting the bed over it 140 characters at a time.
Next step for these bed wetters, scour America for hate criminals, who think that they’re entitled now that Trump has won. And they’ll find a few.
What the bed-wetting scourers won’t understand is that they will have helped to cause such hate crimes. If you say that a Trump victory is a victory for racism, and then Trump wins, you are telling the racists that they have won, and can now ramp up their racism, without any longer being punished. I’m not just saying this for the sake of an amusing blog posting, This will actually happen. It probably already is happening.
See also: Brexit.
LATER: A collector’s item.
Incoming from 6k telling me about a scheme to light up London’s bridges. (I often hear about London things from him.) This Guardian piece doesn’t, or not so I noticed, say explicitly whether this is intended to be a permanent arrangement or temporary, but it seems like it will be permanent.
Plans to light up London’s bridges in what would be one of the biggest public art projects the UK has ever seen have taken a step forward with six schemes shortlisted.
I agree with the Guardian that this picture, which is of this entry, is very enticing:
There’s a ton of verbiage attached to each of the six entries, but artistic verbiage is one of the things in the world that I respect the least, right down there with a few other things that I don’t respect at all. Which doesn’t mean that the winning scheme will be bad. It could be terrific.
The proof of the pudding will be when we all start photoing it.
No public money involved at all. So they say.
Today I am rather ill, and so is my computer, or to be exact, my internet connection. My internet connection does still work, but only some of the time. There are regular interruptions, an earlier manifestation of which I suspect of having helped to cause those database problems.
My illness was cause by me swallowing a toothbrush bristle, which damaged my throat. That’s the second time this has happened recently. Am I going to have to start buying ridiculously expensive toothbrushes, and to throw them away more often?
So, to celebrate all this woe, here is a picture of nothing:
To be exact, that’s the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, with nothing on it.
I preferred that arrangement, photoed in September, to what is there now, which is a elongated thumb. It’s supposed to be all about being positiv. Whenever artists say things like that you suspect ironic distance. But whatever the wording for this thing, I just don’t like how it looks. I preferred Nothing.
The good news is that nothing on the Fourth Plinth is now permanent. By which I mean not that it always has nothing there, like in September, but that no thing ever stays there permanently. If you like whatever it is, you can photo it and remember it fondly. If not, you can forget about it.
Another photo from last Wednesday, in Battersea, down by the river, of a fellow photoer:
Me being an amateur is why the Spraycan is now the Leaning Tower of Vauxhall.
For me, on this night, Bonfire Night really was a bonfire night, and here is that bonfire:
There were also fireworks, in abundance. But I learned that photoing fireworks effectively is actually quite hard, if you are not used to using that snap-snap-snap-snap-snap procedure that is also used to capture sportspersons in action, so you can pick the best of five snaps rather than just hope that your one snap is good. My camera could probably do this, if only I knew how to push the right buttons. But, I don’t.
But it was great to be at this event, which took place in the grounds of this church. It reminded me a bit of the Farnborough Air Show, in that although there was a very large crowd of people present, all just standing in a big clump, nobody’s view of the excitements was impeded by any other people, because the drama was all in the sky, which we could all see quite clearly, with nobody interrupting anyone else’s view (as I explained in the final paragraph of this Farnborough Air Show posting). This fact alone made for a very convivial atmosphere. Usually crowds are rather bad tempered because the ones at the front can see whatever it is better, and the others are all fighting each other for what remains of the view. But not at the Farnborough Air Show, and not if there are fireworks, presented in the way that they were outside and above St John’s Loughton, earlier this evening.
Afterwards I and my Loughtonian host were able to buy a hot dog and a hamburger, for two quid each. Usually, “events” are an excuse to charge far too much for such things. Not there, not this evening.
No Guy, though. I would have liked a Guy.
The human eye comes with a brain attached, a brain which continuously works out what is actually there, as opposed to how things merely look. But the camera is stupid. It sees everything but understands nothing. It does not cut out what doesn’t matter.
So, when a camera takes a picture like this ...:
… it shows the sign, but it also shows all the stupid lighting effects that are messing with the sign.
It also shows weird lighting effects above and beyond the sign, which perhaps you hadn’t noticed, until I told you to look for them. Your brain may have cut that out, because it doesn’t have anything to do with the sign and you were concentrating on the sign.
But now do what I did next, when I realised what was really going on here. Having acquired the photography habit, I have become visually stupid, which means that I now see more, almost like a camera does.
Feast your eyes on this:
I am not sure if the above photo was the best I took of this effect, or the below photo. So I post both:
This was, I think, the single most remarkable thing I saw on my walk from Battersea Park station back to my home, last Wednesday afternoon.
From the above photos, you may be able to deduce what is causing this, but I’ll save you the bother of working it out. Here is the next photo I took:
And here is another photo which makes everything even clearer, that I got from the internet:
It’s the curvature of the surface off which the sunlight is bouncing that does it. That separates the blobs of light from each window into distinct columns, creating a parthenonic magnificence that would, with a flat wall of windows, have been just a big jumble. That would have been pretty good, but what we actually see is something else again. And yet, when I was photoing this, I was the only one paying attention to this amazing light show. Everyone else just walked past it, like it wasn’t there. This was because, thanks to their brains, it actually wasn’t there.
The internet ought to be able to correct such failures to notice. But the strange thing is, if you google the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, all you get is a lot of stuff about dogs and cats. No mention at all of this amazing special effect. The modern world has its priorities badly skewed.
I have photoed similar lighting effects before, such as the one reported in this posting. But that one is put completely in the shade by this one.
Categories below include Transport. That’s because all this drama was to be seen on a manky old railway viaduct. Which I actually think made it look better. (All everyone else saw was a manky old railway viaduct.)
I have just done a rather belated posting at Samzidata about a talk given there a week ago, at which I was present and at which I attempted photos. At Samizdata, I grumbled about the light for photoing the speaker, but showed one of my less bad efforts. I rejoiced that there was also present an internally lit screen, and showed one of those photos. Here is another such:
Smith wins, of course. Marx’s prophecies were clearly wrong, even while he was still alive and pretending otherwise.
Today’s expedition happened pretty much exactly as guessed at yesterday. I went by train from Victoria to Battersea Park, then wandered back towards Vauxhall, and finally took a bus back across the river and home. I took over five hundred photos, including many that were really quite diverting. On the right is one of these photos. Just the one. Click to get the picture twice as big.
One of the many things that holds me back as a blogger is that I think of an idea for a blog posting, but the thing gets too big and complicated, and it never gets done. The trick is to say just one thing, not all the things that also relate to or are provoked by that one thing, just that one thing. The other things can follow, in further blog postings.
So, on the right there is what the Spraycan looks like, when reflected in some of the windows of the new US Embassy at Nine Elms, the one that they are building to replace the one in Grosvenor Square.
To remind you of which one the Spraycan is, here is an earlier picture I took of it, next to the moon.
Well, it looks like the shape and size of this photo demands that I now say some further things, of the sort that relate to or are provoked by this one thing. How very inconvenient and contradictory. Clearly, a photo shaped like this was absolutely not the right way to illustrate the need to say one simple thing. All of which is complicated by the fact that my inputting software doesn’t tell me exactly how the final postings will look. So, there’ll probably be too much waffling towards the end of this posting.
In an earlier manifestation of this posting, this paragraph was identical to the one above. The explanation of that circumstance being explained in the next paragraph. There should now be about the right amount of waffle here.
I’ve had a rather tiring day.
The weather forecast says that tomorrow will be a beautiful day, and I intend to spend it: out. But where?
I promise nothing, but at present I am inclined towards visiting one of those delightful roof level London railway stations, along which one may perambulate, lining up Big Things with each other, namely …:
I’ve not been there lately. As you can see if you look at that carefully, and if you know your London Big Things, that photo was photoed quite a while ago, when the Gherkin stood in isolated splendour, uninterrupted by such things as the Cheesegrater, and when the Shard of Glass was but a concrete stump. Six years ago, to be more exact.
After hoovering up all the views to be seen from there, I then have in mind to wander back toward Vauxhall, past all the new US Embassy and Battersea Power Station excitements, towards the Oval and surrounding parts, and see what I see.
There is a park there, south of the Oval, that I’ve never checked out before. Parks are also good for seeing Big Things, because parks, if you stand on the far side of them, have no big intervening objects between you and the distance.