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

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Category archive: Bridges

Sunday January 28 2018

This is the last of my postings about my walkabouts beyond Lower Marsh on Jan 5th and on Jan 18th, the three photos below having been taken on Jan 18th.

Just as on Jan 5th, the light was extraordinary.  On Jan 5th, it was, for me, at its most extraordinary on Blackfriars Road, and then at Victoria Station (see the posting immediate below this one).  On Jan 18th, at the same time of the day, it was at its most extraordinary when I was on Blackfriars road bridge, which is what Blackfriars Road turns into when it crosses the river.  Blackfriars Bridge being the one next to the Blackfriars railway station bridge, as you can very clearly see here:

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What we see there is the now nearly horizontal sunlight bashing in under the clouds overhead and picking out the bridge.  Very dramatic.  And just as on Jan 5th, the light was particularly good at picking out something painted red.  On Jan 5th, it was a crane, the very same crane that we see in the above photo, in the distance, in front of 240 Blackfriars.  On Jan 18th, it was Blackfriars road bridge itself.

The above photo captured the drama that I saw at the time.  The next photo, taken moments before the one above, isn’t so dramatic.  It felt very dramatic, but my photo captures little of the drama that I saw.  The light that illluminated that scaffolding in the middle looked amazing.  But I now have to point it out to you:

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So, why this photo?  Well, for my purposes, it does have one great merit, which is that it shows that the street lights, on the right of the road bridge as we look along it, were not switched on.  Yet moments later, these lights were “switched on”, by the sun, just as similarly un-electrified lights in Victoria Station had been lit up by the sun on Jan 5th:

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Behind these lights are the lower floors of One Blackfriars, now nearing completion.

Tuesday January 23 2018

I haven’t taken many photos of people in silhouette, but I should do it more, because it is a really good way to photo people.  Maybe the problem is that a person has to be in the dark with lots of light behind him or her, and if you are like me and you just photo people out in the open, and you let the lighting be an act of God, so to speak, God only very rarely obliges with a silhouette.

But God did so oblige, on Jan 5th, which was the day I also took the first four of yesterday’s photos.  This photoer was under Blackfriars Bridge and hence in darkness, and behind him, we observe the Millennium Bridge, artistically out-of-focus:

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See also this photo, taken indoors, of Christopher Snowdon.

Does face recognition software work with silhouettes?  I just shoved that question into google, but answer came there none.

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.

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.

Wednesday November 29 2017

Yes, those horses brought it all back.  My journey out to exotic Tilbury, and its cranes, in the late September of 2013, and then walking along the north bank of the Thames Estuary towards the even mightier cranes of London Gateway.

As often happens on these expeditions, one of the most interesting things I encountered that day was right at the start of my wanderings, in little old Tilbury itself, on a footbridge, over the railway, before I had even got to the Estuary.

When I arrived at Tilbury, I could already see that there were cranes, and that there was a footbridge joining the platforms.  In order to photo the former, I ascended the latter, and got photos like this:

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Then I had a wander around Tilbury, and photoed weird stuff like this:

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That antenna looks like part of an insect, doesn’t it?  Well, I told you I occasionally like to attempt wildlife photography.

And then I decided that I needed to make use of another footbridge, a little further along the railway line, to get me onto the Estuary side of the line, so that I could get stuck into the real business of the day.

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It doesn’t look much, does it?  Just a footbridge.

But then, it started to look a bit interesting:  What are those faces, over on the other side there, not on the bridge itself, but on the approach to it, on the other side?  Graffiti, by the look of things.  But what sort of graffiti?

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I walked up the ramp onto the bridge, and on the actual bridge bit of the bridge, there was indeed graffiti.  Plenty of it.  But not graffiti that was in any way out of the ordinary.  It was the usual sort of graffiti, graffiti that says: We own this place, hee hee hee.  At night anway, when normal people are asleep and not looking.  Graffiti that says: You don’t know what this means, hee hee hee.  Graffiti that says, to me anyway: Yes, my life is going to be a pathetic failure, but it’s going to be the fault of the world and how horrible it’s been to me, rather than being in any way my pathetic fault, boo hoo hoo.  I grow increasingly irritated by this kind of stuff, which of course is one of its purposes, to irritate old geezers like me:

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Besides which, there are probably art galleries queueing up to get this guy to do his boring stuff indoors, to epater the bourgeousie in the approved art gallery manner and get a write-up in the Guardian.  So maybe this gink will make something of himself after all.  Maybe he already has.  Maybe his day job is doing the accounts for the Tilbury Town Council.

Whatever, so far so boring.

But then, something interesting started happening.  The Gink, or someone, had decided to insert a different psychological attitude into what was going on.  And the Gink, either because he personally wanted to or because someone else had taken him to one side and sat him down, and told him to change his tune, switched from the usual graffitied bafflingness to something clearer, and with a very different psychological vibe to it.  The Metacontext, as Samizdata’s Perry de Havilland would put it, suddenly changed.

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What is this?  Making things happen?  Hard work?  Persistence?  Success??? My God, someone has told the Gink that he is, just maybe, the boss of his own life, and that if he tries a bit harder, and takes responsibility for the outcomes of his own actions – in general, if he starts to think a bit differently - he just might truly amount to something.  It’s not definite.  That kind of thing never is, but if you give up and blame everyone else for your failures, failure is definite.

Was that the explanation for what happened next, or did what happen next actually get done first?  I don’t know.  But whatever the story, the story now changed.  On the approach ramp on the other side of the bridge, those faces.  Recognisable faces.  Next to readable messages.  In English.  There are details that tell not-an-art-expert me, so make of this what you will, that that this is the same guy, with the same paintbrushes and spray cans.  The medium is the same.  But the message has suddenly become something else entirely.  The grafitti suddenly becomes of something, in a way that even an old geezer like me can set about understanding.  My shoes are no longer being pissed on by a human animal, albeit one who is clever with a paint brush.  Instead, a truly human human being is communicating with me, in languages that are clearly intended for me to understand:

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The first face there, on the left, is Frank Sinatra.

Here are all the others:

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Names, with a link to the complete song lyric: Vera Lynn, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, Tinchy Stryder, John Lennon, Adam Ant, Madonna, and Peter Kay.

It’s a quirky list, with strange inclusions and inevitable exclusions (Bowie? Stones? Jackson?).  Peter Kay, who merely mimed along to a song sung by someone else, is extremely lucky to make the cut.  But I reckon that’s all part of the fun.

Not all of the above photos are very good.  Some had to be rescued from the general scene and widened, and in one case (Amy Winehouse) made bigger.  Also, shame about the big W on Tinchy’s face.  But, you get the pictures.

If you google “tilbury grafitti” you discover quite a lot.  Apparently a bit upstream from where I went there is a big long slice of graffiti (scroll down until you get to “London’s mega-port” and “The Tilbury graffiti wall” - both well worth reading and following links from), crammed with popular art references, on the estuary wall.  It’s like: someone has a policy, or at the very least an attitude.  You can’t eliminate graffiti, but you can maybe get it to say something a bit less suicidal and doomed.

It isn’t clear yet what effect London Gateway and its nearly thirty massive cranes and its huge “logistics park” is going to have on other big English container ports, like Felixstowe and Southampton.  But one thing is clear.  Little old Tilbury dock, just upstream, may dribble on for a few years, but it is not going to get any bigger.  My guess is it will soon close.  Tilburians are going to have to find other things to do with their lives.  As Lord Tebbit once put it, they are going to have to get one their bikes.  Maybe not as far as to Amarillo, but at least mentally speaking.  What my visit to Tilbury and my subsequent and more recent Tilbury googlings tell me is that at least some people in Tilbury, including some people with enough clout to decide what gets painted on a footbridge, realise all this.

Yes I know, maybe I’m reading altogether too much into a few dawbs on a footbridge.  But, maybe: not.  I definitely intend returning to Tilbury.

Tuesday October 24 2017

I have photoed this cluster a lot in recent weeks, and why not?  It’s one of the most dramatic crane clusters London has ever seen.  But most of my photos of it have fallen rather flat, metaphorically speaking.  On the whole, I have failed to capture the feeling of hubbub, of a lively cluster, of a cluster of things that are getting “up close and personal” as the modern phrase has it.  But this photo, which I did late last Sunday afternoon, does communicate something of the excitement I get when I actually see this crane cluster:

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I think the sky helps.  In fact I know it does.  The photo was taken from the downstream of the two Hungerfood Bridge footbridges.

When the cranes have done their work it won’t look nearly as dramatic.

Sunday September 17 2017

I am very proud of the photo of London bridges that I took from the top of the Hotel ME, which featured seven bridges.

But today, while trawling through my photo archives on another errand entirely, I encountered a London bridges photo that I took, back in 2015 which clearly shows no less than fifteen London bridges:

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And not so clearly, it shows, I reckon, two more bridges, in the very far distance, beyond the second pointy one, which I reckon must be Albert Bridge.

Sunday September 03 2017

Some of the best walks in London that I have done in recent months have been alongside the River Lea.  Typically, I would start at Bromley-by-Bow tube station, go south along the A12 and then turn left along Twelvetrees Crescent until I get to the Twelvetrees Crescent bridge.  Then I’d go either north or south.

On one of these meanders, the weather was particularly bright and sunny, and before I even got to the river, while I was just walking south along the A12, photo-ops abounded.  Or maybe they didn’t but it felt as if they did.  Everything, even the most mundane of objects or lighting effects, seemed dusted by a spraycan of joy, and I can’t look at the photos I took that day without that joy colouring my feeling about the photos I took at that moment.

Photos like these:

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I can’t be objective about whether anyone else might like the above photos.  I was and remain too happy about them to be objective.  Just looking at them when I was preparing them for this posting, I became too happy to even care about being objective.

Share my joy, or not, as you please.  1.1 just tells us where we start.  1.2 is another view from the station, but not of it.  1.3 is one of those gloriously complicated drain-unblocking lorries.  2.3 I like because the colours on the car are so like the colours sported by the building, and because the sunniness of it all is emphasised by my silhouette.  In 3.2 you can just see the top of the Big Olympic Thing, an effect I always enjoy.  And 3.3 features a photo of, I do believe, the Taj Mahal. Lovely.

Not long after photoing all that, I photoed these shopping trolleys.

When I returned a day or two later to retrace my joyful steps, I photoed the excellent footbridge from the Twelvetrees Crescent bridge (one of my favourite footbridges in all of London (although maybe it’s just how good it looked that day from that spot)).  I photoed the Shard.  And I photoed a map that shows the locality where all these delights are to be found.

Bromley-by-Bow tube to the Twelvetrees Crescent bridge
Cathedral dwarfed by modernity
I don’t know whether it’s the weather or my camera
Forth Bridge photo with a difference
Around Tower Bridge – July 2014
To Tottenham (8): Zooming in on some Big Things
Lea River footbridge
… but there were some cute lighting effects
The Limehouse Cut is boring to walk along …
Azure Window broken
Robots build a bridge
Shopping Trolley Spiral beside the River Lea
I Love You Will U Marry Me
To Tottenham (1): A fine day (especially for scaffolding)
London Bridge lit up (in 2006)
The underneath of Tower Bridge
Lighting up the bridges of London
The Dome and Tower Bridge aligned
Strand Palace Hotel footbridge
Glass bridge in China closes thirteen days after opening
Beersheba footbridge
M20 bridge destroyed by passing digger
World’s tallest and longest glass bridge opens in China
Bridge in Germany with houses on it
Another place to photo London’s Big Things from
Millenium Bridge with boats
Asian wedding photoshoot
Did the ghostly Blackfriars Bridge columns make the new station more buildable?
The hottest day of the year (4): An antique view from Waterloo
Photoers photoing the views from the Tate Modern Extension
Views from the new Tate Modern Extension
A Docklands footbridge about to be put in its place
UCH footbridge
A great new bridge in Iran
Seven London bridges (again)
More South of France bridges
A bridge in Narbonne
The footbridges of Shad
Regent’s Canal creatures (and a photographer)
Collecting footbridges
Cat and cubs
Footbridges in the sky
Two bits for Samizdata and a weird bridge in Poole
Bike fishing in Amsterdam
Twelve 2015 photos
Fantasy Vauxhall Bridge with lots of glass
Four towers joined together by two bridges
A viadukt and a tunnel
Painting the bridges of Richmond
Blokes photoing
View of the footbridge - view from the footbridge
Photoing down by the river
iPhone with added fish eye lens
Cranes and a bridge (but not in a good way)
Golden Cheesegrater with cranes
Photographers by the river
Tomorrow I will get out less
London dragon
Old London by the Buck Brothers
Shard - Guys - Tate Modern - Blackfriars Bridge - photoed during Magic Hour
Hungerford Footbridges photographers
Fantastic day
London is getting more colourful
The receiving station at Swains Lane (and the previous version of it)
The view from Suicide Bridge
Shadow photography (again)
Golden Gate being built – Severn Road Bridge ditto – C20 photography – Hitler’s paintings
Some photographers last November
Christmas Day photos
To Covent Garden (1): The twisty footbridge
In the City with Gus
Tower Bridge glass shattered by beer bottle
Looking down through the see-through Tower Bridge walkway – but what about looking up through it?
Recently on dezeen
My week in Brittany 2: A crane holding a bridge at Canning Town!
Smaller Old Thing in front of Big New Things
ASI Boat Trip 8: Bridges
Self-healing concrete
Quota bird
ASI Boat Trip 5: Individuals
New London bridge competition
Tower Bridge before it got covered in stone
The Dragon Bridge of Da Nang
I don’t know which building this is but it sure looks fine in the sunset
Two skyscrapers joined by a bridge that is a swimming pool
Jiaozhou Bay Bridge (aka Spaghetti Junction on Sea)
Lego bridge in Germany
Under Blackfriars Bridge
“In order to comply with Google’s regulations …”
Omaha dead
Vladivostock from above
Seven London bridges from the ME Hotel Radio Bar
Movable bridges
Confirmation that map use has seriously declined
How big should these squares be?
Mark Steyn on Obama’s Hoover Dam and me on paywalls
Michael Jennings photos the bridges of Porto
Crows nest made of coat hangers
Relocating the Porto bridge
Proposed new footbridges for London and for Changsha
I need to photo this again
Battersea sunset
Edwin is a bad person
The Walkie Talkie and its surroundings
Baltimore: cranes - a bridge - scaffolding
Chicago sunset
Bridges for animals
New apostrophe-shaped footbridge in Hull
More March 5th photographers (and more spaces between pictures)
Remembering a warmer day
Wandering about afterwards
Four crane photos
Tower Bridge with railway clutter in the foreground
London bridge photos
Viaduct from above
Rainbow Bridge
Chelsea Bridge under wraps
The Royal Victoria Dock is not (but looks like) a transporter bridge
A favourite Sunday snap
On the superfluity of the Paddington Basin rolling bridge
The graffiti says he won’t get his keys back
Strange footbridge over brick wall
New bridge in Melbourne
A Spanish high speed train bridge and a Spanish aqueduct
Fishermen photo
More bridge magic
The Wheel seen through Hungerford Bridge
Bay Bridge plus a new bridge next to it
I do love a steam train on a viaduct
Cats and bridges on Pixdaus
One man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing
Rubbish bridge in Shangai
Two bridges in Portugal
Quota bridge
Osprey pictures
Luxembourg church in hill and Luxembourg footbridge
Strange bridge
Monsal Viaduct
Sailing photos – and another bridge for the collection
Seto Ohashi Bridge
A thin bridge in Wales
Profundity and silliness
Big Pictures
Jellennium Bridge
Another great viaduct
Craziness done with austerity
Floppy road bridge where the cars nearly get wet
Narrow bridge
Switching from dumb bombing to smart bombing
The original Burtynsky Nanpu bridge picture
Nanpu Bridge in Quimper
Flickring and Googling for the AMGEN bridge
Wired bridges
Billion Monkey seen through the Millenium Bridge!
Malaysian footbridge for everyone except … gephyrophobiacs?
Politics again …
The Messina Suspension Bridge is on again
San Francisco from Sausalito
Outstanding and numerous aerial photos of St Petersburg
Three bridges
The moving bridges of Chicago
I love the internet
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
Gherkin with men in front
Another target rich environment
Bristol footbridge photo
A Real Photographer comments
The goat menace
Millau Viaduct with goats
Thin Canadian bridge
“Don’t burn your bridges before they’re hatched …”
The bridge that was going to make Westminster a fine city and London a desert
Photo-ing Venus
At the dogs
Bridge over bright water
Sunset with bike
Assorted London quota photos
Shadow and light near Tower Bridge
Footbridge in the dark and cricket
Amazing map of amazing new Moscow bridge
New Moscow road bridge
New footbridge in Edinburgh
Me on a bridge by Goddaughter One
The Nanpu bridge approaches
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Other people’s photos (5): Red balloons on a monochrome bridge in Paris
London photos by Fabio
By the rivers and canals of East London with Goddaughter One
Pictures of and from Albert Bridge
The Hungerford footbridges