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Memories No 08: from Clapham Junction to Chesham

My eighth blog outlining the stories behind my ‘Pictures of the Day’. For this week’s review, I travel to the ends of the DLR, Metropolitan, Overground, and Victoria lines from the end of April to the end of June 2019.

The clocks have changed and the Spring days are starting to lengthen again. I’m fortunate with the weather as it seems over these two months I’ve been exploring ‘walkways’.

But for now, see what you think and please tell me which is your favourite picture, and why. You can contact me through any of my social media channels. So here goes for week 8. Please let me know what you think?

#50: Clapham Junction – ‘Sif’

Meet 'Sif' the bearded dragon enjoying the sun

30/04/2019 – Meet Sif, the bearded dragon.

I’m surprised to see him sitting on a book (The end of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas) with his keeper, both of whom were enjoying the sunshine. I had to ask if he was real and in doing so, got into conversation with Jermaine, a local resident who was enjoying the sunshine.

The soft tones of the book he’s sitting on blended nicely with the brick wall behind, and with each shot I got closer but making sure the eyes were the focal point. 

Sif is a good subject, and seems unperturbed by my intrusion, but just like taking pictures of children, I believe the secret is to shoot quickly and keep a close crop so that the subject fills the screen.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ/6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 37mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Blush

#51: Bank – ‘Mind the Gap’

'Mind the Gap' is a picture of the DLR train just coming into the station

09/05/2019 – This was one of my first photos of the day and after a few test shots to get the settings right, I waited for a sequence of trains to pull into the end of the DLR at Bank station. With a slow shutter speed to capture the train’s movement, I was pleased, and surprised, to get the focus just right as this is a hand held shot. 

The position of the train as it is just about to pass the station sign was planned, and as the sign states the platform is for ‘alighting only’ so there were no other passengers waiting other than me. I was half expecting to get stopped by passing Tfl staff as I was loitering there for quite a while, but guess they’re used to enthusiasts hanging around. 

The wide angle shot lets me get the full length of the station in frame, and the fast ISO setting lets me get the depth of field I wanted. Maybe the lighting could have been slightly darker with a slower film speed setting, but sometimes a compromise is OK.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ/22; Shutter Speed – 1/5; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO12800; Google Photo Filter – Auto

#52: Crystal Palace – ‘The Painted Lady’

'The Painted Lady' - one of the shpinx with black mascara and red lipstick

14/05/2019 – As soon as I saw this sphinx at the top end of Crystal Palace Park, I knew it would feature as my picture of the day as the artwork somehow elevated the statue to something else. There are several of these sphinxes adorning what would have been the many entrances into the original Crystal Palace, but this one in particular stands out because a budding artist has stamped their own mark on the sculpture.

I’m standing on the plinth about six inches away from the sculpture, and although not in imminent danger of falling, one misplaced step could have been awkward. Nevertheless, I felt the calculated risk was worth the effort as I closed in on the face making sure I kept the neighbouring sphinx in frame. The sphinx looks South Easterly across the North Downs, and on a day like today the view is uninterrupted as far as the eye can see.

I particularly like this picture because of the modern twist given to the faux relics, and who knows, would the Egyptians have done likewise?

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ/8; Shutter Speed – 1/320; Focal Length – 24mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Auto

#53: Brixton – ‘Walking through Brixton’

'Walking through Brixton' - three pedestrians walking past a painted sign of brixton under the railway bridge

28/05/2019 – This was a tricky shot and is one of a sequence taken to get the right composure. I’m standing under the main railway bridge just by the station, on the west side of the road looking at the ‘BRIXTON’ mural on the wall on the east side. Traffic is coming from both directions and people walking by from the mainline station and underground. As the traffic lights turned red, there’s a double decker bus just out of shot on the left hand side – you can just make out its yellow wing mirror above the ‘B’. And I was trying to line up people walking by making the upright of the letters.

Judging the timing was crucial to get that juxtaposition, and as I saw the girl in the green top, she was ideal to colour complement the mural. Some shots got quite busy with people walking in different shapes to the letters, but this one was perfect. There are three people whose movements coincide with an upright part of a letter. The lady on the left just entering the ‘B’’; the guy on the right making the ‘N’ and partly hidden by the traffic light post, and the lady in green making a perfect centrepiece forming the upright of the ‘T’. I think it works…

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ/4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 32mm; Film Speed – ISO200; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

#54: Stratford – ‘Green Lane’

'Green Lane' - a view looking through tall hedges in the former Olympic Village

13/06/2019 – The precise location of this shot is at the northerly end of Champion’s Walk, part of the original Athlete’s Village built for the 2012 Olympics; and what struck me was the unspoilt, manicured cleanliness of the area. 

I’ve taken this shot at ground level to accentuate the trimmed bright green hedges. It also helps to highlight the symmetry of the surrounding high rise tower blocks with the street lights on one side, and balanced by the angle of the building on the other. The hedges appear to narrow in on the pedestrian highlighted in white at the centre/bottom of the picture. You can just see her with a snatch of colour from an orange bag (possibly a Sainsbury’s carrier bag), and just in view, the red ‘don’t walk’ sign on the hidden traffic lights (zoom in and you’ll see it).

The shot also helps to remind me of the excitement and the crowds that would have been prevalent in the summer of 2012 as the country (and world) welcomed the sporting elite and others to London. Maybe I’ve captured more than I’d imagined?

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ/8; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 35mm; Film Speed – ISO250; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

#55: Watford Junction – ‘Tiled Illusion’

'Tile Illusion' - light refracting through the entrance of an underpass which is covered in coloured tiles

18/06/2019 – This underpass, one of many in the area, is the most colourful and cried out to have its picture taken. I tried different settings, and what makes this one work best for me is the use of flash to highlight the colour of the tiles balanced with the rectangular light effect created using the light coming through the far side of the underpass as it hits the walls on either side.

I’ve referenced in the original blog that of a lady walking through the tunnel: she was kind enough to agree to my taking her picture provided I didn’t get her face, as having someone walk through helps to explain the underpass’s function. I’ve used that picture in the original story, but I’ve selected this one, devoid of the pedestrian, as the lighting effect is unexpected and it helps create a lighting juxtaposition between the horizontal light effect through the tunnel and the vertical lines as you’re eyes are guided through the tunnel

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO3200; Google Photo Filter – Palma

#56: Chesham – ‘A Step in Time’

'A Step in Time' - a pedestrain walking down a flight of stairs leading to an underpass. The picture is in black and white

25/06/2019 – This picture is taken in an underpass to the main road, just by the Library. The underpass has a sequence of children’s murals on its walls; placed there no doubt to brighten up a depressing cut through. I’ve kept the briefest of reference to these murals in the picture on the left hand side, by way of helping to put the picture in context. The steps are pretty uninspiring but I was drawn to the symmetry and colour of the yellow handrails and the somewhat leaf strewn stairs. I had a vision however that this could look striking in black and white.

I’d taken a few shots waiting for pedestrians to walk through as I wanted a ‘clean shot’, so I had a few in the bag with the settings just right. Then I decided it might make for a better story by including someone on the steps, and when I saw this person just coming into view I quickly captured her walking into frame.

I’ve applied a Google Photos ‘Vista’ filter to create a harsh and grainy black & white effect which I think gives the picture some depth. And curiously though, and this is a secondary feature, if you look closely at the central handrail and the joining ‘T’ metalwork, they look like a parade of faces in their own right, maybe guarding those walking through or the mural itself?!

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO2000; Google Photo Filter – Vista

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