Themes #02 – Travel

Welcome to this my second blog setting out the reasons behind my themed selection. Over the past week I’ve posted pictures through my social media channels, and now I can give you a little more detail behind each picture.

I’m using the current Covid-19 lockdown period as an opportunity to showcase more pictures that may not previously have had any prominence, either through my travel blogs or more recently through my Memory collection. 

This week’s theme is all about ‘Travel’ which I’ve categorised as follows: Trains, Road Vehicles, Boats, Air Travel, Bridges & Tunnels, Walkways and Platforms. I think the category titles are self explanatory.

I’ve selected these pictures on the basis that a) they’re an obvious fit, b) I like it’s artistic and/or photographic quality, and c) it has a good story to tell. I hope I can convey these reasons for you here?

Trains – One In, One Out

two trains: one coming out of Liverpool Street station and one going in, all underneath an array of overhaed electric cables

As a seasoned commuter through Liverpool Street station for over 25 years, this was a familiar sight. But I’d never stopped to really look at the intricate infrastructure that supports a modern railway station.
I’m standing on the Bethnal Green Overground Station looking east towards The City and overwhelmed by the frequency of trains going into and out of the main line station.

There are six rail tracks here: three outbound and three inbound. However the magic of the infrastructure is that these six lines open up into the delta of eighteen platforms at Liverpool Street station. Quite an amazing engineering feat when you think about it.

As a passive observer I noticed that the first pair of lines were generally dedicated to the Metro Service up to Shenfield. The middle pair for the Greater Anglia Service into Essex and East Anglia, and the right hand pair for the Overground Services to Enfield Town, Cheshunt and CHingford

The trains I’ve caught are fairly standard workhorse class: the Class 321 and Class 379.

  • Location: Standing on Bethnal Green Overground station looking east towards Liverpool Street station and The City
  • Date/Time: Friday July 12th 2019 at 10.56 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/800; Focal Length -210mm; Film Speed – ISO250

Road Vehicles – Cycling to Bow Church

a lone cyslist in an orange dayglo jacket being followed by the number 205 bus headed towards BowChurch. The City skyscape in the background

I’d spent a little time looking at the statues of Catherine and William Booth along Mile End Road and started to wander away, headed to cross the road towards Wapping. But as I stopped to cross the cycle lane and main road, the view of cyclists against The City skyscraper backdrop was interesting

I stationed myself on the edge of a bus stop island that separated the cyclists from the main road and had an unrestricted view of the traffic. The traffic came in waves being managed by traffic lights further down the road, so once I’d determined the flow, I observed patiently whilst the traffic came towards me.

This shot is one of many, but I particularly like the combination of London Buses and the sole cyclist, separated by a precarious row of plastic cones. Enough to give sufficient confidence for the cyclist to travel in safety. The colour contrast works well too, although I have played with this in post production to help the colours stand out.

This is a fairly typical scene right across London; especially noteworthy is the fact the cyclist is totally plugged into his headphones, no doubt listening to something to help him concentrate and zone out of the rest of the traffic madness around him.

  • Location: Standing beside the main A11 Mile End Road just by the statue of William Booth and opposite the Tower Hamlets Mission
  • Date/Time: Thursday January 16th 2020 at 11.00 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 125mm; Film Speed – ISO640

Boats – Moored Under The Barrier

three sailing yachts moored at low tide along the south Thames shoreline. The Thames Barrier in the background

We can easily forget that The Thames is also a place for the smaller leisure craft as the river is visibly dominated by barges, ferries and patrol boats.
Just out of shot on the right hand side is the Greenwich Yacht Club which has an interesting clubhouse as it stands on stilts out into the river. A must see building if you’re in the vicinity.

The Thames Barrier makes for a helpful backdrop with the now too familiar ‘fashionable’ riverside apartments making up the distant horizon.

I was surprised when I selected this picture, but perhaps it’s because of its simplicity and reminder that the river supports many water based pastimes. The tide isn’t full, so the muddy shoreline is visible, but its colour offsets nicely the mooring buoys, and they all in turn complement the three yachts.

  • Location: I’m looking eastwards towards The Thames Barrier whilst standing by the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
  • Date/Time: Wednesday November 14th 2018 at 12.28 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/500; Focal Length – 95mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Air Travel – Heavens Above

an overhaed aeroplane with its vapour trail appearing to almost colide with the tip of the church steeple and cross

This was a clear crisp January day with no cloud cover whatsoever. I saw the plane’s vapour trail across the sky and imagined this shot would make for an interesting composition. 
I found a position along the street where I’d assessed I could capture this moment. It wasn’t quite right, so I found myself shuffling along, keeping one eye open for traffic and other pedestrians. Thankfully neither interrupted me.
Taken in black and white, the clear blue sky provides for nice dark canvass to highlight the vapour trail. The trick was to capture the moment when the plane and steeple were almost aligned.

I did also capture the moment where the two were almost touching, but felt this near miss has a more symbolic reference in that heaven and earth don’t/can’t meet in our lifetime?

  • Location: Wood Street, High Barnet opposite The Parish Church of St John The Baptist looking skywards
  • Date/Time: Tuesday January 21st 2020 at 1.46 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 75mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Bridges & Tunnels – A Bridge to Calcutta

an overhead walkway of red brick with bright coloured artwork on display through the windows

This is a view I would pass most days when I worked at The Whitechapel Building in Aldgate. It’s part of the London Metropolitan University which is directly opposite, and this is a walkway joining two parts of the university complex.

The bridge provides access to the Calcutta Annexe which is the new home of the university’s Fine Art and Photography studios (Cass). The bridge caught my eye as on this particular dull and overcast day, the colourful symbols in the windows high above contrasted nicely against the dark sky behind. I’ve applied a colour saturation filter to highlight the red brick and yellow shapes, which I think helps to set off the final image.

  • Location: The junction of Pomell Way and Old Castle Street, Aldgate, looking overhead at the London Metropolitan University walkway into its Calcutta Annexe
  • Date/Time: Thursday September 26th 2019 at 11.52 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/500; Focal Length – 24mm; Film Speed – ISO160

Walkways – A Richmond Cobble

looking up at a grey cobbled street with two distant pedestrians in the background providing a blue and orange colour contrast

Water Lane, as its name implies is a lane leading down to the riverbank from the main high street. At the water’s edge it dips into the river as a slipway, and at high tide, the water can overflow onto the surrounding area.
The light was catching the damp cobbles helping to highlight their shape. And to capture this shot, I waited for the pedestrians at the top of the lane to provide enough of a colour splash to contrast against the slate grey of the cobbles.

The cobbled lane is peculiar in two ways. First it’s devoid of yellow lines; no doubt deliberate to help preserve the original authenticity of the lane. And secondly, the cobbles have two tram lines of heavier duty stone running its length; no doubt to make the passage of trailers smoother than would otherwise be the case on an all cobbled lane.

  • Location: Water Lane, Richmond
  • Date/Time: Tuesday February 19th 2019 at 11.25 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 46mm; Film Speed – ISO400

Platforms – Dalston Junction

a dark picture with a train emerging into the station backlit by the sunlight outside. Pillars on either side of the platfporm draw your view towards the train

It’s the symmetry and colour splash in the dark station entrance that makes this shot.
This is one of a series in which I followed trains into and out of the station. I’ve picked this one as the train’s position, just emerging from the bright outside into the dark station with the rails still highlighted helps guide your eye into the centre of the picture. 

The orange splashes on the supporting pillars, representing the London Overground’s colour style, also draws your eye towards the focus – the train.

It took me a while to get the settings just right to create this wide angle effect; but with a relatively slow shutter speed and a wide aperture, I’ve been able to convey the mood and emphasise the effect.

  • Location: Inside Dalston Junction station
  • Date/Time: Tuesday August 13th 2019 at 11.05 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/10; Focal Length – 32mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Related Posts


Themes #01 – Social

Welcome to this my first blog setting out the reasons behind my themed selection. Over the past week I’ve posted pictures through my social media channels, and now I can give you a little more detail behind each picture.

I’m using the current Covid-19 lockdown period as an opportunity to showcase more pictures that may previously not have had any prominence, either through my travel blogs or more recently through my Memory collection. 

This week’s theme is all about the ‘Social’ aspect of life, which I’ve categorised as follows: People, Food & Drink, Sport, Religion, Retail, Remembering and Neglect & AntiSocial. I think the category titles are self explanatory.

So I’ve selected these pictures on the basis that a) they’re an obvious fit, b) I like it’s artistic and/or photographic quality, and c) it has a good story to tell. I hope I can convey these reasons through this week’s blog?

People – Man in Finchley

A black and white phot of a man standing still looking at his phone opposite King Edward Hall along Finchley Road

This was an opportunist shot as this man walked into frame and hesitated at the junction before crossing Arcadia Avenue. He was looking intensely at his mobile phone and I felt that the combination of his laid back pose, his concentration and the interesting background made for a good composition..

I was shooting mostly in black and white that day and I felt that the somewhat ornate, but now redundant, sundrenched King Edward Hall was a perfect setting. It’s a rare moment where I happen to be in the right place to capture this moment in time?

Who knows what the gent is doing or thinking, but I’m glad he stopped as he did as he was totally oblivious to my presence.

  • Location: Arcadia Avenue in Finchley Central looking into Regent’s Park Road
  • Date/Time: Tuesday 24th September 2019 at 1.11 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Food & Drink – Late Night in Spitalfields

A colour photo inside Spitalfield Market as it's closing. Colourful tables and chairs in teh foreground with overhead string lighting casting a moody feel

This shot was taken during my meanderings around Liverpool Street Station when I eventually ended up in Spitalfields Market in the early evening. Traders are just shutting up for the day and the coffee shops and most restaurants have already closed.

This colourful view of a seating area through metal railings shows how things will look twice a day. At the start of the day, and as in this picture, at the end of the day as the restaurant staff have placed all their tables and chairs neatly together.

The moody lighting, colour palette and industrial setting gives this shot a warm feel, and one that portrays a pleasant stopping point during a busy day rummaging around the bustling daytime market.

  • Location: Spitalfield Market
  • Date/Time: Friday March 15th 2019 at 6.42 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO5000

Sport – No Games Today

A rain soaked terrace on the edge of Hackney Marshes sports ground

I found myself on the fringes of Hackney Marshes after wandering around Stratford and through the Olympic Park. I was headed towards New Spitalfields Market (how coincidental is that in relation to the previous post) when it started lashing down with rain and the only cover I could find was under the Eaton Manor Walk bridge as it crossed the main road.

Such was the deluge that the bridge offered little cover so after a short while I resigned to getting wet. In an attempt to get something out of the moment, I walked up the side path to the bridge and realised the steps extended into a very wide terracing for spectators to enjoy the spectacle of players on the nearby football pitches.

There were no games, but the weed strewn rain drenched steps gave a sense of how this area might look on a weekend with spectators made up of friends and family cheering on sons and daughters.

  • Location: Access steps to Eaton Manor Walk bridge over the A106 Eastway
  • Date/Time: Thursday June 13th 2019 at 12.06 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 28mm; Film Speed – ISO125

Religion – Waiting for Jesus

am na sleeping on the doorstep of the Universal Pentecostal Church in Brixton

This image of a rough sleeper on the steps of the United Pentecostal Church under the sign ‘Jesus Cares’ was one waiting to be captured.
It portrays a sense of hope, optimism, or maybe sheer desperation, and whichever it is, the passing pedestrians seemed little unconcerned. Maybe the gentleman was a regular and knew he would get sanctuary at some point: I hope he did?

  • Location: Standing on the corner of Bucknor Road and Acre Lane in Brixton
  • Date/Time: Tuesday May 28th 2019 at 12.11 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/320; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Retail – Cloth Ends

A saturated black and white photo of several ends of cloth rolls creating an array of circular patterns

My day started at Dalston Junction, a little known end of the line: one created as part of the Parliamentary line to Battersea Park station. And after a browse around the junction, I amble through the back streets, following the crowds really, into the busy heart of Dalston Kingsland.

Before I know it, I’m strolling through Ridley Road street market, just around the corner from Dalston Kingsland station. It’s market day and the street is heaving with local shoppers vying with the traders for the best deal of the day. Mostly fruit and veg, but there’s the occasional whiff of fish or butchered meat, and as it’s a very hot day so the flies are plentiful. Yuck!

At the back end of the market, where Ridley Road joins St Mark’s Rise, the type of stalls change, and this is where I found this one. I’d say over three quarters of the open front is crammed with these rolled up remnants, leaving a narrow doorway into the stall itself. But it’s the remnants that catch my eye. Colourful as they are, I’ve taken this in a black and white setting to add character to the picture, and in a way reflecting the grittiness of the market itself.

It’s an interesting reminder of the market, and one I’ll keep for a while.

  • Location: A trader along Ridley Road street market in Dalston Kingsland
  • Date/Time: Tuesday August 13th 2019 at 11.57 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 48mm; Film Speed – ISO320

Remembering – Kennington Remembers

A memorial stone in Kennington Gardens

My visit to Kennington, on the Northern Line is a bit of a stretch of the imagination as it’s not physically a terminal station. However trains do end here, and after going around the Kennington Loop tunnel, they end up on the opposite platform ready to return northbound. So I’m content it’s a justified visit.

Kennington Park is a short stroll from the station and on this autumnal day, it was a very pleasant walk around the park enjoying the surrounding artefacts and gardens. When I stopped to read the inscription on this sculpture, I realised how poignant the moment was as it was a commemoration of an event that happened on this day in 1940.

What troubled me was that despite the fact someone had gone to the trouble of commissioning this sculpture, it now seems to have become forgotten as there was no evidence that the date had been remembered.

For my part, I share with you the inscription:

‘History despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived but if faced with courage need not be lived again Maya Angelou

‘To commemorate the wartime suffering of the people of Kennington and in particular over 50 men women and children who were killed on 15th October 1940 when a bomb destroyed an air raid shelter near this spot. Rest in peace’

Read the full story of Kennington’s Forgotten Tragedy here. My thanks to the Friends of Kennington Park who shared this story with me.

  • Location: Kennington Park, just inside the entrance opposite the Sugar Pot on the main A3 Kennington Park Road
  • Date/Time: Tuesday October 15th 2019 at 12.14 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 24mm; Film Speed – ISO200

Neglect and AntiSocial – Not Funny!

two clown'ish grafitti faces on a  car park wall in Romford

I found this on one of several days out in Romford. On this particular dank day, I was walking around the town’s perimeter on a mission to traverse all the town’s central car parks. Why? To view the town where I have lived for over thirty years from a different perspective.

Street art or wall art has become a common feature right across London, and I was first introduced to this art form when in Croydon at the outset of my end of the line story. There I met several artists, very creative artists whose passion shone through in their works. It was in Croydon I also appreciated the difference between street art and graffiti: the former is approved whereas graffiti is not. More a random bedaubing, often in discreet locations where the perpetrators are unlikely to be seen.

This is a very simple example made up of two heads with a smile, or grimace. Maybe a budding street artist testing out his/her skills. Nevertheless, a sight that seems to crop up only too often around London these days.

  • Location: Inside a stairwell at Angel Way Car Park, Romford
  • Date/Time: Thursday December 12th at 11.55 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ3.5; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 23mm; Film Speed – ISO800

Related Posts

Memories Themes

From Memories to Themes

Reflecting on my Memories

There we have it: over the past 81 days I’ve posted each of my Pictures of the Day with a weekly bulletin summarising the previous week’s pictures. I’ve published all these through my social media sites: on Twitter; Facebook; Instagram and LinkedIn.

A bright yellow lock against a fades white shed door. I have adopted this as my avatar across my social media sites

I’ll write another blog about how this has helped me reach out to more interested people, but for now and for each and every one of you… THANK YOU for your continued interest and support.

I hope you have enjoyed reliving my Pictures of the Day during the last 81 days of Covid-19 lockdown? It has certainly helped me through some challenging days, but I know that having the routine and focus to see this through has afforded me a unique opportunity to review and reflect on the last two years of travelling.

Covid-19 Lockdown

Much as we would all like life to return to ‘normal’, I take the view that we will remain under different restrictions for some time to come until widespread confidence is restored with the removal of ‘social distancing’. An expression that currently means different things to different people in different parts of the country; and equally for those who respect or believe there is reason not to respect the guidelines.

A crowd at a pop up food market wiaiting for their lunch. They are all looking down at their mobile phones

For me, I will continue to avoid unnecessary travelling as much as possible, and consequently my plans to begin Part 2 of the end of the line travels will remain on hold. I admit I do miss my wanderings around London, so for now I intend to restrict my travels to walking around my local community and immediate surroundings, as I have a yearning to pick up my camera and carry on finding interesting stories to share. So watch out…

Memories to Themes

However, I’ve still been keeping myself busy. Some of you will have seen my video in which I share my ‘Picture of the Day’ book. This is a draft to help me visualise what the published version could look like. I had three copies printed which have been shared with my immediate family, however should anyone like a copy, do please get in touch

In the meantime, I continue to explore my best publishing options; so if anyone out there has any suggestions, please let me know.

I’ve also been busy over the last month reviewing my portfolio of almost 5,000 pictures, which I’ve now categorised. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work as I had no fixed plan in mind; but I let the pictures guide me.

I tried not to be too prescriptive with this, and it was evident early on that many pictures suited many categories – this was easily resolved. I use Google Photos to store all my pictures and by creating a new album for each category, I was able to label pictures into more than one album…and so my portfolio began to grow and take shape.

I now have 34 categorised albums collated into 5 major themes. So over the next 34 days, I’d like to continue sharing my favourite themed picture and use this as an opportunity to share some pictures which missed out on being printed before. 

A screen shot of part of my Google Photo album collection. This one has 24 icons aech representing a themed collection

It was a bit daunting deciding how to select one picture from a collection of up to 300, but nevertheless I set about this methodically. Firstly I reduced each collection down to my top 10-15 applying one of a number of criteria: Is it an obvious fit? Do I like it’s photographic quality? Does it tell a good story? Does it have an overall artistic style?

I then made my final selection based on which picture captured all four qualities. There was of course an override category – if I just simply like it.

So here’s to the next 34 days where you can help me decide if I’ve chosen well. Again, I’ll post a picture each day with a weekly summary setting out my reasons for their selection.

Introducing my Themes

The themes are a personal reflection on how I see the world and life. Some may not agree with my interpretation, but isn’t that what makes life interesting?

A gent waiting at the top of an escalator ar Heathrow airport looking away from the camera. IN the backgrouns, there's a poster of a police woman with a welcoming outstretched arm in the gent's direction.

…and here they are! So please look out for my daily posts, and if you find them of interest, I’d be delighted if you would share my story with others.

  • Themes – Social: People; Food & Drink; Sport; Religion; Retail; Remembering; Neglect & AntiSocial
  • Themes – Travel: Trains; Road Vehicles; Boats; Air Carriers; Bridges & Tunnels; Walkways; Platforms
  • Themes – Architecture: Residential; Industrial; Stations; Commercial; Windows & Doors; Station Fixtures & Fittings; Street Furniture
  • Themes – The Arts & Design: Sculptures & Statues; Street Signs; Patterns & Symbols; Station Names; The Arts; Entertainment
  • Themes – The Natural World: Creatures; Vegetation; The Thames; Waterways; Skyscapes; Night Time; Reflections