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Memories No 04 – from Beckenham Junction to Amersham

My fourth blog outlining the stories behind my ‘Pictures of the Day’. For this week’s review, I travel to the ends of the District, Metropolitan, Overground, Piccadilly and the Tram lines in September through to Armistice Day in November 2018.

I meet more people during the autumnal months and in this portfolio. You’ll meet a street trader, an arboreal artist and thrill seekers. I also stretch the boundaries of my camera’s capability too.

Please tell me which is your favourite picture, and why through any of my social media platforms.

So here goes for week 4. Please let me know what you think.

#22: Beckenham Junction– ‘Phalacrocoracidae’

12/09/2018 – The lake in Kelsey Park boasts having at least two cormorants, one proudly displaying its wings high up in its tree perch, and another doing likewise perched on a post mid lake; a good opportunity to test my camera handling skills at full zoom. I rest against railings on a wall to steady myself whilst standing under a large tree sheltering from the downpour of rain.

I’ve enlarged and cropped the original photo to showcase the cormorant’s extended wingspan. There’s a little degradation in the quality and sharpness, but given I was a good couple of hundred metres away, I’m very pleased with the outcome. And a good test of the zoom lens’ quality at full stretch too

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 300mm; Film Speed – ISO800; Google Photo Filter – Auto

#23: Kensington (Olympia) – ‘Changing Colours’

17/09/2018 – A slight twist on today’s picture as it is in fact a collage of four taken within the Plasa 2018 exhibition. The reason being is that I want to showcase the challenge I experienced in trying to capture fast moving lighting effects such as those created digitally.

I realised quickly that the time delay between my seeing an image and pressing the shutter to capture that image was out of sync. So whilst I was somewhat disappointed in the outcome of many of today’s shots, the experience taught me to think differently on how to represent an image.

Nevertheless, this collage is a helpful reminder of that and offers an alternative on how to represent my ‘Picture of the Day’. The camera settings below represent the range used on the four pictures I’ve brought together, and they demonstrate how the camera captures images even in an erratically lit environment.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5 to 6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/125 to 1/200; Focal Length – 34mm to 55mm; Film Speed – ISO200 to ISO640; Google Photo Collage with Auto Filter

#24: Barking – ‘Lola’

09/10/2018 – This is Lola, a street market trader selling African inspired headwear. Lola has a captivating smile and a broad grin and is so easy to talk with. She’s happy for me to take pictures of her small stall and of her, and she quite likes the attention too which made capturing her personality quite easy.

I remind myself of some advice I was given as a child: when taking pictures of people and in particular their faces, to focus on the eyes. And you can see why here, as Lola smiles through her eyes and the rest of her face lights up.

This is a simple headshot; one of a series I took as I chatted with Lola and walked around her. Passers by looked curiously on, but neither Lola nor I gave them a passing thought.

Thank you Lola for brightening up my visit to Barking.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 50mm; Film Speed – ISO1600; Google Photo Filter – Auto

#25: Cheshunt – ‘Come in No 15!’

18/10/2018 – This is one of many shots I took at the White Water Centre which gave me the opportunity to test out action sequences. There were several rafts of eight person pleasure seekers or team bonding exercise groups on the course being led by two professional guides. So as each raft navigated the course several times, there was ample opportunity to explore the course and sit and wait for the right moment.

This, I believe, is one of those moments where I’ve captured the effort and intensity of the raft’s occupants trying to control their craft. The position of the raft in the water gives an impression  of its vulnerability as its bow peers out of the water, and in doing so it seems the rest of the raft is submerged: but It isn’t. This appearance is only created by the fact the raft is just recovering from a dip in the water as the raft plummeted down a slope.

The relatively fast shutter speed also captures the water mid splash and the water droplet effect adds to the drama. I remember in my early youth taking sporting pictures and recall that picking the right spot and being patient are two key attributes to getting a good shot. And as I applied these today, I’m rewarded with this outcome.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 190mm; Film Speed – ISO200; Google Photo Filter – Auto

#26: Ealing Broadway – ‘Ed’

23/10/2018 – This is Ed, who I met sketching trees at the bottom of Walpole Park. My narrative above explains a bit about Ed who was kind enough to let me use him as the subject of an ‘ad hoc’ photo shoot. He was completely engrossed in his sketching and this was great to get the concentration on his face.

At one moment, the sun peered through the tree canopy and this shot captures that through his hair creating almost a halo effect. I have no knowledge of Ed’s saintly connections but he was angelic enough through the photo shoot.

I had the camera set up in Black and White mode and I think this helps to add depth to the picture and strengthen the final shot. I’m pleased with it, and ‘thank you’ Ed

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 33mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – None

#27: Cockfosters – ‘Traffic’

02/11/2018 – As you can see, this is taken outside Cockfosters Station. It’s a shot I had to wait quite a while to capture to get the right effect of movement. I played with several combinations of shutter speed and aperture to get the right balance of movement, focus, light and composition.

This one is taken with a slowish shutter speed set at 1/8th second grabbing the colour blur from the passing bus with its outline clearly recognisable. Combined with the oncoming car, I’m really pleased with the resulting effect of movement with a still background. It’s also pleasing that the combined speed of the bus and shutter speed still allows the advertising hoarding on the right hand side to show through the bus windows.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ22; Shutter Speed – 1/8; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Auto

#28: Amersham – ‘Remembering’

09/11/2018 – A few days before Armistice Day 2018, Amersham Old Town has excelled itself with an impressive WW1 Commemoration display as part of this year’s Britain in Bloom entry. This picture is taken within the Memorial Gardens and is one of many I could have picked for today’s PIcture of the Day.

This one, I believe, epitomises the scale, grandeur and colour of the town’s display with the large scale bi-plane models elevated in formation showing off a combination of design and gardening skills. Despite it being a drizzly day, which dampens the garden’s colour palette, there’s a hint of sunlight peeking through the low cloud base helping to lift the greenery.

Despite the weather conditions, there are several interested people walking through and enjoying the display. However, I’ve waited for them to pass as I didn’t want them to be a distraction from the bi-planes which I feel are the centrepiece of the picture.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ10; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO6400; Google Photo Filter – None

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#22: Beckenham Junction- 12/09/2018

Arriving at the terminal station courtesy of Tramlink, Beckenham Junction is one of the three destinations created to serve the growing population east of Croydon. The platform is also adjacent to the main line station which offers through trains into Central London and into the heart of Kent.

Beckenham has a villagey feel but probably large enough to be called a town comprising of two main streets. Nothing unusual other than being relatively quiet as school has now resumed so the streets aren’t littered with school children. However walking deeper into the heart of the town I found myself on a wildlife adventure as I explored and circumnavigated the lakes in Kelsey Park.

The Town and its historic landmarks

Turning south out of the station I entered the meandering High Street which is dominated by St George’s Church and as well as being an imposing building, it’s adjoining cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves location although sadly looking a little unkempt. Across the road is The Public Hall another equally imposing building, a multi-purpose Victorian built venue. It’s rooftop catching my eye as it has a Gothic Swiss villa look to it.

Walking down the hill, I  pass the old police station, now a trendy spa and restaurant, recessed from the main road where the local Farmer’s Market is occasionally held. In contrast, and slightly tucked away from the main road is The Coach & Horses, an attractively decorated traditional pub.

Continuing through HIgh Street, I note a mix of independent shops interlaced with a modicum of closed shop fronts, however the town is working hard to improve the landscape by repaving a significant part of the street.

At the bottom of the HIgh Street, there’s an iconic art deco Odeon Cinema still trading as a cinema, and this landmark acts as my turning point back up the High Street.

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Walking around the town I notice several alleys, cut throughs and dead ends that have novelty and informative street names highlighting their historic past. An interesting way to draw attention to otherwise bland and forgotten places. Here are some examples found at: Church Hill Alley; Thornton’s Alley; Legion Alley; Wood House Alley and Burton’s Yard

Wildlife at Kelsey Park

I stumble across Kelsey Park by chance at its entrance in Manor Way and take a peek in through the main entrance looking for shelter as the rain starts to fall. I later realise the stream flowing from the lake is named The Beck, no doubt helping to give the town its name?

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A combination of the rain and it being school term meant the park was quiet with only the hardy few, dog walkers and parents with non-school aged children in tow. Most were polite as we exchanged pleasantries, and some chit chat followed.

Time to swap the standard lens for the 75-300 mm zoom telephoto to take advantage of the wildlife. The lake was awash with a variety of birds and on a distant island two herons were encamped high up. Every now and then, a gathering of geese started their runway wing flapping take off display flying off seamlessly and in harmony with each other.

Most of the birds close to the shore were inquisitive enough that they came in close almost posing to have their picture taken, so I took advantage. Overhead, there was an unexpected sound, but for regulars tuned into wildlife around London will know that it’s no longer unusual to hear the squawking of a flock of parakeets; yes even in sleepy suburbia. I think I counted at least a dozen in a free flowing aerial display.

I probably spent an enjoyable hour bird watching under a chestnut tree sheltering from the rain, engaged in conversation with passers by equally enjoying the bird displays; but time to move on. And on leaving, I spotted a baby heron fishing in the stream; his/her eyes in a steely gaze mesmerised on a hidden fish…AND WHAAAM! Fish for lunch as the heron gulped it’s prey down it’s slender neck. It’s movement so fast, the best I got was a picture of the drips falling from the heron’s mouth. Satisfied with its catch, the heron walks onto the path and uses it as a runway to glide gracefully into the trees..

The day was an interesting sojourn,  reminding me to simply embrace whatever each location offers up as points of interest and record for my personal pleasure and entertainment.

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Picture of the Day

The lake in Kelsey Park boasts having at least two cormorants, one proudly displaying its wings high up in its tree perch, and another doing likewise perched on a post mid lake; a good opportunity to test my camera handling skills at full zoom. I rest against railings on a wall to steady myself whilst standing under a large tree sheltering from the downpour of rain.

I’ve enlarged and cropped the original photo to showcase the cormorant’s extended wingspan. There’s a little degradation in the quality and sharpness, but given I was a good couple of hundred metres away, I’m very pleased with the outcome. And a good test of the zoom lens’ quality at full stretch too

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 300mm; Film Speed – ISO800; Google Photo Filter – Auto

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For more info, look up Beckenham Junction Station and Beckenham on Wikipedia