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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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#25: Cheshunt – 18/10/2018

My 25th trip since starting this jaunt and one of the many things I’ve learnt since starting is not to be dismayed when there’s nothing obviously interesting as there’s always a hidden gem…and Cheshunt was no different.

Not an obvious end of the line station but Cheshunt is the end of the shuttle service from Liverpool Street, a line taken over by Tfl in 2015 and it shares its platforms with National Rail services from London to Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. It’s the first I’ve encountered with a level crossing for road users too.

The station also had a part to play during the 2012 Olympics acting as one of the alighting points for the nearby White Water Centre where the canoeing, kayaking and other similar water bound sports took place.

Town or Village?

Heading east from the station towards Cheshunt I spot three pubs within the first few steps: The Windmill, The Maltsters and The Red Cow where I chat with Majella, the landlady who’s preparing for a forthcoming wake. She explains Cheshunt’s fortune has been affected by the relocation of Tesco’s HQ to Welwyn Garden City, the closure of shops and the movement of Eastern European migrants into the area. All of this has also caught the attention of Channel 4 which has expressed an interest in filming the impact of all this across the area.

As I  walk from the station to the heart of the town, almost a kilometre, I pass a very tidy residential area and reflect on how the residents clearly care for their community as gardens and houses look immaculate, and the streets appear spotless. I also ponder on what’s the difference between a town and a village as I would say Cheshunt falls in-between, and I explore various definitions, all of which predominantly offer population density as the main defining criteria. There are other reasons too and here’s an example.

The town centre rests on a cross roads and it’s refreshing to see mostly independent shops, though social and economic decline is evident by the sight of closed shops. The fountain in the centre of the main roundabout sadly not working seemed to symbolise this decline and I felt the town has little to offer by way of incentivising people to visit.

The entrance to the town park in Turners Hill, which is adjacent to the library, offers a glimmer of history explaining its origins, and paths from the entrance lead you to the Laura Trott Leisure Centre which has been named in honour of the girl who was brought up in the town. Now known by her married name of course – Laura Kenny, Great Britain’s most successful Olympic female competitor in any sport.

River Lee Navigation

Returning towards the station, I had earlier noticed a footpath sign to the River Lee Navigation way and onwards to the White Water Centre, so I made this my destination. On reaching the water, the straight walk of 1.5 kilometres took me along a peaceful waterway adorned with ‘lived in barges’ and canal boats.

Cyclists and walkers alike enjoy the towpath and I stop along the way to enjoy and capture the serene and scenic views. Most of those who I encounter are friendly and pleasant, and even the river workers, ferrying gas and coal upstream, wave and gave me a steam show to help with the pictures I’m taking.

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White Water Centre

Arriving at the White Water Centre, I didn’t know what to expect but I found the venue open to the public and it’s where I spent some time walking around and capturing the excitement of thrill seekers, and specialists practising their skills.

The Centre was purpose built for the 2012 Olympics and since then it has been open to the public providing two water courses for the novice, the expert and the thrill seekers enjoying team bonding sessions in an eight person raft. Access to all areas allowed me to test my long range close up skills against a constantly moving fore and background and of the 100+ shots I took, I have selected the following, for various reasons, as my favourite ones, and compiled a short video. I hope you enjoy them?

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Royal Gunpowder Mills

Returning to the Navigation towpath, I continue in a southerly direction towards Waltham Abbey/Cross and spot signs for the Royal Gunpowder Mills. No guesses what was there, but a brief historical search reveals this was one of the key locations where gunpowder was  manufactured soon after its invention in the 17th Century. Walking there to take a peek was a disappointment as I learnt it was only open by appointment, however a curious roadside plaque caught my attention. A plaque that marked the location of the Sandhurst Hospital, a purpose built hospital to serve those injured in the mills receiving swift treatment before being moved to nearby hospitals for onward care.

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I end my 9 kilometre journey at Waltham Cross station to take this somewhat weary, yet enthused traveller home. Thank you Herfordshire for your hospitality and I believe a return visit along the Lee River Navigation will be worthwhile.

Picture of the Day

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’m capturing the effort and intensity of trying to control the raft. Its position in the water gives a feeling of vulnerability as its bow emerges from the rest of the raft which appears submerged. It isn’t submerged, but the appearance is created by the fact the raft was just recovering from a dip in the water as the raft plummeted down a slope.

The relatively fast shutter speed also captures the water amid 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 which portrays a number of sentiments., 

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

Social Media

YouTube, Instagram, Google PhotosTriptipedia – here I share some tips I use when travelling around London. A different twist on my ‘end of the line’ story
For more info, look up Cheshunt on Wikipedia

My Route

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