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tfl rail

#47: Paddington (revisited) – 10/04/2019

This evening is an experiment in night time long exposure black and white photography… and although there are no new discoveries since my first visit over eight months ago, I hope you find this indulgent revisit interesting?

I also have to thank my daughter for enabling me to take these pictures as I decided to use a recent Christmas present in the guise of a new tripod; its use, essential in enabling me to take long exposure night shots. I’d researched the kind of tripod I was interested in; one that had to be lightweight to carry around, strong enough to handle my camera and zoom lenses, and compact enough to fold away for ease of carrying. I plumped for the Neewer 350C (red) as a tripod that meets my needs very well. The only compromise is its limited height, but that’s a compromise I’m happy to accept – thank you Ceri…

And why am I back at Paddington? Well, as things stand, the station will serve as a terminal for two Tfl Rail lines (soon to become the Elizabeth line): one to Heathrow (already operating), and one to Reading. Admittedly the Elizabeth line hasn’t fully commissioned all these services yet, but I feel the line’s media spotlight and current progress warranted a second visit to acknowledge this.

A little about the Station which most will know serves as the gateway to Wales and the South West of England. A station I have passed through many many times as a tourist travelling to London, and over the last 30 years, travelling to and through as a weekend commuter when I first moved to London and subsequently on work missions. At 10.30 pm at night, the station is though comparatively quiet as this animation shows.

The station is one of London’s iconic buildings created by Isambard Kingdom Brunel with its gothic style wrought iron work vaulted dome. A spectacle that fills your view no matter where you enter the station from, and one that draws your eyes upwards to admire the scale and engineering. A vision I recall in my younger days being full of diesel smoke as trains arrived and departed and smoke got caught in the domed roof.

The station also benefits from very long platforms to accommodate the pullman carriages that make up the services run by GWR in their fashionable green livery. And if you’re ever feeling particularly flush, you can always book yourself into one of their dining experiences  so as to enjoy good food whilst admiring the great scenery.

“Taxi!”

All good stations have well integrated taxi ranks to help passengers with a seamless transition from train to final destination; and equally those arriving at the station. Paddington is no different and the taxi rank is situated on the north eastern side of the station. It’s a well managed resource and directions to find it are well sign-posted. However given the size of the station, it can take passengers a good 10 minutes or even longer to get here. Not so bad when you’re travelling light, but when laddled with large, unwieldy suitcases, the effort can be somewhat frustrating.

To be honest I hadn’t taken much notice of this facility before, I guess because I’d never needed to use it, so my attention has only been cursory as I’ve walked past. But tonight, I spend quite a while, in different vantage points, capturing the movement of the slow black chain of ‘heel to toe’ taxi cabs meandering towards the pick up point before accelerating out of the station compound.

Can you spot the ghostly taxi?

This animation and few shots gives a sense of the calm patience taxi drivers exercise whilst waiting for the next train full of passengers to make their way to them.

The Basin at night

Walking along here at night is quite a spectacle as the combination of low and high rise building lighting has a rippling effect on the water, especially as the moon is rising too. In conversation with friends, they’ve commented on my bravery in walking about alone. But I don’t think it’s a question of bravery, more a balance of understanding your surroundings and being aware of those around you.

I’m not being complacent as I’ve found myself in several situations where taking the right action early, or saying/not saying something is the right thing to do. For example, as I was walking out of Merchant Square, realising there was only one exit at night and being confronted by a group of young men asking me if I wanted to buy some hashish, I diffuse a potential confrontation by making light of their offer but at the same time holding tightly onto my camera and handling my tripod in such a way that I could have used it in defence if needed…but none of this was necessary.

I hope you can enjoy these pictures of the area around the Basin as much as I enjoyed taking them. Some being taken with very long exposure times of up to 15 seconds so that I can get a good depth of field, or in some cases capturing cycle lights blinking on/off as they travel along a cobbled alleyway.

This shot of the Darcie Green floating restaurant along the Grand Union Canal is one of many I took trying to capture the mood of the revellers on board. But it was a cold night and only a few smokers braved the open top for a moment or two to ‘take in the air’.

Picture of the Day

An iconic picture taken inside Paddington Station at 9.32 pm on Wednesday the 10th April 2019.

This is one of several shots I’ve taken to get the composition and effect  just right and the settings I’m using achieves that. The particular challenge is to get the shutter speed right. Too short and the picture is dark, and too long gives a whitewashed effect. Camera stability with a 2 second exposure is achieved using the camera mounted on a low lying tripod.

The starkness of the image, taken in black and white, shows off the iron work which is captured in fine detail right throughout the station. The clock to the left, in grand Victorian style, offsets the symmetry of the picture just enough and helps draw the eye down to a statute of Paddington Bear. The long exposure also helps to create the starburst effect with the overhead lighting which a faster exposure failed to achieve.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ16; Shutter Speed – 2 sec; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO200; Google Photo Filter – Metro

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tfl rail

#18: Paddington – 02/08/2018

Some will ask…’hey what’s this all about, Paddington isn’t at the end of the line?’…Well let me explain. Tfl took over the Paddington to Heathrow (T4) main line earlier this year in preparation for the Elizabeth line next year. So once the new line is fully functional, Paddington will be a pass through destination, but for now, it’s the end of the line – so hope that helps?

Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (IKB), it’s the gateway to Wales and the West of England, and all of you who have journeyed through Paddington over the years will know it for it’s hustle and bustle. Trains of the modern era now steam free but in its heyday, the cavernous auditorium would have been filled with coal fired steam and the sound of whistles aplenty

As well as the Tfl line, the station serves the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Bakerloo lines, Chiltern Railways, Heathrow Express and of course Great Western Railway services, and if you walk beyond the end of the platforms, through to some of the station’s engineering work areas, you’re also within viewing distance of Royal Oak underground station.

The station is full of shadowy shapes and colours, with some historical references too. Several statues adorn the station, and you can listen to the statue’s story using accessible QR codes; a novel yet simple idea for the curious passenger. Two of these are the GWR Memorial to ‘The Soldier’ and IKB himself

A wander in the immediate vicinity outside the station demonstrates how much the area has changed and continues to with Elizabeth line preparation for new station entrances and modern office complexes in Eastbourne Terrace and grand Georgian houses lining the leafy Westbourne Terrace

A bit further afield, and as is often found across London, look for the hidden mews, often reinstated, modernised and tastefully painted to offer a pleasant vista for the onlooker. Today I came across Conduit Mews and Junction Mews which has within its confines a building that was once a ‘Boatman’s Institution’: formally the Boatmen’s Chapel which was used for promoting Christian knowledge amongst Canal Boatmen in 1828.

Following an earlier visit to the Paddington Basin (see Edgware Road), I promised upon my return I’d walk to Little Venice and onward. It was a glorious day for it and to be honest I hadn’t realised how close this little haven is from Paddington, and en route seeing those hiring boats enjoying themselves and those journeying along canal water-buses with destinations to Regent’s Zoo and beyond to Camden Lock.

A very pleasant day with reminders of my own travels through the station as I travelled to London from Wales in my earlier working days. I end with some other pics for your enjoyment

For more info, look up Paddington on Wikipedia

For more info, look up Paddington Station on Wikipedia

Picture of the Day

This is taken under the Bishop’s Bridge Road flyover as it crosses the Paddington Basin just north of the station. An otherwise dark and gloomy underpass en route to several restaurants and where you’ll also find one of the Paddington Bear statues dotted around the area.

This colourful metal display has been erected to brighten up the area, and it does do that. A little difficult to capture as there was a stream of passers by making their way to/from the restaurants, or generally milling around. The first few shots using a flash failed to capture the true colour but I persevered and only slightly enhanced it with a green filter in post production to heighten the colour range.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 53mm; Film Speed – ISO500; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

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circle district

#05: Edgware Road – 09/05/2018

A natural follow up to Edgware, down the A5 (or Watling Street) to its source at Marble Arch leading into Edgware Road. With one of two stations with this name (the other serving the Bakerloo Line about 250 metres away) and serving as a terminal destination for the District Line and since December 2009, the Circle Line: so this will be the first of two visits to this station.

The station is overlooked by an intriguing design which catches my eye (see my picture of the day), and an interesting bronze statue called ‘The Window Cleaner’, sculpted by Allan Sly, looking up at an adjacent building

Edgware Road itself is a main arterial link road out of London and traffic is constant, but so is the people traffic going about their business. An eclectic mix of banks, high street shops, beauty shops, food shops, eateries and any other type of shop you can mention. The shops though clearly cater for the transient and local population, and here’s a good example of how the traditional corner shop is alive and kicking. You name it and you can get it here.

20180509142256_IMG_0572.jpg

A stroll now across the road to Paddington Basin which is a matter of minutes away, and my how this has been transformed over recent years with the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union canal being totally regenerated. A growing complex of office space, luxury apartments, relaxing space, and safe and modern canal and pedestrian facilities allowing you to walk uninterrupted to Little Venice (that’s for another day). The Basin is awash with colourful barges (long boats) advertising boat trips, food and some business operating from them – very chic. Building work continues but it all seems well managed with decorative hoarding promoting the regeneration and describing some of the features.

To the edge of the Basin, and no surprise I stumble across Paddington Bear donning his hat in salute to all passers by. He’s one of several supporting The Pawprint Trail, an activity based exploration of the area. Paddington Bear leads me to the westerly edge of my journey and as I turn to retrace my steps, I spot today’s celebrity whose chatting on the quay side: Tony Singh, a well known and colourful character. I also stop beside a canal side Candocoffee vendor and chat with Giovanni, the barista, who tells me the new development has canalside apartments being marketed at £1M plus! A snip at half the price…

Across the road from Paddington and under the A40 Westway, Marylebone Road stretches easterly to Euston Road and a short stroll finds me exploring Marylebone Station and the surrounding streets. One notable building at the crossroads is the Paddington Green Police Station, a pretty unimpressive building to look at, but a cornerstone in the Police’s efforts to contain suspected terrorists.

So many other buildings to see, and here’s a short selection of my stopping points: St Marylebone Grammar School, 242 Marylebone Road, The Landmark Hotel – wish I could have gone inside but didn’t think I was dressed appropriately and The Old Marylebone Town Hall. See Instagram (here#01, here#02 and here#03) for all the pics. Signs of London’s constant battle with road works were evident too: see if you can work out which colour represents which utility…

For more info, look up Edgware Road on Wikipedia

Picture of the Day

This is a view from inside the station looking in a southerly direction at the adjoining building: Griffith House which is one of Tfl’s training centres which was originally built as an electricity substation for the tube network.

The side of the building is covered in this elaborate and colourful “Wrapper” of vitreous enamel cladding created by Jacqueline Poncelet and the variegated station roof edging creates an interesting shadowed feature set against the brighter colours in the background. This is one of those images that as a commuter you may not normally see as you are busy rushing to/from the train…just look up!

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 30mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

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