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Memories

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

Categories
District TfL Underground

#23: Kensington (Olympia) – 17/09/2018

This station has an interesting and chequered history as a London Underground station, but since December 2011, District line services terminating here have been restricted to a limited weekend shuttle service to/from Earl’s Court and a very early morning weekday service. Read TfL’s briefing note explaining the decision behind this.

This was a weekday visit, so I arrived on the Overground service on one of the shared platforms with Southern Rail. The station also once hosted a British Rail Motorail point, but this was closed in 2011 too, the space now used as a car park.

The main attraction of the day was a visit inside Olympia, but as I’ve been a frequent visitor to various IT exhibitions inside the centre over the years, and therefore had some knowledge of what to expect, I felt the surrounding area warranted an investigation first.

Blythe Road and Brook Green

Within a short walk of the station, Blythe Road skirts the western side of Olympia and reaches into a residential area with a mix of social housing, terraced houses and local shops. You can’t miss Blythe House though, on first glance, it reminded me of the large, isolated house in the Addams Family. A tall almost gothic like styled building inaccessible and surrounded by high railings and heavy security with access only gained by ‘invitation only’.

In fact the building is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum where the archives of all things art and design are stored. Blythe House is also adjacent to a Royal Mail sorting office with an interesting mosaic embedded in its wall, and further along turning into Caithness Road I find an interesting building ‘arofton lodge’; sadly though there’s no internet reference for this building

I reach Brook Green and discover St Paul’s Girls School where Gustav Holst once taught, and not far away, the Holy Trinity Catholic Church. This brings me out along Hammersmith Road and I reach another entrance to Blythe Road and I’m struck by the reflection of buildings along a mirrored office block – just nice to see.

Turning onto Hammersmith Road, and directly opposite Olympia, there’s a typical Kensington’esque mansion block. The one I admire is Glyn Mansion, but to be honest it’s fairly representative of the accommodation in the surrounding area. Prices are also fairly representative of the affluent area too: a one bedroom flat reaching £0.5 Million!

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Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre – Olympia

The centre is an architectural mix of Victoriana, Art Deco, and 70’s build. What was once the main Victorian frontage faces the station but is partly hidden by functional modern blocks; and the Art Deco facade sits on Hammersmith Road. Both iconic in their own way.

Plasa 2018

For those not in the know, Plasa is the ‘entertainment technology association’ bringing together ‘…the cutting edge of lighting, live sound, AV, rigging and staging…’. So why did I attend? Well, when researching my visit to Kensington (Olympia) I thought it would be novel to visit an exhibition as a photographer rather than a visitor with a professional interest in the wares on display. Previously having attended IT and Security exhibitions over the years, I knew the layout of the main centre, so I thought it would be an interesting learning experience applying different professional skills.

A brief exchange of emails with the organisers not only secured me rights to take pictures professionally, but also to enter free with a Press Pass – is this a new career?

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My first impression was that of a smoke filled arena awash with sound and bright lights from all types of light projectors, moving light walls, LED displays of all shapes and sizes, racks and racks of equipment that to my mind would sit more comfortably in an air conditioned IT network room and many types of smoke machines – great fun walking through them.

Oh yes, and thousands of interested professionals talking intensely about the minutest of detail…BUT that’s what an exhibition is all about; an opportunity for suppliers to show off their latest products, and those with bulging budgets, or more likely limited funds to play with the toys. As with all exhibitions, some folk rate the success of the event with how many free goodies they can walk away with. I didn’t get the name of the company, but my prize for innovation went to the company that gave away tool boxes as they were too big to be packed away in a rucksack, so those leaving the exhibition had no option other than to advertise the wares emblazoned with the suppliers logo…

For an exhibition partly promoting stage rigging, there was no better example than how the area had been set out with partially suspended ceilings over all the main exhibitors on the ground floor creating a vision of a false roof at the height of the first floor balcony. Miles of cables and tons of power winches.

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My professional interest was less in the tech and more in the visual impact or statement the exhibitors were making, and I learnt quickly there’s an art, I’ve yet to capture, in taking photos of digital lighting systems. You see, and it’s logical when you think about it, when lights are displayed either on a pixelated wall or as LED’s, which are clearly designed to create a visual overload by changing colour quickly resulting in different designs and effects, a camera set at auto takes the moment and not the effect, so my first hour was somewhat frustrated in not getting the picture I was seeing. Here’s an example…

But as time passed, I thought about the final presentation and believed a different approach might be more effective. Here are small collection of the lighting effects on display. Let me know what you think?

As with all exhibitions, there’s a main sponsor who, probably having made a significant contribution to the set up costs, gets the largest floor space, and in this case, the largest staged area to promote their products. Plasa 2018 was no different and it was ROBE lighting who excelled by giving a stunning stage show, showcasing many of their lighting products. Here’s a little sample..

West Kensington Design District

One of the Exhibition Centre’s challenges is how to constantly promote itself and on leaving the centre, Olympia clearly doesn’t rest on its laurels as advertising for the next exhibition was on display: 100%Display, which is also being used to showcase the recently launched West Kensington Design District, and signage around the area was beginning to emerge to point people to various locations.

Ah, another interesting day…

See all Kensington (Olympia) pics on Google Photo here – feel free to comment

See the side bar for a sample of Kensington (Olympia) pics on Instagram

For more info, look up Kensington Olympia Station on Wikipedia