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Lockdown Mayhem – July 2020

So… a month on, and more and more shops are opening their doors. Still not enough to tempt me back onto the trains, but there is a sense of a new normal emerging. The must have ‘wear item’ is now the facemask. I’ve tried a few varieties, bought from the local dry cleaners, online ‘bargains’ and the best fit for me is from Gap. So out I go with my choice of three fashionable face masks.

The weather has improved, but before I share my travelling stories, a little about other events that have kept me busy, entertained and angry!

The garden has looked after itself and the fruits of my labours are starting to justify the extent of my earlier hard work. Tomatoes, courgettes and runner beans aplenty, and root vegetables firmly taking stock for the autumn and winter months.

In between all that, I’ve had the pleasure of chasing up roofers to part replace the front of the house. As with all tradesmen, they promise delivery tomorrow, but what they actually mean is sometime in the unspecified future. Despite that, the work was good and I was happy with the price and equally happy to recommend in the Romford area.

But that’s not something I can say about my recent run in with a car garage. You see I was off on a jaunt to visit family, and the dashboard suddenly displays three orange amber warning signs and one red one. Not a good look, so I head back home and the garage offers me a date a month away. My hands are tied, what can I do except wait. Long story short…the bill came in in excess of four figures but just as I was about to pay, there’s mention of a faulty part. Now ‘hold on I say’, surely if there’s a faulty part, that’s not for me to pay. And do you know what…in a matter of seconds, the bill was reduced significantly with very little quibble.

Now I’m delighted of course, BUT if I hadn’t challenged the garage, I would have ended up with an inflated bill. Why didn’t they do this before presenting the bill to me? You can draw your own conculsions.

OK, that was a slight digression, so let’s get back to my July travels in and around Romford. This month I’ve concentrated my walking on the northern part of Romford, inside the A12 ring road, and to the west as far as Chadwell Heath (almost). A total of 30 kilometers over three hot days.

So here goes with my second occasional blog about my local journeys.

#08: Taking the Sheep to Market

A black and white photo looking through a tiled underpass with a row of black sheep on the ceiling. A couple of pedestrians in the far distant exiting the sunlit tunnel entrance

Romford market dates as far back as 1247 when a Royal Charter was granted by King Henry III. Originally a sheep market which no doubt inspired the ceiling mural in this underpass.

I’d never been through here before, and to be honest I didn’t think anything of it. Just another underpass for pedestrians to make their way under the busy roundabout feeding Romford’s inner ring road.

But I stopped to look behind and realised I was being overtaken by a flock of black sheep on the ceiling. I don’t think the pedestrians walking through even noticed what I was seeing: they were too busy checking their mobiles, nattering to each other or trying to calm down a child in a buggy. So it was easy to capture them walking through the underpass to add some context to the picture.

I’ve been unsuccessful in my research to find out more about this mural, so if any reader would like to shed any light, I’d be happy to update my blog.

  • Location: South Street to North Street underpass, Romford
  • Date/Time: Monday 20th July 2020 at 2.32 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO1600 

#09: R.I.P Rob

A black and white photo of a car number plate style RIP Rob sign attached to the dual carriageway central reservation barrier with a decayed bouquet of flowers

‘…Sadly missed your loving family’ is the underscore to this car number plate type memorial firmly attached to the fencing above the central reservation along the main A12 Eastern Avenue.


Looking on Google maps, this has been there since at least September 2008, and for each iteration of the Google Maps reference, there are always flowers, albeit in a sad state of decay.


Despite a thorough internet search I’m unable to reveal who Rob was, but nevertheless he was a much loved person.


It’s hard to know why it’s here, in this location, but I hazard a guess it was either a road traffic accident, or a pedestrian trying to cross the main road. Whatever the circumstance, it’s a sombre reminder of the frailty of life and the need for vigilance when crossing roads. I pause to think about the nearby underpass: was it there before the accident, or because of it?

On a related theme; whilst walking through the main Romford Cemetery along Crow Lane, I stopped to admire the array of children’s gravestones. There was one inscription that brought a tear to my eye – it simply said ‘born dreaming’

  • Location: Opposite Footpath No. 79 emerging from Parkside Avenue on the main A12 Eastern Avenue, Romford
  • Date/Time: Monday July 20th 2020 at 2.58 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 200mm; Film Speed – ISO800 

#10: Victoria Centre

A black and white photo of a view of three dorma windows at roof level on the dilapidated pavillion style building

Locals will almost certainly know this as one of the places to go to for a blood test where you don’t have to queue for ages. Well that’s been my experience to date anyway.

This rather dilapidated building, is in the main, full of character even in its unloved state. In fact I think the aged and tired look adds to the building’s charms.

It was originally built in 1888 at a cost of £1,000 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. Known as the Victoria Cottage Hospital, and through gradual expansion over the decades, it grew from having 13 beds to 101 beds by the time it became part of the NHS in 1948. During the 1970’s and 1980’s changes to the health care system saw a decline in the hospital’s use when it eventually closed for inpatients in 1985 when only 32 beds were available.

Since then, the site has catered for several outpatients departments for which it continues to do so to this day. It sits proudly, in it’s own grounds (now car parks) just off Main Road in Petits Lane and serves as a reminder of how cottage hospitals once supported their communities. There’s no doubt it is a distinct looking building and one to admire for what it once was, and is now.

My thanks to the Lost Hospitals of London site for this information. I’m so glad such sites as these exist as otherwise this kind of information would be lost forever.

  • Location: Victoria Centre, Havering NHS Primary Care Trust, Petits Lane, Gidea Park
  • Date/Time: Tuesday July 21st 2020 at 12.35 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/320; Focal Length – 75mm; Film Speed – ISO100

#11: Victoria Road Footbridge

A colour photo looking along the length of a footbridge with tall sides and a mesh canopy. In the bright sunlight, the blue/grey metalwork contrasts with the yellow overhead light guards

Bridge reference LTN1/103-ROU/11.

Did you know if you ever wanted to find a bridge reference number other than finding it on or near a railway bridge, then there’s a very helpful resource.


Thanks to Daniel Hanson, who made a Freedom of Information request to National Rail Limited in 2015 who subsequently provided a full list (at that time) of every railway bridge in the UK. You can view it here. But be warned, it’s a hefty data set, but if it’s your thing…then fill your boots.
Access to this footbridge on either side is via isolated cut throughs from their respective roads. Ok for daytime  passage but less so I would imagine at nighttime. 

It’s a bright sunny day today and a few pedestrians are making their way across. There’s one mum with a toddler in tow, somewhat frustrated at the length of time the little boy is hovering to see the trains pass by – oh such simple choices.

I wait until all have passed, as to be honest, it could be a little intimidating seeing someone crouch down taking photos as they walk through. I decide to err on the side of caution.

Built in 1893, this lattice wrought iron bridge has lost its charm, as probably a lot of railway footbridges have since they’ve been enclosed. No doubt a preventative measure, but one that nevertheless results in the bridge largely being devoid of its character. This sunlit and shadowy picture offers a glimpse into the view you get when crossing over five railway lines.

  • Location: Railway Footbridge over main railway line adjoining Victoria Road and Junction Road, Romford
  • Date/Time: Thursday July 30th 2020 at 12.13 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 21mm; Film Speed – ISO100  

#12: Just Chillin

A black and white photo of a gent dressed in white shirt, trousres and headcap covering long dreadlocks who's sitting on a street bench

I spotted this gent casually sitting on a bench on the opposite side of the road and I almost walked on. But I found myself backtracking to try and capture the moment. A little difficult as the junction was busy with cars, vans and lorries queuing up at the traffic lights so there were only momentary glimpses of this scene.

So as the lights changed and the traffic moved on, I took a series of shots before the next queue formed. Each shot I took, I zoomed in closer. Some of the earlier shots capture the ‘Mercury Gardens’ road sign, but that’s eventually lost as I’m at the full extent of the zoom.

The gent seemed pretty relaxed sitting there watching the world pass by, and I was equally content to capture the moment with his profile nicely silhouetted against the distant lamppost.

A serene moment in time caught in the otherwise hectic surrounds of the junction between Mercury Gardens and Victoria Road on a hot and sunny afternoon.

  • Location: Crossroads between Mercury Gardens and Victoria Road, Romford
  • Date/Time: Thursday July 30th 2020 at 12.23 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length -200mm; Film Speed – ISO250

#13: Tiled Walkway

A black and white photo with diagonal lines of this shadowy walkway edging from middle left to bottom right. A gent walking into shot at middle left helps to balance the picture

This blog seems like a story of underpasses. Well maybe it is and although unintentional, clearly the stark summer sunlight and a return to my black and white roots has helped me capture the patterns created by the contrasting shadows.

I’m crouching down at the base of this ramp just as it enters the underpass as I spot the diagonal lines converging on the corner. The dull brown wall tiles appear almost white with darker brown tiles forming the vertical darker stripes.

The combination of the slant of the ramp, and the shadowy handrail all draws my eye to where I’ve positioned myself and I take a series of shots with and without pedestrians walking through. Some walking towards me and some walking away. But this one, with the gent at the top of the ramp, almost leaning into shot and walking in the direction of the focal point helps to complete the picture’s composition.

  • Location: Underpass emerging into Waterloo Road from Rom Valley Way, Romford
  • Date/Time: Thursday July 30th 2020 at 12.45 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO100

#14: Nursery Walk

A black and white picture of a couple in the distant walking through and emerging out of a tunnel; their profile in shadow. The picture is framed by overgrown foliage to the footbath which helps to complement the shot

Unless you’re a local resident, and I mean local to the immediate area, I doubt you’ll know about this little gem. Nursery Walk is behind what used to be Oldchurch Hospital and provides a cut through under the railway line from the south to north side.

The underpass is a little dingy but suitably bedaubed by local graffiti artists and at its narrowest, probably just wide enough for two to walk through side by side. I took some shots inside the underpass, but as I emerged into Nursery Walk on the south side, I stepped to one side to let a family walk by. I walked on and looked behind and caught a glimpse of this couple exiting the underpass into Cotleigh Road.

Their shadowy relief encapsulated by the surrounding vegetation creating a tunnel effect, mirroring the underpass, helps to transform this simple shot into an almost romantic one.

  • Location: Railway underpass leading from Nursery Walk to Cotleigh Road, Romford
  • Date/Time: Thursday July 30th 2020 at 1:03 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 200mm; Film Speed – ISO800

#15: The end of the Gas Works

A black and white photo of a capped gas pipe in an overgrowna and somewhat derelict enclosure

The ‘end of the line’ meets the ‘end of the gasworks’. Until recently (2018 I think), the remaining three gas holders posed as a familiar Romford landmark; a site often seen whilst travelling by train to and from Romford station as the works sat adjacent to it.

I’ve taken the picture more as a matter of record than for its photographic quality, and in some way to commemorate the works which have been on this site since the early 1880’s. 

The site is now a fenced off area, and this capped pipe no doubt represents one of the inlets/outlets to a gasholder, and is in some way a rather sad reflection on what is now a derelict, but secure, fenced site.

In researching for this blog, I’m pleased to have found quite a detailed report commissioned by the National Grid who wanted to create an Historic Building Record of these Crow Lane gas works. There’s an abstract here, and the full 78 page report, produced by Oxford Archaeology. For those interested in the detail, then it’s a worthwhile read – see here.

  • Location: The Old Gasworks, Crow Lane, Romford
  • Date/Time: Thursday July 30th 2020 at 1:11 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 170mm; Film Speed – ISO200

#16: Trinity Place

A colour photo of four columns of three vertical windows framed by white vertical bricks dotted with brown bricks to complement the main building brick colour

This is a new building on the edge of Rush Green and Chadewll Heath, next to the Three Travellers pub and near to the iconic Barking and Dagenham Civic Centre. Built on what was once a local car park.

I was coming to the end of a 10 mile walk which saw me explore, from the outside, West Ham United’s two training grounds: The Academy for Under 23’s and Women’s ground in Chadwell Heath; and the main training ground in Rush Green.

Amusingly, one of the security guards at the academy was a Manchester United supporter. But I digress…

This building catches my attention as the facade is of a different style to the ‘new norm’ cropping up all around London. The brown-on-white-on-brown brickwork provides an interesting design feature complementing the vertical windows, and I’ve saturated the picture slightly in this final image to accentuate the colour contrast. 

Here ends another interesting month during lockdown…

  • Location: Trinity Place, Wood Lane, Rush Green, Romford
  • Date/Time: Thursday July 30th 2020 at 2:26 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO100

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Themes #05 – The Natural World

Welcome to this my fifth and final blog in my Theme series where I set out the reasons behind my recent 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 Natural World’, a look at the diversity of living things and the environment in and around London. I’ve categorised my pictures into groups: Creatures, Vegetation, The Thames, Waterways, Skyscapes, Night Time and Reflections. 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 you agree, but feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to have any other suggestions?

Creatures – Feline Hungry

a cat ready to pounce from under a car staring intensly at something nearby

Birds dominated this category, from ducks, swans and even parakeets that have now naturalised themselves in London. Oh yeah, and one spider, but thought better of using that one in case there are too many readers with arachnophobia.
Come to that, I now hope there’s not too many readers with ailurophobia too.

Brick Lane is normally a hive of activity, full of onlookers enjoying the plethora of curry houses, or browsing the markets for bargains or memorabilia. But today is not one of those days, despite it being lunch time.

But this one resident was certainly on its look out for lunch. So was its intense concentration on what it was looking at (I didn’t see as I was concentrating on the cat), s/he didn’t bat an eyelid as I neared and crouched down to capture this. The cat is half under a parked car, and I’m half taking up the pavement, so the chance of any disturbance was high. But regardless, we were both resolved to see out our quest.

I didn’t wait to find out whether the cat caught anything as I was happy that I’d captured this shot. Maybe I should have?

  • Location: Brick Lane, East London
  • Date/Time: Friday July 12th 2019 at 12.29 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 5mm; Film Speed – ISO500

Vegetation – Tree Lined Shadows

a blck and white shadowy silhouette of rows of young trees

There’s a square of planted trees in Royal Victoria Square which have grown somewhat since originally planted. If you look at Google Maps Street View, there’s some evidence they are used as sheltered parking as some of the photos posted there have cars hidden between them.

There’s no such distraction today, in fact, it’s a bitterly cold winter’s morning with a crisp sharp sun which casts a harsh shadow through the trees. And it’s this effect that caught my eye. I waited for some onlookers to walk through so as to capture the scene uninterrupted and added a harsh black and white filter to accentuate the light and dark shading.

The solitary crow, slightly off centre/right, adds an extra little ‘still life’ quality to the final image

  • Location: Royal Victoria Square, Royal Docks, London
  • Date/Time: Tuesday January 28th 2020 at 10.45 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 63mm; Film Speed – ISO200

The Thames – No Access to The Thames Barrier

a long distance view of the Thames Barrier through a spiky and wired barrier in the foreground

Peer through the metal railings, just on the water line, and you can just make out two of The Thames Barrier pontoons.

This is at the end of a walkway just west of the Woolwich Ferry North Terminal, and it’s where I encountered a couple of fishermen who were sitting besides a chained anchor sculpture. They were not in the mood to chat, so I walked on.

This is taken in black and white with some saturation to emphasise the contrast between the black railings, and rippling sun on the water. The railings clearly designed to discourage any attempt to climb over into the adjacent industrial park, but nevertheless it did make for an excellent study in light and shade.

  • Location: Footpath off Henley Road and Pier Road, North Woolwich
  • Date/Time: Monday September 2nd 2019 at 3.26 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ16; Shutter Speed – 1/500; Focal Length – 23mm; Film Speed – ISO400

Waterways – Paddington Basin

a night time view of the Thames Basin with high rise offices on either side of the water and their lights and those from moored barges reflect on the still water

This was a return visit to Paddington with the intention of capturing some night scenes. Thankfully I was suitably wrapped up as in the early spring night it had turned bitterly cold.
It was an evening for black and white photography, and it ended up being a very successful one too.

I’m very pleased with the outcome here as I was also test driving a new lightweight mini tripod. I don’t think I’d have successfully captured this long exposure shot otherwise which, combined with a narrow aperture and wide angle, creates a stunning view of this setting.

I also think the shot is elevated by the stillness of the basin water as it helps to accentuate the clean lines created by the reflections from the moored barges and street lighting.

  • Location: Looking east from Paddington Basin Footbridge into Paddington Basin at night
  • Date/Time: Wednesday April 10th 2019 at 8.47 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ14; Shutter Speed – 8s; Focal Length – 32mm; Film Speed – ISO800

Skyscapes – A Winter’s Sun

a shot gazing into a wintry sun with a victorian lamp providing the only point of reference

The sky has featured quite prominently in my photography during my travels. They’re mostly long shot cloudscapes, thundery skies or airplane vapour trails. But regardless of their pedigree, the London backdrop always makes for interesting pictures.
The setting here is a wintry January morning with a thin hazy cloud transforming the sun into an opaque ball. I’ve walked along the Thames Path north shore from Hammersmith to Fulham, passing the football ground before exploring Fulham Palace – well worth a visit.

It’s lunch time, so I’m not surprised at the number of joggers and serious runners there are around. Where the path is wide enough it’s OK, but they seem to have little regard for other walkers when the footpath narrows into almost one way traffic. 

The shot, taken straight into the sun creates an almost evening feel, and I positioned myself to frame the sun within the crosshair vapour trail and Victorian esque faux street lamp. The end result has the appearance of retaining the Victroian spirit I think.

  • Location: Thames Path, north shore between Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Date/Time: Tuesday January 29th 2019 at 12.51 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ14; Shutter Speed – 1/1000; Focal Length – 36mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Night Time – Peabody by Night

a five storey block of flats at night time and in black and white. The doors are lit up and the shot has an interesting symmetry

This is one of London’s social housing estates managed by the Peabody Trust. This is in Roscoe Street, just off Whitecross Street in EC1 and I believe it had recently been redeveloped.
This picture fits a number of other categories: architecture/residential, architecture/windows & doors and The Arts & Design/Patterns & Symbols.

But here it is in NIght Time. I was up in London walking around the Barbican Centre and surrounding areas one evening, and I saw this view which was too good to pass by. The estate is accessed through a footpath between two parts of Roscoe Street with a large car park in front, so its frontage is uninterrupted, making it easy to position myself in a central spot to take this wide angle shot.

There’s enough brightness from the collection of door lights to have taken this without the need for a tripod; and it’s symmetry and black and white presentation made this an ideal candidate for this category.

  • Location: Peabody Estate, Roscoe Street, EC1
  • Date/Time: Thursday December 5th 2019 at 4.17 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 32mm; Film Speed – ISO6400

My final themed picture and I’m pleased this one ends my review of two years of travelling.
It had been raining hard when I was in Finchley Central and as the rain cleared, I started wandering off the main street – Ballards Lane and found myself in a discreet housing estate in Dorset Mews. Not somewhere you’d find unless like me you explore hidden corners.
This is a view from the end of the Mews back into Ballards Lane through the locked gates that once were the entrance to Newton Wright Limited 

Reflections – Newton Wright Ltd

an old works gated entrance for 'Newton Wright Limited' taken in black and white and a reflection captured in a still puddle in the foreground

My final themed picture, and I’m pleased this one ends my review of two years of travelling.

It had been raining hard when I was in Finchley Central and as the rain cleared, I started wandering off the main street – Ballards Lane, and I found myself in a discreet housing estate in Dorset Mews. Not somewhere you’d find unless like me you explore hidden corners.

This is a view from the end of the Mews looking into Ballards Lane through the locked gates that once were the entrance to Newton Wright Limited 

This is all that remains of the factory that once made x-ray equipment and scientific instruments and stretched as far back as 30 houses behind Ballards Lane.

The reflection jumped out at me as I reached this point, but I had to take a few shots before this one as there was a slight breeze that rippled the puddle and obscured the reflection. But it was well worth the wait to capture this mirror image of a recently forgotten historical memory.

  • Location: BallardsLane (opening into Dorset Mews, Finchley Central
  • Date/Time: Tuesday September 24th 2019 at 2.12 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 45mm; Film Speed – ISO800

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Themes #04 – Arts & Design

Welcome to this my fourth blog in my Theme series where I set out the reasons behind my recent 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 Arts & Design’, a look at the creative side of life in and around London. I’ve categorised my pictures as follows: Sculptures & Statues, Street Signs, Patterns & Symbols, Station Names, The Arts and Entertainment. 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 you agree, but feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to have any other suggestions?

Sculptures & Statues – Silent Dockers

a black and white image os a statue of three dockers going about their business. The background also captures the shadowy image of some of the cranes used in the docking heyday

Another from my day walking around The Royal Docks. But first a word about the abundance of sculptures and statues around London. Some sponsored privately and others publicly, but there’s definitely a trend to open up this creative art form to a wider audience.

It’s always delightful to find an unexpected work of art in a public place. Some are static and others only on display for a short time. So whenever you have the chance to look at them, make sure you do as you’ll not only learn about the work, but maybe look further into the artists or the reason for the work in the first place.

This represents the almost forgotten industry that once made London docks the economic centre of the western world. It’s a larger than life bronze work depicting three dockers grafting. One pushing a barrow, another crouched and the third, possibly the gaffer, overseeing. In silhouette, the gaffer looks almost as if he’s looking at his mobile phone – ha if only. But nevertheless the log book he’s using probably meant as much to him as we feel about our mobile phones today.

I’ve taken the shot directly into the sun to create the strong silhouette and made sure the crane artefacts appear in the background to help with the story telling. I think it’s quite dramatic.

  • Location: ‘London Dockers’ sculpture by Les Johnson in Royal Victoria Square outside the Excel Centre
  • Date/Time: Tuesday January 28th 2020 at 10.43 am 
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ11; Shutter Speed – 1/800; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Street Signs – No.1 Street

a simple street sign displaying 'No 1 Street' from SE18 in the London area of 'Royal Arsenal'

What’s so interesting about a street sign? Well for me it helps identify (obviously) and in a way helps characterise its setting. 
I’ve seen some humorous and/or novel street names, such as Severus Road (for Harry Potter fans), Barnes Pikle and Moromon Terrace, but as soon as I saw this it made me question ‘is this where London started?’

Obviously not, but similarly as with Apsley House which has the postal address ‘No. 1 London’, No 1 Street has a unique sense of ‘I’m the first’

This is a redeveloped street of fashionable residences in the Royal Arsenal Heritage site in Woolwich. The thing about London street signs is that they not only carry the postal district (SE18), but usually some other distinguishing reference point. Sometimes the borough name, and sometimes some other historical reference as in this case, the area described as Royal Arsenal…neat.

  • Location: No. 1 Street, Royal Arsenal Heritage Site, Woolwich
  • Date/Time: Tuesday October 22nd 2019 at 1.15 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 34mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Patterns & Symbols – The RLH

this is a section of the east facade of the Royal London Hospital covered in an array of aerofiols which creates a striking striped black and white covering

Buildings, be they old or new, are built predominantly to be functional, but for some they are designed to demonstrate the architect’s creativity. And having tramped hundreds of miles around London, I’ve seen a wide and diverse demonstration of both attributes.
Some buildings are powerfully prominent, be it for historic reasons, or as observed in more recent times for their flamboyant use of materials. We all have a view, whether we express this or not. Prince Charles clearly didn’t hold back when describing the proposed extension to the National Gallery as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’,  back in 1984.

Notwithstanding their architectural merits, I also look out for patterns in the design. Maybe it’s because of my ‘organised mind’ or the need for order, but I do get some pleasure from seeing things that others might not.

Sometimes patterns are intentionally designed, and sometimes, as in this case, they only emerge at certain times of the day. 

The contrast between the two types of finish is in itself of interest. But with the late morning sun high up casting a shadow on the underside of the aerofoils, the resulting stark black and white effect is quite striking. 

  • Location: Royal London Hospital viewed from Stepney Way, Shadwell
  • Date/Time: Thursday January 16th 2020 at 11.18 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 106mm; Film Speed – ISO400

Station Names – Welcome to Reading

this is a view across Reading station where there are five 'Welcome to Reading' signs

As a matter of record, I would photograph the station names as I travelled on my ‘endoftheline’ journey. Some would be from an interesting angle, but at the end of the day, the station name is a point of reference.

It could be for those arriving at their destination for reassurance that they are at the right station. Or conversely for those travelling to the station to catch their train, reassuring them they are at the right station.

There is a third reason and this picture helps show that. It’s for those weary travellers on long tiring journeys who may just pop their head up to look through the window amid slumber to read where they are? 

The array of signs on each of the 15 platforms here made this so unmissable, and when I viewed them across the platforms, it seemed my view was totally obscured by ‘Welcome to Reading’!

  • Location: Reading Station platforms viewed from Platform 15
  • Date/Time: Tuesday February 4rg 2020 at 11.19 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 106mm; Film Speed – ISO1000

The Arts – A Budding Artist

a child's painting of a boat with charicature crew of a captain and a number of stewerdesses. Emblazoned with the American flag and advertising American Express

I have many examples of street art and graffiti artwork that I could have selected for this category, and whichever I’d have chosen would have just rights to be here.
However, I’ve plummed for this child’s artwork which is part of a wider display.

This is one drawing of many on display emblazoned on the side of building hoardings surrounding a new build at Wood Wharf and Thames Street in Greenwich. Clearly created in conjunction with the adjacent Meridian Adventure Play Centre as part of the developers approach to work closely with the local community.

This one in particular stood out as the artists’ pen strokes are quite delicate, and s/he are obviously looking for marketing opportunities given the invitation to American Express to ‘come along’. Of all the pictures on display, it’s the only one I can see where the artists had mastered the creative signature. It’s amusing.

  • Location: Seen on building hoardings around a construction at Wood Wharf on Thames Street, Greenwich
  • Date/Time: Tuesday August 14th 2018 at 3.47 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 49mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Entertainment – Let The Weekend Begin

five rows of tressle tables with an array of revelers eating and drinking in groups

Musicians, funfairs, museums and exhibitions make up this category, and of the pictures I’d selected for this category, they have mostly featured before in my weekly blogs. 
But this one of the Boxpark by Croydon Station represents a different type of entertainment. The type that the nation has missed for the last four months.

My day at Croydon had been an exciting one, one where I had been introduced to the world of street art, as part of Croydon hosting Rise Festival. Nevertheless, It had been a long day and I was heading back to West Croydon via Croydon station. Now I’d heard of the concept of Boxparks, but not experienced one, and what a buzzing place this was.

Bare in mind it’s just gone 5.00 pm on a Friday afternoon, and people are heading home, so the scene I share with you is of those relaxing, meeting friends and ‘switching off’ after a busy week’s work. The scene is influenced by the DJ in the background who was noticeably cranking up the bass as I stood, almost mesmerised by the sound of excitement in the air. 

Look closely and see how many groups there are just chilling with their mates or colleagues, or just waiting for someone else to join them for a drink. What a great way to begin the weekend. But sadly one that’s not been seen for several months due to the Covis-19 restrictions. No doubt there will be those cherishing the easements recently introduced.

  • Location: The Boxpark at Croydon Station
  • Date/Time: Friday September 7th 2018 at 5.21 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 33mm; Film Speed – ISO320

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Themes #03 – Architecture

Welcome to this my third blog in my Theme series where I set out the reasons behind my recent 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 diverse ‘Architecture’ we enjoy around London, and I’ve compiled them into the following categories: Residential, Industrial, Stations, Commercial, Windows & Doors, Station Fixtures & Fittings and Street Furniture. 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 you agree, but feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to have any other suggestions?

Residential – Southwyck House

a black and white picture of the facade of Southwyck House in Brixton. Made up plain bricks, small windows and a zig-zag feature to brak up the plain view

I wrote about this during my Brixton visit but felt it was worthy of a second airing.
Southwyck House looks vastly like a prison with a concrete zigzag to delineate the frontage with its co-joining staircase looking like a caged pen to keep the inmates in. This is a housing complex built in the 1970’s in anticipation of a motorway flyover which was never built.

One commentator records that it is known locally as ‘Barrier Block’ as indeed that was its design purpose. Hideous to think that this social housing was considered acceptable enough to be built. The architectural design whilst creating some features, does nothing to uplift the feeling of isolation and incarceration the building exudes.

My thanks though to @brixtonbuzz who has drawn my attention to the fact that ‘The Barrier Block actually provides a high standard of social housing. The back is all windows and open balconies’

Although taken in black and white to add effect, to be honest, the building creates the drama itself.

  • Location: Southwyck House which sits along Coldharbour Lane in Brixton
  • Date/Time: Tuesday May 28th 2019 at 11.27 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 33mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Industrial – Overhead Tension

a collection of pulleys and wires set against a blue sky

I’ve debated whether this should be included under the ‘Architect’ theme as it’s more a piece of engineering. However I’m content that engineering is a form of architecture in that it’s not only functional but as this image portrays, it has a design element too.

This is a collection of pulleys and tension bars keeping the overhead electric cables taught. I saw the image in my mind, and set against a cloudy blue sky, this helps to highlight it’s elevated position.

It’s a simple shot, but not one you would normally see unless you happen to be standing on Bethnal Green Overground station platform looking up admiring the overhead infrastructure.

  • Location: Standing on Bethnal Green Overground station looking at the overhead electric cabling
  • Date/Time: Friday July 12th 2019 at 10.48 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/500; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Stations – Euston Plaza

a dull blue/grey view of a hidden part of Eustaon Plaza with a high rise view as the backdrop and the foregound focussing on a white tiles walkway and stairs

With few exceptions, the stations I’ve visited have been predominantly rural and styled in the first half of the 20th century. And the main termini in Central London modelled and shaped by the gothic style favoured by the victorians.

But Euston station is different. Re-built as part of the concrete revolution in the 1960’s and not to everyone’s taste. It’s a functional station, but yet it too has its charms when you look deeply into its nooks and crannies.

This isn’t an obvious shot, and not a location you would see unless you went looking for it. It’s by the bike park under the bus terminal canopy at the front of the station and I’m looking up at the office tower at 1 Eversholt Street.

I’m attracted to the almost black and white colour palette and distinctive 60’s tiled stairwell and overhead walkway which classically evokes the architectural style of its period. The reference to the bikes is intentional to demonstrate the station’s transient purpose. I’ve emphasised the blue tone in the final image to highlight the white tiles against the industrial building facades that surround them.

  • Location: Behind the main plaza at Euston Station
  • Date/Time: Thursday May 24th 2018 at 11.25 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 21mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Commercial – Pure Geometry

an array of square blocks each with a cross pattern creating a visual pattern

This is the facade to one of Watford town centre’s car parks.
The structure is a simple one made of a wall of building blocks consisting of four square segments, each of which has a cross pattern. No doubt architecturally sound, but the end result is visually stunning.

I suspect quite a quick and relatively cheap way to build, but I’m not judging it on it’s constructional or economic qualities but on it’s visual impact.

Whether you stand close or from afar, the effect is mesmerising, and maybe I should issue a health warning to migraine sufferers (of which I am one), as staring at the spots may trigger some visual disturbance.

This may appear a simple shot to take, but I had to exercise patience as the facade covers the parking bays and in some shots I captured the red parking lights as drivers arrive/leave. Whilst these made for a different outcome, I wanted to highlight an undistracted simplicity to this structure, which this example brings. I like it…

  • Location: CitiPark, Church Street, Watford
  • Date/Time: Tuesday June 18th 2019 at 12.29 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 28mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Windows & Doors – The Seedier Side of Watford Hospital

some tired looking doors and windows in a corner of this old hospital with water damage from downpipes on show. The colours are drab which highlights this tired view

First of all, let me confess I have a ‘thing’ for windows and doors. I can’t explain it but I’m always drawn to them when on holiday. Maybe it’s because of their variety, colour or location. Whatever the reason I know I’m not alone with this enjoyment and I feel it’s right that I have this as one of my Architecture categories.

I’m looking at the outbuildings facing Vicarage Road, and believe this is the corner of the Social Services unit and the Chaplaincy. The scene portrays a somewhat unloved corner of the hospital complex and no doubts reflects the significant challenges faced in maintaining a large NHS Trust these days.

The colours are slightly enhanced to emphasise the state of disrepair, but nevertheless not a welcoming site to new or returning visitors who pass by here whilst alighting from the adjacent bus stop.

  • Location: Watford General Hospital, Vicarage Road, Watford
  • Date/Time: Tuesday August 20th 2019 at 1.05 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 45mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Station Fixtures & Fittings – Arched Pipework

looking up into the roof void of this platform canopy , taken in black and white. the view shows off the symmetrical arched duct work intersected with rainwater down pipes

This picture is indicative of the station’s Victorian architectural character with the view taken through the supporting roof arches holding up the central platform’s canopy.
A simple shot taken from the staircase leading from the platforms, and looking down the length of the ironwork to capture the symmetry of the supporting arches.
Although taken originally in colour, the station colour scheme is predominantly black, echoing the Underground’s Northern Line style. I have though applied a black and white filter to give the otherwise faded colouring a bit of life.

  • Location: High Barnet Northern Line Underground Station
  • Date/Time: Tuesday January 21st 2020 at 12.40 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 70mm; Film Speed – ISO6400

Street Furniture – Walking Through Litter

a black and white shot taken through the opening of a littler bin framing a couple walking through

This is Lovers Walk, a small passageway which invited me in to take its picture, but I can’t find a composition that works well.
Almost walking away, I realise I’m leaning against a litter bin and notice its two open mouths face through to the passageway providing an interesting perspective. 

As I crouch down, I spot a young couple walking through the frame and I set about taking a series of shots composing their approach as the centrepiece; and they oblige unwittingly by keeping to the centre of the path.

Sometimes, you have to smile as the opportunities present themselves, as the lesson here is always be ready to capture that moment.

  • Location: Peering down Lover’s Walk, just off Ballards Lane, Finchley Central
  • Date/Time: Tuesday SEptember 24th 2019 at 1.49 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 47mm; Film Speed – ISO500

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Themes

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

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Themes

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

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Lockdown

Lockdown Mayhem – June 2020

As Covid-19 lockdown begins to ease, I’m still not ready to resume my railway travels. First and foremost, I can’t really class my travels as ‘necessary’ journeys, and secondly, having travelled one stop by train in a facemask, it’s not a look I’m keen to repeat too soon.

I know the time will come, and if the evidence continues to demonstrate a lowering of incidents, then I’ll plan accordingly. My current thinking is around mid to late August, and I’m already stocking up with a variety of facemasks. I know others have chosen to start travelling around London, and I envy their freedom. But for now, I’ll remain cautious.

However, I’m itching to start exploring and poking my nose, and camera, into places others may not have seen. I miss the opportunity to bring new sights for your perusal. Although I’m blessed with a good garden and plenty of visiting wildlife, and whilst it has been fun capturing rare moments of entertainment, I prefer to wander around and look for the new.

Those garden moments will continue, though, as I rely on automated cameras to capture, in the main, the bird life visiting our bird bath. So for those of you who enjoy those pics and short videos, then worry not as they will pop up from time to time. 

I also wrote recently about my forthcoming plan to share a further 34 pictures from my first ‘endoftheline’ travels. These will be the best of a set of themes. Watch out for them.

But in the meantime I have started walking around my local community. I have lived in Gidea Park, outside Romford, for over 30 years, and I now have a chance to properly explore the area. I intend walking mostly, and stretch my legs in a five mile radius as far as Chadwell Heath, Havering-atte-Bower, Upminster and Elm Park. Let’s see how I get on.

So here’s the first occasional blog about these local journeys… a walk through Ardleigh Green and the South West Corner of Romford.

#01: Vw Campervan

A rear view of a VW campervan covered in a variety of stickers. The image is in black and white

Walking past the car park to The New Inn pub along Squirrels Heath Lane I spotted this well worn VW campervan. In order to protect the owner’s interest, I’ve blocked out the number plate.
I’m presuming it’s been well travelled, but who knows?

If you look closely at the stickers, there’s an advert for autoxross.com, whose strapline is ‘we can make things happen’. I only hope this campervan isn’t the product of their efforts…OR maybe it’s like this by design.

Anyway, it’s battered look in dull black and white captured my imagination as I gave it a post-production makeover to emphasise its two tone colouring.

  • Location: The New Inn Pub Car Park, Squirrels Heath Lane, Ardleigh Green, Romford
  • Date/Time: Monday 22nd June 2020 at 10.32 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 106mm; Film Speed – ISO125 

#02: Washing Day

An array of colourful washing on a balcany of a high rise tower block

I apologise to the residents of Mountbatten House for showing off their day’s washing. But the colour array, highlighted by a momentary sunray, seemed to call out to me.


I had thought perhaps to rotate the image so that you could see the lion’s head and Peppa Pig the right way around.

But I think leaving them in their upside down hanging position is right given they’re out to dry. 

Oh yes! and there’s PJ Masks as well – see if you can spot them. I’ve never heard of them but then again I am a little older than their intended target audience

  • Location: Mountbatten House, Elvet Avenue, Ardleigh Green, Romford
  • Date/Time: Monday June 22nd 2020 at 10.20 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 106mm; Film Speed – ISO200 

#03: Old Railway Works

A view between two regenerated 'old railway works'. Taken in black and white with one side in the sun and the other in the shade

Capturing this location was one of those…’well I never knew that was here’ moments.


This is an area between Gidea Park and Ardleigh Green that has been developed and redeveloped into residential housing over the years. I knew there were some old railway works in the vicinity, but I had never before explored.

These buildings, commonly known as Romford Factory, have a reasonably long and chequered history. I won’t take you through their full history, but I’ll simply say that they were built around 1841 by the Eastern Counties Railway as locomotive workshops. Later becoming a tarpaulin sheet and sack factory. Even later, a grease factory and a sponge-cloth laundry and a sheet drying shop.

You just don’t know what’s (literally) around the corner, but if you want to read the detail, I encourage you to visit the Historic England website and/or download their exceptionally detailed Architectural Investigation survey carried out in 2000 (NBR INDEX NUMBER: 106386 NGR: TQ 535 896)

  • Location: Site of the former ‘Romford Factory’, Kidman Close, Gidea Park
  • Date/Time: Monday June 22nd 2020 at 10.15 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ11; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 28mm; Film Speed – ISO160

#04: Dreywood Court

Outside the main reception building to Dreywood Court showing colourful windows and a sign post directing residents to different parts of the building

Built in 2013, on land previously occupied by a redundant sheltered housing scheme that no longer met with the London Borough of Havering’s standards. 
This new ‘Extra Care Housing is designed to provide the varying levels of care and support people may need in later life’ – so says the Housing Learning & Improvement Network report carried out in 2014

This is an interesting cul de sac which I’ve driven past many times, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to walk in and browse around. Until I was challenged by the site manager, I thought this was just another block of apartments. But she explained the building’s purpose and as she did, I noticed several elderly ladies sitting on their sun drenched balconies reading their papers.

The manager would have liked to have invited me in, but under the current lockdown arrangements, this was not possible. But I was impressed by her willingness to showcase this colourful development.

  • Location: Dreywood Court, Squirrels Heath Lane, Ardleigh Green, Romford
  • Date/Time: Monday June 22nd 2020 at 10.29 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 46mm; Film Speed – ISO160  

#05: Post Box

Taken in black and white, this is a shot os a small POst Box in the shadows of a row of terraced houses

Bridge Close, on the outskirts of Romford, is tucked just off the main Waterloo Road and is the home of several large self-contained factory units. It’s not a welcoming location for the casual walker, but then again I didn’t feel threatened in any way.

I was surprised to see, almost side by side the Havering Islamic Cultural Centre and four Christian places of worship, namely: the Celestial Church of Christ Rehoboth Parish – TRF; The ESO C&S Bethel CHurch of God; The Divine Worshippers Christioan Ministries; and The Redeemed Christian Church of God. This is an unusual location for such divine inspiration.

There are plans to redevelop this area; to find out more, read here.

On leaving the Close, I spot a Royal Mail post box with this interesting building array as a backdrop and I stand across a busy road waiting for a gap in the traffic to capture it. Several passers-by looked bemusingly as I crouched down to get the right angle, but to be honest I’m beyond worrying about what others think now. I smile, say ‘hello’ hoping to engage them in a conversation, but they walk by…

  • Location: Bridge Close, Romford
  • Date/Time: Tuesday June 30th 2019 at 08.36 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length -125mm; Film Speed – ISO1000

#06: Footbridge

A view looking along the length of a footbridge with railings on either side focusing on a slightly cloudy sky

Locals will know this footbridge as the one that crosses over the A127 Southend Arterial Road by the Kiwk-Fit garage on Ardleigh Green Road.
The footbridge in effect joins Ardleigh Green Road with Squirrels Heath Road on either side of the main road.

There was a young father and son walking across the footbridge as I approached, and the closer I got, I noticed the boy was being encouraged to ride a scooter on the ramp access to the bridge. Alas, as I neared, they moved on; a shame as it would have been nice to have captured them in this shot. 

Nevertheless, I’ve set the camera on the ground just behind the utility cover in the foreground. It’s dimpled surface complementing the dappled tarmac of the upper footbridge walkway quite nicely.

The almost empty sky is somewhat symbolic of my empty photographic portfolio over the last four months…

  • Location: Footbridge over Southend Arterial Road (A127) adjacent to Ardleigh Green Road and Squirrels Heath Road
  • Date/Time: Monday June 22nd 2020 at 09.47 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/320; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO100

#07: Ripe for Regeneration

A picture of a vandalised first floor balconied flat representative of all the houses in a large estate

I’ve seen recent reports in the local press and weekly London Borough of Havering newsletter of plans to redevelop the Waterloo Estate, but had never ventured in to have a look. It’s an estate ‘on the wrong side of the tracks’ or more literally the wrong side of the road, and is dominated by roadside tower blocks.

It’s quite a wide and open plan sort of estate, but as soon as I enter the area, I’m struck by the scale of boarded up properties. It’s an estate of low level, three storey flats, and high rise tower blocks. But without exception, as far as I could see, every ground floor property was boarded up as was every first floor flat on the low rise blocks too. A desolate place which the vandals have taken full advantage of given the range of destruction that’s on display.

‘Who’d want to live in a house like this?’

  • Location: Waterloo Estate, St Andrew’s Road, Romford
  • Date/Time: Tuesday June 30th 2020 at 08.07 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 75mm; Film Speed – ISO125
Categories
Memories

Memories No 12 – from Battersea Power Station to Barking Riverside

My twelfth and final blog outlining the stories behind my ‘Pictures of the Day’. For this week’s review, I travel to the ends of the Northern, Overground and Tfl Rail lines in February and March 2020 just before the Coronavirus lockdown is announced

This final portfolio celebrates unfinished dreams. These Tfl stations are still under construction and not originally expected to open until 2021. Although who knows how the Coronavirus lockdown will impact their commissioning date.

But for now, see what you think and please tell me which is your favourite picture, and why. You can contact me through any of my social media channels. So here goes for the final blog in this series.

#78: Battersea Power Station – ‘Talking Heads’

two large sculpted ebony black heads facing each other with an array of lights pusating over their faces

11/02/2020 – Today’s picture is taken in the piazza on Riverside Walk just west of Battersea Power Station – this is called ‘Talking Heads’. This one is part of a study of each of the two heads which I took at intervals to create an animation showing the different facial expressions.

This selection, with both heads in shot, helps to set the scene. The heads are in metallic black, and the white LED’s help to complement the effect. So I’ve added a black and white filter to this shot to show it off at its best

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 125mm; Film Speed – ISO400; Google Photo Filter – Vogue

#79: Abbey Wood – ‘The Enigmatic Woman’

an artwork head portrait of an attractive girl with long wavy hair

18/02/2020 – This is one of two striking graffiti/murals on the wall opposite the station lift entrance in Gayton Road. The original is in colour, but to be honest, the colour palette is marginal as the majority of the artwork is in black and white. So I’ve applied a Vogue black and white filter to emphasise the quality of this bold piece. The detail is fine and the eyes follow you, which provides a somewhat evocative feature.

And interestingly, if you look closely, the work has other graffiti etched across the cheeks too.

The artist ‘astek-London’ has signed his presence and he’s clearly keen to promote his work, so go and have a look at his Instagram page for other examples of his skills and talent.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 54mm; Film Speed – ISO125; Google Photo Filter – Vogue

#80: NOW Gallery, North Greenwich – ‘Colour by Numbers’

a view into a mass of numbers hanging from the ceiling. the numbers are delicately arranged so that they are allingned and coloured

05/03/2020 – Ah! A difficult choice as most of the pictures I took are of numbers, from the Slices of Time exhibition by Emmanuelle Moureaux. I think this one reflects the mood of the piece best for me as it portrays the colour palette, symmetry and precise intricacy in one shot.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 33mm; Film Speed – ISO2500; Google Photo Filter – Blush

#81: Barking Riverside – ‘Bricks & Mortar’

the facade of a new housing block

10/03/2020 – For this my final Picture of the Day from this first series of travels, choosing a picture to remember the day had been a struggle. Mainly because the sky was dull and grey which tended to flatten the pictures I’m taking, and because the landscape I’ve walked through has been predominantly industrial. 

But nevertheless, today’s picture merges the old and new industries. The setting is that of the fast developing Barking Riverside housing development:  once a marshland and a brownfield site occupied by the Barking Power Station.

This is a view of the ‘almost complete’ Parklands development at the eastern end of Fielders Crescent (a new road) which I’m looking at in a westerly direction. The symmetry of the design and the harshness of the brickwork, which has now almost become the standard brick used across London for such developments (well that’s my opinion), lends itself to being taken in Black and White.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 170mm; Film Speed – ISO1000; Google Photo Filter – Vista

Categories
Memories

Memories No 11 – from Woolwich Arsenal to Reading

My eleventh blog outlining the stories behind my ‘Pictures of the Day’. For this week’s review, I travel to the ends of the District, DLR, Emirates Air Line, Metropolitan, Northern, Overground and Tfl Rail from October 2019 through to February 2020.

It’s not all Black & White, well almost not. With the exception of one colour picture in this week’s portfolio, I seem to have returned to my heyday and original passion for monochromatic photographs. To me they seem far more expressive, and this, the penultimate blog in this series, is a homage to that style.

But for now, see what you think and please tell me which is your favourite picture, and why. You can contact me through any of my social media channels. So here goes for week 11. Please let me know what you think?

#71: Woolwich Arsenal – ‘Silhouetted Statues’

Cast iron statues caught in black and white on the banks of The Thames

22/10/2019 – Taken at the very bottom of the Royal Arsenal Heritage site in James Clavell Square. There is nothing (as far as I can see) to tell me who the sculptor is so an internet search is needed. My first inkling is that it’s an installment by Antony Gormley, and some internet results also suggested this. But wrongly as it turns out and it’s a sculpture by Peter Burke.

Approaching the square from the west, I see this interesting installation from afar and capture some shots through a telephoto lens to narrow the frame whilst also capturing passers by between the 16 statues. But as I get closer, I feel it’s better to be amongst the rusty statues and I compose today’s shot still with passers by in-between the statues. I position myself so that the decorative street lamps almost form part of the installation as well.

In post production, I’ve decided a black & white filter influences the picture best as it helps to highlight the starkness of the shadows cast by the early afternoon sun.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/500; Focal Length – 130mm; Film Speed – ISO200; Google filter – Vogue

#72: Upminster – ‘Upminster Court’

Upminster Court viewed through its ornate gates (closed), from the roadside

05/12/2019 – This is taken at Upminster Court along Hall Lane headed north out of Upminster showing off its grandeur, and highlighting its seclusion behind these locked gates.

This should have been a simple shot to capture if it wasn’t for the fact that to get the full frame of the gates in view and keep both mansion and gates in focus required that I stood at the very edge of the pavement set against a busy Hall Lane. So I keep one eye on the traffic and the other on framing this picture.

I take several shots with attempts to capture the right colour and vividness using flash for some fill in, and some shots using the camera’s in-built grainy  black & white filter. However, this one has been taken in full colour with flash, and in post production I’ve adjusted the final image with a harsh black & white filter to create the starkness that makes this picture work well.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google filter – Vista

#73: Romford – ‘A Person in a Passage’

A long shot of a raindow style painted arched walkway, with a shopper in the distant

18/12/2019 – This view is taken through the partly covered arches on the northern side of Romford station running alongside and eventually into Exchange Street. The multi-coloured path is almost an attractive feature if it wasn’t for the fact that this is a somewhat seedy cut-through to the west of Romford. But nevertheless, it provides for an attractive photo-opportunity.This is taken facing west.

I waited for the right pedestrian to reach the end of the tunnel so that their silhouette helped to fill the tunnel opening. The late afternoon daylight coming in overhead helps to highlight the floor pattern, and the arch brickwork is enhanced using a green (Alpaca) filter.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ3.5; Shutter Speed – 1/60; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO6400; Google filter – Alpaca

#74: Aldgate – ‘What’s for Lunch?’

Lunch time food shoppers browing what to chose at a pop-up food market. The main character is focussing inteently on the menu: he's wearing a wolly hat and parka typw hoodie, and vaping

16/01/2020 – This picture was taken in the food market in Goulston Street, just off Wentworth Street, and is part of a series studying lunch-time office workers deciding on their food choice of the day. The street is lined with open air pop-up food stalls, and their menus and price guide erected high up on their stalls so that potential customers can see what’s on offer whilst they move around the crowds.

I’m standing amidst the crowds and slightly elevated when taking this shot, and I notice that those queuing to be served are all studying the menu board intently, oblivious to their surroundings. Presenting this in black & white helps to strengthen the observation, and I believe it also helps to focus attention on the three main subject’s gaze. The individual in the centrepiece has a simple ruggedness to him which playfully offsets the more traditional office gent on the right.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 200mm; Film Speed – ISO2000; Google filter – Vista

#75: High Barnet – ‘Going Down’

A view down the steep slope to the station entrance with one passenger walking by

23/01/2020 – Today’s picture is taken to demonstrate the extent of the gradient from High Barnet station entrance. I’ve cropped this picture vertically using the three handrails to accentuate the descent. Applying a deep Black & White filter (Vista) helps to highlight the horizontal sunbeams hitting the middle railing and ground as the sun shines through an out of shot fence on the right.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google filter – Vista

#76: Emirates Royal Docks – ‘Sunburst’

A view of the bridge struts looking directly inot the sun, which casts deep shadows

28/01/2020 – This shot is taken on the Royal Victoria Bridge looking straight into the low lying sun. I’ve positioned myself so that the point of dissection of the bridge support struts intersect the sun. The shot is unfiltered as the stark sunlight adds to the shadowy black and white effect I’m trying to create, and highlights the white wispy clouds against an otherwise clear sky…

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ13; Shutter Speed – 1/800; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO100

#77: Reading – ‘Caversham Weir’

A log view of Caversham weir with its metal railings on both sides narrowing to the bridge entrance

04/02/2020 – This is a view of the footpath over Caversham Weir. I waited for some cyclists and pedestrians to pass by and I crouched down to get the low view shot. The railings on either side help to guide you through the picture and the Vista filter adds strength and starkness.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 28mm; Film Speed – ISO125; Google Photo Filter – Vista

Categories
Memories

Memories No 10 – from Dalston Junction to Kennington

My tenth blog outlining the stories behind my ‘Pictures of the Day’. For this week’s review, I travel to the ends of the Central, DLR, Metropolitan, Northern, Overground and Piccadilly lines from late August to mid October 2019.

Although three of this week’s portfolio inclusions are in Black & White, I think they support the ‘Colour’ theme title I’m giving them. Debate!..

But for now, see what you think and please tell me which is your favourite picture, and why. You can contact me through any of my social media channels. So here goes for week 10. Please let me know what you think?

#64: Dalston Junction – ‘Graffiti Lane’ 

A multi-coloured graffiti alleway

13/08/2019 – Although today’s journey started at Dalston Junction, this picture is taken at the corner of Blackall Street and Ravey Street in Shoreditch. There’s a new building here where passers-by are admiring its fancy facia and a below ground coffee house and seating area. However, I’m more interested in the view along the side of Blackall Street, now almost an alley due to hoarding surrounding another new build, blocking most of the street. There’s just enough room to squeeze through, and because of its limited accessibility, I suspect that’s created an opportunity for graffiti artists to practice their art. I played with the HDR settings on this shot to create an oversaturated effect with the colour scape.

The artwork, its vividness and alley effect peering in on workmen in high-vis jackets at the far end of the street creates a colourful, gritty urban memory. One I think that reflects the day I’ve had today. 

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/320; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO1250; Google filter effect – Alpaca; Camera effect – HDR art vivid

#65: Watford – ‘Green is the Colour’ 

Shimmering water reflection under Cassiobury Bridge along the Grand Union Canal

20/08/2019 – This is Cassiobury Park Bridge (No. 167) besides Ironbridge Lock (No. 77) on the Grand Union Canal as it flows through Cassiobury Park. After seeing a narrow boat through the lock, I wander around it and under the bridge and notice the sunlight shimmering off the canal surface iridescently onto the underside of the bridge.

I’ve taken this shot using a vivid art effect on the camera, and in post production, I’ve applied the green Alpaca filter from Google Photos. The effect is quite mesmerising, particularly with the water reflection continuously changing its display on the underside of the bridge. The combined effect not only saturates the greens, but adds a sparkle to the story as your eyes are drawn to the rustic lock gates..

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 36mm; Film Speed – ISO640; Google filter effect – Alpaca; Camera effect – HDR art vivid

#66: West Ruislip – ‘Lunchtime’ 

A black and white portrait of a woman sitting on a bench next to the Great Barn at Ruislip Farm buildings

27/08/2019 – I’ve taken this picture within the grounds of Ruislip Manor Farm buildings. In particular within the green area enclosed by the Great Barn, the Library and the Cow Byre Gallery. I’m looking directly at the Great Barn and as I walked through the first time I was struck by the magnificence of the restored buildings, the starkness of the black wooden cladding and the contrast this created with the sun soaked roof tiles. 

Getting the right tone of black is difficult, especially with the sun directly overhead, so I take a few practice shots to get the camera settings just right.

Now I’d seen this lady when I first walked by; she seemed to have stopped for her lunch and is now intently studying her mobile. My first thought is to capture The Barn without her in the frame, but the more I played with my positioning, the more I thought her inclusion helps to set the scene. I deliberate on whether to ask her to stay, but decide against this as it would then have made her conscious of my presence. It’s her intense concentration and complete lack of awareness of her surroundings that I believe adds to the final picture.

I started with a shot from afar which captures too much foreground, so I walk closer to tighten the shot, and then maybe after every 10 steps I take the same picture. In this final shot, I’m probably no more than 3 or 4 metres away and I’m very happy with the outcome. Even as I walk right past her, she still doesn’t acknowledge me, so whatever she’s doing, it’s certainly very riveting.

In post production, I played a little with Google Photos filter settings to get the starkness of the black I was after to represent as close as possible the colour I saw. The ‘Vista’ setting does this justice.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 47mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google filter effect – Vista; Camera effect – B&W

#67: Beckton – ‘Sunstreaked Stairway’

a woman walking down the covered walkway from Gallions Reach DLR station. Sun streaking through the railings creating dramatic patterns

02/09/2019 – From Beckton I walk down Woolwich Manor Way to Gallions Reach DLR station which is surrounded by a large, empty paved area. I guess during peak travel times this is busy as commuters either make their way home or divert to the nearby shopping park. Anyhow, as I take a breather, I notice the enclosed walkways from the raised platforms to ground level have a distinct pattern; and with the afternoon sun streaming through, it casts dramatic shadows which I sense will make for a good shot.

I set my camera on the ground using my trusty bean bags (best investment next to a tripod) to help steady the shot, and with minor placement adjustments I’m pleased with how I capture the contrasting shadows. Passengers have just alighted from a recently departed train and I realise  I need to capture their movement to complete this picture. Alas I’ve just missed that opportunity so I set the camera and wait for the next train. You know what, it always seems longer when you’re waiting for something, but probably no more than 10 minutes later I get my chance as another Beckton bound train arrives.

The passenger’s black and white attire complements the shadow effect perfectly, and her gaze away from the camera somehow represents some disdain at being photographed, but she doesn’t challenge me as she passes by. I quite like the end result.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ29; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 

36mm; Film Speed – ISO400; Google filter effect – Vista; Camera effect – B&W

#68: Finchley Central – ‘România’

The Romanian flag colours painted on the side of a building - Blue, Yellow, Red

24/09/2019 – I’d intended to have a predominantly black and white day to help capture the moody weather conditions, but when I saw this wall, it simply wouldn’t have worked in B&W. The location is on the side of a closed and abandoned restaurant, the Central Restaurant, part of the Central House tower block complex on the corner of Ballard Lane and Nether Street.

It’s a very simple scene as this part of the wall has been painted in these three bright colours. The taking of the picture was less than simple as I’m positioned on the opposite side of the road, my camera low on the ground, and waiting for traffic queueing at the nearby traffic lights to move along. I’m keen to get a shot uninterrupted by cars, but this setting only gives me about two to three seconds every three minutes or so as the lights change and traffic moves by. I end up taking several shots to get the one I want, with the added challenge the sky is getting darker by the minute and about to pour, so there’s some additional pressure not to get wet as well.

I set my camera in ‘art vivid’ mode which creates an enhanced effect by taking three consecutive shots with slightly different settings. The camera software then stitches the individual pictures into one creating heightened colours. I’m pleased with the outcome but realise that the vanilla shot (with no traffic) lacks something in the composition, and I believe this one with a ghostly image of a car just entering the frame on the left hand side helps with the picture’s story. The effect is created by the image of the car being taken on the third shot and appears somewhat shadowy when stitched with the other two pictures. 

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO400; Google filter effect – Auti; Camera effect – Vivid

#69: Uxbridge – ‘FCK Boris’

'FCK Boris' daubed in red paint on a white wall

02/10/2019 – This is my first picture of the day taken inside the flight of stairs leading to the top of Cedars Car Park from High Street above Tesco. I’m drawn in by the red and green colouring of the stairwell I see from the street so I decide to traverse the stairwell, and my curiosity to see Uxbridge town centre from the rooftop is piqued.

It’s the type of stair well you’d rather not go into as it smells of urine; although I have to say it was relatively clean. I had no expectation of finding anything of interest but after walking up the first flight of stairs, this image is staring back at me.

I’m intrigued by the graffitti as its socio/political statement is clearly directed at the Town’s Member of Parliament who is also the current (at the time of writing) Prime Minister. The ‘statement’ raises the question in my mind as to whether the ‘artist’ is dyslexic, or that they have decided out of respect not to spell the swear word in full. But amusingly they are quite content to bedaub a publicly accessible wall in a somewhat hidden position where only a few passers by will see it. 

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 53mm; Film Speed – ISO2000; Google filter effect – Auto

#70: Kennington – ‘What’s your pleasure?’

a black and white image showing the plinth mounted artwork of a lady in 18th century garb being offered a flower from a young man from the present day.

15/10/2019 – There’s an interesting back-story behind today’s picture. The artwork I’ve captured here is found at the entrance to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens just east of Vauxhall Station. The history of the Pleasure Gardens dates back to the 18th Century when they became popular with the urban middle classes as places for paid entertainment. Vauxhall also had a seedier reputation for prostitution here too.

For those who saw the recent dramatisation of Vanity Fair by William Makepiece Thackarey, you’ll be familiar with the vision of fun and frollicking within the context of a fairground – then that’s how I imagine the pleasure gardens to have been.

This is a picture of two sculptures atop tall plinths. The sculptures recently erected in 2015 represent the coming together of Vauxhall as seen today with its historical significance. Let me explain: the artwork depicts the figures of a lady in 18th century garb being offered a flower from a young man from the present-day; and shows a representation of a silent conversation between the past and present in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

I took several shots in colour and black & white and feel this grainier image depicts the scene best, with a slight homage to the modern day with the building crane in the middle foreground and the scaffolding on the right.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ10; Shutter Speed – 1/500; Focal Length – 50mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Camera setting – grainy B&W