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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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