On the way up

A cold night last night, a ski holiday booked, and my mind is starting to tune into the delights of skiing._DS78731

Riding up hill on a Chair Lift to start the next run down provides a grandstand view of the terrain and of other skiers – some good and some not so good. It’s a time for reflection and a time to watch one’s shadow creeping up the mountain alongside. And, naturally, time for a picture or two.

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Following on from my last post – Glass and Water – here is another image from the same day, same area. A perfectly symmetrical building, given the ‘Flat Glass’ treatment I have talked about before. What a joy to behold – in my eyes at least…


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Glass and Water

On my most recent trip to London I spent some time out in the Docklands area of London – an area that has seen colossal development in recent years. Canary Wharf is the financial centre of this area with many of the major banks having their HQs based in towering glass-fronted buildings. This is the closest one comes in the UK to imagining what it must feel like to walk through Manhattan.

Glass has, for some years, been a fascination of mine, photographically. Primarily for its reflectivity, its ability in some structures to be a faithful reflector of the local environment, and yet in others instances to exhibit an almost Cubist tendency to warp and distort.

_DS82329‘Docklands’ is an area where, for centuries, maritime trade was plied in a vast area of docks. And those waterways still exist – they dissect the land. And the water reflects. On a calm day it is a faithful recorder – precise, mirror-like. But on other days when a breeze ruckles its surface, the reflections are warped . Water is dynamic. By contrast, glass is static: its reflective qualities fixed either during manufacture or during installation.

_DS82313It has occurred to me just recently that water and glass are both canvases upon which light paints an impression of the neighbourhood. Sometimes with precision, sometimes impressionistic, sometimes modernistic. And what I find so attractive about Docklands is that the glass and the water exist side-by-side, or perhaps I should say vertically: fancifully I see them competing to see which of them can provide the best show.

Two images today – taken during this visit – probably shot about 30 minutes apart. I will be returning here many times, I can feel the emergence of a new relationship.

Click on either image to see a higher quality enlargement.

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Fuzzypeg came for lunch

After spotting a bird of prey breakfasting in our garden last week (click here to see the post), it was the turn of a hedgehog at the weekend, who came for lunch.

He/she trotted across the lawn accompanied by a couple of very interested Magpies and started hunting for worms in a flowerbed. My wife spotted Fuzzypeg (the Hedgehog’s name known to all lovers of the Little Grey Rabbit books) and I was out there in a flash, camera in hand.

_DS82515What will be next? Possibly, it could be the annual Fieldfares’ visit to our garden to feast on apples. If they arrive – hopefully I will be on hand to record them.

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Face at the Window

In London, if you step off the main streets into the side streets, I can almost guarantee you will find unexpected images. The same is true, of many cities and towns across the world. The city’s history is there, in areas that regeneration and re-development has yet to reach. You will even find it on the edges of Mayfair. Today’s image is not from there, but from Bloomsbury. I was hunting for some of the Books about Town benches that were a brilliant feature of London during the summer – I must post about them soon.

_DS79656Turning a corner, in the front window of a deserted and partially boarded-up old Pub, I found this face. A face that stared out, empty-eyed, as if the life had gone out of her along with the Pub. I wondered what stories she could have told. What secrets she had been privy to. What history she had lived through and who she had met and loved. What sights, and fights, and happier times she had witnessed over many years. All gone.

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Breakfast Visitor

Somebody stopped by for breakfast two days ago, and we had one less Wood Pigeon in our garden. Wood Pigeons never appear ‘on guard’. Jackdaws, Crows, Blackbirds all take flight for the flimsiest of reasons. But Wood Pigeons waddle along, head to the ground, in blissful ignorance of any impending danger. And sadly, and this is not the only Pigeon in recent months, they pay the ultimate price.

_DS82504I arrived downstairs, looked down the garden, saw the widely scattered feathers, and also the killer (probably a female Sparrowhawk), who was still enjoying a leisurely breakfast and continued to do so for the next half an hour. Despite the intermittent appearance of a noisy Magpie that walked round the raptor repeatedly demanding that he had a piece of the action – all to no avail.

There was time for me to have my own breakfast and then go upstairs, get out the 500mm Mirror Lens and shoot (photographically) our visitor from the Bathroom window. A full 45 yds distant (I paced it out), on a DX body mounted on a tripod (very unusual for me) the lens becomes 750mm, and what you see here is less than half the original image. click on either image to see a higher quality enlargement

_DS82488Not every one knows what a Mirror Lens is; if you are one of those people then a much earlier post on this blog will help you learn more about this rather unusual long lens. Click here to read the post explaining all about them.

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Poster Man

In the last year or two I’ve taken a keener interest in people on the streets than ever before. In London, large posters are a common sight. They occupy redundant space, and they brighten boarded up properties or the frontage of building sites.

People frequently seem to use them as a prop for their coffee break, phone call, or cigarette. Sometimes those juxtapositions create interesting images. I spotted this man adjacent to this poster. He was busy talking on his cell phone. Have you noticed how a lot of people can’t stand still when they talk on their phones – constantly pacing backwards and forwards? I hung around across the road, camera ready, watching. I waited for him to walk into the poster’s space, where he paused, and leant back against the image. His coat was almost indistinguishable from the background colour. He seemed to merge in. That was the picture.

IMG_6984I am increasingly learning that if we stand still and watch the world go by, the images will come to us.

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