We were back on Ivinghoe Beacon again a few days ago and as I promised you in ‘At the Third Visit’ I photographed a field for what is now the fourth time. This time it was nearly golden (as I had hoped) – but not completely ripe for harvest. But by the time we get an opportunity to visit it again I suspect it will be after harvest time. I also had a chance to identify the crop – wheat.
If you view ‘At the Third Visit’ (click the link above) then you can track back through the previous visits. I realize that previously I haven’t shown you a wider view so that you can see how this one smallish field fits into the overall landscape. So, I’m putting that omission right by showing you a wider view below. This looks roughly West towards a town called Tring. I’ll be back there again, maybe in winter.
When I was in London a few weeks ago I covered a lot of ground. So far I’ve only posted images from the Charing Cross area – click here and here for examples. Prior to that I was in the Knightsbridge area and shot some images of One Hyde Park. Arguably this is the single most expensive development in London with penthouses changing hands for over fifty million pounds.
From a photographic point of view I love this place. The lines are clean and precise, it’s very geometric and those are qualities that appeal to me as will be obvious from some of my previous images.
It can also feel remote and very clinical. Partly because this is another world – a world of privilege, privacy and money totally foreign to me. Slightly at odd with those concepts, the interconnecting links between the blocks are highly visible and as I shot I was conscious, occasionally, of someone moving from one of the elevators into the adjacent apartment blocks. They weren’t owners: they were security or staff or cleaners.
Finally first one man and then a second stood in the glass-fronted space and stared out. From my vantage point on the street some distance below I thought they might be communicating with each other. But what were they talking about? Could they see me? Were they watching me photographing them? It felt slightly unnerving. The extremely wealthy guard their privacy very highly. Was I regarded as an intruder although I was standing in a public place.
My shoot was finished and I vanished into the London underground.
Never underestimate the power of light. It makes the world of difference to images from all genres of photography.
I regularly walk through parts of central London. The street scene seems to change at remarkable speed. Recently I visited the London Bridge area – home to The Shard. But also home to Guy’s Hospital where I spent three years as a medical student over 45 years ago. This area of London has changed out of all recognition except that the old central buildings of the hospital are just as I recall them all those years ago. It brought back a lot of memories.
I hadn’t realized quite how close The Shard is to the hospital – it towers over it. I still haven’t got a decent shot of that iconic building, but as I walked back to the station, sunlight was reflecting off a newly completed building a few steps away and it was a remarkable sight. The building seemed to shimmer with light.
I picked up the train and got off at the next stop – Southwark. Just to see what I might find there, always curious. Across the road from the station exit another office block was directly facing the afternoon sun. It was quite an extraordinary sight. It felt as if the sun had hit the building and exploded – a bit like a paintball shot would. Except this was light not material.
Take away the effect of light, and both these buildings would lose the power to amaze. We take sunlight for granted so often, but we would miss so much if the sun didn’t shine through.
Go anywhere in Switzerland and on balconies and in window boxes you will see Geraniums – red ones and pinks ones. The same is true of other European countries. Geraniums add a welcome splash of colour.
Currently we have a Geranium on the window cill in our kitchen and in the last few days I have been enthralled as a new bud has opened out into a flower head.
These three images span three days. From a tight bud on the first day, a beautiful flower has started to unfurl three days later.
The light was ideal. Images were taken in the evening as the sun, by then low in the sky, was shining directly through the window. And there was an added bonus which I hadn’t expected. A ghostly image of the flower was reflected onto the interior of the window glass, and so very deliberately I shot the last two images with the main flower head offset in the frame. Apologies for a slightly dirty window!
Finally, a very different image of a pink Geranium on the balcony of our hotel room in Zermatt a few years ago. I have to say this still remains one of my favourite graphic images of this beautiful flower.
There is a clue to where today’s image was taken in the four letters visible – LAUS. But you’ll have to either guess or read to the end of the post to find out.
Let me set the scene. It was pouring with rain, and we were sitting patiently on our train at this station – a major hub – where through trains frequently wait for connecting trains to arrive. It’s not uncommon to wait five minutes or longer here.
There was another train alongside and I glanced across as two people sat down in their compartment. I watched and waited. The girl – hair, I suspect, soaked – sat, leaning forward, engrossed in a newspaper. Her friend, partner (?) sat upright, hand on chin, staring into space. I waited for some movement from either of them, but there was none. Instinctively I took this image through the rain-splattered windows. People reduced to outlines, nameless, featureless. On a journey just like us. Back home I cropped the image to fit the window, converted to B&W (colour was redundant) and just pushed the contrast.
Meanwhile, have you discovered my other blog – iSighting? If not why not take a look. There’s a new post up there today talking about B&W conversions and specifically ‘Where Colour Contributes Little’. Do click on the link.
And I nearly forgot: the place? Lausanne, Switzerland
Today’s image comes from Wrest Park – an imposing French-influenced mansion that sits within ninety acres of parkland and formal gardens.
We have visited this place a number of times. It first featured on this blog in ‘Searching for a Landscape’. Dotted across the estate are a number of other buildings – The Orangery is one of them. This is a building that is transformed by sunlight. Light streams through an attractive glass roof throwing diagonal stripes of light and shadow on the walls. A place impossible to visit without an image in mind.
John Lewis – a chain of up-market department stores in the UK is celebrating 150 years of business. We were in London last week and popped into the flagship store on Oxford Street and were surprised by superlative displays in the central atria of the store, through which rise the escalators.
Translucent streamers in soft pastel colours stretched the full height of the atria. Their colours echoed by the bordering of the galleries at each floor. Light, but sadly not sun, streamed into these vertical spaces.
It really was an extraordinary sight and akin to an art installation. I spent a few minutes riding the escalators up and down, and walking the galleries trying to find the best way to capture this display.
It’s not easy taking images with a compact from a moving staircase. Particularly when you are not quite sure if and when your collar is going to be felt by security. And I was also very conscious of the necessity to be as discreet as possible and not invade the privacy of fellow shoppers. All those constraints made the task more difficult. Ideally, to make a success of this shoot I would have wanted an hour or two to walk around and assess the options before starting to take images.
If you are in London during the Summer, do pop into John Lewis and see this sight with your own eyes.