On Guard

We’re looking after Bert, our daughter’s dog, for the weekend. He’s now in charge! We are followed everywhere, monitored and watched over. And this is his preferred look-out point. Watching the world go by intently.

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Added Colour

Originally this was, by London’s standards, a rather ordinary building close to King’s Cross station. At ground level there are shops; a hotel occupies the upper floors. It stands on the corner of Euston Road.

Someone had the vision to add colour to this façade, and more importantly the planners allowed it. What a difference colour makes. Abstract lines and shapes convert the building into an art installation, and this particular element caught my eye.IMG_7916

Imagine the outcry if you decided to do this to your own home? What would the neighbours say? The Planning Authorities who have the ultimate ‘say’ – in the UK – over what may be built and how a building may be altered take an awful lot of flak for some of their decisions. But sometimes they take an inspired risk.

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The Palace of Westminster

It’s a long time since I was in London at Sundown, but last week we were walking along the Southbank with our son on a perfect summer’s evening as the sun was going down behind the Palace of Westminster, or the Houses of Parliament as they are better known.

IMG_7940I got left behind as my wife and son walked on ahead, while I stopped every minute or two for another shot. Images like this are hackneyed and taken by the million, but there’s nothing quite like having a version of one’s own.

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Fish out of Water

I was in London last week to see an exhibition of the work of McCauley ‘Mac’ Conner at the House of Illustration at King’s Cross. Mac was an admirer of the work of Norman Rockwell and became one of the leading illustrators in NYC in the 1950s and early ‘60s working for many of the leading magazines of the era. His style of work helped to define post-war America. This was a superb exhibition, notable especially for the way his work, nearly always involving people, imitated so cleverly the way we see the world through wide-angle lenses. To see some examples of his work click here.

The area around King’s Cross continues to develop, and each time I re-visit there is something new to see. As one development is finished another gets under way and the active zone is boarded-up. I have written before about the cleverness and artistry of modern boarding (or hoarding) – click here to see a previous example.

On this most recent visit I found myself staring at fish attached to a checker-board designed boarding.

IMG_7892I have no idea of the significance of the ‘fish’ apart from the fact that this was close to the Regent’s Canal and also on the edge of Central Saint Martins campus (a world-famous art college). As Alice would say: ‘curiouser and curiouser’.

IMG_7891Whatever the reason for them being there they attracted my eye, especially this second image of two fish tails.

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Campanula

Campanula (Bell Flower in plain English) is a large genus of garden plants. They are graceful, pretty plants but tend to be fragile. They grow to about eighteen inches in height but as the flowers come out they become a little top-heavy and are easy flattened by wind or rain.

_DS83273My wife rescued a stem and installed it on the window cill of the downstairs loo – a window with frosted glass. I took a look at it and thought: that might make an interesting image. And I think it has. The background is a little busy admittedly, but the flowers are strong enough to stand out from it and I managed to find two flowers that provided an attractive balance.

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A green and pleasant land

Last week we were back on Ivinghoe Beacon – one of our favourite places. The Beacon is a high point on the edge of the Chiltern Hills with the land spread out around and below us. There’s one particular field I have photographed several times before (click here for a reminder) from this vantage point but on this most recent occasion it was uninviting photographically.

_DS83249Other things caught my eye including the recently shorn sheep that featured in my last post, and a broader view of farmland that was lit by a substantial break in the clouds. During processing I deliberately softened this image using Topaz Clean to produce a result that is reminiscent of a style of illustration that was in vogue a few decades ago.

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Do I look happy?

Am I happy? Do I look happy? I’m about as happy as Eeyore on one of his bad days and that is very, very not-happy. So, looking cheerful today is quite impossible.

_DS83258How would you like it if someone grabbed you by the scruff of the neck, dragged you into a confined space, pinned you to the ground and very roughly gave you an all-over crew cut? It wasn’t even a good hair cut as you can see. And it’s not even summer weather yet and I’m supposed to live out here and look happy when I’m freezing cold and someone has stolen my one and only woolly coat.

So, this is all you are going to get out of me today. Just a cold mournful stare. Take it or leave it.

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