The First Spiral

Today’s image was taken very nearly fifty years ago. I had completed the first three years of my medical training at Cambridge and had moved down to London to continue my training at Guy’s Hospital close to London Bridge.

I and three friends found a flat to rent halfway between Blackheath and Lewisham in SE London within reach of trains to London Bridge. The flat was owned by a man who worked overseas for the British Council in Istanbul. The stand-out feature of the flat was this classic iron spiral staircase that was sited in the corner of the main living room and provided access to the bedrooms upstairs.

I started printing my own black and white negatives in 1966. This photo would have been shot sometime between 1968 to 1970, and then printed in a darkroom I discovered that was available for hire above the Photographers Gallery in central London. And what you see here today is a digital photograph taken of that original ten by eight inch print. I have photographed many of my old B&W prints and quite a few of them have appeared on this blog – if interested you will find them in the Print Archive category listed in the Right Sidebar of the screen.

As we travel through life on our own visual journeys as photographers, inevitably we change. We grow, acquiring a wide range of skills along the way, and our unique view of the world starts to take shape. It is when we look back through our archive that we develop a greater understanding of how that journey has progressed. We will cringe at some of the work we thought was good, see our mistakes, and perhaps re-process work. Also, we will find images that marked the start of individual threads of our work that exist to this day. I have always appreciated flowing lines and curves. Spiral staircases are all about flowing lines.

I must have walked up and down this spiral hundreds of time in the course of two and a half years. This was home for that period of time, a time during which my clinical training led to my final degree and shaped my future life’s work as a GP (general practitioner or family doctor for overseas readers). And a period of time during which I met my future darling wife who was journeyed with me through life in all its ups and downs and is still here (thankfully).

This was my first spiral. I came to love that spiral and I still love those flowing sensual lines. If you haven’t seen my previous post of a spiral staircase at Tate Britain then click here to view it.


Posted in Architecture & Buildings, Print Archive | 2 Comments


I was back at Tate Britain last week for lunch. I’m a member of Tate. Paying to be a Tate member gives me free entry to the permanent collections at Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the two outlying galleries in St Ives and Liverpool plus free admission to all the main, normally chargeable, exhibitions. It’s money well spent.

It also gives me access to a members area supplying food and drink in a quiet area high up in the impressive dome of the rotunda just inside the main entrance facing the Thames. Always refreshing to have somewhere to sit, without pressure, that’s quiet and peaceful.

The main spiral staircase in the rotunda is well-known and a photograph of it is difficult to resist. Click here to see my own attempt. It’s surprisingly modern as you will discover if you read my previous blog about it. It is not the only spiral staircase. In the corners of the Rotunda are two smaller (by which I mean narrower) spirals that lead up to the members area referred to above. And today’s image is a view down one of them.

I love spiral staircases. I love the curves, the form, the lines. The decision is always: how do I compose this, how should I frame it? A wide-angle lens helps. This was shot at 24mm on my Lumix LX100, but an even wider lens will enable more options. And as with so many subjects, it’s all about experimenting, trying different angles, moving this way and that. I find that it’s only when I am back home that I can sift through the images and slowly find the few that, for me, are the better ones. And I know that next time I go to Tate, I will be drawn to take a few more. Drawn like a moth to a lightbulb!

Posted in Architecture & Buildings | Tagged , , | 27 Comments

LensScapes will disapppear for a while

I had better clarify that title. Some of you may have read it as ‘LensScaper’, thinking that there was a typo error in the title. No there isn’t an error. This blog is not disappearing, but my original website titled ‘LensScapes Photography’ which was set up in early 2011 before my WP blog is about to disappear, both the link on the menu list that is just under the banner at the top of my blog, and also from the Internet. Not for ever, but for a month or so and then it will re-surface anew  – re-designed, and hosted by SmugMug.

LensScapes Logo

Why the change? A number of reasons. The original website is looking a bit tired and it has most certainly been seriously neglected for at least four years. It no longer tells an accurate up-to-date story of where I am on my visual journey. Ideally it should have a complete re-vamp but that is not possible as the company that hosts it is no longer actively updating or improving their service. In future they will only support existing sites. My annual fee for hosting is about due, so this is an opportune moment to change.

I have periodically considered SmugMug as a possible alternative; I know it is used by many photographers as a site on which to show galleries, or a portfolio, of their current work. It also offers the ability to Sell one’s work – not something I am rushing into but maybe something I will do in the future.

The one thing I will miss is the flexibility of the original site. It allowed significant introductory text on the front pages of galleries; and also articles about my photography and the philosophy behind my work. However my blog now covers much of that ground and what I really need is a place to display a portfolio of work in a readily accessible way, and I think SmugMug provides that service.

I don’t like change, and at first glance – really a toe in the water –  I don’t find the setting-up of a new site on SmugMug easy. WordPress was straightforward and intuitive. So far SmugMug feels a lot more opaque. Maybe that’s my age, but I will be leaning on Support from the good people of SmugMug and hopefully before long I will get a better understanding of the mechanics of setting up my new site.

My reason for mentioning this imminent disappearance, likely to be next week (beginning Monday 11 June), is that if you wish to take a look at it before it is gone then you have just a few days to do so.

I will keep you posted and certainly tell you when the Domain name re-surfaces.

Finally if you, dear reader, have a SmugMug page do please use the comment box to let me know. The more I can see of other people’s use of the site, the more I will become aware of its potential.

PS – LensScapes Photography has now gone, temporarily.  Earlier today 11 June I successfully transferred the Domain name to SmugMug. Now begins the task of building the content.


Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Into the Canopy

I spent a lot of last Autumn looking at the leaf litter on the ground. In the last month I have done the opposite and looked up into the canopy. It’s a beautiful sight.

We’ve all at one time or another taken an image like this. It sounds easy, but actually finding an attractive composition can be quite difficult and my success rate is not better than about one in ten. This was taken at a focal length of 27mm. The wider the lens the more interesting the images become.

If you look up for long enough, passers-by will also look up. Be prepared for comments. People will stop and ask: ‘What can you see? Squirrels, birds?’. When I say: ‘No, just the leaf canopy’, I often get strange looks and an ‘Oh’ that usually indicates puzzlement that a sane photographer would photograph leaves from the bottom up. Show them an image from the back screen and the more enlightened among them begin to see the beauty of the canopy, others remain nonplussed. It’s part of being a photographer, part of the territory, from time to time you will be regarded as a sandwich short of a picnic as the saying goes.


Posted in Landscapes | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments

Stepped Facade

This is a building I’ve walked past six times in the last few weeks not far from Victoria Station in London. It’s never the same. The light is different, the sky is different, the angle of light is different.

The facade is a canvas on which light paints a picture. It’s not often that we are pleased to see a cloud, but it was a passing cloud that added interest to this image. Without it, it would have been simply fifty shades of blue.


Posted in Reflection | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Putting one’s feet up

As we get older, any little niche is good for a sit down. This is round the back of St Martin in the Fields church, Trafalgar Square, Central London. No fields near here at all, although I assume when this was built (and a church has stood on this site since medieval times) that there were fields close by.


Posted in Seen on the Street | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments


Massive re-development of the area around Victoria station is matched by many new restaurants and cafes. This one caught my eye. Above street level, away from the hustle and bustle, and in a quiet corner, lunch is taken.

Posted in Out for Lunch, Seen on the Street | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments