The world would be a very different place without glass. That is a statement of the obvious. But it is when you view reflections in so-called flat glass windows that you appreciate that glass is so much more than a building material that keeps out the cold and brings light into interiors.
These windows are sited in a building opposite Debenhams, the department store, on Oxford Street, London. The facade of Debenhams was overlaid with hanging, brushed aluminium tiles a few years ago in a make-over as shown in a previous Post – click here to view. And it is those tiles, bathed in bright sunlight, that are reflected in these windows creating images that are like Moiré interference.
I’ve seen a whole range of reflections in inner-city areas that vary from those that are recognizably biographic, through distortions of varying degree, to frankly surrealistic – and now this. And one final point: I’ve walked down this road many times but I cannot recall ever noticing this before. Lack of awareness on my part perhaps, or maybe it was just a combination of the right time of day and the light on this occasion.
Click on the image for a higher quality enlargement – well worth it.
This is a single image of a stepped facade which has been rendered a little more geometric by straightening not just the verticals, but also the horizontal lines – distorting the perspective for effect.
Regular readers of this blog will know of my fascination with glass reflections in inner-city environments. Sometimes they provide reasonably accurate depictions of neighbouring buildings; but on other occasions each window appears to be an individual surrealist’s interpretation of the neighbourhood – as in this case.
This is an image captured a year or two ago that has just surfaced from the archive. Winter is a season that has a lot of downsides to it, but one of the benefits is that we are confined to the house more than at any other time of year. Easy to get bored, but not when you have an archive to explore. Winter is a time for a little bit of image pruning – deleting images that will never, ever, see the light of day. Re-organizing the archive perhaps to make the images you value easier to find. And always there will be images, long forgotten, that have sat on the hard drive, unloved and un-processed. An hour in the archive is always time well spent.
Another image from our recent visit to Cuckmere Haven. I’m not sure why this fence is planted in the water, there was no flooding apparent. The water was frozen creating an opalescent appearance to the reflections, and the light completed the scene.
We re-visited Cuckmere Haven during our recent prolonged period of cold weather and sharp overnight frosts. Water in the old meandering course of the River Cuckmere had frozen except in a one or two areas that had been heated sufficiently by the sun to thaw, and a breeze was ruckling the surface of the water. Millimetre by millimetre a slender tongue of melt water was eroding away the ice. It was an extraordinary and elegant sight.
The sharp contrast between the rippled water and the smooth, opalescent frosted surface was remarkable. I don’t recall ever seeing anything quite like this before. And it attracted a lot of attention by the many who visited that site that afternoon.
Click on the image to see a higher quality enlargement – it’s worth it.
It’s surprising how much difference a little bit of elevation can make to a scene. This is yet another image from Birling Gap, taken just after ‘Waiting for the Light’ as we were climbing the steps away from the beach.
Images like this are ones over which we have no control. I hesitate to use the word ‘luck’ because luck always implies something very passive, and I prefer to consider images are the result of opportunities that are seen and seized. Images like this evolve as the groups of people change position and the overall dynamic subtly shifts. I saw a potential opportunity and I was fortunate – let’s call it happenstance.
Always a pleasant surprise when you see something unusual in an ordinary place. I spotted this in the Plants Shop at Nymans (National Trust property in W Sussex). There are several of these chrome horns, of different sizes, each in the centre of a plant display.
Each time I visit Nymans (and we’ve been there several times in the last year), to look around the excellent gardens, the Horns grab my attention the moment I pass through the entrance. And each time I see a slightly different reflection. Do you see the face? Two eyes and a widely stretched mouth.
The WordPress Reader may destroy the composition of this image – so if you are viewing it in the Reader and don’t see people (on the left) and cottages (on the right) as intended – and understandably think what a boring image – please open the Post so you can view it properly.
Regular readers will remember a number of posts from Birling Gap, just a couple of miles East of this point. Click here to view the most recent. My son and I left Birling Gap late in the afternoon but were still determined to walk out to the sea at Cuckmere Haven as well. It was approaching dusk as we neared the gravel bar above the high water mark. The cottages, so often the foreground of images shot along the Seven Sisters cliffs, stood stark against the sky, and people – reduced to silhouettes – walked along the gravel bar.
We made it back to the car as darkness fell. Back home a decision about how to process the RAW file was a no-brainer. It was my kind of B&W – upping the contrast, paring down the frame to the essentials. Click on the image to see a far better enlargement.