The Shard, London

The Shard, London 2020

Although I am scared of heights, I like going up tall buildings. Whenever I visit a new city, I’ll search for a tall building to look at it from.

But I’ve never been up The Shard. So I couldn’t say whether it was worth the entry fee. In a slightly connected way, I can recommend St Paul’s Cathedral – there is a whole post I could do about that! As an aside, my favourite view of London is from Parliament Hill.

It feels a bit poignent, because I took this early last year before the lockdown.

Evening Sky, Horsham

Evening Sky, Horsham, West Sussex August 2020

Time passes. This photo is from a test roll I did on a (new to me) camera. I think it was mid-evening when I took it and as you can see, the Sun is setting. As I’m writing this, it is a similar time of day – but it is completely dark outside (and has been for a couple of hours). I am almost 50 years old, I know the science, but the seasons still amaze me.

I love the delicate range of colours and the whispy white clouds. So it is a “shapes” photo rather than a “things” photo.

I remember as I was walking around the park, I was thinking, that if we could get everything back to normal by the end of the year – then all the inconvienience would have been worth it. But – things aren’t back to normal!

Morning Sun, West Sussex

Morning Sun, West Sussex August 2020

How has your life changed in the last few months?

One of the things I like about life now, are my early morning walks on the parkland near where I live. When I was working, my morning was dominated by my need to get to work – which was always some way away from where I lived. And I’m sure lots of people who lived miles away would have rushing to get to work near where I lived.

Anyway, a pleasure of the last 6 months has been the change from spring into summer. It has got light earlier and earlier and, obviously, warmer too.

A challenge of this photo is the change from the original to this form – for some reason, the shadows looked “richer” if that makes sense. I still like the effect of the light on the grass and the gravel.

Inka, Somerset

Inka, nr. Bath, Somerset August 2020

They say, “Don’t work with animals or children”. But as you can see, some animals make good subjects. I like that he has given me good eye contact – I think I did something to get his attention (shameless preformer that I am). People make all sorts of claims for their portraits, but I think I have shown what Inka is like at least some of the time. I think I will use this as an illustration for a lens review I am working on for my YouTube channel: It is sharp and can help achieve a narrow depth of focus by his face.

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2008

Sorry, not really a photo, but I was trying to give the impression of a really busy place with people coming from all directions. And a bit of the contrasting old and new.

I miss walking in Ho Chi Minh City, it has a bustling buzz. People are always doing something and there is always something to see.

Except at Tet, when the busy streets suddenly clear and the road only carries people going to visit relatives.

Tammisaari, Finland

Near Tammisaari, Finland 2004

Sometimes, I think being from the UK makes the rest of the world seem a much more dramatic place. People start to moan when the weather even gets near to 0 and when it goes a couple of degrees below, certain newspapers start trumpeting about an”arctic vortex”, when really, it is just a bit cold.

In Finland by contrast, no one mentions the weather until it gets to about -15 degrees or so. A Finnish friend asked me why I thought it was strange to ride a bicycle in the snow – it was perfectly normal to her.

If the whole cold thing interests you, I recommend visiting the Culture Museum in Helsinki. I particularly enjoyed reading about Kai Donner’s adventures in northern Finland, where it gets really cold.

Anyway, when I took this picture, it must have only been about -10. And it wasn’t windy. So no macho points for me.

But it was very quiet and still, possibly silent.

River, Clayton, GA

Clayton, Georgia, USA 2003

I don’t find it easy to take square landscapes. Here I was trying to use the curve of the river’s edge to lead your eye through the frame, but I’m not sure it works.

I believe Clayton is in the north of Georgia where once you might have found bears in the countryside, but no longer. I did find some rather large deer which burst from a bush as I walked through the forest, making me jump. But that was it.

Take My Picture, Athens

Take My Picture, Athens, Georgia, USA 2000

Most of the time, people don’t want you to take their picture – or would rather you didn’t- but sometimes they do.

As I remember it, I had gone to Athens to watch a Georgia Bulldogs football game (I think it was against Ole Miss) and when I took this picture, I was trying to sniff out some tickets. Anyway, I was wandering around downtown Athens (which looked very nice) when this guy shouted,”Hey! Take my picture!”. So I did. And I quite like it.

For the technically curious, I was using a Holga camera (a lo-fi camera) and Tri-X.

Broken Window, Lafayette, AL

LaFayette, Alabama 2002

Do you ever look back on your youth and wonder how you ended up doing what you did?

There was a time, when I went on a series of road trips around the southern United States. On this particular trip I wandered through Alabama and Mississippi.

I think I may have been heading to Tupelo, Mississippi at the time, but on my way, I passed through Lafayette, Alabama.

This old cinema was next to the town square. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it had been used as a set for the film “Mississippi Burning”. When I passed by, it was locked up and as you can see awaiting reuse.

Technical Details. I was using my Rolleiflex and some Kodak Verichrome Pan. It sounds like it should be a colour slide film – but it was a b/w negative film. Where did I get it from? Probably a store in Atlanta (Camera Bug?).