Petal, San Salvador

Petal, San Salvador, El Salvador – September 2006

As I remember it, I took this photo not long after I arrived in El Salvador.

In the “wet” season, it rains every afternoon – usually at about 4pm. Usually, being the operative word, because sometimes – like when you have work to do or places to go – it comes down early. The rain clouds seem to roll down from above San Salvador (a big volcano as well as the capitol of the country) and then you can see everyone speed up what they are doing so that they can be indoors when the rain falls: workmen pack their tools, livestock get undercover and old women move with remarkable pace, all glancing over their shoulders at the volcano as they go.

I have lost count the number of times I got soaked, sometimes I ended up buying a new shirt when I got to destination, but everytime, I got wet to the point where water would stream off me when I got undercover.

But, soon after the “dry” season begins in November, you find yourself missing the rain. The lush, green landscape slowly goes yellow and everything gets a layer of dust on it. Until March, when it starts all over again!

I took this with my Minolta X1, which was hopeless for anything that moved, but here, that wasn’t a problem!

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.

Deer and her Fawn, Horsham

Deer and Fawn, Horsham – June 2021

I live in a rural area, so when I go for a walk, I usually see trees and animals, rather than buildings and people. And I tend to find myself photographing the same things, over and over – the memorial tree which I posted before is a case in point. But sometimes, if i’m lucky, I see something different. I was walking along the edge of this field, when I saw this deer looking back at me. I was sure that she would just bolt away, but no, she just stared at me. So I dug out my phone and took some photos. And then, something moved next to her and I realised – she had a fawn with her!

I’m sorry the quality isn’t great, but it was getting dark, I was using a phone and the deer was 30 feet away (I think). So, perhaps instead of wishing I had a better camera with me, I should just be glad that the deer let me see them at all.

“Catsy” Cat, Wokingham

“Catsy” Cat, Wokingham – October 2017

I found this graffiti cat outside the flat where I lived in Wokingham (Berkshire, UK). At the time, as you can see, I took a photo of it – but didn’t really think any more about it. But then I read this news story on the bbc website about this street artist – Catsy, who it turns out does his work in – Wokingham. Well at least now, the mystery is over!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-57284790

Carrying Glass, Shanghai

Carrying Glass, Jing’An, Shangahi – July 2019

One of the things I like about taking photos on the street, is showing people going about everyday life. Shanghai has a particularly vibrant street life, where you only have to stand still for a few moments before something unexpected happens.

Carrying Glass, Jing’An, Shangahi July 2019

As I remember it, I was visiting during a really hot spell, in the middle of the summer. As usual, I spent most of my time just wandering around the city, ducking into shopping malls whenever I felt I needed to cool down. On this occasion, I was in Jing’An, near the park, when these workmen walked past me, carrying their sheet of glass.

Walking into Town

Trees in the Park, Horsham Park – April 2021
Trees, Horsham Park, West Sussex – April 2021

For health reasons, I am trying to make sure I take a solid walk every day. I recently found myself testing a new (to me) camera, so I thought I would combine the activities and see what came out of it.

The camera is an Olympus E-450, which I believe is about 10 years old, so I was curious to see what my photographs would look like.

Tree in the Park, Horsham Park, Horsham – April 2021

Before I even took any photographs, I was pleased with the size and weight of the camera, which even with the kit zoom (14-42mm), easily slipped into my shoulder bag and was barely noticeable as I walked along country footpaths and climbed over stiles.

Calves in a Field, Horsham, West Sussex – April 2021

Back home again, looking at the files, I’m really pleased with the colours the camera produced. The greens look good (I hate it when they go neon). and the cows and flowers look – about right. It reminds me, that a good camera 10 years ago – is still probably a good camera.

Boys in Blue, Bangkok

I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I would write about a couple of old photos. One of the magical things about being young, is how there always seems to be time to “fit things in”.

Waiting for the Train, Bangkok, October 2010

At the time, I was working in Ho Chi Minh City, but I found that if I left work very promptly and caught the first taxi I saw, I could squeeze in a weekend away somewhere – in this case – in Bangkok.

Posing on the Platform, Bangkok 2010

Anyway, as I remember it these two young men were Americans – and I think they were on their way to a party. So I asked them to give me a pose – which they did!

At ZSL London Zoo, London

As I’m writing this, in the UK we have just entered our third official lockdown, so I thought I would write about a visit I made to ZSL London Zoo early last year, just before our first lockdown.

ZSL London Zoo is located on the edge of Regent’s Park, which while in central London, isn’t very close to any tube stations, which I think is why it isn’t as popular as it could be. It manage to be small and sprawling, with a mixture of large and small enclosures spread across the site.

For this visit, I took my Nikon S2 and an Olympus Mju II (both film cameras)- for this post, I thought I would write a little about the Mju II and share a few observations about it. First of all, as you can see, the weather was rather overcast, so both cameras were loaded with Kodak Ultramax, which is a 400 ISO colour negative film.

Penguin Pool, ZSL London Zoo, February 2020

At the Penguin Pool

I used the Mju II to take some photos of the Penguin Pool, because it has a 35mm F2.8, which was wide enough to capture some of the interior – the 50mm lens on the Nikon would only allow me to take pictures of details.

The Penguin Pool might be the most important surviving Modernist building in the UK. I enjoyed looking around it – it is wonderful collection of sweeping curves constructed from reinforced concrete. I wonder if they ever filmed “Poirot” there? There is very little Modernist architecture in the UK, I suspect because flat roofs and the fairly primative concrete technology of the time made for unsatisfactory buildings. It was designed by Tecton, an architectural practice which comprised many of the leading Modernist architects working in the UK (noteably Bertold Lubetkin and Denys Lansdun). It opened in 1934.

In this case, in 2004, the zoo decided that although it looked great, the enclosure wasn’t a very natural environment, so they moved the penguins to the “Penguin Beach” enclosure. Looking at the space (photographs of when it was in use), I can see that it was fabulous for displaying the penguins – shuffling up the helical ramps and hopping up and down the steps – it made for a very hard environment to live in.

Penguin Pool, ZSL London Zool, February 2020

This is a humbolt penguin in their “newer” residence.

Humboldt Penguin, ZSL London Zoo, February 2020

Looking at these photos, can I say any more about the Mju II?

Well, I think the lens is quite good – all the photos are sharp to the corners. In the penguin photo, I can see that the corners are a little darker than the centre of the frame, so I think close to wide open, it vignettes a bit. I tried to focus on the penguin’s head, but missed and got its neck instead. Or perhaps I was just too close to the subject – I remember holding my hand over the glass.

I liked the size of the camera. Lots of cameras are “almost” pocketable, but with its lozenge shape, it easily slipped in and out of my pocket all day. After staring at the back of so many digital cameras, I was pleased this one had a viewfinder to look through – I wished it was a bit bigger though. And the exposures seem – spot on.

Yachts, Shoreham Beach

Yachts off Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020

During October, we had some lovely weather in Shoreham, which made it feel like a gradual change from summer into autumn. At the time, the COVID number had slumped and people felt more comfortable being away from home. As you can see, the Sun shone and lots of people took the opportunity to take their yachts for a cruise off the coast

Yachts, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020