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.

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

The Causeway, Horsham

View down The Causeway, Horsham, West Sussex October 2020

The Causeway is a street in the old town of Horsham. The Causeway runs from Carfax (which is the old centre of the town) to St Mary’s church. As I took this picture, a passerby stopped and commented that it was a view which hadn’t changed in hundreds of years. And he was probably right. On the left-hand side are a row of – probably Georgian – houses, where some of the town notables (Neville Duke – who set a flying world speed record and Hamond Innes – an author) lived.

Shoreham Beach, West Sussex

Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

Shoreham Beach is a pedestrian bridge away from Shoreham-by-Sea and I suspect during storms, parts of it get a bit closer.

After a few glorious, almost July-like days, the weather has finally turned and begun to cool down. On this occasion, the tide was out, so I got to walk on sand for a change. Here, the tide makes a huge difference to the beach, the sea being 40m further up the beach at high tide (maybe higher). On this occasion, there were still plenty of paddleboarders cruising along the coast, but fewer bathers.

Paddle Boarders and Bathers, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

Worthing Pier, West Sussex

Fishermen, Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020
View of Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020
Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020

It is strange how seasons change from the edges, the mornings and evenings are much cooler than they were mid-summer and obviously it gets darker much earlier. But as you can see, during the day it is still warm and might even be mistaken for a summer’s day.

Piers were a Victorian fad, with seaside towns competing to have the longest. As the years have passed, most have fallen into disrepair, but a few, such as Worthing Pier have remained. Given that they stand in the sea and are subject to storms, they require fairly continuous maintenance.

Worthing Beach from pier, West Sussex September 2020

Yachts, Shoreham Beach

Yachts, Shoreham Beach September 2020

After 6 months of staying at home, I have started exploring further afield. In this case, about 20 miles away – so not that far! I used to live in Shoreham-by-Sea 40 years ago and whenever I go back I am reminded of what it was like as a child. The church at the end of my road, remains pretty much as I remember it, but the whole place looks neater than I remember it, perhaps everywhere was a bit scruffier in the 1970s.

The weather in the morning has turned much cooler in the morning, so I can definitely tell that Autumn is coming. But for now the outdoor cafes are open, people are still going for morning swims in the sea, and as you can see, people are sailing!

Shoreham Beach, West Sussex

Early Morning, Shoreham Beach September 2020

In a change to my usual routine, this morning I drove to the beach, which is about half an hour from where I live. It was still quite cool, but the Sun was very bright, making it hard to take photos. As you can see, some people were in the water although it looked quite cold.

Shoreham’s beaches are quite steep pebble beaches, which give a distinctive sound as waves break quite close to the shore. It also makes it quite easy for waves to catch you unexpectedly if you are paddling in the shallows.

Lightning, Batu Ferringhi

Lightning, Batu Ferringhi 2014

“Crash!”, it was the middle of the night and my bedroom ceiling was lit up as if it was day time. And when the thunder sounded, it shook you as lay there. My adult brain knew I was safe, but there is a difference between knowing something and feeling it.

I used to live here, with a view of the sea. In good weather, the sea had a green/blue tinge to it. When there was a storm, it was dark green. I lived near the top of a high block of flats with a front row view whenever a storm came in.

In Malaysia, they have big tropical storms, with finger sized drops of rain and thunder which you can feel, even from a long way off. As I remember it, I was woken up by the lightning first, which lit up my bedroom. Then, I think my wife and I went into the livingroom to watch the light show.

I put my camera on a tripod and kept taking long exposures (several seconds each time) until the lightning flashed. I tweaked the photo to be a little darker, because the brightness looked too unreal.