Red Sky at Night…

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Red sky at night, shepherds’ delight – Red sky in the morning, shepherds’ warning…

I grew up hearing this old rhyme for forecasting the weather in the Scottish countryside where I was brought up. So let’s see if it works for London, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

One Liner Wednesday

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Onwards and Upwards…

canada-water-station

I was really pleased to capture the smooth shapes created by the lines and curves of this dynamic shot as I was coming up the escalator in Canada Water Station towards the exit the other day. And although taken in colour, it almost looks monochrome by design. I was hoping for a sharp, slick image but sadly on downloading it to my laptop I can see it’s either not properly focussed or I’ve got camera shake – or maybe both…

I’m not always very good at capturing things on the move, especially like here when I’m the one on the move in difficult lighting, without something going wrong and ending up with a slightly blurry or fuzzy photograph. I can often see what I want to take, but don’t always manage to translate that immediate vision into reality in time… oh well ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Still, I like the image enough to share with you all, so hopefully you like it too? Onwards and upwards, and hopefully the more I try, the better I’ll get ๐Ÿ™‚

From Dingy to Delightful

I’ve got a few rather disappointing photographs in my archive that were taken as unavoidably hurried one-off captures in a particular moment in time where there is often no real chance of going back to take a better shot – a now-or-never, take-it-as-it-is, like-it-or-not shot. And disappointing as many of them are, being pretty much unique for whatever reason, I’ve kept the resulting images for posterity.

For example, on our way from London to Brighton by train in late December 2011 (between Christmas and New Year actually), the weather was dull and damp and decidedlyย dingy as we quickly rattled past the iconic four chimneys of Battersea Power Station early on in our journey. The near-derelict ex-industrial building was ear-marked for planned redevelopment into a modern housing/ office complex in the near future, so I knew potentially this could be my last chance to capture her pre-facelift, so to speak.

(For those of you unaware of the iconic industrial beauty that is Battersea Power Station, she had been the cover-girl for Pink Floyd’s 1977 album ‘Animals’, taking pride of place along with a flying pig – it’s a classic, look it up!)

So with anticipation growing as we reached the location, I grabbed as many shots in passing as I could in the awkward circumstances – relatively fast-moving train with grubby windows, minimal options for a clear line of sight from the train tracks we were on, only a few seconds in which to frame and focus and fire, and of course intense pressure on myself to get it right because there would be no second chance.

In no time at all we were past and my chance was gone, so in the end this particular shot was the best of the bunch…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s quite clearly still recognisable as the empty shell of Battersea Power Station, all four chimneys are in the frame and thankfully my shot is actually in focus – hooray! But thirty-five years after being immortalised on an abum cover (the original image was taken in December 1976), my image seems disappointingly dingy, looking dull and dismal and – let’s face it, boring as hell. And not even a flying pig between her ears to brighten her up…

So how to jazz up my dull photograph seven years later? Post-processing with the application of a colourful digital filter, of course…

battersea-power-station

Ta-dahhh! How cheerfully non-dingy is this for a final image ๐Ÿ™‚

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Dingy

Random Everyday Stuff…

time wounds all heels

The play of words on the sign on this traditional shoe repair stall caught my eye while I was walking through a Victorian shopping arcade next to Liverpool Street Station in London – the older shoe repair guy caught my eye as I took the shot and gave me a little wave. The sign said ‘Time wounds all heels’ – ha!

It’s funny the way random everyday stuff often attracts my attention while so many other people just walk on by not noticing. As well as the sign I really liked the moody effect of the dull dark green painted surround juxtaposed against the brightly lit strip inside the booth.

And I also liked the way the customer in the red socks is sitting waiting for his work shoes to be re-soled or whatever during his lunch break. Perhaps it’s more of an inaction shot than an action shot – and I guess he’ll definitely be classed as a ‘well-heeled’ customer once he gets his shoes back! ๐Ÿ™‚

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: ‘dom’

Coffee Houses in the Heart of London

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London’s modern-day coffee culture isn’t as new as it seems – London’s first coffee-shack appeared in 1652 in the heart of London, and from then on myriad coffee houses played a huge part in the city’s economic growth during the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Before the introduction of coffee, most people drank alcohol as drinking water was hazardous to your health – but once coffee houses appeared, new-found sobriety and caffeine-fueled discussion laid the foundations for all sorts of businesses ๐Ÿ™‚

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Heart

RAF 100 Fly-By: Per Ardua Ad Astra

Today saw the official celebration of the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF), and as there was to be a special fly-by over Buckingham Palace to mark the occasion and we live directly under the flight path I just had to try to capture the planes as they passed by overhead.

Typically we’ve had wall-to-wall blue skies for weeks now, but earlier today we had grey cloud cover for the first time in ages – although its cleared up spectacularly now the excitement is all over. The fly-by was scheduled for 1pm, so from previous experience I knew the planes would be passing over us just before the hour.

At around 12.45pm I took my camera and wandered out onto Wanstad Flats, a few minutes walk from home, to get the best view I could – and it seemed lots of other people had the same idea. As expected, we soon heard the first engines and saw a formation of helicopters approaching above the treeline. They passed directly above us, these are apparently Pumas and Chinooks followed by smaller Juno and Jupiter helicopters…

Then the older propeller planes flew over with their wonderful deep rumbly engines – a Dakota, followed by a Lancaster flanked by spitfires and Hurricanes, three Prefects and a perfect diamond formation of Tucano T1s…

These were quickly followed by a pair of Shadows, a duo of Hercules bombers, and the huge pregnant-looking belly of the Atlas…

Suddenly it all speeded up into the more modern age with a Globemaster and BAE 146 followed quick as a flash by a single Sentinal, a Voyager, a Rivet Joint and a Sentry with its tell-tale radar dome…

More formation flying followed on in the shape of T1 and T2 Hawks, Tornadoes, and the new Lightnings…

And then over the trees came a spectacular flying ‘100’ created by Typhoon jets, and last but not least an arrow-head of Red Arrows – although sadly before they had their multicoloured red, white and blue tail-smoke stuff turned on.

Still, even without the colour-show of vapour trails it was an excellent, very well choreographed display of skilled formation flying over a busy bustling city that pretty much lasted for a good 10 minutes – and I noticed with a smile that several planes even had ‘RAF 100’ painted on their tails.

And of course, as well as celebration today it is important to commemorate all those brave service personnel over the last century who have died serving their King or Queen and Country: Per ardua ad astra.

PS I keep threatening to buy myself a proper zoom lens, but so far I’ve not got around toย  it, so these were all taken hand-held at the zoom end of the basic 14-42 (28-84 equivalent) kit lens of my Panasonic GF6 set to ‘auto’ so I couldn’t screw up the focus or the exposure – I’ve cropped them a bit to get closer, but overall I’m quite pleased with how they’ve turned out ๐Ÿ™‚

PPS I figured I might as well use the exacting ‘geometry’ of close formation flying for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week ๐Ÿ™‚