Last Monday morning at 0620 you would have found me waiting for the 0640 train to London Waterloo to attend another Light and Land Photography workshop. I had had a moment of indecision in the station car park as to whether I needed my thermal bobble hat. I decided to take it, and believe me if I hadn’t I would have been purchasing yet more emergency head gear*. It was so cold, bitterly, biting to the bone, fingertips numb, cold all day long.Read More
It has been a while since the sun has deigned to shine here in the UK. It has been a gloomy horrible start to 2019. Checking the weather last week I was stunned to see actual sunshine forecast. The Delightful Mr F pointed out that this might be the only opportunity to shoot with decent light before April, so off I went to London to work on my Monopoly project.
I went early, and the weather app on my phone was showing the sun would rise just as I was about to arrive at Waterloo station, leading to glorious, if somewhat chilly, sunny weather.
Once I got to London, I left the station with a spring in my step, only to be met by a howling gale, and rain going sideways. I briefly considered turning around and going home. I only had my X100F with me, which isn’t weather sealed, so photography was going to be tricky. In the end, with the rain stopping, I decided to walk a little and wait for the Tate to open, and to shoot there instead.
Off I went, and then the rain started again. I made haste to the next nearest train station for shelter, where I had to purchase an emergency woolly hat, as by that point I was cold, wet and grumpy*. Having acquired a woolly hat, my mood improved, and so did the weather. The sun started to break through the clouds, and the most wonderful stark, winter light emerged. I abandoned my Monopoly plans, and followed the light. I ended up walking all over the place, out to the Barbican, back through the City, along the river by the Tower of London, and back along the South Bank.
I don’t often shoot in the City, and perhaps should go more often. I remember when the Gherkin was a new building and everyone hated it, but I have always thought it was rather beautiful, and I like this shot with parts of the Lloyds Building in the foreground. The shot of the Shard is probably my favourite of the day.
Walking back along the South Bank, I found this lovely pool of light. I took a series of shadow shots, I like the slightly creepy, 1950s spy film look.
* Many thanks to the staff at the Charring Cross branch of Accessorize who took pity on me and cut the labels off so I could wear it.
In a surprising turn of events, I ended up with a day off. I looked at the weather forecast and it was predicting rain. How bad can it be I thought? For goodness sake, I am British, a bit of rain won’t be a problem. How wrong I was Dear Readers. Having arrived at Waterloo Station, I headed down the South Bank and the Heavens opened. Not normal, drizzle, easily held at bay by the use of an umbrella, but full on torrential rain, mostly going horizontally because of the high winds.Read More
Imagine, if you will, that time before the UK heat wave hit, a time when it rained. Yes, water fell from the sky, and there was no requirement to carry factor 50 sun block with you. That was a period when I was working silly hours, long days, and weekends too. There was no time for personal photography and I was sad, dear readers, yes, I was sad. One Sunday afternoon when I had said “pah!” to work and was lounging around the place, I saw an advert for a Light and Land London workshop on my news feed. “That”, I thought to myself, “is the tonic I need”, and so booked a slot pronto.
Light and Land is celebrating its 25thanniversary, founded by Charlie Waite and Sue Bishop, it has a pedigree all of its own.
Last Saturday, with the weather app on my phone telling me that it could hit 31C in London, I braved the trains* and tube and made my way to meet the group. There I met our tutor, Paul Sanders,** and the rest of the group. We also had bonus tutors, Neil Wake, and Shanice, of Fuji UK, who had kindly lugged half of the Fujifilm equipment stores into London for us to play with. I got to use the XT2, which I may well have fallen for.
Anyway, enough gear talk, Paul set us off photographing the marvellous staircase in the hotel. This made me very happy indeed; you know how I love a staircase.
After that we headed for the Tate Modern, taking photos as we went. We then headed along the South Bank of the Thames over the Millennium Bridge towards St Pauls, shutter buttons happily clicking away. Lunch was upon us and we stopped for a break and some photographic natter. Fully refreshed, we headed for the city, where we were able to shoot the amazing architecture.
It was a really great day, Paul, Shanice and Nathan were brilliant, always ready to help. It wasn't rushed either, it was a healthy wander around, camera in hand seeing what we could see. I hate being marched from one location to the next and told to "be creative" on the spot. Check out Light and Land for similar courses, and Paul and Nathan on Instagram below:
@wiggys (Paul Sanders)
@nathan_xp1 (Nathan Wake)
*South Western Railways was on strike again, oh, the joy!
** So, this is slightly embarrassing, but I spent the first half of the day thinking, “Blimey, this Paul bloke sounds so familiar, can’t place him though”. It wasn’t until we made it to the Bank of England I realised he is one half of the marvellous Togcast, of which I am an avid listener.
My ambition to take photograph to represent every square on the monopoly board has ramped up a notch in the last few weeks. I have managed to capture a few more images that I am pleased with. The problem now though, is that I am left with the more challenging locations.Read More
What is it with me and staircases? I seem obsessed lately. Every time I go out on a photo jaunt, there seems to be a top class staircase.Read More
It is currently raining in the vicinity of Fennell Towers, and has been for quite some time and according to those lovely folks at the Met Office, it isn't going to change*. There are always shots to be taken in the rain, but today I am revisiting some of my shots from the StreetSnappers course I did a few weeks ago.Read More
Last week I had a client meeting up in London. Travel arrangements were tricky and I could not afford to be late. Given the current state of the railways in our area, I decided to take a much earlier train than seemed sensible. As is the fate of rail users everywhere, when planning contingency in a journey, it wasn’t needed and I was at London Waterloo at 0630* and with two hours to spare.Read More
Merry Christmas dear Readers! I hope that you and your kin have a wonderful day, full of fun and happiness, and of course captured on your favourite photographic kit!Read More
I try to take photos every day, I am a great believer in practise makes perfect. I do also try to set aside some time every week to go out specifically to take photographs. For these trips I normally plan where I want to go and the shots I would like to get. A few weeks ago I set off to London to get my last trip in before much of Waterloo Station is closed for the duration of August. I won't be returning to London until September, even if they are giving out free ice-cream at the station*.
I had planned, armed with my Fuji X100F, to go and shoot around Covent Garden, and then amble along the South Bank, perhaps with a creative recharge stop involving a nice piece of chocolate cake and cuppa. Having made it up to the Big Smoke it became clear very quickly that the weather was going be against me. It was blowing a gale and looked as though it was going to pour with rain. Often bad weather can give you some great shots, with stormy skies and ominous clouds. Not that day though. It was horrible. Flat grey skies and dull light was not showing London at its best. There was nothing for it, I needed a Plan B. I keep a notebook full of ideas and places to visit which I carry everywhere with me. As the rain started I sheltered under an awning close to the Tate Modern and decided indoor locations were the order of the day.
Even in bad weather I will walk rather than take The Tube, so despite becoming increasingly soggy and bedraggled I headed off to the Tate Britain. The artwork here is fantastic, but so is the building. I wanted to see the current Tate commission, Forms in Space…by Light (in Time) by Cerith Wyn. The installation is made up of several kilometres of fluorescent tubing. If you can get along to see it, it is well worth it.
It is a wonderful piece of work, being three dimensional it changes as you walk through it and around it. Photographing it, however, is another matter. You can either expose for the room as a whole and the impact of the shapes is lost, or expose for the tubing and loose all the background detail. I went for the latter. It makes a rather nice abstract photograph don't you think?
I obviously couldn't leave the Tate Britain without photographing a staircase could I?**
The Tate Britain is an amazing location both for taking photographs and for getting inspiration, so the next time you are stuck in London with typical horrid British weather, hot foot it to Millbank and have a cultural boost. It is free too.
* I know the closures are allowing upgrades to happen, and there probably isn't any other way, but I fear that Network Rail may have inadvertently provided their customers with a guaranteed ticket to the Seventh Circle of Hell with this plan. I know passenger numbers are lower in August, but it is the summer. It is, well might be, hot which makes people grumpy, and they are already grumpy as it is summer and they are at work and not on holiday. Not to mention all the poor baffled tourists who must be wondering what on earth is going on.
** It is possible I am developing a bit of an obsession with staircases...