Flying visit

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Really not the usual kind of thing I’d take photographs of, but last week was the hundredth anniversary of the formation of the RAF – making it the oldest independent (of other military departments eg army or navy) air force in the world.

It was also one of the cloudiest days we’ve had in weeks.  Of course.

The event was marked by a big flypast over central London, involving 100 aircraft of various types, from the WWII vintage flyers (Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane) in the first photograph to the latest and greatest Lightning.  I think the latter was referred to as the Eurofighter for quite some time, but perhaps that name doesn’t work so well in Brexit Britain…. Not sure what the aircraft below are, but I got a sharp photo of them so they’re here for all to admire!

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I didn’t get photos of everything, but I did get some good views from the roof of the hospital where I work – as long as I avoided the heads of all the other people crowded up there to watch too!

Naturally the event ended with a flypast by the Red Arrows – a team who support a lot of charities, including Great Ormond Street – they made some of our young patients very happy when they came to visit just before last Christmas.

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And that’s about that – back to ground level next time, I suspect.

Cheers, Jon

 

Looking up

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Literally….

This is the art deco stairwell of a lovely nearby building where some of our hospital staff are based.  Sadly not me, but I get special dispensation to visit every now and again!  I think this counts as one of the most pleasing (to me) photos I’ve taken in a while – there’s something about the light and the simplicity that really appeals to me.  I’m still irked that I used my ‘phone to take it though, rather than a ‘proper’ camera.  Still, I had it with me and this shot had to be taken.

Hopefully more photo opportunities to come given how glorious our weather is right now.

Cheers,

Jon

Surely sun mistake?

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Manchester’s famous library, recently restored

Lovely sunshiny day last weekend in…Manchester.

It looks like this blog gets more hits from the USA than it does from my home in the UK, so for those of you who don’t know, Manchester is the Seattle of England.  Mind you, Manchester got there first I suppose so really Seattle is the Manchester of the United States.  With better coffee.  And Frasier.

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Manchester has a proud heritage and became well-known across the world during its heyday as a centre of the textile trade.  Numerous ornate Victorian edifices are to be seen, which can look quite gloomy when the light and weather is doing its usual thing.  They say it’s grim up North….

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The Town Hall – big building to accommodate all the hot air

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A few photos of details on the various nearby buildings

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Even drainpipes can look good

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I was in town to see a gig at the fabulous Royal Northern College of Music – brilliant venue.  Brilliant gig too, but that’s another story.  The following morning I had a quick photo-wander before heading back to London.  The sun doesn’t half make places more photogenic.

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All of these are JPEGs from a Fuji X100F – this series of cameras continues to be a travel and street photographer’s dream, and in its latest incarnation so many of the early irritations have been ironed out that there’s precious little to ask for.  Other than weather-sealing – which means that it’s not necessarily the best camera to use in Manchester.  Or Seattle.

Cheers,

Jon

 

Is anybody there?

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Not a lot going on with this blog currently – I’ll see what I can do if whoever is in charge of the weather actually ever remembers that we are now in British Summer Time.  Lovely false start a little while ago when the plants thought it was time to do something, and I thought it would be fun to use an old-fashioned manual everything lens (Samyang 50/1.2).

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Also nice weather for a recent walk in the woods, after a particularly long day stuck indoors while the outside temperatures had soared into ‘cor wot a scorcher’ territory.  This image, taken with the fixed lens X100(F) is probably my favourite of these three:

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For people who still drop by – thank you!  I have plans for some future fun things to post here, so keep looking; hopefully it might even be worth it soon.

Cheers,

Jon

Spring, unsprung

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You wouldn’t believe this was taken in London, ever, or that it was taken at what the meteorological calendar considers to be the start of Spring.  Still, here’s a view from one of the stairwells of Great Ormond Street Hospital – so proof that yes we do get snow sometimes, and that yes I do take the stairs instead of the lift!  It also happens to be the first time I’ve posted an image to this blog made with my ‘phone (OnePlus 3T) – I really don’t like using mobiles as cameras but with a bit of help from Snapseed, this one came out quite nicely.  I still don’t want to admit it though – I take comfort from using something more like a camera even if on the inside it’s probably mostly a computer (more like a ‘phone).

Cheers,

Jon

Is reality all it’s cracked up to be?

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Most of the time, I tend to be very conservative with what I do with photographs on the computer – I’m not a great fan of spending hours tweaking every pixel and mostly don’t like images which look as if they’ve obviously been ‘processed’.  So, no HDR for me and I don’t love those super saturated and samurai-sharp landscape images either.  Every now and again, though, I find my resulting untweaked images a little unfinished – or to be a bit more blunt, boring.

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I finally looked through some images from a quick trip to Norfolk in the Summer over the past weekend, and somehow the standard adjustments in Lightroom just weren’t cutting it for me.  Maybe it’s the fact that this area of the country is a landscape painter’s dream (Constable being perhaps the most famous of the East Anglian artists) but on this occasion I decided to fiddle rather more than usual.

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These photographs were all taken in and around Brancaster (not so far from the Sandringham Estate) and processed using Scott Davenport’s Landscape Pack as part of OnOne 2017 as a starting point – in essence adding some clarity, vignetting, saturation and various textures.  It was a good deal of fun and I think has made some of the more interesting images that I’ve taken recently.

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One final image from Brancaster – this wooden bridge was just begging to be given some monochrome treatment; I’m sure I’m not the first person, or the last person, to do it – but here’s my attempt.  Oddly, sometimes I think black and white can make things look more real.  Hmmmm:

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Thanks for looking if you’ve stayed the course to the bottom of this post!  It’s been a while, but I’m still here!

Jon

London – keeping on

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After the senseless events earlier this week, it seems like time to post a few more images of my adopted home-city.

I’ve lived in London for nearly 30 years now and don’t think there’s a single photograph here that could have been taken in the 1980s because the city is constantly evolving. Indeed, from the first photo above, the majority is new over that time period (aside from Tower Bridge and the HMS Belfast).  To the right of the Belfast is the relatively recent Greater London Assembly (the circular building), in the distance behind the bridge is the sprawl around Canary Wharf – considered to be an expensive white elephant that would never attract tenants when it was initially built – and framing the photo is a recent spiral staircase heading down to The Thames Path, which I don’t think was really ‘a thing’ when I first moved here.

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Definitely not ‘a thing’ when I arrived was The Shard, which now dominates what was the largest building in the London Bridge vicinity until a few years ago – the Guy’s Hospital tower to the right.  I don’t often have reason to wander around the north bank of the river but this time I saw some stairs down to the riverbank and found a view which I think I could make more of in future if I had the right skies (more interesting) and right kit (tripod).

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Also new in recent years is the ‘walkie talkie’ skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street.  Very controversial (a long word for ‘ugly’), it is wider at the top than the bottom, in order to fit in more people for the same ground rent, and is a building which frankly looks better when you’re right up close – because then you can’t really see it all.  I’d hoped to get to the free sky gardens at the top of the building, but they were full and apparently you need to book weeks in advance to be sure of getting up there.

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Even the views of St Paul’s have changed over the years – here it’s poking out from the staircase and suspension wires of the Millennium (aka ‘wobbly’) Bridge.

It strikes me that all of the newer structures in the photographs above were planned and built in a period of mostly relative peace in the city – when I first moved here, bomb threats from the IRA were part of the routine so the juxtaposition of Martin McGuinness’ death with this week’s events in Westminster is another reminder that so much has moved on, and yet so much is depressingly unchanged.

London-10Talking of things that have moved on, another major development in London over the past 20 years has been the opening of the Tate Modern – the sheer scale of which is astonishing, especially the main Turbine Hall (part of which pictured above).  It was reassuring to see that, just two days after the Westminster attack, the museum was busy as ever, and nearby south bank teeming with people.  The new viewing platform on the recently-opened Switch House extension is very popular too:

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This was a repeat visit to the platform for me – I’d been a couple of weeks ago when it was grey and windy, and wanted to come back on a nice bright day.  Same camera for both trips (X100S) but the images from the cloudy day (with a bit of help on the computer) were much more interesting, especially when converted to black and white.  The views from here are well worth the astonishingly annoying – stop-at-every-floor – lift ride and I plan to come back – but next time I think I’ll aim for twilight; I bet the views would be great with a deep blue sky and city lights shining.

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So, the city – to borrow a phrase from Alan Bennett – seems to be rather good at keeping on keeping on.  And after the events this week, that’s something worth celebrating.

Jon