Saturday 13 January 2018 – London.
Happy new year! Welcome to 2018. Year six in my two years away from New Zealand. Day some number of thousands in the blog that probably wouldn’t last past the first day. I cannot believe I am still here, and that I get viewers on a daily basis, thanks 🙂
El was off to the football this afternoon, she now has a season ticket to the club that will not be named by an Arsenal supporter. She also had some work to do this morning and I didn’t (well I did but meh) so I decided to take the camera out for a walk. My plan was to catch the train into the city, find St Dunstan’s Church, walk up to The Photographers Gallery in the west-end to see the Wim Wenders exhibition, buy some new walking shoes, then go home. I am trying to do more exercise than I have been, taking a camera with me meant a meandering two or three hour walk.
Now I had decided to visit St Dunstan’s Church I felt I needed to take the Canon 5d MK 1 rather than the smaller, lighter point and shoot. I keep thinking I need to replace the 5d, it is 13 years old; which in technology terms is ancient, there is a MK 4 version now. It is heavy, unwieldy, and unfashionable, and the view screen is terrible. However, every time I take it out for a walk I just love the images that pop out of my computer screen when I get home. It just seems to suit the way I take pictures. In my bag it went, with a wide angle and a 50mm lens.
On a previous walk with El I had failed to find St Dunstan’s, poor research. Today I at least memorised the address. It is easy to find.
The church has a long history, it has been destroyed and rebuilt many time since its creation in 1100. The ruined version that remains now has a Christopher Wren designed tower built in 1701 that still stands and a pile of ruins, courtesy of Nazi Germany from 1821.
I always wanted to visit over a weekend, as it is a popular lunch and contemplation spot for city workers during the week. At the weekend it is just busy with photographers. It is a very cool spot.
The trick is take a photo that shows off the ruined church; the vines, the moss and mould, but hide the newer post-war buildings that surround it. Avoiding the fashion photographers and their detritus was far harder.
Leaving St Dunstans I started a very meandary path towards the west. I wanted to stay off the main roads and explore the smaller, less known streets, avoiding the worst of the people and finding things I have never seen before. Like St Mary Abchurch.
The churchyard led me up to the intersection at ‘Bank’,
where I headed off bank down the lanes towards the north bank of the Thames.
Walking towards St Pauls I found this rather forlorn looking closed outdoor cafe area outside a church.
There is an interesting mix of old and new buildings along Queen Victoria St, this used to be my ‘patch’ when I was a courier driver for DHL back in the 1980s, not a lot of has changed since then.
I headed back up into the lanes around St Pauls, passing the lovely St Andrews of the Wardrobe church, hidden away from the worst of the rush.
I stopped for a light lunch, coffee and a rest in a cafe on Blackfriars Rd, before crossing over, finally heading down to Thames side.
Though soon after I was back up off the main road and strolling through the peace and quiet of ‘Temple’ , one of my favourite weekend places in the central city. It is pretty much deserted at the weekend, most of the entrances are closed and unless you know how to get in, and more importantly out you would never know it is there. I was looking for some of the small flower gardens, but it is the wrong time of the year for flowers, and the few that were there were blowing around in the quite strong wind. I decided to find the exit on to Fleet St, which is not as easy as it sounds on a weekend as a lot of the place is locked up.
One of the great aspects of London, that does go a bit unremarked upon, is the vast number of trees scattered all over the central city, trees both ancient and new, near buildings both ancient and new.
Crossing back down to the river again I came across No 2 Temple Place. The building is slightly off the Thames and I must have passed nearby without actually spotting it before. It is a gallery though it was not open when I was there. I had been planning on taking a few photos using a very shallow depth of field of any flowers I found, not having found anything suitable I decided to experiment with these two small statues marking the entrance to the gallery. I liked them both.
I took the stairs up to the top of Waterloo Bridge.
Making my way through a very crowded Chinatown and Soho, I went to The Photographers Gallery to see the Wim Wenders Polaroid exhibition, which I very much enjoyed. It was quite busy as well.
My final mission for the day was to buy myself a new pair of trainers for walking the streets, I have worn out another pair with all my walking around, mainly, London. I was surprised to find this a successful, and not too stressful event. I headed home with purchases, and a what I hoped was a bunch of photos I would be happy with.
One of the things that I love about, and am frustrated with, when using the old 5d is that it is so old it is does not have an active rear screen. There is a screen and I can see the image I have taken, but the screen is small, has a very low resolution, is a bit worn and quite faded. I do not get much of an appreciation of the image I have taken. I sort of like this as it means I do not ‘pixel-peep’ every shot I take, so I tend to take less shots and use the camera almost like it is loaded with film. The downside is I have no idea how good, bad or indifferent my photos are until I get them loaded on to my computer.
I am going to say I was pretty pleased with what I got today. Going on a photo walk was a really good idea. I need to do it a lot more!