Iconic (St Paul’s Cathedral, London)

Iconic

The only photo I remember from my primary school history book is this:

St Paul’s Cathedral, rising above the bombed London skyline, is shrouded in smoke during the Blitz. Taken from the roof of the Daily Mail offices in Fleet Street. Copyright: © IWM.

I’m sure you’ve all seen it before: St Paul’s dome standing intact above the ruins, surrounded by smoke and flames, seemingly indestructible, converting into a symbol. Iconic doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was taken on 29 December 1940, the 114th night of the Blitz, by Herbert Mason, a Daily Mail photographer, from on top of the Daily Mail building in Fleet Street. I take my hat off to Mr Mason – quite apart from any other considerations, just for having the guts to stand on an exposed London rooftop during a German bombing raid, taking pictures.

Continue reading “Iconic (St Paul’s Cathedral, London)”

Just How Difficult Is It to Take a Self-Portrait?

Under certain circumstances: very.

The first challenge of Dogwood2016 was a self-portrait, using the camera’s self-timer. Well, finding out how to do that was easy (I read the manual).

But the rest…!

If there’s anything I hate more than being seen with a camera in my hand, it’s being in front of the camera. I was only sure of one thing: the resulting self-portrait should not really show much of me. If you say that can’t be a self-portrait, yes, it can.

Continue reading “Just How Difficult Is It to Take a Self-Portrait?”

Take Your Time: The Case of the Neurotic Photographer

One of the greatest impediments to me becoming a better photographer is that I wouldn’t want to be seen dead with a camera in my hand. 

Quick on the Trigger like John Wayne

In a city like London not wanting to be seen taking a picture does rather pose a problem. Even if you use a phone, even if you had an invisible camera, you would be still seen acting like a photographer.

What I’d like instead is to take great photos without behaving like a photographer.

To pull out the camera and shoot from the hip, as it were, in one quick movement, non-chalantly, seemingly without aiming but hitting the target for the first time, all the time. Yeah! Like John Wayne.

Continue reading “Take Your Time: The Case of the Neurotic Photographer”

Dazzling Doors (The Hungarian Parliament)

Recently I went on a visit to Hungary to spend time with family and catch up with old friends… and to introduce Young Friend of the Elephants (who caught the photography bug from me) to some of the more prestigious buildings of Budapest. In the course of which we took a copious amount of pictures, most of which proved to be a blurry failure when downloaded to the computer – but of that, more in another post…

Because today I’m contenting myself with nominating some dazzling doors from the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest (the few that came out sharp!) to Norm’s weekly Doors challenge.

Enjoy.

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Sun-Drenched

I don’t know about you but at around this time of the year, I invariably reach the point when I could murder for sunshine, flowers and the ability to go out without a coat.

(Not to mention it’s Monday.)

So what we need right now is a little sunshine:

Wishing you all a happy sunny Monday! (Click on the images to enlarge.)

Under Italian Influence: The Queen’s House in Greenwich

Today I’m going to depart a little from the usual topics to share instead some photos of the Queen’s House in Greenwich – built by one of England’s greatest architects, Inigo Jones. If you wonder why we’re looking at an English building on Mediterranean Monday, it’s because:

  1. The Queen’s House is the first pure, classical, Italianate building in England – which to English eyes at the time must have looked shockingly foreign
  2. Inigo Jones was heavily influenced by the classical architecture he saw in Italy in 1613-14, and in particular by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio
  3. It’s beautiful

Continue reading “Under Italian Influence: The Queen’s House in Greenwich”

Through the Doors of the Queen’s House, Greenwich

The Queen’s House in Greenwich is one of those buildings that I walked past dozens of times each year and never once entered, despite being a member in the Maritime Museum and despite the entry being free in any case. There is so much to see in Greenwich that the Queen’s House always ended up bypassed. I finally went in two weeks ago – to see the so-called Armada portrait of Queen Elizabeth I that the museum had recently acquired and which was about to disappear into a conservator’s workshop for the near future. The building is so stunning I can’t believe I ignored it for years – don’t miss it if you ever visit Greenwich!

The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (The Drake Version) [public domain] via Wikipedia
The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (The Drake Version) [public domain] via Wikipedia
Continue reading “Through the Doors of the Queen’s House, Greenwich”

Spain in Black & White II (España en blanco y negro II)

No comment.  Sin comentarios. 

(Click on the images to enlarge. Haz click en las imágenes para ampliar.)

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This also doubles as my entry to Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge this week!

Christmas Lights on the Cutty Sark

Christmas preparation took  up too much time this week for me to be able to write anything that’d be worth your while to read. So instead, three pictures of the Christmas lights of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich to wish you all a…

Merry Christmas

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P.S.: Although it'll be Boxing Day on Monday, Mediterranean Monday will go ahead as usual - with the stunning Roman Theatre of Mérida for its subject.

The London Eye at Night (Geometry)

Or, as this post more appropriately should be titled:

A Dummy’s First Attempts at Night Photography

(I’ll let you know when I feel competent enough to write A Guide to Night Photography for Dummies instead. Just watch this space.)

Generally, I much prefer taking pictures in blazing sunshine – they seem to come out so much better with so much less effort. But since winter arrived in London (in as much you can call 10 degrees above zero winter), the only choice is between fuzzy-muzzy-grey or night scenes. I’ll take night any time!

Continue reading “The London Eye at Night (Geometry)”

New Horizon

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whhheeeeᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇEEEEEEEE! The scream of jet engines rises to a crescendo on the runways of the world. Every second, somewhere or other, a plane touches down, with a puff of smoke from scorched tyre rubber, or rises in the air, leaving a smear of black fumes dissolving in its wake. From space, the earth might look to a fanciful eye like a huge carousel, with planes instead of horses spinning round its circumference, up and down, up and down. Whhheeeeeeeeeee!

Small World by David Lodge

In response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizon.

Made by the Egyptians: A Bust of Amenhotep III

When I saw Cee’s latest black & white photo challenge, Made by Human Beings, I immediately thought of this statue in the British Museum. Over the years I’ve taken half a dozen photos of it; I just don’t seem to be able to pass it by (and you do have to pass by it on your way from the Great Court to the Parthenon Room) without stopping and taking another photo. Enjoy:

Hecho por los egipcios: un busto de Amenhotep III

Cuando vi el último reto de fotografía en blanco y negro de Cee, Made by Human Beings (Hecho por seres humanos), pensé, inmediatamente, en esta estatua en el Museo Británico. A lo largo de los años sacaba una media docena de fotos de ella; parece que no puedo pasar cerca de ella (y hay que pasar cerca de ella andando de Great Court a la sala de Parthenon) sin sacar otra foto. Disfruta:

Continue reading “Made by the Egyptians: A Bust of Amenhotep III”

The Erotic Gherkin (Distortion)

30 St Mary Axe, better known as The (Erotic) Gherkin, is a skyscraper in the City which at the time of its building was the second tallest building in London. It was completed in 2003 and stands in the site of the former Baltic Exchange which was badly damaged by a bomb planted by the Provisional IRA in 1992.

gherkin-london-p1020096
A beach ball of a building? The Erotic Gherkin from below.

Is this a building that – for all practical purposes  – is shaped like a globe?

Well, no.

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HMS Cavalier (Edge)

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HMS Cavalier, a World War II destroyer in Chatham Historic Dockyard

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

Posted in response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge: Edge.

Links:O Captain! My Captain by Walt WhitmanThe Fastest Ship in the Fleet - an 18-minute film of the 1971 race between HMS Cavalier and HMS Rapid (Imperial War Museum). No prizes for guessing who won! 
⇒ The service history of HMS Cavalier on Naval-History.net