Saturday, October 25, 2008

The London Eye

click photos to enlarge
I've noted elsewhere that my initial reservations about the suitability of a giant Ferris wheel in the centre of London were misplaced. I had thought that bringing an element of the funfair to the middle of the nation's capital, and siting it next to the River Thames and historic buildings was insensitive; that the cityscape would be devalued by its presence. But, repeated viewings of "The London Eye" as it is called, and a ride in one of its slowly rotating high-tech, capsule-like gondolas changed my mind.

In fact, I'm quite in favour of tall structures, open to the public, that give a view over the city. The great churches of London, pre-eminently, St Paul's Cathedral, have done this for centuries. So too has The Monument to the Great Fire of London (known simply as The Monument), a 202 feet (61 metres) tall Roman Doric column, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1671 and 1677. At the time of its construction it was the tallest free standing column in the world, and provided a panorama of the rooftops of the City. More recently the 581 feet (177 metres) tall BT Tower (formerly the GPO Tower) that opened in 1966 was designed with a revolving restaurant that gave diners a great bird's eye view of the capital. Subsequent tall office blocks have surpassed these structures, but without adding much of distinction to the skyline, and without allowing the general public to enjoy the view.

The downturn in the economy is likely to put a brake on the next generation of tall London buildings. The proposed London Bridge Tower, know colloquially as "The Glass Shard", is likely to be one victim of the tightening of purse strings. Many will welcome this, seeing such structures as detrimental to the London skyline. My view is that height shouldn't necessarily be a bar to construction if the design is good and the site is suitable. Provided of course there is public access to the top so that those great vistas can be enjoyed!

photographs & text (c) T. Boughen

Top Image
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 15mm (30mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On

Bottom Image
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've seen a lot of images of the London Eye on photography forums but your two show it in a different way, especially the second one (I likethe title too :-)

Tony Boughen said...

Thanks Anon. I was walking across Hungerford Bridge, watching successive aircraft pass over the Thames, and waited for an opportunity to get one just as it appeared to pass the Eye.

Regards, Tony