Thursday, November 01, 2012

Changing London

click photo to enlarge

"London is a splendid place to live in for those who can get out of it."
George John Gordon Bruce (1883-1967), English banker and peer

"I've been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I find something fresh in it every day." Walter Besant (1836-1901), English novelist and historian (words said on his death bed)

English people have differing views of their capital city. There are those who see it as the centre of the world, a place where anything and everything can and does happen, somewhere that shines brighter and more intensely than anywhere else. But there are also those for whom London is a place to avoid, a large, crowded, noisy, tumultuous place bent on making money or extracting it from the unwary visitor.

My view of London leads me to find sympathy with both of the above quotations. I really enjoy visiting London, but I wouldn't want to live there on a permanent basis. I've said elsewhere in this blog that a few years would suit me nicely, but then a yearning for the country, for the sea, for villages and small towns, for wide open spaces and wildlife would be so engulf me that I'd have to move out. So yes, a splendid place to live if you can regularly go elsewhere. As a photographer I'm always overwhelmed by the choice of photographic subjects that London offers. Like anywhere else it changes with the light, time of day and season. But it also changes because infrastructure development is an ongoing process to a much greater extent than anywhere else in the country. Buildings change use, old ones come down and new ones go up. The view up the Thames to the city from where I stay in London changes every year. A rather odd shaped building that flares out towards the top is currently under construction, a feature that has already earned it the name, "The Walkie Talkie". Then there is the view of the completed splinter of glass called "The Shard" that can be seen on the right of today's photograph (memo to self: must visit the viewing gallery when it opens to the public). For someone like me who is interested in architecture such buildings offer something fresh everyday at which I can point my camera.

Today's image, though it has a backdrop of the River Thames and the southern edge of the centre of the city is in fact a family photograph. I took it as my eldest son, his daughter, my wife and I were having a short walk. The sharp silhouettes and almost monochrome qualities softened by the clouds that threatened a further downpour suggested a contre jour shot would work, so I framed my photograph and pressed the shutter.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 45mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -1.00 EV
Image Stabilisation: On