Saturday, 26 April 2014

Flower power

At the end of Park Road are some road works. No work is being undertaken today of course, but the orange barriers are surrounding a partially dug hole, a pile of broken up tarmac and snakes of yellow plastic tubing. I'm assuming that this will house cables when completed.

In my bag of extraordinarily assorted minifigs, I have a construction worker. Actually it's Emmet, the star of the Lego Movie. Emmet Brickowski (yes, really) is an ordinary man or "the Special", depending on your view and, as can clearly be seen, seems a pretty happy chap. This is one of the Lego minifigs that has a double sided head, two faced, if you will. On one side is a big smile and on the reverse, he's on the verge of hysteria. I'm not entirely sure what was so funny about the road works, but each to their own.


Man at work

At the end of Park Road are some road works. No work is being undertaken today of course, but the orange barriers are surrounding a partially dug hole, a pile of broken up tarmac and snakes of yellow plastic tubing. I'm assuming that this will house cables when completed.

In my bag of extraordinarily assorted minifigs, I have a construction worker. Actually it's Emmet, the star of the Lego Movie. Emmet Brickowski (yes, really) is an ordinary man or "the Special", depending on your view and, as can clearly be seen, seems a pretty happy chap. This is one of the Lego minifigs that has a double sided head, two faced, if you will. On one side is a big smile and on the reverse, he's on the verge of hysteria. I'm not entirely sure what was so funny about the road works, but each to their own.

Thinking very pink

Another street, another flower. There's plenty of natural material to draw me in on Beresford Road but the winner was the vibrant pink flowers that my minifig mini-me could set up the tripod (though actually, it seems to have four legs!) for.

Stuck up a tree

Fairlawns is tiny, it has a small lawn of sorts surrounding a large tree. This whole area is abundant with trees. I believe that the relative proximity of Kew Gardens encouraged a "keeping up with the Joneses" attitude and wealthy locals liked to display their opulence in the form of exotic flora sourced from far and wide. They would commission botanists to scour new lands looking for the next big leafy thing. If you explore round and about here, you'll find ancient vines, protected walnut trees, an abundance of verdant foliage and the odd shell-encrusted grotto. Legend says that's there's another even larger grotto that remains undiscovered since it was filled in when the gardens of Marble Hill House were re-landscaped.

As an April shower has suddenly descended I opt to shelter under the tree and staged a little ginger car stuck up a tree scenario. The passersby scurrying under rain slicked umbrellas clearly think I've lost my mind but I'm on a mission and relatively dry.


Bamboo eater

On my foray around the local streets looking for inspiring found objects and environments it's time to turn off the beaten track. Willoughby Road is not familiar to me, it leads to somewhere I've never been. I have, of course, spotted the major building those seems to have been transplated from an Italian villa.

The initial part is a small Road leading to a and There are some gardens backing onto the path attached to the Richmond Bridge Mansions and rather handily I spot some bamboo growing. I'm not sure if it's the kind of bamboo a panda would tuck into but my minifig panda, or to be more accurate, a minifig man in a panda suit, would look perfectly at home here.


Ryde Place is small cul-de-sac of just a few flats and parking spaces, I didn't think it would elicit any material but a discarded banana skin gave me an idea. A well placed gingerbread man minifig and tada! Hmm a banana and ginger bread crumbs, even though I detest the taste of bananas, I can detect a dessert there.

A man and a can

There's a bench near the bus stop on Richmond Road that is occasionally occupied by a group of men who imbibe cheap lager and sing lustily. Today the "tuneful" trio are absent but the detrious of their last party is strewn around the wooden bench. I want to include my minifigs in the scene but I only seem to have suited and booted man. I like the idea but I don't think it entirely works. Time for further minifig purchases perhaps?

Sunning on a wall

Morley Road is bathed in the late afternoon sunshine creating long shadows. There's a wall just begging for cat to be taking in some golden rays.

American Beauty

I have a favourite tree in Cambridge Park, not too far from where I live. I love to see it change season by season. In Spring it has a lush canopy of plump pink blossom and as the branches overhang the pavement you can get showered in confetti petals if you walk under it when there's a breeze blowing.

It occurs to me that I think I've always called it a cherry tree, but I can't recall ever seeing it bear any fruit. I attempted one of those tree identification questionnaires on the Web and, if I haven't been wildly inaccurate with my responses, it could be a cherry or plum tree. It seemed to take its time blossoming this year, the barren branches remained and then it exploded. It's now losing its petals and clouds of pink carpet the pavement. The pink of the bunny minifig coordinated and I figured a vague homage to American Beauty might be apt.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Minifigs on the town

It's Friday night and I want to try a spot of night photography for the Bleeding London photography project. I pick the corner of Theobalds Road where I can place my minifig mini-me and tripod on the control panel of the pelican crossing, and also steady my camera on my own slightly larger mini tripod. I need a slow shutter speed to capture the eager-for-the-weekend traffic. I'm certainly intriguing the staggering drunks and a passing pelican but I hold out until a double decker bus passes leaving behind the multicoloured light trails.

Purple period

Alexander Road has many gardens spilling their shrubberies and flowers into the path of a passing camera lens, and it seems rude not to take advantage. My minifig mini-me is clutching the stem of an obliging purple plant and precariously photographing the scene.

Reflecting on a theme

It's sunny, for at least this moment so armed with sunglasses and my camera I aim to tick Coley Street off my list whilst Grays Inn Café toast my ham and cheese lunch time sandwich. My minifig is also sporting sunglasses, and clutching an iPad which gives me an idea reflection-wise.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Photographing flowers X 2

I do seem to spend a lot of my time with my lens poked in amongst some flowers of some sort so it seems appropriate that my minifig mini-me would also be doing the same in the weird little private garden on Grays Inn Road.

A cat on a tin bin

I don't think I've ever even walked along Gough Street before, but from across the road I espy one of those old distinctive metal dustbins. It's bin day so all the dustbins, green recycle containers and bags for the paper and cardboard are all still out after the refuse trucks have trundled by. I figured a ginger cat, that featured briefly in the Lego Movie, would look good against the industrial galvanised steel can.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Introduce my minifig mini-me!

After last year's ambitious photo-a-day project I'd shied from too onerous a commitment. I met PD on the Pluckley Wood workshop and on the train journey home she encouraged me to sign up for the Bleeding London photography project. I did some research and thought I'd would be great to get involved in. The name of the project sounds rather alarming but it makes more sense when it's explained that in the name of a book by Geoff Nicholson. One of his main characters is determined to check off every page in the London A-Z and that's the crux of the project. Our mission is to photograph all of London's 73,000 streets between now and October. It's not supposed to be a Google Street Map exercise, with an obvious representation of the you can snap absolutely anything that takes your fancy, with any camera.

My first thought is I need a hook. What would tie all my images together? I liked the idea of incorporating the weather in my images, especially rain but would that be too restrictive? I then started thinking pink but I could struggle to find something in every road and street with a rosy hue unless I brought something with me. Hmm that makes me think of my beloved penguins, they've had a quiet year so far. But after considering the teeny, tininess of them and their fellow miniatures, and how they don't always want to stand up (grrr), I opted to upscale to Lego minifigs for this project.

I'd ended up with a minifig man in a bunny suit for an Easter picture. I'd wanted one quickly so ended up with a job lot of pretty random minifigs. The cogs started whirling and I decided to add a few more to the eclectic collection and make them my theme. I thought it might be fun to find a kind of minifig mini-me to represent my efforts. I discovered you can actually have a minifig customised to a photo, if you desire, but that seemed a tad extreme so I ended up with this. She is a bit (actually a lot) more urban than me but favours black, pink and a skull motif which is promising. Though I don't possess anything resembling a hoodie and she's a bit light on the bling for my liking! She is, of course, armed with a camera (note the red dot!) and tripod, sunglasses, vibrant lipstick, an assortment of penguins and of course never without her iPad. So she might be my doppelganger! With her and the mixed assortment of other minifigs, I am ready to hit the streets.

I am hoping more of the photographers I know in London will also join in as I'm intrigued as to what their themes would be. To find out more about the project, check out and to sign up, email them at Come on, let's tick off those London streets, roads, avenues, lanes and cul-de-sacs.


Lurking in the clover

Armed with my camera and a bag of random minifigs I'm looking for inspiration of a lunchtime for the Bleeding London photography project. There's some abundant clover growing in the cracks of a stone step in Calthorpe Street W2 just crying out for some creature to lurk there. My grab bag of eclectic minifigs includes a man in a panda suit clutching a panda toy and that seemed to work.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The tiny things tripod

I figured as I'm always trying to photograph the littlest items I'd upgrade my diminutive Manfrotto pocket tripod to the one designed for a beefier big-boy camera. It gives me a lot more stability and height options so now...bring on the tiny things!


The great Easter egg hunt!

I had been determined to capture a Lego bunny drowning in Mini you do, but I had searched high and low in the shops of Richmond and couldn't find any of Cadbury finest diminutive chocolate eggs anywhere. Eventually I tracked down an elderly, dust encrusted packet at WH Smith. It was dreadfully out of date and they seemed loathed to sell it to me but it looked like my only chance. So rather late, I finally got the Easter picture I wanted.

The desire to have some little Lego minifig mis en scene with mini eggs started the ball rolling with a theme for my Bleeding London project. I don't really know how the idea occurred but it has already taken on a life if its own!

Monday, 21 April 2014

It's all about the bunny

The grounds of the Mary Magdelene church in Church Walk is a mass of daisies and wispy elderflower. I want to try and immortalise my minifig bunny and a dandelion clock but they're a little out of reach. The daisies are more accessible though so they have to be the second picture of the RPS Bleeding London photography project. I really wanted to create an image with the bunny and some Cadbury Mini Eggs but I can't find any anywhere. Clearly there's been a run on them over the Easter weekend but as the light fades I'm determined to track some down somewhere.


Bleeding London, inaugural photograph

I've started photographing my entries for the RPS Bleeding London project, photographing the streets of London your way. I've decided to interact with what I find in each street, be it discarded rubbish or the various flora, and possibly, fauna. I found and old style ring pull and thought this might work well with my robot couple. It took me a while to locate the perfect perch. I tried on the sloping top of a solar powered ticket machine but the slant was defeating my ability to get the robots to stop plummeting. Eventually I settled on a metal roof rack. It wasn't my intention to have the male robot appear to be creeping up behind and about to throttle his mate, but these things happen!

This photograph was taken in Castle Yard, one down 72,999 to go!


Everything is awesome!

Due to a happy accident I've ended up with an assortment of Lego minifigs and to inspire me for a forthcoming photography project, I thought I'd try and see the last viewing of the Lego Movie in Richmond. I'm too late for the 3D version but there's one last option on the 2D version, or as we say, the normal format. I enjoyed it more than I expected, it reminded me that I could comfortably have seen myself as a Lego Master Builder when I grew up. I also fancied being a spy or a witch. Sadly these aspirations were never met, though I may have cast a spell occasionally, but not enough to class myself as a "professional" witch!

As the credits rolled I thought I'd break the no camera rule and incorporate the minifig bunny in my bag (surely everyone carries these about) with the Lego backdrops. I don't recall seeing the bunny in the movie, so I addressed that. For anyone else who's seen the movie, can you tell how long does it take for the ear-worm "everything is awesome" to stop buzzing around my head?


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Gluttony...or cannibalism!

Tonight's Photography Social is just off Carnaby Street and, as usual, I arrive cutting it fine. The format seems to have changed a bit which is slightly confusing. Instead of just one photo for the team submission, everyone submits a photo for the team photo. Tonight it was "resurrection". I guessed it would be vaguely Easter based but this was a challenge. I opted in the end for a close up of some new leaves emerging on a bush surrounded by the grown up leaves.

The individual challenge was briefly the ten commandments, until it seemed obvious apart some vague idea about not coveting a neighbour's oxen, we'd drawn a bit of a blank, do was swiftly changed to the seven deadly sins. As luck would have it, earlier today I'd taken delivery of a collection of random minifigs because I had an idea of a photo I wanted to do for Easter. Hmm, that gave me an idea. I also had a small bag of tiny Malteser chocolate bunnies too, I could go for "gluttony" or cannibalism, if that was one of the deadly sins. All I needed was a bit of decent light. I stayed at the wooden table in the pub and tried with the aid of iPhones to illuminate the now chocolate smeared face of the Lego bunny to bring life to my vision. The light from the iPhones was too harsh however, so I had to try and harness the overhead lights instead. Eventually I was able to get the shot I wanted. And it worked, I scored myself a ten and another shiny red ten badge. Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Capturing Pluckley Woods

So another early start to travel to deepest Kent to peer at flowers through a macro lens. This is my fourth Robert Canisbay workshop, and I have another booked next month. I was determined to be completely prepared for the sunrise start and collect tripod, filters, quick release plate (tripod would be pretty useless without that) and other sundry photographic accoutrements the night before. I transferred the essentials from my handbag to my camera bag and made sure damp grass and muddy paths were accommodated with a small groundsheet and my new pink kneelers. In the morning I was rewarding myself for the preparation and was dressed and ready in no time, just needed to add my hiking boots. I'm not a fan of sensible shoes, too many years in high heels have compressed my calf muscles and they don't enjoy flat shoes. But I know a muddy wood is not the best place for spiky heels so to further my photographic experience I'd furnished myself with two pairs of hiking boots, one black pair and one pink. But neither pair were where I'd expected and this threw me, the only thing I didn't prepare. Eventually I found one black one lurking behind some bags I'd been filling for the charity shop and the other in an entirely different room. The pink ones are still hiding somewhere. I was very thankful I hadn't only found one black and one pink one, that might have raised a few eyebrows. Suitably clad (well, relatively!) I headed for the bus to get to the station.
Pluckley station is very cute, it's won awards for appearance several years running and their are neat stacks of books that you can buy for charity to amuse you on your journey. You can help yourself to a hot drink in aid of charity too. I had arrived early (a very rare occurance) and after securing a taxi for the final leg of the trip I could admire the station whilst waiting for PD to arrive on the next train from London.
Soon we were perched on log benches around a fire on the middle of a private wood. The itinary for today was plenty of flower photography but also a smidge of bushcraft. We had Phil, the resident Bear Grylls explaining about this tranquil wood and how we'd be collecting kindling and wood to build the fire over which to cook our lunch. We were planning our day of shooting and capturing but our lunch had already been foraged from Sainsbury's. No wrestling wild animals today, just wood anemones.
Wood anemones were definitely my quarry, the bluebells are beautiful but they are! Robert can somehow get bluebells to be imbued with a pinky glow from the setting sun but these ones looked very blue. So initially it was all about the wood anemones and trying to grasp that fragile silvery petals in the diffused sunlight.
After a busy morning, in my case, mainly lying face down poking my lens and closeup filters into a patch of flowers, we stopped for lunch. I was pleased with my Plamp which did a fine job coralling the specimens I wanted to shoot or curtailing the ones I didn't. We gathered the required firewood and Phil taught us how to start a fire without matches. We could all have a go ourselves but with long hair and an unruly scarf I figured I was tad too flammable to play around with sparks! We tucked into a tasty al fresco lunch, appetites boosted by the morning's photographic exertions.
After wiping away the crumbs after a slice of the finest lemon tart we headed off to explore another part of this ancient woodland. Here I was rather taken by bluebells framed by the trunks of trees, I want to say willow but I could be very wrong. Nestling amongst all the blue was a yellow flower, I'm ashamed to say I don't know what but it added a welcome burst of Spring yellow.
With SD cards filled and new friends made we leave the perfect serenity of Pluckley and head back to the big smoke. I've since discovered Pluckley is haunted, but we weren't disturbed by things that go bump in the wood, fortunately. Another fabulous workshop and huge thanks to Rob and Phil for making it another memorable day.