Friday, 30 May 2014

Messing around in Romney Marsh

I've been delinquent posting the fruits of my Robert Canis photography workshop to Romney Marsh, so will address that now. Another foray to deepest Kent and today on a very fine Spring evening with hopes of an interesting sunset.
We start off exploring the reeds in search of swans, their cygnets, flower specimens and water lilies. Robert reckons I can manage everything hand-held so I just carry my tripod from spot to spot.
Then we approach an infamous stone ruin of a church in Midley and enjoy photographing it from every possible angle. I love the young wheat and the texture it gives.
After we've had our fill here we trapse through fields of the renowned Romney Marsh sheep to find the perfect spot to set up our tripods and capture the sun setting on the curve of the marshy stream. Typically with all our walking about I've mislaid the quick-release plate for my tripod that was screwed (clearly not tightly enough) to my camera. I try and retrace my steps but we've covered a lot of ground. I'm so pleased I'm continuing my expensive habit of leaving something behind on every foray into Kent. I've shed several close-up filters on previous occasions and now a tripod plate has joined the hoarde.
I have to shoot all my remaining photos hand-held. In the future I'll always have a backup, just in case.
As we're heading off we espy a nice scene of a line of trees, find a good spot to park the car candidates fire off a few final shots.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Mr Panda

Tonight's Photography Social challenge is recreating a film poster, any film poster -"our way". I'm slightly alarmed knowing that at least one of the tutors doesn't appear to have seen any movies. I guess he's just been too busy taking great photographs. I've managed to rock up late again so the advanced group have all dispersed so I head out for the group challenge, solo. It will be tricky to muster up a poster involving people by myself but I have a trusty bag of minifigs with me so I just need inspiration. I'm sifting through my rather bulging bag tossing up between reviving Donnie Darko, something involving a man in a chicken outfit or perhaps in a huge burst of irony, The Lego Movie. But then I realise I have a small handful of men in suits so I look for a plain orange or red background.

I find a useful ledge in a doorway painted a glossy pillar box red. I've got a minifig that could possibly pass as a Mr Pink, a Mr White, Mr Orange, a Mr Brown and the little known character Mr Panda.

It didn't fare too well in the scoring, I got marked down for the panda! Which does seem rather ironic as those marking don't seem to have ever seen Reservoir Dogs. And we were supposed to create our interpretation of a movie poster, so you can't win really!


Friday, 9 May 2014

Rad rail!

Trying to find material for the Bleeding London photography project in the city is pretty tough. The buildings I visit are well monitored by camera hating security guards and the streets are awfully devoid of found objects. I'm wandering around looking for something to inspire and duck into an alleyway. Perhaps I figured if I found a shot in this tiniest of 'streets', the others will be a doddle. This alley is squeezed between two building and one side has a handrail. And that's it! The alley pretty much ends slightly beyond the handrail so that's what I have to work with. I figure a diminutive skateboarder might think that's more than enough.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Coffee jitters

My minifig bunny was my first minifig as a grownup. I had purchased minifig cowboys way back in the day, after saving up my pocket money for a couple of weeks, but that's another story. The bunny came with a happy smiling face but when I saw the shades on a later acquisition, I couldn't resist going for a Donnie Darko look. I'm not sure why a Donnie Darko-esque figure would be beating a hasty retreat from a looming coffee cup in the dark, but then I'm merely the photographer.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Not afraid of the big, bad wolf!

St. Stephen's churchyard is always a good spot for a bit of flower photography and I thought I'd see if my Little Red Riding Hood minifig could hold a dandelion seed head. Apparently she can! To be the "little" of her name, she has alternative Lego legs to her minifig counterparts, ones that don't articulate and hence shorter.

I don't have a wolf minifig, I have a very odd "custom" Japanese pink fox which is far from frightening so I'm pretty sure Miss Hood (or Miss Riding Hood perhaps) wouldn't need to utter any reference to large mouth, sharp teeth etcetera. So instead of a scary animal or grandma, I opt for a rare stint of environmental portraiture from my minifig mini-me.




As the Bleeding London photography project is encouraging me to explore the streets, lanes, roads, avenues and passageways about my home, my work and anywhere I find myself, it's also motivating me to learn about what I discover on my travels. Ever since I started writing a blog, it was apparent that one thing would very much lead to another and I would be impelled to research and increase my knowledge about whatever I've seen. It would be so much easier if I could just take the odd photograph and post as is, no text, no commentary, no title. But I find I cannot! Even though this compulsion makes maintaining a blog so much more time consuming, it's just how I am. I never kept a diary as a child but I can now see the allure, I love delving back and reliving moments, experiences, delicious meals, exotic locations, crazy projects and everything else. My blog about food and travel is sadly suspended in time now, keeping up one blog the way I'm compelled to is challenging, maintaining two, that's just the way madness lies. But a tasty slice of my life from April 2006 to more or less December 2011 is still documented at Only in the last couple of weeks I've revisited an unforgettable trip to Venice on the Orient Express, my entry for a virtual food blogging party themed as "breakfast" where I conjured up the impossible Egg Benedict canapés and the fabulous c-level diet courtesy of one of my oldest friends, F. I started this photography blog in May 2010 but sadly there's a lot missing. My second trip to Berlin with the lovely people, some of whom I would enjoy an incredible holiday to Iceland with a year later, is entirely absent. My photography holidays to Istria in Croatia and Almería in Andalucia seemed to have regrettably never to have been recorded... hmm maybe when I have a moment! And I'm very glad Hawaii is there but the two following delightful weeks I spent in France, with an inadequately packed suitcase and my first proper Leica, are not at all. Last year I religiously captured every day in some form, as I mentioned my predilection for verbosity can make this onerous, so I'll probably never take on so much again but I can tell the Bleeding London project, in the best possible way, is sucking me in.

This entire intro is trying to explain why when I decided to wander down the utterly nondescript path between the tall back walls of the adjoining gardens I ending up writing so much more than such a short cut seemingly deserved. I started in St. Stephen's Passage looking for inspiration, I ended up reading up on the history of the area and writing an essay.

Back in the day, when most of all this didn't exist, when the folk of Twickenham headed to the river, they crossed the pastures of Ten Acre Field belonging to Cambridge House, and established an ancient right of way. When Henry Little started redeveloping the estate of Cambridge House around 1863, he had to preserve this public footpath and used it as a boundary between the gardens of the five villas he built on one side (Richmond Road) and the rear gardens of the seven semi-detached five storey houses on the other (Cambridge Park). This was known as St Stephen's Lane initially, because of the church of the same name (possibly based on the birthday of Henry Little's wife) and is now St. Stephen's Passage. There's really nothing there at all, it's a paved gap housing the odd lamppost. Possibly because it's tucked away it's become a haunt for some people to drink cheap vodka and then rather than dispose of the bottles, lay them flat along the top of the brick wall. I'm sure some have ended up in the surrounding gardens but plenty remain. I've never partaken of Glen's vodka before but that darned research again tells me it's about as bottom shelf you can get and smells alluringly of nail polish removed. Don't mind if I don't!

After feeling my minifigs lacked someone who'd enjoy a swig of bargain basement vodka in an alleyway, I'd procured an unshaven possibly blood stained vest wearing figure. Though in retrospect, the white trousers are way too white for such a scenario. After I'd taken the picture I did flatten the bottles back on top of the wall. I know I should have rounded them all up and taken them to the recycling bottle bank but I was heading entirely in the wrong direction. If they are still there next time I'm passing, I will remove them. That's going to make it much more challenging for the next visitor armed with a camera, looking for an image.