Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Day 90: Wind beneath their wings

Wow it's windy today. I nipped out on to the fourteenth floor balcony to look at the cityscape around us, the trains, the commuters, the roof top gardens and the life below us. The gulls seem to be out in force and enjoying catching the wind beneath their wings circling The Shard above me. I've noticed that if I position myself just so I could capture a striking image of a plane on the Heathrow flight path reflected on the shiny plane (see what I did there?) If I can keep my dancing get hair out of my eyes I might be able to take some photos, sadly I missed the homonymic (first time I've ever uttered that word!) but I managed this instead. For some reason despite the blue, blue sky the scene appears a little gothic, some sort of portence of doom but fortunately it's just birds and a photographer enjoying a blustery Spring late aftetnoon.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Day 89: not leaving in a jet plane

It's Monday morning, not my favourite day of the week, and I'm standing on the platform waiting for the train to arrive to whisk me to Waterloo. To be honest I think I'd rather be somewhere else, maybe up there, in the big blue, leaving on a jet plane, flying off to foreign lands. Ah one can dream! But for now, it's down to earth and I guess it's merely London Bridge for me.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Day 88: tiny moss

Just a tiny bit of detail through close-up filters opens up a whole new world. I've trained my lens on the top of a brick wall where some moss is growing in the grouting and there's a whole microcosm of diminutive plant life uncovered.


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Day 87: what the eye doesn't see

Another perennial favourite subject is the view standing on Richmond Bridge towards the White Cross pub, capturing the reflections of the riverside lights in the water. As I meandered into town the view wasn't too inspiring as the sky was grey and bland and flattened everything. After I'd exhausted the shops I was back on the bridge again after night had fallen. To my eyes the sky was inky black and hence still bland but at the other end of the spectrum but my camera could discern a whole lot more. When I checked the EVF, the sky was awash with pink clouds, and a golden glow from the lampposts sparkled in the indigo water. Well I couldn't see all if this but apparently my Leica does.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Day 86: Shard mirror

So I'm kind of combining two common themes to my photography today, The Shard and a sunset. I certainly have never been even close to capturing The Shard silhouetted against a dramatic pink and ochre sky but as a small compensation I can aim for the sunset reflected in it shiny slope. I particularly like the effect of the sky swirling about Southwark Cathedral, maybe a touch of Turner there, or more likely Monet.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Day 85: usual suspect

It's been days since my last sunset fix, an entire week. Tonight's was remarkable because the sun seemed determined not to be curtailed by the bruising skies and seemed to be bursting out creating angry sun spots and causing out heat activated blinds to go a little crazy. If the blinds have formed an impregnable shield depriving me of a sunset I have to go searching for a chink in its armour. That normally means heading to the far end of the building where the odd sticky out bits of our building are blind-free. Though it does rather alarm the journalists, they're not so acquainted with my predilection for the setting sun!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Day 84: March shower

So there's just been a March shower, not as ubiquitous as an April shower but the effect is the same. I'm compelled to peer at plants through a close-up filter or two.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Day 83: watch list red alert

I went a little further afield in my search for little signs of the Spring rebirth today and was treated to some stunning little red buds unfurling under the close scrutiny of my close-up filter. Sadly I don't what it is nor what it will become, but a new one for the watch list I think!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Day 82: shy dwarf daffodils

Daffodils are an important totem of Spring being sprung. I've had my eye on some diminutive specimens lurking under the shelter of a large holly bush for a week or so. They are not the easiest to photograph, the prickly holly coupled with their skimpy size and the fact they are most reluctant to display their little trumpets in my direction means I could only get this bashful shot.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Day 81: Neighbourly musings!

It's funny, my former neighbours who used to live above me have up sticks and moved to Basel. In the years we've lived in such close proximity we've probably sat down and had a drink together two, possibly three times. And the last time we met just before the moving vans arrived I had a perfect illustration that we saw each other pretty rarely. Unbeknownst to me A was rather pregnant and my farewell gift of Chambord and Prossecco was somewhat inappropriate.

Fast forward a few months (though I've just checked and I think it's seven, how on earth did that happen?) and A is back in Richmond resplendent with new baby boy. And as I have some mail that didn't make it over to Switzerland, we decide to take advantage of the fine Sunday afternoon, sit by the river, eat cake, watch the swollen river lap up the banks and catch up. So all the years we lived next door (horizontally speaking) we've never enjoyed the beautiful place we live...well not together anyway. I wish I could say I had addressed this with A & J (& N)'S replacement but I cannot. In face I'm not 100% sure we've met in the half a year or so since they moved in. I don't think I could definitely pick any of my current neighbours out in a line-up, well they're all quite new. Or quite new to my 23+ years of living here anyway. It is a shame though. In previous incarnations of neighbours we got burgled and that rather surreally brought us together, sharing insurance stories and discussions over mortice locks over glasses of wine. I would like to know those that live around me better, I'd rather it was via the medium of something much less harrowing than having our doors smashed in and possessions rifled through. And also ideally something that doesn't involve water leaking, a perennial ice breaker, perhaps someone could run out of sugar or something. Hmmm, mote you self, add sugar to the next Ocado order.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Day 80: crashing date night!

I was languishing in the office on Friday night and noticed a Facebook status saying that m(A) and his lovely, and incredibly intelligent wife K, were enjoying a date night in Oblix in the Shard next door. I promised to wave and they suggested instead that I swung by. Hmmm, I had a new silk party dress arrive today by courier that I could christen, and I have some fabulous emergency sparkly shoes tucked away in my the cupboard. I've been assured that despite it being date-night, I'm not really crashing an intimate dinner á deux, so decision made...I could go to the ball, or bar even!

There's an impressive queue snaking outside the foot of the Shard but pleasingly I could flash my Project News card and jump the queue...sweet! I had been looking forward to seeing if that would work, and it does.

M(A) and K had commented that Oblix was like being transported back into the bar in Ally McBeal, and I could see exactly what they meant. There was something about the vibe with the female singer crooning a soft jazzy number, and the bar full of be-suited patrons in the vaguely American glass, and dark wood styled bar. It was almost as if a dancing baby would materialise and Vonda Shepherd would start warbling at any moment. I always found the dancing baby rather creepy, so was pleased that it didn't. You're facing a different direction that when dining at Aqua Shard so naturally I was compelled to try and capture this view. When we'd finished our drinks we debated leaving and heading for our respective homes, or perhaps heading to Hutong and having one more for the road. The lure of checking out the Asian stylings of another bar won over a sensible early night, so we opted for delicious cocktails and yet another view. We found a table but it was alarmingly close to the incongruously loud DJ so we hustled ourselves to a tiny cubby hole, at the farthest end of the bar, pressed against the glass and enjoyed another view. From our cosy vantage point we could overlook the HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge, the curve of the mayor's 'egg', the greeny glow of the Tower of London, the twinkling lights of the city and on the horizon, the towers of Canary Wharf. When it was time to leave again, it was very much Saturday already. I noticed that the timestamp on this photo was nearly 1am, so the decision regarding how to get home was made for me, Uber.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Day 79: eclipse photograph, not!

Like many I was hoping to see the eclipse this morning but sadly, London was not the optimum location for such a sight. We had a bland sky of constant cloud cover first thing, making sure the before, during and after phases looked exactly the same as each other. Many people from around the UK were much more successful but we had just various shades of grey to make do with. Yes, I am jealous! I had previously pondered the safety of recording the eclipse with my camera but as it turned out, it was a non-issue. So, as a consolation, I had to make do with a sunset again. Worse eclipse photo ever!



Thursday, 19 March 2015

Day 78: a little pink

I found a new blossoming tree with unusual tiny pink clusters of flowers whilst taking a slightly alternate route to the station today. Luckily my close-up filter was ready for such a serendipitous encounter.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Day 77: Train flowers

For a change I didn't photograph the flora en route to work today, Wednesdays are always a challenge, but opted to shoot the tiny flowers emerging from the hanging baskets on Turnham Green tube station platform instead.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Day 76: Shoot to be shot

This little shoot is reaching out into the path of any passing photographers demanding to be shot. So I obliged. Some fine, almost sparkly, bokeh in the garden in the background.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Day 75: White feather

A teeny, tiny feather has floated down to rest on a mossy brick wall. It looks so fluffy through a close-up filter.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Day 73: Red ivy

I rather like the fact that the baby ivy leaves appear to be emerge red before turning green, like their more mature brethren. I thought I'd have to wait until Autumn again to see leaves turning red but this ivy does it the other way round.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Day 72: Dawn revisited

There are undoubtedly some regular themes in my daily photography: sunsets so many sunsets, the first little harbingers of Spring spotted en route to work, the Shard, tube stations, especially Westminster, some sparkly jewellery. And for only the second time this year, the dawn breaking through my front window. But it was a striking one today, so worth adding to the collection.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Day 71: Another view of our view

We're having a lovely evening of wine tasting and fabulous cheeses in one of our private dining rooms. I've been dying to check out our stylish dining facilities but no client yet has been worthy of such lavishing. I haven't got my camera around my neck sadly, but when I have to return to my desk to change into some more comfortable shoes, I can address that. The world below us is a mass of coloured lights, the railway, the track lights snaking into the distance and those in the city and docklands. I'm trying to turn off as many lights as possible to eliminate the dreaded reflections but I still don't really like the photos . Perhaps it's time to shake it up a bit by injecting a bit of intentional camera movement to the scene. As usual the Shard is dominating the picture and I love how it looks like an impressionist brushstroke rendered in ICM. London Bridge Station below being toiled on by men in high-vis jackets gives off an eerie green glow. The lights around Tower Bridge and further on into Canary Wharf twinkle in the dark. Yet another view from our building, but at least it's a different take.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Day 70: Never-ending Story

I've been keen to secure a table at Story for a long time. I'd seen Tom Sellers demonstrating his special brand of alchemy on the Great British menu and was intrigued to try it for myself. I'd promised a lovely meal as a very belated birthday treat for E, but it ended up being so belated another birthday had gone passed, let's hope Story can make up for it. It's not so easy to score a reservation because it's not a big place and the tasting menus need a bit of commitment. The restaurant resides in a former public toilet and to live up to its name, is lined with books. In fact all the diners are encouraged to leave one behind to add to the continuing story. I decided to leave a little hardback of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When I first had it read to me on my mother's knee I was so keen to discover what would happen next, I learnt to read so I could find out. And deep down I still hope that one day I'll open a huge wardrobe door and find Narnia.

We didn't read the book but rather poured over the menu. It didn't really give too much of a clue. Each morsel was delivered with an explanation, history, provenance, a story if you will. We were on our seventh miniature dish we tried to fathom where we were on the menu. It was perplexing, was each diminutive course being delivered out of order? Then it was explained that the first three dishes were 'snacks'and then the next three were the ocean, sea and coast. So we were really just beginning. And there were other extras, surprises and additions.

We had a shrimp perched on a cling-filmed bowl with small puffs of smoke sending the occasional plume when you pat the drum-like skin. There was a scallop slowing emerging from a enormous cloud of dry ice. We had bread delivered in a leather pouch illuminated by a candle made of beef dripping and also accompanied by a small pot of beef extract that apparently took six months to make. I can safely say I've never tucked into a candle before. There was a delicate tartar on top of an iceberg, slivers of scallop carppacio, scrummy foie gras topped with a caramelised hat, passion fruit, a flowerpot of brioche, spiced wedge of duck, a medley of onions, smooth mashed potato, pumpkin, nasturtium, zingy passion fruit, cucumber, clementine, squid, turnip, dill ash, apple, endive, oyster nestled in seaweed and numerous other bites, amuse bouches and tidbits. Exhausting!

I didn't photograph all the food and I frankly lost count of what we ate. We starting to feel decidedly full, had eschewed the proffered cheese board (which seemed curiously prosaic amongst all that molecular gastronomy craziness) and were onto the final dessert. We'd had a few pre desserts, the tangy orange-y thing with triangles of sugar and it was now time for "almond and dill". There's something in me that needs part of the dessert to feature chocolate. Call me traditional, but it's true. Not just because this was the furthest from chocolate it could be, it was also sadly awful. The dill was so strong, so pungent and the almond parfait thing just didn't taste nice at all. What a shame to finish on the very worse dish! They were awfully apologetic and tried to redeem themselves by suggesting the chef whip up an alternative, but really we were more than sated anyway. At least there was my craved for chocolate as a final note, a small crisp chocolate shell around a the lightest of marshmallow with a liquid centre of raspberry. That's more like it, not a whiff of verdant dill at all!

It was certainly an intriguing meal, some fabulous bits, some okay and not an entirely happy ending, but all in all an experience. I hadn't seen my dining companion, E, for too, too many years so we had plenty of catching up to do. Story is not the perfect place for such an endeavour as you are really taking part in an immersive piece of dining theatre. You are hearing the lines delivered by the attentive servers constantly, so breaking any conversation whilst you are armed with new cutlery and the next edible chapter. I thought we had two hours slated for our table, but in the end the final page took more than four and a half hours to reach. Somewhat a never-ending story!

I'm not sure if this was the birthday treat I'd envisaged, I think we may need a new culinary tale, but somewhere else, Pollen Street Social perhaps, and not leave it so long this time!