FADE AWAY

I began posting to this blog five years ago, mainly as a diary to remind myself of what I'd been doing and the photographs I'd taken, and it was always my intention to print it in a book when I wanted to scale back on the time I spend online.  So this will be the final post of 225 in that particular publication.  The image is one I've used on the ABOUT page on my Open Photography website, which will see more changes as I continue on the next stage of my journey.

SKIMMING THE SURFACE

A few weeks ago I photographed some coloured vinyl albums as part of a personal project and today I decided to try some more combinations of lenses, reversing rings and extension tubes, and even a pinhole.  At this magnification there's hardly any depth of field and focus stacking in Photoshop is just too much technology for an analogue subject like this, so it is what it is, which in this case is Nirvana's white Unplugged in New York.  I feel I still haven't achieved what I set out to in this particular project so I'm sure I'll return to it one day.

LA CREMA DELLA CREMA

On my way home from a shoot last night I stopped to look at the Christmas lights above me in Regent Street but was much more impressed by the display of espresso cups and saucers in the Illy coffee shop, three blocks North of Oxford Circus.  Illy espresso medium roast is the coffee I have for breakfast now, and I need a big cupful to start my day.  But there's nothing quite like the boost from a single espresso around mid-morning, which is exactly when I'll be back in that area on Thursday, this time after a very early shoot, so you know exactly where I'll be and why.

SERVING SUGGESTION

This is the romanesco broccoli I bought in my local farm shop today.  I'd never eaten one before and I needed an extra vegetable for dinner tonight.  And OK, I really wanted to have a closer look at the buds, which are made up of logarithmic spirals.  In theory I could have photographed it at almost any magnification and achieved the same result, as each bud is (almost) a natural fractal.  According to Wikipedia (whose appeal for donations I just answered), the vivid colour is chartreuse, somewhere between green and yellow, named after the French liqueurs I tasted once upon a time, and decided that once was enough.  I'd recommend romanesco though, roasted with a little avocado oil, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper.  What you choose to drink with it is up to you.

SPRUCING UP THE SQUARE

Today I had an assignment to photograph the Christmas tree being installed in Trafalgar Square, for the 70th time since Oslo began to send this annual present to London.  I hadn't realised that under the paving there's a shaft containing some heavy duty machinery to keep the tree stable in high winds.  Luckily for me and everyone else involved though, there was no breeze at all and a clear blue sky from (very) early morning until late afternoon.  More like the November weather I'd expect in Cape Trafalgar than WC2.

IN THE BEGINNING

I was browsing my favourite online store (DigitalRev.com) today to see if there was anything I couldn't live without that was discounted for Black Friday (no there wasn't) and instead found a link to a short cartoon (vimeo.com/172556276) about the history of cameras over the past 100 years or so.  The animation includes the Kodak Instamatic 100 launched in the USA in 1963, but before that the Instamatic 50 launched in the UK, and the one in this photo belonged to my parents.  I was allowed to borrow it until I'd saved enough chocolate biscuit wrappers to send off for a free camera of my own, a plastic Diana made in Hong Kong.  A lot has changed since then, but I still get my cameras from Hong Kong, not because they're made there but because they cost less than in the UK.  Amen to that.

BRIDGE OUT

I've walked under this bridge on Shoreditch High Street many times, as it's just down from the lab where I go for fine art printing, but on the way home from collecting a couple of prints there yesterday afternoon I stopped to shelter from a cold shower of rain.  At 5pm it was already dark but with my camera blasted by what looked like two photon torpedoes there was plenty of light to make this image.

THE WHEEL

After a weekend of photo and video editing for clients I now have time to review the photos I took for myself last week, and have picked out this one to remind me of the day I spent in the company of ceramicist Jane Follett, who taught me how to throw pots.  And a jug.  With a handle, no less. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of my efforts once Jane has fired them, but in the meantime I don't think that Grayson Perry should worry that I'll steal his crown.  Or his W.  Or his anchor.

SHOCK AND EAU

I woke up very early this morning, possibly due to the tremors emanating from the US.  An hour after Donald Trump was officially elected as the country's 45th president I was in my local Costco store but I didn't see any evidence of panic buying, apart from one person with hundreds of bottles of mineral water on his trolley.  Perhaps we won't have a nuclear war after all, but last year some American friends already warned me that I'd have to take them in if Trump won the race to the White House, so perhaps I should have bought some extra supplies after all.

EYES THAT HAVE SEEN

Sometimes you see things you don't expect to, and this was one of those times, during a Christmas shopping expedition to Liberty earlier this week.  I'd noticed the stained glass panels in some of the windows there before, but not this one behind a till point on the third floor.  Perhaps the glass was especially fragile, but it looked like it hadn't been touched for years, while all of the surrounding panes were, well, a lot cleaner.  While I waited to pay I suppressed my urge to buy some Skin Laundry cleansing cloths to wipe away the grime myself.

UTOPIA IS HERE

Throughout this year Somerset House, King's College London and the Courtauld Institute have been staging UTOPIA 2016 to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the publication of Thomas More's text.  I dropped in to Somerset House yesterday on the road to somewhere, having re-read my copy of the book only recently, and brought the host of the Utopia Treasury in the Great Arch Hall up to speed with the works of Todd Rundgren's band, but I wish I'd had more time.  For information about the programme of exhibitions, performances, workshops and talks, visit somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/utopia-2016 or utopia2016.com.  Don't wait another year.

STRAIGHT FROM THE FRIDGE

On the way in to London this morning I read in The Guardian that "straight from the fridge" used to mean "cool", in slang usage.  I don't think I'll be using that expression soon but I also said that I'd never shoot film again and that's what I find myself doing this week, as part of a self-development (sorry) project.  And I did keep this film in the fridge.  So never say never, Dude.

FRACTAL ZOOM

You may need to click on this photo to see why I took it yesterday.  I was on a flight back from Russia but I'm sure that anyone who has flown anywhere above a certain altitude and has had a window seat will have noticed the crystals of ice forming around the specks of dust inside their window.  Perhaps I was slightly oxygen deprived, but to me they looked like constellations of stars and I was reminded of the Dr Seuss story of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, or more accurately the opening and closing sequences of the Ron Howard film of the book.  It's the only film I can think of that references the hidden patterns of nature (with an existential twist), which is one of the many reasons I'm looking forward to seeing it again, and again.

THE BEST POSSIBLE TASTE

It's fairly easy to take a photograph that catches the attention by including something in it that's been designed by someone else to catch the attention, but I took this one in The Hand and Flowers in Marlow this week more of an aide-memoire for myself, as nobody there knew who had made the chocolatey grenade, and I was intrigued to find out.  So after some internet surfing tonight I discovered that it's the work of British artist K-tee (k-teeartist.co.uk), and made of resin and fibreglass that looks convincingly edible.  I didn't need any convincing to eat any of the dishes on the menu though, each presented as a work of art in its own right.  I had to reserve my table 12 months in advance (at thehandandflowers.co.uk/restaurant-reservations), so if you would like to taste the Roasted Grapefruit Sorbet you'll probably have plenty of time to save up.

A ROOF WITH A VIEW

Yesterday I finally got around to climbing over the roof of the O2, and had hoped to be able to get a clear shot of Canary Wharf, where I took my last blog photo, but there was an ugly hotel in the way, and before too long there will be lots more tall buildings to spoil the view, so if this has been on your list too, do it sooner rather than later.  Here's the link: theo2.co.uk/do-more-at-the-o2/up-at-the-o2.  And look out for Morag Myerscough's Colourblock Cranes, an eye-catching art project that will turn out to be just as ephemeral as the London skyline.

HESITATE AND IT'S TOO LATE

Today I've been editing photos from one of last week's corporate shoots and have just finished uploading them to the service I use to deliver images to clients.  I won't be delivering this one though, because I know it won't be used, but instead of marking it as unrated, never to be seen again (although never deleted), I remember what prompted me to take it in the first place so I moved it to my blog folder.  Perhaps I'm just attracted to bright lights, or silhouettes, or reflections or Miele appliances but the combination of all of these in this composition made me want to capture it immediately instead of wasting time thinking about whether or not I should.

PARKLIFE

Earlier this week I found myself in London with two hours to kill, so instead of visiting one of the photo exhibitions on my list (as I'd been invited to one later that evening), I had a slow walk through Hyde Park.  It had been another day of 30 degree heat, and the condition of some of the trees showed how little rain there had been this summer.  The very next day the temperature dropped to 14 and torrential downpours caused flash flooding throughout the city.  Much more like the Septembers that the trees are used to.

PIXEL PEEPING

Last night I took this photograph from a restaurant at the top of the Heron Tower, from where I could identify many of London's landmarks that were clearly visible nearby and in the distance.  This is a small portion of the original image, showing the skyscrapers of Docklands four miles away.  I wanted to see how much of its detail I could lose while still keeping the scene recognisable, to me at least.

POV

I stopped off at Tate Modern yesterday to escape the rain and to see the inside of the new (and not 100% completed) Switch House extension for the first time.  This was my choice of view from the terrace on the tenth floor, although most of the other visitors seemed to be more interested in looking through the windows of the apartment blocks which seemed to be almost within touching distance.  I also dropped in on the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition and was a little disappointed not to see more of her landscapes which featured in Alan Yentob's excellent Imagine programme broadcast in July (and still on iPlayer here).  I hadn't realised until watching it that O'Keeffe had been married to Alfred Steiglitz, the pioneering fine art photographer, and I'll admit that my main reason for visiting yesterday was to see some of his prints from their time together.  Whatever point of view you choose, the exhibition runs until 30 October.

 

THE RA PYRAMID

I've added to my growing collection of unhung artworks with this etching, which I bought in March but have only just got around to having framed.  It's of Ailsa Craig, which I remember seeing for the first time when I was camping on the Isle of Arran as a student.  Its shape fascinated me then and still does now, and presumably Norman Ackroyd RA in 1996 when he made this etching as part of a series he began more than 40 years ago to chart the most outlying areas of the British Isles.  Images of Norman's work are all over the internet but a good place to start is his own site: normanackroyd.com.