Category Archives: Architecture
Last night I figured I would work on an image from my time in DC, and as none of my shots of an Obama lookalike who was speaking at one of my work events came out I opted instead for this one of The White House.
I had to work quite a lot on this image. In the scene was a boring grey sky on quite a calm day, and there was also a tree covering up most of the left hand side of the frame. I ended up removing the tree, replacing the sky from one shot I had taken in London earlier this year, and also adding a different flag as the one now in shot was blowing in the wind slightly – whereas my original image had it just drooping straight down.
After the cloning and repairing was all done I ran the image through Perfect B&W by OnOneSoftware which gave it this lack of colour and the additional frame.
I’m quite pleased with the end result…and I hope you are too. I don’t just mean of this image either.
This is the glass roof of the Toronto Eaton Centre which runs between Bay St and Yonge St.
One night I had taken the PATH to get to the Hockey Hall of Fame for a work event, and that’s when I noticed this lovely piece of architecture. I added it to the ‘places I must visit with a camera’ list that I had been mentally storing during the work aspect of my trip, returning a few days later so that I could take a shot with the 8-15mm Fisheye lens. I really like the distortion that this lens adds to the scene.
It was a daytime visit and was very crowded, so though I’ve taken a few other shots of this area I feel this one was the easiest to exclude people, and therefore one of my favourites. A little B&W with colourization processing, followed by a slight split-toning produced this end result.
Here’s the Shard from a nearby rooftop on a particularly windy night.
The cloud cover was great, and they were moving at some speed in what I believe went up to 30mph winds. However, this did mean that it was a little too windy to get any decent shots from the rooftop (this was taken from a lower level where we were sheltered slightly), plus is was pretty darn cold.
3 months from now I’ll be stood up there taking photos…probably thinking ‘wow – I wish it wasn’t so grey and cloudy…and cold…and that some of this rain would go away’. You never know though, it may be a nice clear day.
Hope everyone had a nice weekend; mine was pretty lazy to be honest.
While in DC earlier this year I found a few hours spare off work one afternoon and was able to walk around a bit. Of course I wanted to do the stretch from Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, and this was in between those two. Behind me in this shot was the famous reflecting pool – but this was being redeveloped and was nothing but a construction site on this visit, which is a shame.
I got down pretty low for this shot, but that was essentially just so I could remove all of the people from view who were standing on the other side of this fountain; I quite liked it though.
Today I finish with my meetings and the ‘business’ part of my trip; and what a looong week it has been. In a few hours once my meetings are done I’m looking forward to walking the city and taking some shots.
Just a quick post of an image today before I head into a meeting. This is a parish, I believe it was taken somewhere in London – but to be honest I’m not sure where.
That is all
Hope everyone is well.
Some camera magazine has asked if I would be interested in putting a themed set of images together taken with the Sony NEX-7. Looking through my images taken with that camera I pulled out this one which was taken while waiting for a laser show to start from the Shard earlier this year.
I realise looking through my NEX-7 images that there really is no theme to them. Sure, I have general themes in my work; a little urbex, London, Iceland, black and white, etc. However this little camera is still pretty new to me and is not used as frequently as my Canons, even though I carry it around with me. The fact I do carry it around means the themes also haven’t quite got there yet; I have a few street shots taken on the spur of the moment, trips to various places where I had a holiday or a work trip, a few country scenes from day or weekend trips to places in the UK – but nothing that would constitute a theme. Well, not unless the theme was something like ‘images taken with the NEX-7′ or ‘images shot by Mike Murphy’.
Maybe I should start using the camera more.
If you want a nice long corridor in the underground with nobody in it, then the best times to shoot on the London tube network is either late at night or early in the morning. I’m not a morning person, so really only do the late night shots, but as it’s all underground the time of day is pretty irrelevant.
I arrived at Bank station on Thursday night after a drink in Canary Wharf and found that there were no more trains leaving the station, so I would have a nice long bus journey home instead. The station had very few people in it and was shutting up shop, which gave a perfect opportunity to take a few images without hoards of people in them…but the question was where to take a few interesting shots.
None of the corridors we were walking down were of much interest, so I pulled open one of the gates blocking one of the many paths from one platform or exit to another so that I could take a few shots; it was a twisty corridor and though nice when empty it was nothing special.
Then I moved on to a second gate and found myself staring down this nice long and straight tunnel. The gates had been closed, but not locked (I guess having them there is a deterrent enough for people not to open and go through them so no need to lock them up), so I knew that there would be nobody walking down it so could go ahead and take my shot. Of course there is CCTV in the tube network so it didn’t take long for someone to come down and move us on, especially as John and Jay were using their tripods down there.
As the trip to Canary Wharf had not been planned for I only had my Sony NEX-7 with me, so that’s what was used to take this shot. I was also very drunk so had managed to boost the ISO up to 1600 and introduce a lot of noise into the shot. I’m not a fan of this camera in low light conditions without a tripod; at least with the DSLRs there is weight behind them to make them steady.
After Open House and a much needed pint on Saturday, Conor, Jay, John and I were at a loss of what to do. We casually walked around a couple of the scaffolded buildings around Liverpool St, wondering which ones would be easy to climb later in the night, before making the decision to simply head out to the Thames Barrier for sunset.
It was a simply stunning sunset…somewhere in the world. Alas, London was not that place and what had started out with potential suddenly faded away into nothing.
I always think of these barriers as being a recent build in London, but having been completed in 1984 that’s not quite true. Since time of completion I understand it has been used less than 150 times, so getting a shot from this spot while the gates are closed would be pretty unlikely – especially as the water being stopped would be completely covering the place I am standing to take this shot.
I don’t think I’ll be heading back out to this location in a hurry, but it was nice to see it from this side of the river when I hadn’t done so before.
On the first morning of Open House weekend I stood in the line to see Lloyd’s along with a few of my fellow photographer friends. 45 minutes or so later they were opening their doors early and we were heading inside to the great Underwriting Room where this image was taken. In front of me were the escalators which transport people from floor to floor, all covered by a large glass ceiling where the light shines through.
Immediately behind me, but out of view, was the lovely Lutine Bell which used to ring when any ships were late to arrive at port and it was unclear what had happened to them. Once their status was known they would ring the bell once if the ship had sunk, and twice if it was safe. The purpose of this was something to do with the stopping selling of reinsurance on that vessel. Now, we were told, it only rings when there it’s Remembrance Day or a major world event (one ring), or when there is a distinguished guest visiting the premises (two rings).
I was unable to convince them that I was distinguished enough to warrant a ring.
For this image, aiming for such a high angle meant I could cut the masses of people out of most of the shot, but you can still see a few people in the lower corners. I used a fisheye lens, and as it was my 8mm Samyang on a full frame body I had to crop 40% of the image out to get rid of the black noise border that came with it.
I quite liked this building and would certainly suggest popping in there during the next Open House if you have the time.
As part of the Open House weekend I finally managed to make it into 30 St Mary Axe, informally known as the Gherkin.
This is by far the most popular building of the event, but only because it is one of the non-balloted buildings with a view. The only reason I can see why people queue for entry (and believe me, they queue) is to see the 360 degree views of London that you get from the top. I gather that the people who run this feel that visitors only care about the view also, as there was nothing by way of information on the actual architecture, not even a simple fact sheet with details on the building. The volunteers helping knew nothing of the number of people who work in the building, or why we had to change lifts 34 floors up as we were heading to the 39th floor (the fact the bar is on the top floor and allows 360 views is because the lift mechanics are not stored there as they would be in most buildings. Instead, there is a regular lift to the 34th floor, and then from there upwards there is a ‘push’ lift where all of the mechanics are at the bottom of the lift rather than above).
I arrived at this location at 8am, knowing that there may be a slight queue to get in. Two and a half hours later I was finally in, just as the rain came down. Was it worth the wait? No.
Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by views of London in the past, but this one was somewhat lacking. Having stood on the roof of neighbouring Heron Tower, and the likes of King’s Reach, I very much expect a view to be as unobstructed as possible. I get there is to be glass, but I want to be able to push up against that to shoot through it – not possible with this building. The design of the building meant that attempting to shoot away from the glass always had the window frames in view, plus the angle of the glass along with rain meant the light wasn’t quite hitting it as I wanted. In short, yes there are great views to be had from the top – but it’s purely an experience and if you want to go there for photography I feel there are simply better places to go. Added to this is that they certainly rushed you in and out, understandable with so many people waiting to get it, but only 5 minutes at the top is not worth the wait to get in there…for me anyway.
I don’t think I would consider going here again in future years unless they turned it to a ballot entry and actually gave you both time and information about the place, there are much better buildings to spend your time on otherwise.
So the image above is from the very top – 40 floors up, and is looking up towards the dome. Not as interesting as looking up at, say, the British Museum roof, but nice enough anyway.
This is one of the many escalators to be found within the Lloyd’s of London building, my first stop during Open House weekend. Arriving at 9am for a 10am opening I waited in the queue with John, Ollie and Jay for a while, the doors opened early and we were in. It’s a pretty cool building, both interior and exterior, and I admit this shot does not do it justice – I’ll write up a bit more about the building in a future post. This is one of the many escalators that run through the interior of the building linking the open plan underwriting floors. There are also a nice set of glass lifts which take you between the floors and offer a great view out on London; something Conor had pleasure in watching us do from his spot in the queue which was still outside .
This image is an individual exposure taken with the Sony NEX-7. I ran it through a few filters in both Perfect Effects by OnOneSoftware and ColorEfex by NikSoftware, yet did so in a way that eliminates pretty much all of the colour from it. Though the escalator was moving it was not in use, cordoned off with rope, which allowed me to get this image without causing a pile-up of Open House visitors.
So, this weekend saw the return of Open House London, an event I very much look forward to on an annual basis as many of the companies around London open their doors to the public and we get the opportunity to see some great sights and architecture. The above image was taken from City Hall.
I am a great fan of this initiative and try to make sure I’m in London for it each year.
I’m also a fan of organisation, and of complaining – so much of this email may be me complaining about the organisation.
First off, the event organisers themselves.
I can’t imagine just how much work goes into organising something like this. Hundreds of businesses agree to open their doors and give tours, and the work that goes into that is immense. However, as the event becomes more and more popular you have to make sure your processes can handle it. Here’s my experience.
Step 1. I pre-order the book from them so I can see what is there and plan for the events I wish to try and secure when their online system goes live. Though there are particular events which are popular and everyone knows about them, there are still other bookable events that I wish to be the first in for to get a spot – and this book means anyone who hasn’t paid will need to find these out online nearer the release time.
So, the book was delivered on the day it was meant to arrive – everything is going swimmingly. Then later the same day I get an email from Open House with a PDF link to the book – they state this is sent in case the Olympics affects deliveries. The Olympics has made logistics in London amazingly good, so they didn’t need to worry. So, I now have access to an online copy of the book, but seeing as how it was just a PDF link and not behind a login screen, anybody can access it (and do, thanks to the power of social media). So essentially my pre-ordering the book was a waste of money as anyone who did not pre-order it got it for free anyway.
Step 2. The online booking system. I knew exactly when it was going live and made sure my holiday to Austria did not clash with it. I also made sure I had freed up the timeslot at work so that I could get in there and make my pre-bookings. The time arrived, I went online, and their system immediately crashed. I’m used to this, as resource allocation for these kind of events seems to be something no company ever plans for (remember the Shard booking earlier this year?). You would expect, however, that knowledge of how many people showed an interest last year, and having 10k followers on Facebook would allow you to pre-empt the fact that this was not just going to be a few thousand people trying to access you at one time. The online system tried and failed to work over a long period of time, and was still not working when I returned from my trip to Austria.
Open House did use the ‘but we’re a charity’ card that so many organisations use (mostly I see it when somebody wants one of my images and doesn’t want to pay for it) but that is no excuse for bad planning.
Eventually they turned it into a ballot system which I very much agree with, it was the best move they made. However, after saying that they would not honour existing bookings made during the difficult period of technical issues, they changed this around later in the proceedings and decided to honour one of the nights that the system was online for a brief period of time for a brief number of people. I thought the whole point of the system was to benefit everyone and make sure nobody was disadvantaged?
They also kindly stated that anybody who had pre-ordered the book would have each entry into the ballot count for 2 instead of just 1 entry. Another good move which does show some benefit to pre-ordering the book.
I didn’t get any tickets in the end, but I had stopped caring by that point.
Step 3. The weekend itself.
Saturday was very enjoyable. I queued up for Lloyds in the morning, and followed this with trips to Trinity House (meh) and Customs House (yawnfest), followed by City Hall. The staff and volunteers in all of these places were excellent; all very friendly and helpful and well done to all of them.
Sunday I queued for the Gherkin. I arrived at 8am to find an already impressive but very quickly growing queue in place. Around two and a half hours later I was in and on my way to the top floor. Now, anyone who follows my blog knows my love of a London view. I have climbed many rooftops and cranes trying to find the best views available, public or not. The view from the Gherkin is one of the better ones I have seen for what you get to see, but one of the worst for being able to see it, if you know what I mean. There are many things that go into a decent view. Location, height, surrounding buildings, weather, interference. The Gherkin has an excellent location, an excellent height and not too many buildings interfering with the view. Alas, the weather had closed in so rain was on the windows decreasing visibility, and the fact you can’t get near the glass, which is both curved and has the triangular windows, means an unobstructed view was hard to get. We were given a few minutes up there before making our way back down, and though it was great to finally get to the top I was very much underwhelmed by the experience. It certainly was not worth a 2.5 hour wait. Again, the staff here were excellent – especially the security guards who had a long day ahead of them and were calm and professional, certainly what I saw of them.
I was knackered after this so just had lunch and went home before having a very long power nap.
Next year I would like to see an actual point to pre-ordering the book. Perhaps give those who pre-order first go at an online booking system if you choose to continue with such a thing. This will encourage more to pre-order and the funds can be used to actually make a system that works.
Otherwise, thanks very much to the staff and volunteers who made it happen, it really is a great initiative and I hope it lasts for another 20 years.
This weekend sees the return of Open House London, where many buildings normally closed to the public open their doors and let in the riff-raff like me to gaze at the architecture or from the whatever-storey-windows. Sometimes it’s great to learn a little bit about the history of the place, at other times I just want the photo opportunity.
Within the shot above you can see 3 of the more popular buildings that take part in this event. First up you have Heron Tower on the left of the frame. The only way you can access this is via pre-booking which was a complete and utter farce this year, I did not get tickets. Though the building itself is pretty impressive, hosts a super large aquarium and some funky speedy open glass lifts – the whole reason for going here it to get as high as possible and enjoy the view. I’ve previously been up on top of this building so don’t mind about missing out on this one over this weekend. Here’s the view from the top from a previous post:
The second of the popular buildings is the 30 St Mary Axe – which most people know as the ‘Gherkin’. Designed by Foster this is one of the more iconic buildings in London which most people instantly recognise. I haven’t had the fortune to go in there yet, but am hoping to do so on Sunday – again I’m simply hoping to get as high as possible and enjoy a nice view from the top.
The third one, which you only see a glimpse of here, is the Lloyd’s of London building. People often say it’s inside out, it’s an odd but beautiful structure from the outside for sure. This one I want to see just so I know what is on the inside, and to see if it’s as interesting as the external is.
If you’re in or around London then there are hundreds of places you can visit, so do try and view some of them where you can. Here’s a sample of shots I’ve taken from previous Open House locations:
From the TFL Headquarters:
From the London Library:
From Broadgate Tower:
There are plenty of classic London views that are already out there. Houses of Parliament from the south side of Westminster Bridge or London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge, British Museum from their viewing window, City Hall from the Scoop – etc etc.
Well, here’s another one that can be added to the list as I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of it over the next few years.
The Emirates Air Line is a new cable car service which runs from North Greenwich Peninsula to Royal Victoria Docks – so essentially from the O2 arena to the ExCeL Center. For the time it takes and the cost involved it is essentially a tourist attraction, though they are selling it as a viable form of commute.
This Sunday I took the opportunity to head out there and check it out for myself; and it was a pretty cool ride with some nice views…it’s one of the only cable cars I think I would want to be stuck in…assuming it stopped at the top of the ride with the clear view across.
If you’re making just one journey and you want to ensure there are no cable cars going in between you and the city view, then travel from the South of the river to the North. If you want the opportunity to include other cable cars in your view, then travel North to South.
The last stop that Jim and I made on Sunday was to the Natural History Museum. I had seen many photos of this place, but never taken the time to actually get there and photograph it. My plan was to arrive quite late, and stay until they kicked us out – hopefully getting this area as free of people as possible. However, we got there an hour earlier than expected, and it was just full of visitors – as you would expect.
This image took quite a lot of work to get rid of all of the people that were in it, so I’ll go through the brief process below – starting with showing you the 5 images that this one is composed of.
It was daylight, and I was hoping to blur people out as much as possible so I took 5 exposures using my B&W 10 stop filter at 30 seconds apiece. Here are the 5 resulting images:
After 5 shots I figured there would be enough movement below for me to work with and mask where needed. Not quite the case, some people are happy to stand around for 3 minutes and others were sat on seats beside the stairs, not going anywhere.
I loaded the layers up in Photoshop CS6 and did a lot of masking and a little bit of cloning and a little bit of healing. I removed pretty much all of the people, as well as the camel and dinosaur tail from the bottom of the image. I also removed the sign at the foot of the stairs. Repairing the benches at the side of the stairs would have been too difficult for a man of my skill so I removed these as well.
Here’s the resulting image with most things removed:
I tonemapped this final image in Photomatix and returned it to CS6 for more processing. First up, I wanted to straighten it all out so used the perspective crop tool to straighten up the columns near the viewer followed by sharpening the image as a whole. Next was the Color Efex plugin by Nik Software where I applied some tonal contrast, pro contrast and a bleach bypass – the latter I set to a luminosity blending of about 40%.
After this I put the image into Perfect Effects by OnOneSoftware and used the Autumn filter to bring a more golden glow around the windows, brushing this in where I wanted it (I further enhanced this back in Color Efex using a summer filter), and this was followed by the Dreamland filter to darken up the doorways beside the stairs. I did this a little further using a black brush as well; I liked the fact it turned to darkness, plus it cleaning up the fact people were in there in the original images.
I’m pretty pleased with the end result in all.
Well, I hope everyone had as nice a weekend as I did, though perhaps a more relaxed one as I’m pretty tired after mine.
Friday night started with an impromptu drink with Jim Nix who landed in London and decided to see the British Museum as the first port of call. Coincidentally I work right beside the museum so though I wasn’t able to go out taking photos (my gear was at home) I did enjoy a swift pint – or two – before heading out to play poker. So that was a late night.
The next morning was household stuff before heading out to meet up with Jim for a few hours, walking down the Thames and heading towards Westminster where we grabbed another few swift pints and then went on a photowalk that Jim had organised. Also with us, in alphabetic order, were Andrew, Annabelle, Chris, Conor, Dale, Debbie, James (M), James (P), Jimmy, Jo, John, Laura, Mike, Ollie, Simon and Tam. Hopefully I’ll be able to fill these links in as I get to know the correct URLs from people.
I admit I didn’t take many photos on this walk, but it was nice just to chat to everyone really. As with most of our photowalks this one ended up in the pub for a few more pints before getting home at which point I answered a few emails and crawled into bed at around 1.30 or 2am.
Sunday morning I was up nice and early and left the house at 8.30 to grab some breakfast before meeting up with Jim again. We went to the new cable car running over the Thames first, followed by a quick walk around Greenwich and through the Greenwich foot tunnel, a whirlwind tour around Canary Wharf, and then we headed over to the Natural History Museum to look at the stunning architecture on offer there.
We were pretty tired by the time that was all done, and so we retired back to another pub near Embankment where we met up with John and his wife to quietly finish off the day.
It was a great weekend, and I enjoyed getting out there and seeing several things that were new to me, even as a Londoner. Thanks to all of those who turned up for the photowalk, and of course to Jim for organising it.
Today’s image is from the Saturday afternoon; we dropped into the Tate Modern and headed to the 3rd floor balcony for a slightly elevated view and I liked the lines that were in this image as I looked upwards.
Today’s image from the Olympic Park is a glimpse of the Basketball Arena. The arena itself was fenced off, I assume to make access to it for ticket holders easier to manage without people sneaking in. As such we were only able to take shots over, or peeking through, the fence itself.
It’s another interesting piece of architecture with some nice curves and shadows. I did have another view which shows more of it but still in the pyramid type form, but the clouds at this time of day were superb, whereas they had moved a little out of the way by the time we returned here at dusk.
For processing I ran three brackets through Photomatix and then took the image into CS6 where I needed to do a little warping and cropping to get everything aligned as needed. I used ColorEfex to add quite a bit of contrast before using a couple of the Perfect Effects filters (though I forget which ones). I had way too much colour in there, but the image didn’t look quite right in black and white, so I used a light blue colorized filter but about 50% opacity to finish it off.
Continuing on with a set of Olympic Park images, today we see the Velodrome which is where the indoor cycling events took place. All of the necessary events housed here had finished by the time I got to the park so it was pretty quite around this area, though it would have been nice if they had opened the doors to let visitors wander in and see it from the inside while it wasn’t in actual use.
It was near here that we decide to eat…which unfortunately meant being in the wrong location for the sunset which was a beautiful red and orange sky, the contrails you see here remained in place until nightfall. As I’m sure you’re aware, branding in the Olympic Park was something of a hot topic during the organisation of the games with only those who are sponsoring the event being allowed to show their brands. McDonalds was the main food place that I saw as they had built a restaurant within the park itself. However there was still plenty of alternative options, I just don’t have a clue if they were brands that were in stealth mode or not. I had a lovely chilli beef taco from one stall named simply as ‘Mexican’. John had the watery dregs of a salt beef sandwich, from the aptly named ‘Salt Beef’ stand.
Have you been to newly relaunched TheFella photoblog site yet? It’s a pretty slick site, and I would say it’s one of the top 25 art-directed HDR travel photography blogs on the net. Head on over there and say hello, and perhaps give a little ‘ooh’ or an ‘aaah’ to the great images.
This is Orbit.
It is wonderful.
It may not look wonderful, but then first impressions can be misleading and it’s what’s inside that counts. Or something. Not that he has much inside.
Anyway, this is a crazy rollercoaster-esque structure built within the Olympic park and offering a view over the surrounding area, including a little bit into the stadium itself. It’s meant to be a legacy build, which means now that the Olympics are over this should remain as a viewing platform/work of art for the foreseeable future. It’ll still cost £15 to get up it, I’m sure.
I’m sure most of my readers will be familiar with this artist’s works – even if you don’t know the name. In London he has created many public pieces over the years, including Sky Mirror (remember the shiny mirror near the Gherkin) and Marsyas which took over the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern a decade ago; outside of London you’ll probably recognise the Cloud Gate in Chicago, nicknamed ‘The Bean’ due to the shape.
For a more indepth look at this particular piece of work, check out the Orbit thought experiment.
It was a busy morning of a working week when I visited this area of Washington DC. I was killing some time before going to a conference and decided I wanted to see the stretch of land from here to the Abraham Lincoln memorial. I was therefore quite surprised to find that there were so few people in this shot when I expected it to be pretty busy.
There were a lot of people behind me, and there was one security guard who was wandering around but I timed it so he was behind the fountain. Also, while I was down on one knee and composed a couple of Chinese tourists came in and started taking photos of themselves, completely oblivious that I was there (I find it rude, but am very patient normally – this would not be the case if I was shooting film rather than digital).
After a while they disappeared, though, and I was able to go ahead and get the shot I originally intended.
For this image I corrected the lens distortion in Lightroom, merged with Photomatix Pro with selective ghost removal on the flag, and then took it into CS6 for cropping and final adjustments. I used a couple of the NIK filters, namely Pro Contrast, and also several of the OnOneSoftware filters within Perfect Effect 3, these at varying degrees of opacity and brushing.
Speaking of OnOneSoftware, they have just announced that the new Perfect Photo Suite 7 is being released, scheduled for the end of October (order now for a bonus DVD).
The Perfect Photo Suite 7 is available for $299.95 for first time customers and $149.95 for previous owners of the Perfect Photo Suite. I went ahead and ordered my update last night and am looking forward to seeing what the new updates have to offer; it’s great software which has become an integral part of my workflow this year. Use the code MURPHYZ at checkout to get 10% off your order. Order from http://www.ononesoftware.com/
I recently posted a view of the British Museum roof from the inside, now we have it from above.
You can see how recently this shot was taken by the progress of the Shard over on the left; there are also a few other well known buildings in view such as the Millennium Wheel (sure, not technically a building) and the Strata tower.
It really is a lovely roof and one that you don’t get to view much from above, however I’ve found that from the air, be it from a plane, helicopter or the tops of nearby buildings, It’s certainly an easy one to spot.
Had Hitler won the war, it was suggested that this building would be his London HQ. Instead, it is a library and part of the University of London; if you look at the detail you’ll see it has very Egyptian features.
This building is around a 5 minute walk from my office, and I used to walk past it on a daily basis to and from work; it sometimes participates in Open House weekend as well so do try to get in here if you can; it’s an interesting building on the inside – plus at 19 floors it’s got a pretty cool view from the rooftop as well. It overlooks the British Museum and is probably the best view you will get of the museums green tinted roof.
This isn’t one of the best dawn shots I’ve taken in London, but it is one of the very few ones I’ve taken.
In a city that never sleeps (a term that I dislike as that implies a pub may be open past midnight, which is rarely the case) I find that dawn is the quietest of times, and the one that I get to see very rarely. Like most other people I’m usually lying in bed at that time, sound asleep or perhaps waking momentarily to look at the clock before turning over with a contented smile safe in the knowledge I have hours to go before getting up.
It’s unfortunate, therefore, that one of those ‘magic’ hours you hear photographers talk of is at that time in the morning. It’s a little rude of it to be honest.
Generally I am okay at going up for a sunrise only when I’m on a photography holiday. I think then I expect to make the most of each location by being there at the best times of day to catch the light, and sleeping through them would be pretty wasteful. I don’t think I take it for granted when in London, that there will always be another sunrise tomorrow – but perhaps I do. I think it’s more due to the fact I have a life to be getting on with, a full time job during the week and a need to rest a little during the weekend, so I don’t make the exceptions of getting up early to get somewhere for it to then be dawn.
Plus the weather here sucks most of the time.
The trip to Iceland was enjoyable, but it sure was good to be home – and that’s how I feel about images some times. It’s great to process and post images from a trip, but there’s something very satisfactory about bringing it back to this wonderful city.
Here we have the BT Tower; it was taken a while ago when the satellites were still on the frame – these have now been stripped out, I believe due to heath and safety reasons. That’s a pity as I much preferred this building when they were on there.
It was a pretty boring day weather wise as far as I can remember (and judging by the sky).
So, a little bad news, followed by good news.
The bad news.
My PC has been playing up for a little while, and the other night it decided to die on me. It’s four or five years old and was due for an upgrade I guess, but it’s frustrating that it died on me when I have a commitment to post one blog image per weekday, and this is something I wish to continue doing – it’s just made harder without a working PC.
I do have an old laptop that I can use, but that’s only really good for web browsing and online poker. I tried loading up lightroom and CS6 on to it and it really cannot cope with such things, so it looks like I won’t be able to use that for processing any images.
Also, I found out last night that I’ve been neglecting to backup my Lightroom catalog for the past month. I did a reformat of my PC recently to see if I could make it perform a little better, and neglected to add the Lightroom folder to the backup system. This shouldn’t be too major as I have all of the images etc on an external drive, it’s just a little annoying.
Until I get a replacement system it means that I’m ideally going to be finding old images from somewhere other than processing them. Otherwise I’m hoping to be able to do a few on the iPad.
Fun fact, this shot above was taken well over a year ago!
The good news.
I’m done with custom building PCs. Yes, I love the power they offer but I’m finished with them. I’m heading in a new direction and so have ordered an Apple MacBook Pro, specs below should you care. I made that decision as I am a fan of Apple products, and as I’ve decided I would like to be able to process images on the go. If I travel for work and have a camera, I would like to be able to do all of my work tasks, plus my photo editing and image storage from a trip.
The MacBook should be with me in a couple of weeks…and judging by the performance of my laptop over the past few nights – it cannot come quick enough!
Here’s the specs:
• 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
• 2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
• 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
• 256GB Flash Storage
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.
Hmm, perhaps this post title would have worked better had this church been in Helsinki. Never-the-matter, this is Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik – and it’s a pretty odd building if you ask me.
We arrived here on our last day of the Iceland trip and were pretty fortunate to arrive when there was nobody around outside, as we nipped into the church for 5 minutes and suddenly it seemed like buses full of tourists pulled up and would have made the above shot pretty difficult to achieve.
Speaking of bands, on the plane to Iceland there was an article on a band called Of Monsters and Men. They received a good write up and were obviously topical for my destination, so I looked them up when I got home. They’re pretty good.
Check out a video of them performing Little Talks, and enjoy.