A Weekend Diary

…words and images from England's green and pleasant land…

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Portsmouth Hard, and Fareham Shopping Centre

Not my usual journey into work, but the bus I normally catch didn’t turn up this morning, so I thought I’d take a more romantic journey to my workplace, via Portsmouth Harbour, the Gosport Ferry, and Fareham. To be sure, it wasn’t as quick a journey as usual, but it was a lot more satisfying one…:)

HMS Warrior, The Hard, Portsmouth, around 8 o'clock this morning..

HMS Warrior, The Hard, Portsmouth, around 8 o’clock this morning..

Aboard the Gosport Ferry, leaving The Hard, Portsmouth...

Aboard the Gosport Ferry, leaving The Hard, Portsmouth…

Heading for Gosport, with the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth on the horizon...

Heading for Gosport, with the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth on the horizon…

A Gosport Ferry, heading for Portsmouth...

A Gosport Ferry, heading for Portsmouth…

Poppy Appeal Stall, outside Boots, in Fareham Shopping Centre...

Poppy Appeal Stall, outside Boots, in Fareham Shopping Centre…

Snow White figurine, in the Disney Collection, in  H. Samuel, in Fareham Shopping Centre...

Snow White figurine, in the Disney Collection, in H. Samuel, in Fareham Shopping Centre…

Lasered block, on a stall in Fareham Shopping Centre...

Lasered block, on a stall in Fareham Shopping Centre…

Happy Halloween, schoolchildren's display in Fareham Shopping Centre...

Happy Halloween, schoolchildren’s display in Fareham Shopping Centre…

Another stall, in Delme Square, Fareham Shopping Centre...

Another stall, in Delme Square, Fareham Shopping Centre…

First shoes...in Clarks, Fareham Shopping Centre

First shoes…in Clarks, Fareham Shopping Centre

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More Micro Four Thirds Experimentation…

…and this time with a Sigma Mini Wide II 28mm lens on the Panasonic GF 1 digital body…

On a wall alongside a pathway leading to Lodge Lane Car Park, London N12

On a wall alongside a pathway leading to Lodge Lane Car Park, London N12

Graffiti on the wall in Lodge Lane Car Park, London N12

Graffiti on the wall in Lodge Lane Car Park, London N12

Woodside Park Tube Station, North Finchley, London N12

Woodside Park Tube Station, North Finchley, London N12

Houses of Parliament, done in sepia...

Houses of Parliament, done in sepia…

A rainy trip to the British Museum, and beyond…

Photography has played a major part in my life for a very long time, both in studying its history, and in taking my own photographs over the past few decades. In the course of the latter, I gradually acquired a range of good quality 35mm lenses using the Contax-Yashica mount, and with the demise of 35mm photography, swept aside by the coming of the digital photographic age, I was pretty much resigned to the prospect of some excellent 35mm lenses gathering dust and never being used again.

However, I fairly recently discovered that the digital Micro Four Thirds system, pioneered by Olympus and Panasonic, allows for the use of 35mm lenses, by means of a manual adaptor, on a digital body. So, I picked up a second-hand Panasonic GF1 body, and a Contax-Yashica adaptor, and here are some experimental shots taken with a Tessar f2.8 45mm lens.

I decided to try out the combination in the British Museum, and on a subsequent ramble down to the South Bank. I have to say there was a high failure rate, due mostly to camera-shake, and the mis-focussing of the lens (you’re obliged to use such a non-native lens in manual mode), and I also found it quite restrictive to use a fixed length lens which effectively has a focal length equivalent to around 90mm in 35mm terms. However, I’m still learning, and I’m happy with some of these pictures, so I’ll perservere for a while yet ;)…

A female statue in the British Museum...

A female statue in the British Museum…

A couple of ceramics, juxtaposed...

A couple of ceramics, juxtaposed…

Maybe Venus, maybe someone else ;)...

Maybe Venus, maybe someone else ;)…

A rainy courtyard, British Museum...

A rainy courtyard, British Museum…

James Smith & Sons, High Holborn

James Smith & Sons, High Holborn

Miniature Replica Guitars, in Cards Galore, in High Holborn

Miniature Replica Guitars, in Cards Galore, in High Holborn

Ena Sharples, in the window of Wild and Coffee Company, New Oxford Street

Ena Sharples, in the window of Wild and Coffee Company, New Oxford Street

View of the City, from the north side of Waterloo Bridge...

View of the City, from the north side of Waterloo Bridge…

On the South Bank, beneath Hungerford Bridge...

On the South Bank, beneath Hungerford Bridge…

Autumn sky above the Houses of Parliament...

Autumn sky above the Houses of Parliament…

Same bloke  (Christopher Werkowicz by name) as was busking at South Ken yesterday afternoon, now in front of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

Same bloke (Christopher Werkowicz by name) as was busking at South Ken yesterday afternoon, now in front of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

On my way back to Leicester Square station, for a Piccadilly Line train to Arnos Grove, I passed a group of excitable screaming teenage girls surrounding a car outside the Capital Radio building, so I took this snatch shot of one of the objects of the girls’ desire. Apparently the band is called Union J, and for generational reasons, I’ve never heard of them…but then, I’d guess they’ve never heard of King Crimson, or Blodwyn Pig either ;)…

Outside Capital Radio, at the bottom of the Charing Cross Road...

Outside Capital Radio, at the bottom of the Charing Cross Road…

A visit to the Science Museum…

There was a very specific reason for heading to the Science Museum in South Kensington on this occasion; there are a handful of photographic exhibitions that I’m intending to see in London in the coming weeks, and not least amongst them was ‘Only in England’, featuring the work of the late Tony Ray-Jones (1942-1971) and Martin Parr (b. 1952), which is currently showing in the Media Space at the Science Museum.

It cost me eight quid to get in, but it was money well-spent; there was a particular fascination for me in Tony Ray-Jones’ images taken in English seaside towns in the late Sixties, unique and wry observations of the English at leisure in a bygone age.

I’ve been revisiting ‘High Windows’ of late, Philip Larkin’s 1974 final volume of poetry. The first poem in that book, ‘To the Sea’ (completed in October 1969), seems to me to be a perfect literary accompaniment to Tony Ray-Jones’ English seaside pictures taken almost half a century ago.

The taking of photographs wasn’t allowed in the ‘Only in England’ exhibition space, so here’s another, more comtemporary, example of English quirkiness, taken in Exhibition Road on my way to the Science Museum on Saturday afternoon. I’m not altogether sure what that tuba-like brass instrument is, but, whatever, it breathed fire, as a photo I took outside the National Gallery early the following evening shows ;).

Christopher Werkowicz busking in Exhibition Road

Christopher Werkowicz busking in Exhibition Road

Front door of the V & A Museum, in Cromwell Road

Front door of the V & A Museum, in Cromwell Road

Heading back from the Museums, towards Knightsbridge Tube station

Heading back from the Museums, towards Knightsbridge Tube station

Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square…and around Charing Cross…

A rainy Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Friday afternoon, 11th October

A rainy Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Friday afternoon, 11th October

Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, opposite Portsmouth Guildhall...

Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, opposite Portsmouth Guildhall…

North side, Trafalgar Square, with The National Gallery, St Martin's-in-the-Fields, and the Fourth Plinth...

North side, Trafalgar Square, with The National Gallery, St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, and the Fourth Plinth…

'Save Rosia' an environmental Action Group...

‘Save Rosia’ an environmental Action Group…

A juggling uni-cyclist , performing in front of the National Gallery...

A juggling uni-cyclist , performing in front of the National Gallery…

A London City skyline from Hungerford Bridge...

A London City skyline from Hungerford Bridge…

Another view downstream from Hungerford Bridge...

Another view downstream from Hungerford Bridge…

Nelson Mandela statue, outside the Royal Festival Hall, on London's South Bank...

Nelson Mandela statue, outside the Royal Festival Hall, on London’s South Bank…

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