Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Long and Short of it

A short post of long exposures. Over the last few months I have gradually been upgrading my Cokin filters to Lee filters, including getting a Big Stopper (10 Stop ND Filter) instead of the B & W Circular 10 Stop ND filter I have had for a while. The B & W filter is great, but I got frustrated with it when I also needed to use a grad; the Lee square filters are much better for this. Anyway I had been itching to try the new set-up and popped into London one weekend. I didn't make it into the city until mid afternoon, but headed straight for Tower 42 where my office is.

My normal Bleeding London Camera is a Fuji X100S, which I love, but for these long shots I was using my trusty Nikon D7100 with a Sigma 10-20mm lens for the long exposure images. The two Tower 42 shots below were taken with the Lee Big Stopper (10 Stop ND ) and a 2 or 3 stop Hitech ND filter. The exposure times were about four and five minutes.

The next shot is of the Willis Building taken on the corner of Lime Street and Fenchurch Avenue. This shot made use of the Big Stopper and a 2 or 3 Stop graduated ND filter to try and balance out the sky on the right.

I then headed towards the area near the Tower of London to photograph a couple of streets that I had been down several times but found them really dull and had struggled for inspiration. This time I did at least think of something to photograph, though not very interesting, and I left thinking I had go the shots in the bag. Unfortunately I had left the camera in manual focus and so the shots were out of focus. By the time I realised I couldnt be bothered to go back, but at least I had finally managed to think of something to shoot.

I did realise my mistake in time to get on more shot before heading home. Lower Thames Street turns into Byward Street right on the edge of the city, a fact that I had  not realised several weeks ago when I photographed Lower Thames Street, but now had to go back to finish things off. As I mentioned, Byward Street is right on the boundary of the City and the shot below is actually one of the city boundary markers.

After that I headed to Tower Hill tube station and made my way home.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


And the leaves are stripped bear of all they wear, what do I care? Bono might not (that line is from U2's October) but for me the nights are getting shorter, and with it the challenge gets harder. I only have myself to blame.

October started slowly, with no opportunity to take photographs until a week into the month. On my first outing I ventured due south from the office, down Gracechurch Street towards the monument. My second outing of the month followed the same route, and so I am combining both sets of photos in this post. First stop, Gracechurch Street.

There are quite a few little alleys off Gracechurch Street. The first I visited was Bell Inn Yard, named after an Inn which saw its demise during the great fire. There street does seem to have some significance as I have seen a couple of tour groups going down it, but I am not sure what that significance is. I did though take a couple of pictures that I am happy enough with.

This lane leads to a smaller Court called Corbet Court, of which I thought there was not much to say. However whilst the photograph clearly states this as being Court, on looking at the maps Corbet Court seems to be the next alley parallel to Bell Inn Yard. I may have to investigate this further.

Corbet Court or not, this in turn leads to St. Michael's Alley where a church of the same name is situated, its yard seen in the following picture. The church's tower was once the tallest building in the city and could be seen for miles. Today it is probably only visible from Cornhill.

The alley also features The Jamaica Wine House, formerly the Turks Head and the first coffee shop in London, after the landlord returned from overseas with some coffee beans. More alleys lead off here, one of which is George Yard and from here is Bengal Court, which at one point is extremely narrow as can be seen in the picture below.

Further down Gracechurch Street, towards the monument is Ship Tavern Passage, where just to confuse you I photographed a pub called The Swan.

Next up is Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire of London started in Thomas Farriner's bakery in 1666. Its a rather disappointingly dreary street with a building site on side and a horrible 60's concrete building (Farynes House) on the other.

Crossing Pudding Lane is Monument Street, where the monument, commemorating the fire is located, at the crossroads with Fish Street Hill. The monument is 62 metres high and is situated 62 metres from where the fire started. Of course I don't have a full picture of the monument as that would be too obvious and a bit touristy. I took a couple of pictures here, and one of them does have the base of the monument in it.

On Fish Street Hill I tried something a little different and took the following shot outside Monument tube station.

According to this link, the Black Prince, son of Edward III lived here at which time it was named New Fish Street.

Back to Pudding Lane and about half way up is St. George's Lane which features another side of the horrible 1960's concrete building mentioned previously.

A bit further up the lane I took another shot.

And then I took of shot of the street sign, which I often do so that I do not forget the name of the street I have just photographed. As I was taking the shot somebody came into view and I carried on shooting; I think it made a good picture.

Straight across from here is Botolph Alley and my final image of this post.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

A Bit of the other

Another long post, but this one will take us up to the end of September. This particular outing centred on the area of Temple in the west of the city. It is the location of the Temple Church and a main legal district in the capital. I began from Blackfriars Tube station and walked along Victoria Embankment. I spotted a ship, possibly a restaurant or tour bout, that was painted in black and white and very contrasty and waited for someone interesting to walk along..

On the other side of the road I spotted some interesting shadows near a bus stop.

From here I walked onto Middle Temple Lane. Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers, the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn. This image was taken at the top of the lane.

Back from the bottom going up, the first street off of here is Crown Office Row.

Next is Fountain Court, and you can just about make out the fountain in the picture.

Next up is Pump Court and the first of my Bleeding London pictures to feature a dog!

And now for  Brick Court.

The following image is of Inner Temple Court and taken right next to the Church.

The next two images are both of Kings Bench Walk, though walking along them you would not really think of them as being part of the same street.

The second picture here is my favourite picture of the day.

And the last picture of the day and of September is Old Mitre Court.

So finally here is the update progress map.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A bit of that

This could be a long post, All the pictures were taken on the same day, mostly in the evening. The first few though were taken in the morning, after getting off the tube at Barbican. My first stop was St. Martin's Le-Grand which runs from the Rotunda near the museum of London down towards St.Pauls Cathedral.

I was filling ins some gaps on this morning, so the next  stop was a  few streets away at the lovely named Love Lane. Round the corner on Wood Street is the headquarters of the the City of London Police and most times I have walked down Love Lane there have been lots of police vans, cars and occasionally horsed. Taking photographs here may have resulted in some questioning, but luckily there is also a lovely little garden on the corner of Aldermanbury; I love these quite,peaceful gardens that are dotted around the city, and quite like the resultant picture too.

My final picture of the morning was at Brewers Hall Garden, which as a garden is quite a contrast to that in Love Lane,. Its just a small alley and seated area with some brick flower beds on the side of London Wall, with lots of traffic going past. There are plenty of better options for a quite read or spot of lunch. Of note though is that this is the garden of the Brewers Hall, one of the oldest livery companies and on of the first to have its own hall. The statue of the gardener was originally at Moorgate but relocated here in 2005.

And now to the evening. The plan was to walk from work to Barbican and then past Smithfield Market and to Holborn, where I would fill in some of the gaps between Holborn and Fleet street, taking a few pictures along the way if something caught my interest.

On the south side of Smithfield market, there are a few littlle alleys that I hadn't been down before, so I had a quick look down a few of them. The first was Cloth Court were I noticed a rather bizarre post-it note stuck on somebody's front door, stating "What smell were you grateful for today?".

The other alley I stopped off at here was Barley Mow Passage, of which there is not much to say other then I like the name.

The next couple of pictures are perhaps a little open to debate as to which street they cross off the list. The first was taken from Holborn Viaduct looking down onto Farringdon Street. Is it a picture of a statue on the bridge of Holborn Viaduct or of the Farrrigndon Street? I counted it as Farrigndon Street. Its the sort of question I have pondered before;Could I for instance, stand at a crossroads and take one picture and cross off four streets?

The next picture was taken on the steps down from Holborn Viaduct down to Farrindon Street. Again I counted is as Farringdon Street.Not sure what my reasoning was, but perhaps I should have reasoned differently.

Now moving in between Holburn and Fleet Street, my next stop was Thavies Inn, where they was not too much to photograph. Whilst it doesn't make a great image, I was interested by the contrasting shapes and patterns in the next image.

I think at this point of the evening I started struggling a little for inspiration. Sometimes with these areas that are a little bit further from work, there is a nagging feeling that firstly I don't want to have to keep coming back to the area, and secondly as the nights start to get shorter, that it is going to get harder to visit these locations. So here is one uninspired shot from Breams Buildings, where (apologies to) the lady looks as though were it not for the socks, she might be from a bond movie and capable of stabbing someone with sharp points from her shoes.

Just off from here is Rolls Passage., where I believe the Master of the Rolls originally lived. This is the title of the second most senior judge in England and Wales, and the position dates from at least 1286. Originally the roll was that of a clerk responsible for keeping the "Rolls" or records of the Court of Chancery.

Down the side of the Maughan Library, part of Kings College is Cliffords Inn Passage, where the following uninspired picture maybe even more uninspiring than that of the bod villain.

The other end of the passage leads onto Fleet Street, and I headed along here in the direction of St.Pauls stopping to go down Red Lion Court, one of the stopping points of the Great Fire of London - here the fire came to a brick built house which slowed the fire down a little an enabled fire fighters time to demolish buildings and create a gap, thus preventing further spread of the fire.

The next alley off Fleet Street and parallel to Red Lion Court is Johnson's Alley, a twisty turny sort of alley were Dr. Samuel Johnson lived. The street is not however named after Dr. Johnson but Thomas Johnson, a city tailor who lived her during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Also of note and some relevance, is that on the wall to right their is a plaque dated 28th March 2001 commemorating the centenary of the first meeting of the British Institute of Professional Photographers, a the Anderton's Hotel which previously stood here.

The twists and turns lead to Gough Square, which features another residence of Dr. Johnson, as can been seen in the picture below.

The other end of the square leads to Gunpowder Square, where rather appropriately there is a cannon, and where I was quite precise with my aim.

Wine Office Court is probably famous to a lot of people for being the location of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub. Many famous literary figures are said to have been regular drinkers here including Dr. Samuel Johnson, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The pub was associated for around fourty years with an African Grey Parrot called Polly. Polly was so famous, that when she died in 1926, here obituary was featured in more than 200 newspapers.

Sadly although having recently been to the pub myself from the end at which I approached the street, I was not aware that the pub was down the other end and so came away with a rather less interesting picture.

My final picture of the evening was from the nearby Printer Street.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A bit of this

A bit of a mixed bag, location wise, coming up, with shots from a couple of different areas. First is a picture I quite like, taken on Fen Court between Fenchurch Avenue and Fenchurch Street. The sculpture in the image is called the "Gilt of Cain" and commemorates the abolition of the transatlantic slavery trade in 1807 and led to freeing of slaves across the British Empire. The sculpture was opened by the Archbishop Desmond Tuto in 2008.

A bit further along Fenchurch Street, and connecting with Lime Street, is Cullum Street. Its a small street and a little bit tardy, with the best bit this short under cover section at the Lime Street end.

The following shot is my second not very good picture of the Walkie Talkie building, This one is from a different side, on Philpot Lane. It's fairly obvious what grabbed my attention here.

Now for a completely different area, and Gresham Street, which leads from the Bank of England down to St. Martin's Le Grand.

One of the Streets off Gresham Street is Aldemanbury, which took a couple of visits to get a half decent shot, as despite having an entrance to the Guildhall, there is not a huge amount to shout home about.

A few minutes away off the Rotunda is Montague Street, where I was enticed by the reflections in the window below.