Sunday 11th August 2013
(As ever – please feel free to click on any image to view in Flickr)
Miracle of miracles ! – not only was the weather glorious as I peered out of the bedroom window on Sunday morning, but the Northern line (which has been closed between Edgware and Charing Cross every Sunday for months, it seems) was showing as GOOD SERVICE ! ! Amazing . . . . This meant that todays journey into the city would be from Brent Cross underground station, on the Northern Line. I kinda prefer Neasden station, on the Jubilee Line – it’s cute, in a strange sort of way, but Brent Cross is so much easier to get to by car from my good friend’s house, although car parking spaces at the station are hit and miss. Fortunately today was a “hit” occasion – so, after purchasing a car park ticket and topping up the Oyster cards we were soon on the platform, ready to go.
Whilst waiting for the train I played around with the settings on my 5D. I’ve been reading about “shooting from the hip” – a technique where the camera is set up with a high ISO (thus guaranteeing a fast shutter speed) and the focus pre-set at the hyperfocal distance. This makes taking photos a point & shoot affair, allowing for images to be captured with the camera on the shoulder strap – hence the name. The reason behind this is to be able to capture street images without attracting the attention of tourists, pedestrians and passers-by. There are two reasons why this technique interests me – the main one being that I’m very wary about taking photos of members of the public – unlike some snappers I just don’t have the balls to point the camera into someones face and fire away. I also think that a street scene is rendered unnatural-looking by someone in the shot staring at me or the camera. Today I was gonna try a few test shots, and what better place to experiment than the city centre ??
Our trip along the Northern line took us as far as Embankment station – one of my favourites. I love how one emerges into the hustle & bustle of the city, right next to the river, the London Eye towering above. Usually we would grab a coffee from Costa and a sandwich from Snax, then sit in the Victoria Embankment Gardens. Not today – we had other things in mind. After a quick diversion to photograph the York Water Gate, which marks the original North bank of the Thames, we strode on, past the stalls selling junk souvenirs, onto The Strand (‘Ave a banana !).
After a short walk we were in Trafalgar Square, where we got our first glimpse of that huge blue chicken sculpture ! !
Many photographs later we headed back up The Strand (‘Ave a banana !) and popped into Costa Coffee on Adelaide Street. My reward card has been racking up the points recently, so we enjoyed the simple pleasure of sitting in the sun, sipping free coffee ! !
Our caffeine craving catered for, we headed along Chandos Place, past Charing Cross police station, and into Covent Garden, another of my favourite spots in the city. Today an African street performer was wowing a large crowd with his acrobatics. Of course, our visits to this area always include a stop-off at Belushi’s Bar, where a few beers, and 2 Flatliners were consumed – HIC ! !
There was a great singer-guitarist (I later found out his name is Terry St.Clair) busking outside the transport museum. We stopped to listen and, bang on cue, he played “Streets Of London” – time stopped for a few moments and we stood, captivated . . . . .
In an alcoholic daze we bade a fond farewell to Covent Garden’s cobbles, and backtracked to Embankment, where we crossed the Thames on the Golden Jubilee Footbridge.
There is usually plenty to see and photograph on the South Bank and today was no exception – from a window-box display to “The Shed” . . . and my personal favourite – the skaters & BMX cyclists on the banking at the Royal Festival Hall. I skated here myself on my first ever trip to London, as a 14 year old, back in 1978. I’d love to join in with their fun – Oh, to be young again . . . . .
The sun was beginning to slip behind the city’s buildings to the West as we enjoyed the stroll along the South Bank of the river to London Bridge Underground Station, our shadows lengthening as we walked . . . . .
All too soon we were back at Brent Cross – tired, famished, ready for our feast of chip butties and Lasagne.
Another corker of a day in the Capital . . . . .