Preparing for my course assessment has taken up so much time since the beginning of the year that I haven’t had a chance to sort out any photos I’ve taken during that time. A few weeks ago I had a teaching job in London – it was the first for quite a long time and it felt great to be back in the saddle again. We did our usual photo walk round the City, part of which involves going down to the side of the Thames at Billingsgate. There’s lots to see down here – a bit too much photographically, sometimes – but we’re almost always faced with a dull grey-white, completely uninteresting sky. But this time was different. It was late afternoon, getting near dusk, and the sky was wonderful, with interesting clouds and sunset colours.
The Shard is one of London’s latest tall building projects and some of my favourite shots from that day are of it. As I took more and more shots, I found myself including less and less of the building in the frame, and the last shot here is my favourite – not much building and lots of that wonderful sky. Something else I noticed while in mid-shot was this: there were several planes flying past and I found myself feeling very uncomfortable if I took the shot while they were approaching the building. Since 9/11, it’s not possible for me to see a plane and a building in this sort of proximity without being reminded. I wonder if this is the same for everyone? So in the shot below, I had to wait till the plane was flying away from the building before taking it.
I’ve always loved the lampposts at Billingsgate, because they’re topped with little curvy fish to symbolise Billingsgate’s previous role as a fish market. Normally, because of the boring skies and more daylight than this, they don’t make for much of a photo but this time I managed to get a few decent shots.
The nearby river-side walkway and the light shining on the water made for another atmospheric shot.
We moved on after a while to Leadenhall Market – a wonderful place but one that I’ve never felt able to photograph in a way that satisfies me. One thing I hadn’t noticed before, though, was these air vents. They look like little creatures to me, perhaps arrived from some other planet.
It was a weekend of taking photos at dusk. After meeting a friend the next day, I had an hour or so to kill before I went for my train home, so I spent it shooting in Trafalgar Square. The weather was deteriorating fast, with heavy rain and wind that got stronger by the minute. I was handholding – as usual – and didn’t think many of my shots would be free of camera shake. However, these ones came out fine. Note the way the flow from the fountains is being blown to one side by the wind.