Waterloo to Tate Modern

Went along to see the Picasso 1932 exhibition at Tate Modern, and decided to get to the Southbank early and have a slow wander with photo opportunities on the way. See below:

http://jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/tate-modern-220418

BBC Proms - 9th August 2017

As an early birthday treat for my mum, I took her to dinner at the Royal Albert Hall, followed by this year's Prom 32, featuring Elgar's Enigma Variations, one of her favourite pieces of classical music, and mine too. I came by the Albert Hall earlier in the day just to have a little mooch around, and took a few photos whilst I was there too, despite the pretty heavy rain which we had all day. See gallery below ...

www.jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/bbc-proms-090817

Tate Switch House July 17th 2017

Last time I visited the Tate Modern Switch House I was hoping to get some lunch in the restaurant but they'd shut by the time I got there (that'll teach me to have such luxuriant lie-ins on my days off!). Anyway, I managed to get there a little earlier today, and had a very nice lunch in their 9th floor restaurant with panoramic views of London.

I took the opportunity to take some new photographs as well whilst there, which can be seen in the little gallery linked below.

www.jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/tate-switch-house-170717

Automotive Delights

So, I often walk from the BBC in Portland Place down to either Green Park or Victoria Stations on my way home from work. On this otherwise relatively ordinary journey, I regularly bump into a wide range of very special classic and contemporary cars which tend to litter the more exclusive streets in that area. Click below to see a gallery of some of the more notable examples that I've seen in the past few months.

www.jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/automotive-delights

Tuesday Night Auto Club

So, this blog entry is largely for the benefit of my dad. Although I don't really have much understanding or interest in the mechanics and underlying workings of cars, I think I definitely inherited a certain degree of his love for cars from an aesthetic and design point of view. I've always enjoyed seeing beautiful and interesting car designs whenever I see them.

And living and working in London, there's certainly no shortage of appealing automotive activity to be had on pretty much a daily basis. Particularly if you walk through Mayfair as part of your route to Victoria of an evening. I do this more frequently in the summer than the winter, but now the weather seems to be taking a turn for the sunnier and the light stays longer into the evenings, it's quite nice doing the walk with camera in hand and seeing what notable motors litter the journey.

Something the I find interesting is how the rich young knobs of London very much seem to like to show off their wealth very ostentatiously with those huge slabular Bentleys which have been around for the past decade or so. Despite their fabulous price tags, these cars are rather gross and tacky in my opinion, not least because there are so many of them around now - they've become common as muck! How unimaginative to buy the same car as every other richo on the block. Why wouldn't you want to stand out from the crowd? I think classic cars are much classier and certainly rarer.

Despite this, I still quite like spotting interesting ones, and the gallery below is just a little soupçon of what can be seen during just a modest 15 minute stroll through the well-monied streets of Mayfair.

You can click on the link below for the dedicated full-size gallery, or just keep scrolling for smaller images.

jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/tuesday-night-auto-club

Spring Housesitting Stint

So, I'm house- and cat-sitting for my parents for a week at their place near Reading, a tradition I've been doing, usually in the summer, for a number of years now. It's always a nice opportunity to get some quiet space away from the cut and thrust of life in London, and to get some good quality 'me-time' in which to do a bit of lounging, reading, watching a few movies, playing the piano, and also taking photographs when inspiration strikes. I like to try and to do something creative every day whenever possible, even if it's just taking a picture or two of something around the house.

One of the main sources of interest when I'm at my folks' place has always been cats, as they're so cute in endlessly photogenic in different ways! Sadly they lost one of their two cats last year, so there's just the one left, Paddy. He's an incredible tart though, and always seems to play well to the camera, so unsurprisingly I always come away with quite a few shots of him, also a few of the garden and around the house. Some from further afield, depending on how bothered I am to venture out and about.

This time round my only day trip was to Oxford, a city fairly easily accessible from Reading. I was catching up with a friend who's studying there, so it wasn't a dedicated photo trip, but I did come away with at least a couple of shots that I liked.

Below is a link to a little gallery I've compiled with a selection of shots from the week.

http://jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/housesitting-300317

Along the Thames

So, I had another fairly unfocused photo stroll this afternoon, mainly along the North Bank of the Thames, although I did cross over a couple of times to swing by some new locations which I hadn't snapped before.

I think I was always planning to end up a little to the east of Tower Bridge with a view to getting some sunset and blue hour shots of this iconic London structure. At the end of the gallery, I've put a shot showing exactly where I was standing for these last few images.

Have a look at my selection of images from the day here:

https://jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/thames-north-bank-040317/

Tate Britain and Vauxhall

So, I paid a little visit to Tate Britain on Saturday afternoon, took my camera with me and did a little snapping on my way round. I was interested to see how relaxed they are there about people taking photographs.

I was amused to see at one point a slightly manic woman who was virtually running round the gallery trying to take pictures (badly) of every painting on the walls using her iPad. She almost elbowed a few other punters out of the way in order to get a couple of her shots. I was entertained watching her, and managed a few shots of her busy endeavours. I'm not sure she was really understanding the point of art galleries though ...

When it was closing time, I hung around and grabbed a few shots making use of the lovely blue hour light, and liked the pink glow that the lighting gave the Tate building. Also after accidentally firing off a very slow exposure whilst trying to hand hold a shot of St. George Wharf, I started experimenting with some intentionally blurred shots that gave a more impressionistic perspective on that familiar view. This practice is now commonly known as Intentional Camera Movement or ICM. It's actually a lot more difficult than you would think to get good shots this way - I must have taken 30-40 with varying shutter speeds and different movements of the camera in order to produce a few good ones. I've included what I thought were the three most successful ones.

Here's my little selection of images from the afternoon:

https://jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/tate-britain-180217/

About Town

So, I went into town this Saturday to see T2 Trainspotting at the cinema, and brought my camera with me on the off-chance of taking a few snaps before and after. Although the early afternoon light was pretty grey and flat I powered through and lined up a shot or two as I crossed Waterloo Bridge and walked on up towards Piccadilly Circus.

After leaving the cinema I went back the same way and fortunately as sunset approached the light conditions were a bit better, with just enough of a smattering of clouds to give interest in the sky over Westminster.

As usual I'll probably choose two or three from the day to put onto Flickr or Facebook, but there's a longer selection you can access through the link below.

https://jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/about-town-040217/

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf

So on Saturday afternoon I went down to Canary Wharf to have a look at the 'Winter Lights' exhibition that they have for the next few weeks in and around the area.

Unsurprisingly there were a lot of tourists and Londoners there, which didn't help with my preferred style of photography, which generally eschews people in shot unless really necessary! So there was quite a lot of standing around, waiting for the crowds to clear long enough for me to get a clean exposure or two. Also the temperature was hovering around or just below zero, which made for rather icy hands; despite having some thin, lightweight gloves, I still had to take them off frequently enough to change lenses or camera settings that they started to get a bit numb after a while, so at that point I decided to pack up and get back into the warm.

There were a few of the works that I didn't get to photograph, so I may end up going back after work one day this week to try and catch those pieces. The Crossrail station is the main area that I didn't make it to yesterday.

Click the link below for a small selection of images.

https://jamesbeardphotography.co.uk/winter-lights-2017/

New Portfolio

So, having used Flickr as the main source of my images for the past 10 years or so, I've decided on a trial basis to get a proper portfolio. I think I must have been indoctrinated through years of podcast listening about the amazing websites offered by Squarespace, so I thought I'd give it a go and see whether they can live up to expectations.