Thrush in a rowan tree, Charlton; January 2017

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The rowan tree outside my house is a spindly thing, nothing like the handsome plane trees that London does so well elsewhere; and pretty deficient in blossom compared to the trees in other streets around the neighbourhood. It does, though, produce a healthy load of berries each year, and at some point – depending how cold the winter has been – the birds suddenly descend and strip it bare. This week seems to be the start of that process; magpies, robins, blackbirds, blue tits and great tits have all appeared, and – for the first time that I’ve noticed (though doubtless they’ve been before) – a thrush. Possibly a pair of thrushes.

I took this picture this morning on my Fuji X-t10 with the XF60mm lens. It looked utterly unimpressive on the back screen of the camera, but put into Lightroom, cropped a little, auto tone and auto white balance applied then tweaked a little, I was very pleased with the end result. It pays not to go by the camera screen too much.

It started snowing shortly after I took this, and I could have gone back to get another shot, but it was cold, damp, and I still had my slippers on. And that’s why I’ll never be Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Woolwich; January 2017

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So, how was your Christmas and New Year? Mine was very pleasant: spent mostly in the north-east of England visiting family; busy enough to not get round to posting any pictures here (though some went on my Instagram).

Back in London and it’s 2017 and, for the first time since 2001, I find myself a man of leisure (ie without a job – don’t worry, I won’t starve for a little while). Spending a few days sorting out domestic admin before getting stuck into the world of freelance/contracting, I took a trip to Woolwich on a wet Monday.

Peter Burke’s Assembly sculptures were looking good in the rain; not much else was, to be honest (even the Salvation Army seem to have moved on), but there’s always something interesting to see in Woolwich at least.

Part of my recent admin efforts have been:

Take a look, let me know what you think – it’s always good to get some feedback. And Happy New Year!

Down by the river: Greenwich Peninsula; December 2016

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A brisk walk from North Greenwich down the east side of Greenwich Peninsula with the sun out and a very cold chill coming off the river. The Antony Gormley statue, cable car, Farmopolis, and the boats of Greenwich Yacht Club all make this section of the river feel quite different to Charlton riverside, though it’s just round the bend of the river. The gas works have long gone and the flats have gone up and are going up still further (with terrible ‘settler’-themed advertising hoardings which I really should photography for posterity at some point). Soon the O2 Arena will be barely visible at ground level around here; it only seems 5 minutes since it was the only thing to look at on the peninsula.

Down by the river: Anchor & Hope, Charlton; December 2016

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Down to the Thames by the Anchor & Hope in Charlton on a crisp, cold early December day; the pollution layer that’s been hanging over London for the last few days very evident in the clear skies. Views north across the river to Silvertown give a clue as to how the south side of the river could look when the planned Charlton riverside development has replaced the remnants of industry in a few years time. Looking west, it’s suddenly noticeable that views of Canary Wharf and the O2 Arena are starting to disappear, obscured by new developments on Greenwich Peninsula. London needs more housing, but it’ll be worse for the loss of links with its industrial past.

Now playing: Gillian Welch’s ‘Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg’

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Demos and outtakes from Gillian Welch’s Revival album, 20 years after that album’s release. I was worried that this would feel a bit unnecessary, like an exercise in filling time between albums – particularly given the long gaps between Gillian Welch albums – but it’s great. It brought back the feeling of hearing Welch and Rawlings for the first time, the songs that didn’t make the album are great, but I kind of understand why they missed the cut.

There’s an interesting interview with Gillian Welch about it here.

Now can we have another new album, and all the old ones reissued on vinyl, please?

 

‘The Thames’ pub, Greenwich; November 2016

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The Thames pub on Norway Street, Greenwich. I’ve been trying to find out what’s happening with this boarded up pub, but Greenwich council’s planning website has defeated me. The Greenwich Phantom wrote about it back in 2009 (and pointed out how difficult it is to Google),  and more recently in 2014, but the last I heard, it was due for demolition and replacement with (more) flats. It’s a real shame, as – particularly given how many new developments have gone up in that corner of west Greenwich in recent years – it should make a good neighbourhood pub with plenty of potential customers on the doorstep. If you know any more about the plans leave me a comment – I’d love to hear the latest.

UPDATE 1st DEC 2016 from @greenwichhour

Has anyone got a spare £1.5m?

UPDATE 7th DEC 2016 via From The Murky Depths blog

Developers are proposing to demolish the former Thames Inn“. How depressing.

St. Paul’s from Tate Modern; November 2016

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A Friday lunchtime trip to Tate Modern to take in the Elton John photography collection show, A Radical Eye. It’s a pretty good show: more comprehensive than I’d expected and I particularly enjoyed the Imogen Cunningham pictures, which I’d not previously been aware of (and who really deserves a better ‘official’ website). Overall, I felt that there was something missing that left it short of being a really great show, but it still feels like a kind of step forward when the Tate put on a big photography show.

The sun was out, so after the exhibition we headed up to the viewing platform of the new extension (having been up there in August, and back when it opened in June). It’s pretty unbeatable as London views go, even if there view to the west is getting increasingly obscure with architecturally-unimpressive new developments.

Greenwich Park views; November 2016

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I’ve shot these before countless times now, but it still feels worth it. The skyline keeps on changing (it might not be too long until views of the Millennium Done are mostly obscured from the south), and the autumn colours pass before you know it.

Shot on my Fuji X-T10 with 35mm and 60mm lenses on a chilly November day.