It was a very hot day on Friday. Our seats for the morning athletics session were up in ‘the Gods’, to borrow a term from the theatre. It’s a terrible cliche to describe the stadium as a theatre of dreams, but providing one bears in mind that there are good and bad dreams, I suppose it will do. I have a few shots of inside which I will post with my experience of the morning later. My own dream was to take some good photos, but I left the house early, emotionally overwrought, and forgot it. As I mentioned yesterday, I thought I was stuck with the Blackberry camera, but found my work Nokia, which saved the day – up to a point. Like I said, dreams come in all shapes and sizes – sometimes in the shape of a small phone from Finland.
I have been really busy over the past few days with work and the Paralympics. I have absolutely loads to write about the latter, but, as I am off out again today it will have to wait, for now. In the meantime I am sharing this picture because it makes me happy. I had forgotten my camera yesterday and thought that I had only the useless Blackberry. I was delighted when I found my work phone in my rucksack after a rummage around looking for something else.
For a park that has had literally millions of visitors, the Olympic Park has kept ‘its head whilst all around are losing theirs’ (to quote Kipling) and I was really pleased with this photograph I grabbed through the crowds yesterday lunchtime.
What I particularly like about it, is the way the people’s heads bobbing around in the middle of the shot are almost indistinguishable from the flowers themselves. The park lies on a site that was, not so long ago, a polluted industrial site. All the plants have to be shallow rooted because below the 30 cm of new top soil, the earth remains toxic.
Big props to the man behind the planting, Dutch horticulturist, Piet Oudolf. Its’s a beauty.
I saw these illuminations taking off on London’s South Bank, close to Gabriel’s Wharf. That place takes me back about twenty years no problem at all. It wasn’t nearly so popular back then. I see a lot of trapped people when I go to London these days. I like to think this lot are taking flight to somewhere way beyond all that; I especially want to imagine wherever they are off to knocks over the rainbow into a cocked hat. Over the rainbow? Meh.
This is the dog on the foreshore doing his thing.
If the tide is out I walk towards Kent where the cockle-pickers can sometimes be found working. There was only one out there the other day. Someone else came and stood on the beach and bawled at him, or her, in a different language. Maybe it was something about the tide, or tea time.
In the background of the shot (same time, different colours from Photo I yesterday) you can just make out the industry on the Isle of Grain in Kent and if you look hard enough there is also a ship. I like walking on the shore, with its mix of sand, mud and stones, but it makes me think of the Chinese cocklers who died in Morecambe Bay some years back. The Thames Estuary is not nearly as treacherous, Morecambe Bay has quicksand, but the tide still comes in quick enough to make me cautious and there are reports of people being rescued from the mud in the local paper every year.
One year an Orthodox Jewish woman had to be rescued from her deckchair by the Fire Brigade as the tide came in quicker than expected. She was up near the prom with full view of the incoming water, further out on this strange flatness it would be easy to get caught out.
I constantly rue the fact that I have a Blackberry with a rubbish camera and my actual camera is a basic digital model. I should carry the camera with me at all times, but of course I don’t. Yesterday the Blackberry was out of battery when I was out with the dog, so I tried a few shots with the work phone – an old-fashioned Nokia with a 3.2 mp camera.
I was quite pleased with the results. It coped better than the Blackberry would have, even with a fully-charged battery and its 5 mp camera. I am still under contract on the Blackberry but I would love to be rid of it (especially as it has developed some idiosyncratic keyboard habits) and get a Nokia N8 or iPhone.
Anyway, whatever the kit, taking photos takes me out of myself in the same way writing does, except better, because it cuts out all the cognitive crap in between you and your relationship to what you see. It is like a shortcut in; an in to the essence of all things, which is totally absorbing.
Yesterday the sun was going down. The wind was freezing. The dog was charging around at 25 mph, splattering me with mud. I needed a hat, gloves, coats and wellies: I had none of them. My internal dialogue chuntered on, as it does in its old womanish way, about aggravating my dodgy bronchials, but once the phone was out and I was taking picures (blind, more-or-less directly into the sun), none of that mattered. In a short time the range of colours out on the foreshore were amazing.
Here’s one I like, although it’s a bit dark. Another, perhaps of the dog, tomorrow.