Friday, November 14, 2008


I have been doing my most annoying thing: Procrastinating. About everything. This is very irritating as it means that little is achieved as I dilly-dally. Weighing up options quickly morphs into making excuses not to do something and when I use that excuse, I end up with regrets. The answer is to get off my arse and get on with it! So I will.

First off, some very exciting news in the world of photography. Red have at last announced a much anticipated camera system. Only its not a system. It is a mere - wait for it - 2,251,799,813,685,248 systems. This announcement is huge news for photography and for film making as the cameras all shoot RAW format video and stills with staggering quality. I am in lust. No, more than that, I am a hopelessly smitten wreck of a man and will no doubt be found wandering naked and weeping through the cold wet streets of London muttering platitudes to the people at Red.

A note about Red. This is a company that knows how to market a new product. Having followed their progress since their earliest mock-up and rumour days, I have noticed how they have built up an incredibly loyal fanbase of potential customers and like me, wishful thinkers. Their approach to customers is fresh and honest. They tell us not to expect delays in availability, but to count on them. And until recently, they told us loud and proud on the front page of their website that those with a bad attitude will not be served. Us followers like that. We are a community, not just numbers.

Red's Head Honcho Jim Jannard, is very active in the Red community. He participates in the forums (fora for the purists). He is "one of us". Compared to the Canon, Nikon and Sony, et al ivory tower approach, Red is a shining light.

For more information and the usual well written, well thought out summary of this remarkable system, visit The Luminous Landscape.


This last weekend, I did two walks, both of which yielded some very satisfying photographs.

On Saturday I was invited to help celebrate my very good friend Ian's birthday at his place in Wapping. I decided, in spite of the almost torrential rain to hoik my camera along and bang off a few shots around Butlers Wharf on the South Bank. Unfortunately, I did see a few very good opportunities, but was unwilling to risk soaking my camera. It ain't weather sealed.

Eventually the rain eased and I started shooting:

An alley off Shad Thames near Tower Bridge
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

The sun broke through eventually...
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

After the rain...
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

Once the rain had stopped, I crossed Tower Bridge and by one of its towers stopped to photograph the reflections. I got some very pleasing photographs - the surface and the ripples giving them a nice painterly look, the colours subdued and the contrasts high.

Together at the yellow line
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

Alone at the yellow line.
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

The afternoon sun had by now broken through in the south west and with the moisture diffusion in the air, was casting a lovely warm golden light as I headed down the Thames towards Wapping. There is a lovely, usually unpopulated wharf just downstream of the entrance to St Katherine Dock with benches overlooking the Thames. Its one of my best kept secrets, as usually people walking along the river don't know that its there. The afternoon light was playing beautifully across the benches and the paving stones. Under exposing as I usually do in an attempt to preserve some highlight detail, I got these photographs. I'm rather pleased:

Benches, Capital Wharf
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

Benches 2, Capital Wharf
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

On Sunday, I once again had to drop my very hard working other half at her office so I parked up there in the City and proceded towards Whitechapel. I was on the hunt for squalor and urban decay - I got it by the spadefull!

Milk and Cigarettes, Quaker Street, Spitalfields
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

I found, just off Brick lane, some derelict Victorian buildings. One had a Rickshaw cycle type thing dangling from its upper railings. I could not isolate it the way I wanted to but took some shots anyway before moving round to the front of the building.

Dangling Rickshaw, Whitechapel
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

Moving round to the front, I was setting up my tripod when the front door of one of the crumbling houses opened, revealing a tall thin man and a short, (very short) dumpy old woman. I was a bit surprised - I had a hunch that the building was occupied, thanks to the notices to the bailiffs informing them of the rights of the current occupiers. But I never expected one of the squatters to be an old lady of seventy-something. She seemed very friendly and intelligent and started to tell me the history of the area and the buildings. I asked her if I could take her picture, but she declined, offering her 'son' as a subject instead, before toddling off along the cobbled street towards Brick Lane.

I Think His Name Was Andy, Whitechapel
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

I Think His Name Was Andy 2, Whitechapel
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

Fuck Off Bailiff Scum!
An "Arts Collective's" HQ, Whitechapel

Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

I eventually arrived at Shadwell DLR and took the line to West India Quay by mistake, so walked the short distance to Poplar station where I could head further east. I Got off the train at Custom House and made my way down to the Royal Albert Dock, opposite London City Airport. There was a bitterly cold wind blowing and I was under dressed, having learnt the previous weekend that being warm = sweating a lot once I get going. There is a massive, modern office building opposite Royal Albert DLR station that still appears to have few, if any tennants. Its been like that for a few years. I'd love to work there with its view of City airport and the water. The tragedy of Royal Abert Dock is that there is very little going on there. There's a massive Chinese Restaurant and there's a rowing club. At the other end, there is a the University of East London campus and in the middle, two magnificent (derelict) Victorian buildigs. There's nothing moored there. No Dutch barges. Sigh.

I walked the length of the dock and then crossed over the Sir Steve Redgrave bridge, overlooking Gallion's Point Marina. Just the one Dutch Barge, an "Aak". Not my cup of tea. I headed for the River Thames and made my way upstream as the sky darkened.

Derelict Pier, North Woolwich
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

The rain started falling and thanks to the cold, my camera battery died so I sought shelter, eventually finding The Henley, a 1970s style pub, clearly West Ham United territory. I'm football agnostic but still made a show of not caring who was winning the Chelsea/Blackburn game on the big screen. The landlady allowed me to charge my battery and I had a Coke, looking enviously at the pints being drunk by Big Merv (who can, no doubt, do you a bit of a 'favour') and his mates. All good East End boys. There was a food van outside serving pie, mash and liquour. I'd just eaten my Tesco's submarine roll. Bugger.

After waiting a while for my lying battery charger to tell me that the battery was charged, (it wasn't) I collected up my goodies, under the watchful eyes of Merv and his mates and made my way out into the once again dry outdoors. I walked down past the Tate & Lyle factory, past the derelict Graving Dock Tavern and eventually found myself at the Thames Barrier Park.

Thames Barrier, London
Copyright 2008 Paul Davey Creative

Yet again, and after only a few photographs, my camera batter died so I decided to head back into town, pick up my car and go home. It was quite a trek to Canning Town station - the DLR stations on this stretch were all closed for maintenance. Eventually, footsore, thirsty and frustrated with my lack of battery I got to Canning town and took the DLR to Bank in The city. Where I got lost. For ages.

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