My London Life: candids from around the city in 2013

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  • “Notice what you notice”

    The phrase has a rhythmic ring which makes it memorable.  I heard it during an interview about improving creativity.  If you practice noticing what you notice, then you can understand what inspires you and build on that. And that is why I gave my blog this name.

    I’ve had a busy year taking photographs and along the way, as I either travel to work or I’m out and about at weekends, images or scenes have drawn my eye and I’ve quickly stopped to take a photo.  They don’t fit into a larger subject matter but I like them as photos.  So I thought it would be fun to share them see what I’ve noticed during 2013.

    Southbank in front of Tate Modern, London

    Southbank in front of Tate Modern, London

    I love silver birches and this small planting in front of Tate Modern always catches my eye every time I walk past.  They provide a great backdrop to the tourists relaxing in the summer sunshine.  Its the first time I’ve successfully captured people relaxing before they noticed me with my camera.

    National Theatre, The Shed, Southbank London.

    National Theatre, The Shed, Southbank London.

    This shot was taken on the same afternoon as the first one. I took quite a few of these children but I prefer this one because of the thoughtful expressions of the girl and boy as well as the pleasing formation of the balloons against the red wooden wall.

    Southbank, near National Theatre

    Southbank, near National Theatre

    The third shot is the final one from that afternoon. I had a 20 minute wait for the friend I was meeting, so I was sitting for ages watching the children clamber over the statue.  What caught my eye was the way the little girl loved hugging the statue, unaware that its not a climbing frame.

    Cambridge Circus, London

    Cambridge Circus, London

    This one delights me because of the speed with which I noticed these twins and I whipped out my phone to take the shot.  I actually took a second one because I didn’t think you could see that they are both taking the same shot at the same time.  But I got it right first time.

    Picadilly Circus, London

    Picadilly Circus, London

    With this tableau around the statue of Eros, I noticed the blond haired woman at the top when she was at the bottom.  By the time I got my phone out and poised to shoot she had moved father away to look out at the view from under Eros .  But I still think the viewer picks her out in the distance.  With both of these two shots I was on my way somewhere and not looking for photographs.

    Trafalgar Square

    Trafalgar Square

    Taken from the window of a bus whilst it waited at the traffic lights on my way to work, one rainy Autumn morning.  The light was so dull but still the Yves Klein blue of the cockerel cuts through. The scene could be a painting that might hang in the National Gallery which you can see on the right of the photograph.

    Off duty, Not Darth Vada.  Trafalgar Square, London

    Off duty, Not Darth Vada. Trafalgar Square, London

    I was on the steps of the National Gallery waiting to meet friends for the Diwali celebrations when I watched with amazement as this woman took off her helmet.  I was amazed because I thought the person inside it would be a man.  I then hoped she might be going home and would take off more of her costume but she’d only stopped for a break.

    Trafalgar Square, London

    Trafalgar Square, London

    When I pointed her out as Darth Vada to my friend’s 9 year old son, he said, “that’s not Darth Vada, that’s a …”  But I’ve forgotten what this monster is now.  So in my mind its a ‘not Darth Vada’

    Whitehall, London

    Whitehall, London

    I was waiting at a bus stop on Whitehall, en-route between jobs when one of the new London routemaster buses pulled up. A flock of bus staff got off and made notes.  A few months later Transport for London turned the bus routes nos 11 and 24 which stop here, over to these new modern buses.

    Not only had this lady created her fabulous braided hair style, she wore yellow flowery Dr Marten boots, some wonderful silver jewellery and had a nose piercing. I would guess she was in her 60s and was a teenager of the 60s.  In hindsight I should have asked to take her photograph as I think she would have loved that.

    Fire station, Shaftesbury Avenue, London

    Fire station, Shaftesbury Avenue, London

    Late night waiting for the bus home this group of young women attracted by the firemen caught my eye.  I used my phone to take this shot which is why its quite grainy and not zoomed in.  I still love the CCTV quality of the image though.

    Dalston Junction, London

    Dalston Junction, London

    I loved this woman’s hat which is why I took this photo. Then her friend (off camera) spotted me with my phone taking the shot and scowled at me.  I think there could be a series of portraits taken from the top deck of a bus of people at bus stops.  But with a proper camera and not a phone.

    The Undercroft, Southbank

    The Undercroft, Southbank

    Taken earlier this month on my photography walk of the Southbank Undercroft.  I love the way the young woman adjusts her hat as if to hear the question being asked better.  It was quite noisy that morning because opposite their stall was the German Christmas market, so that may well be what she is doing.

    Madjeski Garden, V&A London

    Madjeski Garden, V&A London

    The V&A is one of my regular London haunts and in December I popped in for half an hour and discovered an outdoor exhibition with a Chinese theme based around the pond.  This shot is about the other people there taking photographs.  I’m guessing the young woman with the colourful dress sense is an art student as she has a DSLR to take pictures.  But I took this shot because of the three of them using a variety of equipment are all taking photographs at once.

    Christmas decorations inside the V&A

    Christmas decorations inside the V&A

    When I noticed these two women admiring the V&A Christmas tree they were both facing away from me.  My phone is so slow to take the shot and for once this played to my advantage.  One of the women turned to face me just as it clicked  which I think makes for a better picture.

    There was an article in The Guardian last week asking if we’ve stopped remembering and experiencing our lives because we’re too busy photographing it.  I would say that it depends on why you’re taking photographs. Over this past year I feel that I’ve got much better at looking and noticing photo opportunities. The quality of my work improved enough for me to upgrade my camera.  I will have fun discovering what I can achieve with it next year. I do hope you’ll continue to stop by and share in my photographic adventures in 2014.

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