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Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Taming of St Paul's Choccy Rock Cafe

I've been to London this weekend, and as I've promised myself recently, I took my camera with me, so here's a bit of a photostory detailing the highlights. You can probably work most of them out from the title of this post. I won't include all of the pictures here to conserve your bandwidth, but if you'd like to have a look at all of the ones I've uploaded, they're on Flickr.


Our primary motive for heading into London was to go to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to see The Taming of the Shrew, but of course we had to get there first. Our route took us past St Paul's Cathedral.


On the way from St Paul's to the Globe are a selection of curious metallic orbs which, presumably, came here from space. In this image you can see myself (in grey), my brother (in red, taking his own photo) and, behind us, St Paul's Cathedral. You can also see another of the curious metallic orbs. My mother's partner's son is almost just about in the picture, too (I guess you could call him my brother-notinlaw). He's about half my age but a considerably more accomplished photographer.


I snapped away as we crossed the Millennium Bridge - you'll remember that as being the one that no longer wobbles. Here's a shot of the Globe contrasting with more modern architecture.


I hadn't realised that the proverbial They had hung some Olympic rings from Tower Bridge as a warning to all those who pass that they should avoid London like the plague over the summer.


I liked this man playing sax on the bridge, but I didn't have any coins for his case, which made me feel a little bad. A lot of people don't like buskers, but I think they add a lot to the atmosphere of a place when they're any good at what they do.


Here's a signpost inside the grounds of the Globe pointing out the distance and direction to various world cities. I haven't thought yet about what the units must be.


The Globe itself taken from just inside the front gate. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the theatre. This is a shame because I was constantly noticing photo opportunities. I really wanted to take a picture of a red 'Shakespeare's Globe' flag contrasting against the blue/white sky, with the thatched Globe roof in the foreground, but alas... We had some great seats and a brilliant view, being as high up as we could get.


I've realised that I really love taking photographs that include the constantly changing and infinitely variable sky. I'm also a fan of London's schizophrenic architecture that argues with itself in whichever direction you might happen to look.


I'm trying to take on Carlos's advice that people like pictures of people, and get over my fear of snapping real people who are doing things. I think it's easier to take a photo of a crowd than of individuals, so that's not a bad place to start. I'm particularly thankful, with regards to this photograph, to the beautiful lady in red who has so kindly blocked out a rather ugly piece of construction work that stuck out like a sore thumb in another snap I took from this position.


Here's the Shard: the newly appointed Tallest Building In Europe. I include this picture not because I think it's any good, but because it means I can say how underwhelmed I was. Expecting it to tower over and dominate the London skyline, it turns out it's just another building.


I was lining up a shot when this lady came and stood in the way to take her own photo. Momentarily infuriated, I realised she actually gave the shot something that wasn't there before. Thanks, whoever you are!


I loved the various levels of contrast in this view, and I'm not talking about light and dark: I'm talking about new and old; clean and dirty; natural and man-made; underground and sky.


We headed back past St Paul's on our way to our next stop.


As part of the City of London Festival there are pianos left lying around for people to sit at and play. This guy had just finished a rendition of Maggie May, accompanied by a guy with a guitar (who's just put his guitar away out of shot) and the guy behind the piano who sang. Here, they've just started on Elton John's Rocket Man. I love this idea of leaving out instruments for people to do some impromptu busking on. It made me wish I could play piano.


I quite like taking photos of people taking photos. I'm not sure if this is because I'm naturally recursive, unimaginative, or what. Taking the photo of me is Dom, seen before. The other guy is my brother, Will, also seen before. The two have swapped roles with regards to having their faces obscured by cameras.


Most of what you can see here is chocolate, including the skull. There was a chocolate dog just off-shot that was about the size of a real small dog, and made of solid chocolate. That was pretty heavy. The shop itself has a particular skill for making your wallet light, though, so it all cancels out in the end. The shop has a slightly embarrassing name that was obviously coined by the original owner's toddler nephew...


Again, I was slightly infuriated when this woman walked into shot, and again I realised that she added something to it. Thanks again! This shop is, by the way, in the Carnaby Street area, up a side-road. The chocolate within is divine, but with price tags that one may associate with divinity.


Across the street from Choccywoccydoodah was some kind of hardresser's, or beauty salon, or something. I noticed this in the window.


A decoration in Carnaby Street. There's a face-on shot of this on my Flickr stream.


"Carnaby welcomes the world." I love the glow on the bottom of this globe. I'm not sure what caused it, and I didn't notice it when I was lining up the shot. It may be some form of divine light, but the chocolate shop was a long way off by now, and in the wrong direction.


The Hard Rock Cafe on Park Lane. This would probably be my spiritual home if I believed in such things. I'm tempted to start believing in such things in order to start telling people that this is my spiritual home. This was my second visit, and this photo was from the back of the standard queue, which had a queue-to-seat time of about two hours. We used the priority queue, which got us in and seated in around an hour.


I love the juxtaposition of this sign and the painting of Frank Zappa on the crappa.


A focused John and a fuzzy Dom.


This is probably my favourite picture of the day, even though it's a bit fuzzy (in fact, thinking about it, the fuzziness might add something here. Or is that just wishful thinking?) These two were sat under this sign for ages, thankfully, as it took me ages to pluck up the courage to point the camera at them. They didn't notice, making this, for my money, a pretty decent candid shot. I don't think I could have arranged it so well myself if I'd had a month to think about it.


From left to right: my mum, my brother, and my brother's girlfriend, Vicke.


Will, again.


I like this, but I'm disappointed by the fuzz. Low light, a desire not to use the flash, and a continually jostled table added to the furry quality of this pic, but maybe I can ascribe some of it to an artistic intent to convey the alcoholic content of the subject?


The end.