As it was known then.
London – July 4th, 2005
Now known as the Elizabeth Tower, it contains the bell known around the world from BBC transmissions: Big Ben.
I am not presenting this as an example of good photography by any measure. In fact, it was from a day of disappointment, May 1, 2004. See, there was this switch on my crummy little camera that set the focal length to either close up or infinity which, in the process of putting the camera into its case or removing it, could snag and switch settings.
The camera was set on close up all day, and the LCD on the camera was so small, I didn't see that my shots were out of focus. It wasn't until seeing the photos on my laptop in the evening that I discovered what was wrong. It happened again later in the week. D'Oh!
Sometimes you get what you get– but what are you going to do with what you get? You may not always end up with something you're willing to show publicly, but you may still learn some things along the way that will increase your frequency of success, and perhaps on occasion allow you to rescue your mistakes in a way that others won't know how badly you screwed up!
Well, that was the date!
The changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace on July 4th, 2005. I've now seen the changing of the guards twice, and probably don't need to see it again, but if you've never seen it, it's worth braving the crowds just once. No doubt, if I go to London with someone who hasn't been there before, I'll do it again, though.
Just to be thorough, this photo was a jpeg from a cheap camera with a plastic lens . . . and all the attendant problems of in-camera sharpening, etc. processing was done mainly in LightroomCC, but there was a bit of Photoshop, as I recall.
2004 – 2007
I first traveled to London for work in November of 2000. Just one week. But I fell in love with it. A few months later, in May 2001, I brought a nephew along on holiday as a combination birthday and high school graduation present. Then from 2004, the first year I had a digital camera, to 2007 I visited each year. I was visiting London on 7/7 2005 when four suicide bombers killed 52 innocent people.
If I could, I would visit London more than just annually. I have yet to see early autumn or deep winter, but I have to say that the first week of May has been my favorite time- just good enough weather, and before the summer tourist crush.
My nephew and I had already chosen Thursday as our "kick back" day to hang around Queensway in Bayswater, have lunch at The Orangery at Kensington Palace and relax from the rest of the week; we'd hit the ground running the previous Saturday. We might have been on the Tube that morning, otherwise.
I remember, with the news so fresh, walking toward Kensington Gardens, seeing (and hearing) a helicopter flying in at low altitude and landing at the palace. Arriving near where it had landed, we saw police officers around the perimeter of the field, calmly chatting over the fence with locals and tourists. No warnings, no threats, just chatting. So different from how it would be at home.I remember being gently turned away at the gate to the Kensington Palace grounds, " . . . because of, you know, the situation," as the police officer told us. We had thought The Orangery might still be open for lunch.
I remember the long lines of people waiting to use public telephones, and finally finding one so my nephew could call his parents in California. It was still the middle of the night there, so they learned about events from us. "There have been some bombings on the Underground, but we are safe," we told them.
I remember the sign at the Bayswater station: "Until further notice- No Train Service To All Underground Stations. All buses in central London are not running as well." I took a photo of it. Later in the day as buses were allowed to run, you couldn't get on one for the crowds that had been stranded by the Tube shutdown.
Then there were the faces of people whose lives had been turned upside-down in a few moments. "How will I get home tonight? Will my shop be open tomorrow? Will people quit coming to London because of this?" And I remember the kindness of Londoners who apologized to me for my holiday being disrupted- when I would be able to go home in a couple of days, they would have to keep going through the cleanup and recovery process.
I remember the strange emptiness of the Central Line train on Friday, being sequestered in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral while the bomb squad investigated a suspicious package outside, of places we'd planned to visit being closed because staff couldn't make their way in to work that day.
I remember all of these things and more, but most of all, I remember the resolve of London and her citizens to take one step, then another- and another, toward recovery, toward the future. In a single day London remembered her proud history of defying attacks by evil men and began picking up the pieces to put life back together.
I got to fly home on Saturday following, but each year, for one day, I am once again a Londoner.
Originally shared by +John B Tefertiller (FuzzyFarAway)
Who's buried there?
In April 2006 I visited Windsor Castle. In the lower ward sits . . . or rather, stands St. George's Chapel. The original chapel was constructed in 1348, and has been plundered, repaired, expanded and remodeled a number of times. In various corners throughout the building are buried several historical royal personages, most notably from the last century, King George VI, Princess Margaret and The Queen Mother.
This photo was taken with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 camera before I knew any better about RAW vs. JPEG photos. My budget minded decision was to take a 1 GB SD card and stick with JPEG. There is a bit of Topaz, some NIK HDR Efex Pro 2, and . . . some other stuff.
Not much protest in 2004.
Some years anarchists have hijacked the annual labor protests at Trafalgar Square, leading to ugly confrontations with police. In 2004 it was not such a disruptive event.
There were policemen and demonstrators present, but things were calm. Flags and banners were waved. Protesters shouted and chanted. Policemen leaned on a wall and watched.
Looking at this view it hardly seems like there was a May Day labor protest going on. (Around the corner there was more visible protesting, but nothing violent.)
This is a favorite of mine from May 2007. It has been processed several different ways. Some of the renderings got a little (or a lot of) help from Photoshop plugins, some are more or less experimental, but stand on their own.
This one involved the creation of three "virtual exposures" from a single raw file that were taken into NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and processed in order to bring out sky and other details. It's been a long time, but I think there might have been some color lookup tables, or the colors might have been the result of Lightroom adjustments to the resulting TIFF file.
In any case, this is probably my favorite of all the different processes I tried. It's been posted before, but not in a form that is useful for my England collection.