There is a strange attraction about a deserted place of work. Secret urbex photographers seek out decommissioned factories and power plants. It is there we find discarded time sheets, and dusty knobs that have not felt the hand of man for years.
Here we find ourselves observing a motor mechanic's workbench. However, I suspect this is a confection of leftovers put together by the Earl of Carnarvon's staff for the benefit of visitors to Wilton House.
The tin cans, old side valves and car horn are in stark contrast to what sits just outside the door.. A fine collection of motoring exotica featuring a Bugatti Veyron. See: Work hard and this kind if thing could be yours.
We visited Greys Court at the weekend,a Tudow Country house near Henley.
I would show you some pictures of the interior, but all photography is forbidden, and this always gets my back up. In this case the family retained some rights to the property when it passed into the hands of the NT, and as a result they don't want the general public snapping their domestic stuff. Fair enough I reluctantly suppose.
So, here are a couple of views from the grounds:
A memorial to a faithful gardener carved into a tree trunk complete with curved poem by W. De La Mer on the back.
And a solitary sunflower keeps an eye on the roses and the medieval tower.
See this? This is my little world, this is where I live. This is the close. We look after each other here, and we don't take kindly to strangers. If you are thinking of visiting, be careful where you park your spaceship. (BTW. Any resemblance to a Turtle swimming through space is purely coincidental and should be ignored).
Do you need to raise the prestige of your otherwise drab town?
I suggest you invest in some pretentious public sculpture. These come in various forms. There is the enigmatic smooth marble form, or something large and shiny with hundreds of tiny lights. However I suggest the "bare steel angular shape that goes rusty". This is very popular at the moment and can be banged out quickly by any local artist with access to a laser cutting shop.
If you need a short term boost, I suggest a String Quartet parked in the middle of the shopping precinct. You can never go wrong with a string quartet* Bear in mind that they will need to play "Four Seasons" by Vivaldi otherwise the shoppers will just assume it's some sort of fashion display.
*The cheapest option would be an young local rock band. Many of these will play in public for free.
I had some stuff in the garage that I needed to get rid of quickly, so like many others on the housing estate here, I went to see the local fence. They say if you need to get shot of some stuff, then you should go see the fence.
There was no one around: So I lobbed the stuff over.
Dating from 1990s, this is an inadvertent selfie. It was taken long before the s-word was invented while standing outside the much missed Plough at Ashmansworth. Aah, Golden years. I could switch the answerphone on, shut the company down at lunchtime and cycle to the pub and enjoy a sunny afternoon. The world was a simpler place in those days. We didn't concern ourselves with such fripperies as colour. As you see, dear reader, I have always been a handsome beggar....
Here's a mean moody and magnificent low key picture of Canterbury Catherdal.
I took this in 1972 during my university years there: Ah! Golden years, when it was cool and unusual to be young and studying electronics as an undergraduate.
Much has changed since then. Everyone takes a degree these days. The University up on the hill has expanded, with whole new colleges appearing on the campus. I would probably not recognise the place these days.
Hopefully, the Cathedral has remained the same. I assume they haven't turned it into some sort of general centre for crystal healing, colour therapy and spiritual contemplation.
Apparently the Moon has an agenda of its own. It wanders the heavens looking for interesting stuff, and every now and then these wanderings bring it into our back yard. When this combines with a full moon you get a particularly impressive sight. As I say, apparently.
So it was this last weekend: It hung in the air like a large round hangy thing.
There are loads of programs on TV that detail the restoration of old cars. You know the plot already: A tired and rusting MG is dragged from a garage, teased into life, repainted and presented to it's delighted owner or sold to a new owner at the end of the program.
Many of the boring aspects of the work are glossed over (we always get to see the new paint being applied because it makes a "nice shot"). Generally these programs feature larger than life characters in unlikely situations resulting in disagreement and confrontation. A bit like Eastenders then, but with cars.
If you have ever been near a film crew you will realise that television programs are edited so that any ordinary sequence of events is filled with larger than life characters in situations of disagreement and confrontation. Apparently we won't watch anything else.
Well, here's a restoration project with a nasty scratch, but I think it will polish out....
Poised like some Victorian rocket, the old bandstand seems ready to launch into the wild blue yonder. What happened to bandstands? I suppose the iPod happened. Why go listen to the band play in the park when you can listen to any band at any time anywhere in the world. Progress.
What's your point of view? Let's revisit this problem. Where do you stand? I suspect we all sympathise with the grass roots point of view. Surely that is the best way to look at things... Not necessarily:
Once upon a time all window glass in common houses would feature these broken lumps in the panes. These were the rejects from the process and fit only for the middle and lower classes. The upper crust of society would get the flatter sections of glass nearer the edge of the disk.
In fact the phrase upper crust also tells a story of rank and privilege. In the past bread was sliced horizontally, to the upper crust was the part of the loaf that didn't have grit and charcoal from the oven in it, therefore the richer members of society had that.
The use of HDR (high dynamic range) and other local contrast processing methods is growing. At one time this was a specialised technique known only to enthusiasts. It was used for enhancing difficult scenes in subtle ways. These days you get HDR options on your phone and your camera, and as a result we see more pictures like this one. Our eyes accept it as a pleasing scene, but our minds tell us there is something wrong. It looks too real. Note the way the church steeple becomes darker as it rises against the sky. Spot the tell tale halo effect here and there. Resist the temptation, tone down that HDR. (It's Church Lane in Ledbury by the way)
There is a technique to making impressive photographs. If you want to have folks tell you your pictures are excellent, then throw the poor ones away before anyone can see them.
It is as simple as that: Just discard your failures. Keep the successes, and it makes you appear a better photographer.
This May sunrise (5 a.m.) is a picture I should have discarded. It is close to good, but unfortunately it doesn't quite make the grade. I like the colours, I like the idea, but the tree should have been a tiny bit higher.
I am rather more satisfied with this one, a Kent winter sunset (5 p.m.). The masts interact well with the cold front sweeping in from the south.
So there you go. Get weeding, and throw away the rubbish. What remains will therefore be brilliant.