Friday, September 30, 2016

An Art Loving Falcon

Hawkforce is a UK company specializing in training birds or prey for all sorts of things.  This handler and his falcon (I think that's a falcon) have arrived in the plaza area in front of the Royal Academy or Art in London.  Pigeons and other birds nest in the various nooks and crannies of the fine old buildings around the plaza and the by-products leave a big stinky mess all over.  The falcon will be released to circle around the plaza for an hour or so scaring off the other birds.  The falcon doesn't attack or kill them, he/she just frightens them off.  It's a safe and environmentally sound way of dealing with nuisance birds.

Friday, September 23, 2016

London Doorways

There's more than meets the eye in this photograph - all of it told to me by an expert London guide.  The location is an elegant street just north of St. James Palace and east of Green Park.  The doorway dates from an era where houses had no number assigned; rather, the occupants stationery would feature an image of the fan light above the door - every house on the street would feature a unique fan light.  The doorway itself would have been the full width of the opening - no narrow side lights (the white bit either side).  This was to accommodate the hoop skirts worn at the time.  The wide door was a problem because they were poorly fitted and therefore drafty.  When the hoop skirt went out of fashion the tight-fitting wide doors were done away with soon after.

The lanterns either side of the entrance had to be lit by hand and a lamplighter would be assigned this duty.  When the occupants of the house were out in the evening the lamplighter would go on ahead of them for the return trip to light the lamps.  Then he would extinguish his torch by inserting it into one of the blue iron 'flutes' either side of the path.

And you thought it was just a picture of a blue door.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark is a British Tea clipper ship now permanently housed at Greenwich, (London) England.  She was 'laid down' on the River Clyde (Glasgow) in February 1869 and was launched in November of that year.  She was obsolete almost immediately by the advent of steam powered ships.

Just like today, speed is everything when goods are to be shipped and Cutty Sark was a very fast ship.  Her name comes from that of witch Nannie Dee in Robert Burns poem 'Tam O'Shanter'.  Sark is an old Scots word for a linen under garment and Cutty simply means that it is too short.  The bow of Cutty Sark features a figurehead of a Nannie Dee clutching a piece of horse hair.  In the poem, the sight of Nannie Dee dancing in her short under garment prompted Tam to shout 'Well Done Cutty Sark!'

In this photo, Nannie Dee is getting a fresh coat of paint on a warm English afternoon.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Borough Market

One of our favourite stops in London is Borough Market.  It is open every day but early in the week there are fewer vendors on site; the number increases as the weekend draws near.  Nonetheless a visit anytime is worthwhile.  There are numerous food stalls and many options for in formal eating.  Borough Market is mostly open air but it's covered so even in dodgy weather spending time there is always fun.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Recent Projects

This housing development in Jasper Alberta was a challenge to photograph.  Firstly there's the distance involved (a four hour drive each way).  Then there's the weather - which can me unpredictable in the mountains.  Then there's the buildings themselves  - take a look around any multi-family residential complex and you will see a variety of approaches to building and garden maintenance plus articles stored on balconies, driveways or sometimes just strewn about. Vehicles in driveways or parked on the street can really detract from the intended subject of the photograph.  This photo was commissioned by the architects.