In my last year living in London my daily commute also became one of my favourite aspects of living in the city. Instead of using the above rail from East Dulwich, connecting at Oval Station with the Tube and getting off at Old Street Station which would've been the quickest I changed the rhythm of my day by taking a slower route. Adding 30 minutes to my daily commute I would take the 343 bus from Peckham Rye and get off at London Bridge, grab a Starbucks then get on the 43 to Old Street Station where I got off for work. I did it for 2 things. First to read and journal and second grabbing a coffee at London Bridge. It wasn't so much the coffee than waiting for the next bus on the bridge overlooking the Thames. I used to love that moment in my day.
London was an amazing formative time for me and Elize. We were married for a month when we moved there, sharing a house with 9 other unmarried people who preferred to party more than work. Being married young, Elize and I really stepped into our adulthood here and kind of grew up in a new way. London is also where I took up photography and did my first photo jobs. My first jobs was on film which I enjoyed but also found nerve wrecking when I had to photograph weddings! My favorite kind of film was slide film which produced a positive image on the roll of film when developed instead of the typical negative image and it was perfect for landscape photography. That said you had the choice of many kinds of film back then it just depended on what your end product would be.
Anyway, I opened a box tonight with hundreds of printed photos from our life, well at least the part before digital cameras and discovered two files of developed slide film. Of course I couldn't resist and went down memory lane and I wanted to show you a few of the pics. The problem is I don't have a slide film scanner so I took a few black and white pics of the colour slides to show you only a few moments from the city which still feels very much like home at times and where we lived for about 5 years.
I will now provide you running commentary about the photos. ;) First up we have these tall buildings from Canary Wharf which is kind of the financial district. Today it looks very different with a lot of new buildings. It was also the first time in my little South African life that I rode on a train without a driver.
Below is a pic of none other than Courtney Cox doing an interview in the middle of Leicester Square. Leicester Square is a very busy and touristy place but for some reason I always liked it. Maybe because it was the first place my brother took us to on our first day in London. It also is a place to see celebs because a lot of film premiers get screened here at the Odeon.
Above is a shot of some wooden pillar things on a beach in the Thames during low tide. Be mindful that the pics you see here aren't earth shattering because it was at the very beginning of my photography journey. And because I didn't have much money back then I couldn't afford to develop and print a lot of photos from which I could learn and see if I got things right. With the dawn of the digital single lens reflex camera during my time in the UK my learning curve got exponentially bigger.
The above photo is not in London but one of my favourite places in the UK, Beachy Head. Have you heard of the "white cliffs of Dover?" This is not far from there and it's basically the same kind of cliffs.
Below is a pic of me and Elize at the same cliffs and coincidentally I am wearing the same t-shirt I got stabbed in but that is a different story which I blogged about a few blogs back. Go check it out. Don't worry it all worked out. I am still here.
I have always liked the idea of wildlife photography and back then I didn't have the right gear but still gave it a whirl. In the UK I really wanted a photo of a fox but all I could come up was this blurry pic above which I took while doing construction work (yes construction) in the Tunbridge Wells area (about an hour from London). The second pic is of a lone deer in Richmond park which actually is a massive park in London.
The above pic was taken from Westminster Bridge and parliament and the Big Ben is behind me to the left. I always enjoyed this stretch of river all the way to Embankment. Westminster Tube Station to the left is an amazing piece of modern engineering and architecture.
Below we have the crazy dude himself, David Blaine who locked himself in a glass box next to Tower Bridge for 60 days I think. Don't know why but it was sanctioned voyeurism in my opinion. I still like the dude and think his stuff is pretty crazy.
You can't really see it in all its grainy glory in this pic below but this slide is one of my favorite first landscapes and was also taken near Beachy Head. It was the first time I started getting elements of landscape photography right. The slide is obviously in colour although it is a little damaged and because I had to take a picture of a picture it's not really doing it any justice.
Above is another two favorite spots. The Modern Tate which here has some ridiculously big piece of art and one of the fountains at Trafalgar Square. In January when border control let me into London for a few hours it was still dark and it's here that I grabbed an amazing coffee at a Nero overlooking Nelson's Column, the South African Embassy, the square itself and the entrance to the National Art Museum. It was a good moment.
And now for some royals! It was the trooping of the colour and I got pics of the Queen, Diana's sons (2005 - before Kate and Megan) and prince Edward. Interesting fact my brother rode horses for the Cavalry and Tanks division of the army and was also in the Trooping of the Colour, although not this one. Another interesting fact was that he also sat on those horses in Whitehall for hours on end and the one day his horse threw him off. Someone snapped a pic which ended up the front page news.
Elize and I were both heavy hearted when we left the UK in 2005 and although I have now been back twice she has not. While I was reminiscing about our London days I found the slide film reel below which represents the end of one season and the start of the next and I found it fitting that the two frames wasn't cut but right next to one another. The first frame to the right was the last pic I took in London at Heathrow airport of the sun breaking through the clouds and the next frame is a photo of a flower which I took in Wellington, South Africa.
Well folks that was a little nostalgia on the memory lane to nowhere. Now off to sleep and some nightmares about what to write about tomorrow. ;) Stay safe!