Since my very fleeting visit to London in the first week of January for a wedding, I have been desperately trying to plan and organise more time in London taking photographs. Finally I got a train early this morning and arrived in London at about half nine this morning. I am spending the next three days (two nights) with my friend Ciaran taking pictures in and around the city. After checking our bags into the small Holy House Hotel (2 minutes walk from Victoria Station) we set out for the Thames River. Our plan was to go on the London Eye but when we arrived the waiting time would have been around four or five hours so we decided against it. After taking photographs around Westminster and the London Eye we carried on walking along the banks of the Thames, then to St. Paul’s Cathedral and toward the “Gerkin Building” (Swiss Ree Bank).
We finally ended up at one of my favourite sites of London, Tower Bridge. It was a gloriously sunny day and after walking three or four miles we decided to wait around the bridge and explore different angles and sides of the river to best photograph it. Whilst hanging around there was suddenly a large siren and the bridge started to open up, two tug large boats went under the bridge and then the bridge closed up again. Half an hour later the large cruise liner which was moored next to H.M.S. Belfast begin being pulled toward Tower Bridge. Once again the road was raised out of the way for the cruise liner to get through. As you can see in the photograph above Ocean Majesty only just makes it through. Strangely, I was showing this image to my grandparents and they told me they went on a cruise around Norway on this very boat only a couple of years ago. Of all the boats I could have seen going through Tower Bridge, very weird but still a very spectacular sight.
I saw a photograph of this bridge in a recent competition, and asked the author where he had taken it. Realising it was within walking distance of my flat (just behind Deansgate, towards Salford Station) I went down pretty much the next day. Sadly, when I went the weather and lighting was very bland and flat, without a nice blue sky the picture above looks very different. A week ago (on my little photo walk around Manchester), I went back to the area outside the Lowry Hotel to take photographs of the bridge. It reminds me of other modern looking bridges in and around Manchester including the one in Castlefield and the one across the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays.
Photograph taken on Wedneday, 24th January. From a distance, this footbridge over the canal at Castlefield looks very modern and stylish, but on closer inspection it looks worn and dirty with moss growing on it, this is such and interesting photograph and location of Manchester to explore but this spoils it. If you are going to design something in a very modern style, like a bridge, building or public sculpture I believe it should be cleaned and taken care of. I don’t know how old this bridge is, maybe six or seven years, probably more. If it was designed to be white it should be the councils job to keep it white, otherwise there is no point in it looking like this, they might was well paint it green and say it was designed to have moss on it!
Last Saturday I took a trip to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in north Wales. It is a navigable aqueduct which carries the Llangollen Canal (and its canal boats) over the valley of the River Dee. It is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain. It is quite daunting to walk the thousand feet along the path by the side of the water. To one side you have the hand rail and the other side of the water (to the left in the above photo) is over a hundred foot drop. Having done a bit of research on this aqueduct I can tell you it was built by Thomas Telford, opened in November of 1805, took ten years to design and build and cost £47,000 (at the time). I ended up arriving at this location a little late in the day. By the time I had walked across it the sun was setting behind the hills so I could walk down to get a photograph looking up at the aqueduct, not to worry though, because I can always go back (and I will)…enjoy.