17th - !8th June
24hr Photo24 – The London 24hr Photo-shoot
The first event of a busy weekend of events for the club was the participation in the 24hr London Photo shoot sponsored by the ‘Photographic News’ and ‘Nikon’. This was the second year members of the club had participated, but this year only three members decided to try their hand, Bob, Mick and Mike. They were determined to make it through to the end, and with pedometer fitted, they commenced their ordeal.
With the weather outlook being far from sunny, the trio set off from Hayes at 10.00am on Friday morning, making their way up to the Kingsway Hotel for the initial briefing along with a further 170 other mad photographers. With Covent Garden close at hand it made the ideal starting point for the photographic adventure, especially with the recent change to its décor making challenges to our imagination. With no break it was onward to Trafalgar Square where a Music and Dance Festival week was happening - Wrong – It was only happening on the weekend. Ah well best laid plans etc.etc. Still a few good shots in the bag it was onward. With the weather looking very changeable it was a change of plans and the British Museum being our next port of call for a chance to take some architectural pics, even if half of London had had the same idea. The plan next was to venture down to Brick Lane, but just as we left the Museum the heavens opened up. So during a break in the rain a dash was made to the nearby Camera Café in Museum street, where we stopped for our first break and a cake. Duly refreshed with the rain having stopped it was back to our original plan and Brick Lane, just one problem we hadn’t noticed how the time had flown. It was 5.30pm and the ‘Rush Hour’ was in full swing. Trying to get a bus was – very trying, still we got one and ended up at the right place Brick Lane, which we knew as great area for photography - Wrong - All those wonder pieces of graffiti art had been vandalized by graffiti of the hooligan kind. No wonderful images of lions looking over your shoulder or colourful bikes against colourful walls, all these and many more had been scrawled over in a senseless manner. So it ended up finding something else to shoot without being accosted. With time moving on and dusk approaching, it was off to ‘Butlers Wharf’ to get some nice images of Tower Bridge silhouetted against the setting sun - Wrong – Someone had planted a lookalike Mississippi paddle steamer on the quay in front of the bridge. So yet again we had to go and find alternatives, without falling in the river. With the sun set it was time to get some nourishment before we started the nights shooting, with St Katherine’s Dock being our first port of call. We weren’t disappointed with some lovely night-time images and great reflections. But just as we were finishing, the heavens opened up again in a torrential manner. So it was a quick dash to the Tower Hotel, where we settled in uninvited, in the foyer to dry out and plan our next move. With wet late night revelers now returning to the hotel, the weather not abating and it being nearly 1.00am it was decided to call a halt to the evenings adventure and grab a cab back to a hotel which Bob had arranged as a stopover for a couple of hour rest before starting again.
Up, out and at Euston station by 5.00am, having had about 3hrs sleep we were not quite as fresh as the day before, maybe because we had walked the equivalent of a half Marathon up till then. Our first call was to be Camden Market and Lock, but as the Underground did not start running until 5.30 we sat down to an early coffee. And so to Camden to catch the early birds setting up their stalls prior to a busy day. - Wrong - They don’t get up early in Camden. Not until 9.00am when they start to set up their stalls, so at 6.00am it was like a ghost town, except for the late night revelers or the odd street people who seemed to take a liking to Bob. So with no hindrance, we were able to take pictures of an unknown side of Camden, its market and locks. Come 10.00am when the local inhabitants were starting to show themselves, we descended on the local Weatherspoons for a hearty breakfast, and meet up with other very tired individuals trying to complete the day. This left us with just enough time to return to the Kingsway Hotel for the planned debrief and to collect our T-shirt declaring we had completed the 24hrs.
What was surprising, was that at least 75% of the participants survived the 24hrs and the three of us each walked 20 miles during the event. – Roll on next year.
18th June - Saturday
Outing to Downe Bank
Fortunately with the rain holding off, seven members met up at 10.00am, at the Queen’s Head Pub in Downe. Led by Derek, the group proceeded to make the 15 minute walk down to the Downe Bank. Here we found the bank provided a good opportunity to practice our close up photography techniques of flowers, grasses and some of the insects which frequent the area, with added interest in the woods, which had a delightful variety of trees, with logs covered thickly in moss and wildlife.
With lunchtime approaching the party wended its way back to the Queen’s Head for due libation and refreshment before making their ways home.
Many thanks to Derek for organising the morning and Ann for the report.
19 – 23 June
Visit to Bruge, Belgium
After last years successful foray to Amsterdam and Antwerp, where Bob had spoken of the delights of Bruge, he agreed to organize a trip there this year. Sadly there were only three to attempt the trip this year.
With the inclement weather striking Europe at the weekend the intrepid trio were prepared for anything. But an effortless journey started a really nice five day break. Without going into too much detail the members indulged in the four delights of Bruge. - The Food, the Beautiful town, the glorious chocolate and the local beers. When out the meals were gorgeous, not cheap but very enjoyable, even though Bob didn’t get his Moules marinière. The town of Bruge is fittingly described as the ‘Venice of the North’ thus a photographers delight. The chocolate just melted in our mouths, thus the reason we are afraid that none found its way home to be shared with the members. Finally the local beverage. Well one can only speak of the male section, but we went out as novices in the art of ales and came back connoisseurs – ask ‘Brother Jacob’. Poor Rosemary had to make do with the wine.
Getting back to the real reason for our visit, Bruge is so photogenic, but as we discovered it was best at night when nearly everybody had gone home, but best at twilight when all the rich colours of the town just hit you. Even Rosemary enjoyed the delights of night photography, but couldn’t keep up with Bob and Mike who after the practice in the 24hr London shoot, were out every night until at least 1.00am taking pictures of the beautiful town and that included the night of electrical storms. Visits were made to Ostend, of which the group were not impressed, Sluice, the battlefields of Flanders and Ypres. It was good to show our respect but it has now become rather commercial. On the one afternoon it absolutely poured down, the trio were forced to take shelter in the house of one hundred pumps. No not petrol pumps, but pumps that served a hundred different kinds of beer. With the use of the finest credit card in the world which can only be used on these pumps, small quantities can be sampled allowing you to make a judgment as to the beer you considered the best without falling over.
A big thank you to Bob for a well organised trip, where the number and quality of pictures taken showed it too be a success. – Hopefully a similar trip will be organised for next year.
All pictures by Rosemary (No – The others were not incapacitated)