I’ve never needed to alight from the Reading train at Winnersh Triangle before. When the station – just a few hundred yards down the line from the existing station at Winnersh was added the media was full of stories about strange disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, and Winnersh Triangle did seem to be a halt where a few left the train but nobody ever got on. And on July 27th we added to that number, the three of us leaving the train there, along with just one other passenger. I don’t know if she returned, but we didn’t.
Winnersh Triangle is a business estate on a very vaguely triangular area of land between the A329 Reading Road, the A329(M), a mile or so of feeder motorway to the M4 which begins here, and Winnersh Meadows, a smallish country park. Much of it is in the flood plain of the River Loddon which runs around its west and north sides and regularly floods. Viaducts carry the railway and the lead-up to the motorway across the river.
Having something of a penchant for tacky Ballardian developments I would probably have spent some time photographing in Winnersh Triangle itself – and doubtless attracting the attention of its security staff, but my two companions were of a more rural mind, and we set off through the older ribbon of suburbia along the Reading Road to Loddon Bridge before taking a footpath along by the river. Although there had been a little rain recently and we came across a man from the council checking the river – and he was keen to tell us about it. From the sign we could have been walking in a foot or two of water at the wrong time of year.
But very soon we were in green rather than concrete country, even if it was more country park than real country, though later stretches of our walk towards the Thames were in surprisingly remote areas despite being not far from the suburbs of Earley and various suburban villages around. There were a few curiosities on the route we took, including The Museum of Berkshire Aviation and a few miles on a rather deep ford across one of the streams of the Loddon, the Old River.
The depth gauge on that day was only reading just under 2 foot, but it goes up to 6 foot. Fortunately for those on foot there is a narrow footbridge a hundred yards or so upstream, and anyone stranded on the west side can take refuge in the Land’s End pub. The beer was welcome, though at West End prices, with no competition from Wetherspoons here.
We walked on to the Thames, turning left to sit and eat our sandwiches by the river. There were no other walkers on the path on our side of the river – which comes to a dead end where we had joined it – but we could see a steady stream on the Thames Path along the opposite bank – where we had ourselves walked a few years ago.
The path took us to Sonning, past the home of Uri Geller who has I think since moved out, leaving another poor piece of sculpture on the river bank without planning permission to the disgust of the locals. Sonning is a posh village, for those with expensive tastes (or lack of taste) and includes what must be one of the churches with the richest supporters in the land. But we were made welcome as we looked around and presented with a glossy advert-stuffed church magazine. In Anglo-Saxon times there was a cathedral here, and a Bishops Palace until the sixteenth century.
From the churchyard we took the path to join the Thames Path for the few miles into Reading and the train home. It had been a pleasant walk but rather tiring on my old legs. More pictures at Loddon & Thames.
All of the pictures were taken on two Fuji cameras, the Fuji X-T1 and the Fuji X-E1, with the 10-24mm and 18-55mm zooms respectively. Weighing in at around half the Nikon equivalents they were rather easier to carry the dozen or so miles I walked. I had a couple of other lenses too, the 8mm fisheye and the 90mm Leitz Elmar, but don’t think I used either – certainly all the images on My London Diary were taken with the two zooms. Again these lenses don’t add a great deal of weight.
The two lenses are a great pair, with the overlap between the two ranges maening rather less need to switch cameras. Just occasionally that 55mm seems a little short and perhaps the 18-135mm would be better. I’m still thinking about it.
Even the four spare batteries don’t add up to a lot (and I think I used all of them.) But battery life is a big problem with all ‘mirrorless’ cameras, even though I work with the EVF on the X-T1 only switching on when I bring the camera to my eye it doesn’t seem to help much.
Many photographers rave about Fuji colours, but I prefer the Nikon version.With the Fujis on Provia/Standard setting the colours – particularly the greens – are too intense and always need some adjustment in Lightroom. My best results come from working in RAW and importing into Lightroom with a Pro Neg Standard preset setting.
The X-T1 had also developed a strange pink cast, seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses, which takes some correcting. I found that there is a setting on the camera which allows you to mess up the auto white balance, and somehow this had been changed, although setting it back to zero doesn’t entirely solve the problem, but does make the images more neutral. This change in colour appeared to have happened at the time of the latest firmware update – and I hadn’t made any deliberate changes. But I’ve not heard of others having similar issues.