Posts Tagged ‘panoramic’

Regent’s Canal Camden

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

200 years ago the Regent’s Canal was opened. In some respects it was like HS2 today, cutting travel times, though for goods, providing a more direct link between London’s Docks and the canal system which served Birmingham and much of the rest of England. Perhaps more importantly it brought coal and building materials into the centre of London at City Road Basin, and other basins and Samuel Plimsoll’s (remembered for his line) coal drops north of King’s Cross.

And like HS2 it came in late (though at the moment it is still doubtful if HS2 will come in at all, and it certainly will never deliver what was promised.)

The canal was first proposed in 1802, but only got Parliamentary approval in 1812, after it had been adopted by the Prince Regent (later George IV) and John Nash as a part of their scheme for redeveloping Regent’s Park.

Like HS2, the canal had its controversies and problems. In 1815 Thomas Homer, who had first proposed the canal and remained in charge with Nash although neither knew anything about building canals, was found to have stolen company funds and was sentenced to transportation (though it appears the sentence was never carried out.) The first length of the canal, from Little Venice to Camden was completed and opened on the birthday of the Prince Regent in August 1816, but there wasn’t enough money to complete the rest.

The government came to the rescue with the Poor Employment Act of 1817, designed to give work to those unemployed after the end of the war against Napoleon, which provided cheap labour so the scheme could continue.

There were technical problems too, particularly with at Hampstead Road, where a hydro-pneumatic boat lift had been built to an innovative design by William Congreve (better known for his military rockets.) Designed to save water, as the canal had problems with water supply, although the design worked when first installed it quickly broke down when handed over to the canal company, possibly because the materials then available for pneumatic seals were not up to prolonged use. There was a lengthy and acrimonious dispute between the inventor and the canal company, who eventually replaced the lift with a two chamber conventional lock as used elsewhere on the canal.

Also like HS2, there were huge cost increases. The canal eventually cost £772,000 which was twice the original estimate.

I’d begun my walk at Camden Road station, walking from there through the Maiden Lane estate and new developments to York Way where I met a colleague with whom I will be having an exhibition in March 2020. My contribution to the joint show will be a set of around a dozen pictures commemorating the canal anniversary. We made our way together along the towpath to Kentish Town Rd, with several stops where she sat down to sketch and I wandered around making photographs. After leaving her I walked on to Cumberland Basin before returning to Camden Road station.

Many more pictures and displayed large on My London Diary at Camden, Kings X & Regent’s Canal


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Royal Docks & the Thames

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

I’d gone to North Woolwich in February for a walk by the Thames and intending to go around Albert Dock Basin, but because of transport problems I had run out of time and had to cut the walk short to go and photograph a protest in central London. Since then I’d been trying without success to find time to complete the walk. It seemed a long way to go just to finish this short walk so I hadn’t wanted to go out just to do this, but on Thursday August 1st I had an event beginning in the morning in Brixton and then another starting around 7pm in Mayfair, and as it was a fine day I thought I would have plenty of time.

I made my way from King George V station as directly as possible to the entrance lock to the Royal Docks where I had cut short the walk on the previous occasion, taking few pictures, and then began a leisurely stroll along a section of the Capital Ring.

I was mainly interested in making some panoramic images of the area. I was disappointed to find that the riverside path still stops at Armada Green and I hope one day it will be possible to walk aong to Barking Creek. Instead I had to follow the Capital Ring and go down Atlantis Avenue and then turned down Gallions Road to go down past the Gallions Hotel (which I photographed around 40 years ago) and then beside Albert Dock Basin to go up on the Sir Steve Redgrave Bridge, which passes at a high level over the Albert Dock Basin, giving some good views of the dock and the surrounding area.

On My London Diary you can see over 60 panoramic images I made on the walk along with a slightly smaller number of less wide views. The panoramas(except for a couple including the example above) are cropped to a 1.9:1 ratio, while the other images have the standard 1.5:1 aspect ratio. The panoramas use a cylindrical perspective, which results in some curvature of any non-vertical straight lines except for the horizon which I place at the centre of the image when making the picture, though the crop may raise or lower it. The curvature is more marked towards the top and bottom edges.

North Woolwich Royal Docks & Thames


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Regent’s Canal 200 coming up

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

The Regent’s Canal celebrates its 200th birthday next year (or rather it doesn’t but people do.) The Grand Junction Canal Paddington Arm had opened in 1801, and in 1802 Thomas Homer proposed building a canal to link this with the River Thames at Limehouse. In 1811 John Nash who was building Regent’s Park became one of the directors of the new canal company, and he persuaded his friend the Prince Regent (who later became King George IV) to allow his name also to be used for the canal.

The Act of Parliament needed to build the canal was passed in 1812, but construction took some time, not least because Homer ran away with some of the money. He was caught and sentenced to seven years in Australia but for unknown reasons never sent there.

The canal was completed to Camden in 1816, and Islington tunnel in 1819 and the canal was finally opened on 1st August 1820, having cost by then twice the original estimate – some things never change.

Another of the problems had been a novel lift design by the inventor Sir Willliam Congreve which would have raised and lifted boats without the loss of water in a normal lock, using two sealed chambers to contain thee boats which were arranged to counterbalance each other.

Although the idea was sound, it needed better waterproof seals than were possible at the time, and modifications to Congreve’s designs made by the canal company increased the problems. The lock which had been constructed at Camden market apparently worked when first constructed but the canal company were unable to keep it operating, and it was eventually removed and replaced by a conventional design.

The lock house just west of Camden High Street was retained and is now a branch of Starbucks, equally unsuccesful in making good coffee, but excelling in avoiding paying tax.

I’ve been working for around 18 months taking photographs along the canal, which I first photographed around 1980, intending to show a small exhibition of them for the anniversary (and rather more online.)

I’d gone up to London to meet friends but they were unable to get there because of a trackside rail fire which put Waterloo out of action, and I took the opportunity to walk the section of the canal from St John’s Wood to Little Venice and then to go on down the Paddington Arm.

It wasn’t ideal weather for making these pictures and I might find time to go back and retake some of them under better conditions. There is rather a lot of vegetation in some too, and possibly some would be better in winter. Clearly some would benefit from cropping at the top (and possibly some at the bottom too) to give a more panoramic format.

St John’s Wood – Paddington Basin


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Back to the Canal

Monday, October 14th, 2019

I hadn’t meant to take pictures of the Regent’s Canal on June 1st, but I found myself in Dalston with an hour or two to spare before I wanted to be in Cavendish Square. It was around lunchtime thought the canal towpath would be a pleasant place to sit down and eat my sandwiches in the sun.

It was a Saturday and the towpath was quite busy with both walkers and cyclists and I walked around a little before finding a well placed unoccupied place to sit, taking a few pictures as I did so. Things have changed pretty drastically since I first walked and photographed along here almost 40 years ago.

I’d chosen a good place to sit too, with some shade, as the sun was rather hot, but also with an interesting view of the canal and of the people and boats passing, and I paused in my lunch several times to pick up my camera and make another exposure – there are six pictures on line all taken from within a few feet from my seat – including the one immediately above.

After finishing my lunch I still had time to walk a little further east along the towpath, rather hoping that I might chance across a convenient local pub for a quick drink, but I was out of luck in Haggerston and had to make do with water from the bottle in my bag.

The area north of the canal here always used to seem one of the more remote parts of London, one I saw from the train coming in from Dalston Junction to Broad Street, a largely elevated stretch of line with no stations (those at Haggerston and Shoreditch were closed in 1940. ) But now parts of that line have been reopened as part of the London Overground, and I was able to catch a train from the new Haggerston station to Highbury and Islington and the Victoria Line.

Most of these images would benefit from cropping to a more panoramic format, which I usually do. You can see more at Canal Panoramas.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


More Canal Pans

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Photographing protests and other events generally keeps me pretty busy and for some years I’ve had little time for anything else, along of course putting some of my earlier work online and writing this blog and keeping My London Diary almost up-to-date. But one project that I’ve managed to do a little work now and then on is making panoramic images of London’s canals – and I hope to use a few of these in a show next year.

My first panoramic project, back in 1992 when I bought my first panoramic camera was on the DLR extension then being built from Poplar to Beckton. Prints from this were shown at the Museum of London back then, and a few are now in their collection – and one is in the current show, Secret Rivers at the Museum of London Docklands.

I’d chosen to work in panorama (using a Japanese Widelux camera) because I thought that the essentially linear nature of the railway was particularly suited to the panoramic format, and it seems to me that the same applies to photographing the canals. I’m now working of course with digital, and the pictures I’m making don’t natively come in a panoramic format as the camera sensor is either 3:2 (with the Nikons) or 4:3 in the pictures I’ve made with the Olympus EM5 MkII.

The character of the cylindrical perspective that I’m currently working with (others are possible) means that the image curvature required to give the wide angle of view (around 145°) increases towards the top and bottom of the image, and using a 4:3 or similar format makes it more noticeable than a more normal panoramic format such as 2.5:1. So I often crop the images to a more panoramic aspect, often 1.9:1 which can give a more natural look.

Cropping the image also has another advantage. In making these images it is important to keep the camera level – aided by indicators in the viewfinder at bottom and left of the image. Doing so means that the horizon will always be a horizontal line splitting the image into two equal halves, and this can make a set of images a little monotonous. When cropping the images, it is possible to move this above or below the centre line. In days largely long past, landscape photographers used cameras with a rising or falling front to acheive the same goal, and for much of my black and white work on film I used a 35mm shift lens which could do the same.

These pictures were taken between the end of a protest in Hackney and my visit to an Open Studio event at the Chisenhale Studios in Bethnal Green to which I walked. I began the walk along the canal in one of my favourite spots where Mare St becomes Cambridge Heath Road and goes over the canal and then walked east along the Regent’s Canal towpath to the junction with the Hertford Union Canal. I had time to go a little beyond the studios before turning around and returning to leave the canal and make my way to the studios. By the time I got there the rain was beginning to come down fairly steadily and I’d walked around a mile and a half.

More pictures at Bethnal Green Canal Walk


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Regents Canal – Kings Cross

Monday, September 9th, 2019

I had an hour or so to spare before a protest taking place outside The Guardian offices at Kings Place on York Way, the building at the left of the picture above and decided it was enough time to take some pictures along the canal, mainly to the east from York way to the mouth of the tunnel under Islington. The picture above is from where I walked down to the canal from York Way, and as you can see it was a good day for panoramic images like this, with plenty of interest in the sky. Skies do tend to take up a rather large part of such images, and either a dull overall grey or a clear blue can make them rather boring. The clouds in pictures like this also enliven the water with their reflections.

Walking under the York Way bridge I made an image showing the bridge and the building of Kings Place, with a waterside sculpture. There was little traffic on the canal and the water was a smooth mirror showing the buildings and the sky.

A few yards further on and I could see into the Battlebridge basin as well as the buildings alongside the canal and the moored narrow boats. When I first photographed here the buildings alongside the canal were industrial, but now they have largely been replaced by new flats. The canal here is more open and the water is rippled, making the reflections less clear.

A little further east and the canal was more sheltered, again giving a smooth mirror surface and clear reflections. The cylindrical perspective needed to acheive the extreme angle of view obviously curves the roof line of the building at left which is well away from the centre of the image. Vertical line and those through the image centre are rendered straight, but other lines curve increasingly away from the centre . The canal bank at the bottom of the building is less obviously curved as it is closer to the centre.

This isn’t really a distortion but a simple effect of the projection needed to get such an extreme view onto a flat surface. It could be made less obvious by cropping from the top of the image.

A few minutes later I had reached the tunnel mouth and found that there was a small garden across the top of it, though it wasn’t really possible to get a good picture as I was unable to get inside.

I wandered around a little more on my way back to York Way, and had time also to make a few non-panoramic images.

You can see some of these as well as other panorams on My London Diary at Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


North Woolwich

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

The weather and London’s transport system were both against me. I’d finished photographing the protests against outsourcing and had made my way to eat lunch. I wanted something fast and cheap, and my favourite central London Wetherspoons was ideal, and as I ate I checked my travel plans to find the Docklands Light Railway had shut down somewhere between where I was and King George V, where I’d planned to start taking some urban landscape panoramas.

Probably I should have abandoned my plans, but I pressed ahead, taking an alternative route to Woolwich Arsenal via London Bridge, thinking if need be I could walk across in the tunnel under the river. By the time I got there, the DLR at least at that end was up and running again, but it still meant I started over half an hour later than I had hoped.

It was a bright sunny day, blue sky with not a cloud in sight, and very pleasant for the time of year, but this is possibly about the worst weather possible for making good panoramic photographs. When you have an angle of view og over one and a half right angles, most images are likely to include large areas of sky. It tends to kill pictures if this is either featureless overcast or even worse simply blue. You want detail, nice clouds in a blue or grey sky. And blue sky is the worst of all, because although we generally see it as a uniform blue, as your view gets closer to the sun it gets a lot brighter, and much lighter in the picture.

I’d arranged to meet with some friends who were carrying out a protest in the early evening, and had to be back there for 5.30 pm, so my time was strictly limited. In the end I did less than half the walk I’d intended, and the second half was really the part which held the more interest for me, with the possibility of a little harmless trespass.

At some point I glanced at my watch and had to rush back to King George V for my journey back into central London. I promised myself I would come back soon and complete the walk, but three months later I’ve yet to do so, and in areas such as this things may well have changed significantly.

Some of the pictures, despite the light are not bad, but others were more just a note to myself that I need to return at a better time. As usual when making these panoramic images I work with a standard 3:2 format, intending to later crop them to around 16×9. Not everything works in panoramic format and I also took a number of pictures with a longer lens.

More pictures at North Woolwich.


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.