Posts Tagged ‘Wandsworth’

Digital Panoramas on the Thames Path

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Digital Panoramas on the Thames Path
I’ve long had an interest in panoramic photographs, both in taking them and also appreciating the work of well-known photographers who have made panoramic images. From the earliest days some photographers wanted to make pictures with a wider field of view than was possible with a normal camera and lenses, and the first patent for a specialised panoramic camera was filed in Austria in 1843, using a curved Daguerreotype plate and rotating lens.

The earliest existing panoramic photographs appear to be those by Friedrich von Martens made in the early 1840s – such as this example on Wikimedia dated from 1846. There are also paper prints from the same era, presumably made from calotype negatives. As well as making single exposures with an angle of view of around 150°, von Martens and others made panoramas using multiple exposures, often with normal lenses. Martens produced what was probably the first 360° panorama using three curved Daguerreotype plates.

Normally we use cameras with rectilinear lenses to render straight lines in the subject as straight lines in the picture. But as the distance from the lens centre to the film or sensor gets longer towards the edges and corners, the image magnification also increases. This begins to be noticeable with extreme wideangle lenses, although more of a problem with some subject matter than others.

Although I’ve worked with a full-frame lens at 12mm, I’ve found that for general purposes a practical limit is around 15-16mm with 18mm generally more useful, corresponding to an horizontal angle of view of 90°. Beyond that the image stretching usually becomes too noticeable.

The first really popular specialised panoramic film cameras were the 1899 #4 Kodak Panoram and the Circut, patented in 1904 and produced in a range of sizes until 1945. Some were still in use until recently for producing long roll photographs of perhaps 800 pupils sitting in rows on the school field. They rotated slowly enough for some students to run around the back of the group and appear at both ends. Cameras of this type were used to great effect by photographers including Josef Sudek.

Having made several multi-image panoramas and found the process limiting I bought my first rather more modest panoramic camera, a Japanese Widelux taking images on 35mm film in 1991. Later I bought a Russian Horizon which gave similar results, and a 120 format Chinese model. I still have these along with a Hasselblad X-Pan, not really a true panoramic camera, but using a panoramic format – with the standard lens it only gives a similar angle of view to a 28mm lens, and even with the 30mmm wideangle I mainly used only around a 90° angle of view.

These cameras were the main reason I continued using some film after going digital in 2002. But some years later I found a way of working with digital cameras to make panoramic images, using a fisheye lens and then ‘defishing’ this with software to give a similar image to those made with the swing lens cameras.

These pictures were taken seven years ago on a short walk along one of my favourite sections of the Thames Path in London, from Vauxhall to Wandsworth on Sunday 5th January 2014.

I took images handheld with a Nikon D800E using a Nikon 16mm f2.8 fisheye lens, and later converted them using an Equirectangular projection in PTGui software. I now generally use the more convenient Lightroom Export plug-in https://www.imadio.com/products/prodpage_hemi.aspx ‘Fisheye-Hemi’ from Imadio.

You can see larger images and many more from the walk at Thames Path Panoramas on My London Diary.


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Another Chelsea Walk – 1988

Monday, October 4th, 2021

Church Of The Ñazarene, Grant Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5j-54-positive_2400
Church Of The Ñazarene, Grant Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5j-54

I returned for another walk in Chelsea, taking the train to Clapham Junction and taking a few pictures on my short walk to the bus stop of the Church Of The Ñazarene close to the north entrance to the station on Grant Road. The church, a twelve-sided building by Green Lloyd Adams was built in 1970 on the edge of the Winstanley Estate, developed by Battersea Council in the 1960s. The lettering on the ramp ‘JESUS SAID I AM THE WAY’ is designed for maximum size rather than typographical nicety.

Currently extensive building work is being carried out to considerably extend the church, though its future may be threatened if Crossrail 2 goes ahead. Of the two pictures I made I preferred a view across the small area with seats to a cleaner architectural view also included in the album.

Falcon Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5j-55-positive_2400
Falcon Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5j-55

On the bus I took advantage of an unusually clean front window on the upper deck to take a photograph of Falcon Road with the Queen Victoria pub. Also apparently known as ‘Spikey Hedghog’ the pub which had been there since the 1860s closed permanently in 1999 and was demolished to build the 8 flats of St Luke’s Court.

The picture also includes a falcon – both image and text on the side of a lorry. Elsewhere you can read a short post Falcon Road – a Memory of Battersea by someone who grew up living in the pub which gives an idea what the area was like, probably in the 1950s.

Beaufort St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-45-positive_2400
Beaufort St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-45

I got off the bus in Beaufort St in Chelsea and photographed this doorway there before walking along Cheyne Walk. Although the door is on Beaufort St, this is Belle Vue Lodge with the address 91 Cheyne Walk. It gets a lengthy mention in the Survey of London, first published in 1913 which suggests it dates from before 1771. It states that in 1829 it was occupied by “Luke Thomas Flood, who was a great benefactor to the parish. He was evidently a friend of the historian, for he addressed some lines to him, which conclude with the halting line ‘Sweet Chelsea shall ever live in thee.’ Flood Street was named after him, and his benefactions are celebrated at the parish church by a service on January 13th,—’Flood’s Day.'”

Houseboats, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-32-positive_2400
Houseboats, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-32

I walked across Cheyne Walk to make a photograph over the roofs of houseboats at the moorings, looking towards Chelsea Harbour and at left the Rank Hovis flour mills at Battersea and the Battersea Rail bridge. Then I think only used by goods trains this now carries frequent services of the London Overground as well as Thameslink trains.

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-33-positive_2400
Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-33

I took a picture of houses in Cheyne Row. That at left is No 104 with two blue plaques, for the artist Walter Greaves (1846-1930) and Anglo-French ‘Poet, essayist and historian’ Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) whose poem Jim (who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a Lion) ends with the famous lines:
‘And always keep ahold of nurse
For fear of finding something worse.’

No 104 doesn’t get a mention in the Survey of London, but No 100 at right of the picture is part of Lindsey House which it suggests was “rebuilt much in its present external form by the third Earl of Lindsey in 1674” but then divided into separate houses as 95-100 around 1775. It gets a very long entry.

Beaufort St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-22-positive_2400
Beaufort St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-22

I walked back up Beaufort St, passing a long row of frontages with identical garden ornaments which I think is Beaufort Mansions, though the gardens now have hedges. I think these mansion flats probably date from around 1890.

Shop window, Kings Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-23-positive_2400
Shop window, Kings Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-23

I was on my way to take a few more photographs on the King’s Road, including a several shop interiors. I think the name of the shop is on the wall at left, part hidden, Pineapple.

More pictures from this walk in a later post.


Click on any of the images above to go to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse other images in the album.


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Battersea 1988

Monday, April 5th, 2021

Tool shop, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-63-positive_2400
Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

Clapham Junction is claimed to be Europe’s busiest station with over 2000 trains a day passing through and around 60% of them stopping, including all of those I take into London. And like many others, I’ve often changed there to trains for destinations across the south of London and further afield, and less often exited to take buses.

Service Centre, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-65-positive_2400
Service Centre, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

But in February 1988 I left the train with the intention of taking photographs of the area around the station – which is not in Clapham which is a 10 minute bus ride away, but in Battersea. Over the years the area has also become referred to as Clapham Junction, and parts are also called by the names of some of the major streets, such as Lavender Hill and Northcote Road, but I’ve simply called it Battersea in the captions to my images, which also include the name of its London Borough, Wandsworth, the area a mile or so to its west.

Tool shop, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-63-positive_2400
Tool shop, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

In the short days of February I tended to photograph more in the areas that were within easy reach of my home so as to make the most of the light; I could leave home and be standing on the street at Clapham Junction in around 35 minutes.

Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-55-positive_2400
Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

The area to the south of the station, particularly down St John’s Road is a major shopping centre for this area of London, so it is perhaps not surprising that many of my pictures were of shops.

Belleville Rd, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-51-positive_2400
Belleville Rd, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

It was also a time when I was finding an increasing interest in how shop interiors, particularly those of small businesses with low set-up costs, reflection the areas and customers they served. Hair-dressers, shoe repairs and other independent small businesses very much came from the communities they served.

Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-53-positive_2400
Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

Many of these businesses are now gone. Few people now get their shoes repaired – and like some other areas they are now largely served by franchises. Tastes in various areas have changed, often dramatically, and of course in recent years shops have been hit by a move to on-line in many areas.

St John's Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-43-positive_2400
St John’s Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

My apologies for some technical deficiencies in some of these images, most noticeable in some of the skies. Unfortunately this is a result of considerable under-development, probably resulting from an exhausted or incorrectly replenished developer. Digital retouching could improve them, though probably not entirely eliminate the effect and it very time-consuming. But the blemishes, though annoying, don’t prevent you seeing the subject, so I’ve published these here and on the web despite the blemishes, though I have never shown prints from them.

St John's Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-42-positive_2400
St John’s Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

If you walk down these streets today – or when the ‘non-essential’ shops re-open, expected to be on 12 April you will see the differences from 1988. The streets around Clapham Junction now look rather more like those in any main street around the country and the area has been considerably more gentrified.

All from my album https://www.flickr.com/photos/petermarshall/albums/72157715589148871/with/50254685063/ 1988 London Photos – and clicking on any of the images here should take you to larger versions there from which you can browse the album.