Tag Archives: London

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

Untitled_Panorama1

_FJ10695

Not a photographic exhibition but the art installation of 888,246 ceramic poppies at The Tower of London may prove to be the most visited and photographed temporary piece of art in Europe this year. Designed by Tom Piper with the poppies made by Paul Cummins it is breathtaking in scale and very moving. I reject Jonathan Jones’ view that it is too pretty to be a reminder of the horrors and war and doubt that this was the designer and the artist’s message. My response was to recognise that each poppy represented a life, nearly exclusively a young life, and that this is a rare opportunity to see every single one of the British and Commonwealth dead of the First World War commemorated in a single place. It has shades of Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds where he was representing millions of individuals not a single entity andthis work needs be viewed in the same way.

My photos don’t do it justice but it was worth the 6:00 am start this morning to beat the crowds.

_FJ10645 _FJ10697 _FJ10700

Advertisements

Exercise 23 Primary and Secondary Colours

collection-with-textIn this exercise we are asked to collect a set of primary and secondary colours without resorting to photographing paint. I turned the exercise and my weekend into an exploration of natural colour.

I undertook four very different shoots that I hoped would provide a wide selection of colours. The first shoot was to explore my local woods looking for mosses and lichens which provided nearly all the colours from orange through blue green, the exceptions being a fern which gave me a more “pure” green than the mosses at this time of year and the daffodils which provided a classic yellow.

The second shoot was to look at the fruit and vegetables in the kitchen, this gave me quite a selection of reds.

For the third shoot I visited some local flooded meadows in the search for blues and greens and in particular looking for reflections of the early morning sky in the shallow flood waters.

Lastly I visited Kew Gardens to look at their orchid festival, this trip provided a large selection of colours in the ranges of yellow to red and red to purple.

Restricting my self to natural colours at this time of year was challenging, it is still winter and although a few plants have been lured into life by the mild and wet winter there is very little in flower outdoors. A few daffodils have flowered locally and there were far more at Kew which being nearer to London is a degree or two warmer. The biggest problem was to find blues, there being no obvious blue vegetables, and among the huge collection of orchids at Kew there was only one flower that was predominately blue. The reflected sky in the flooded meadows gave me my best blue choices.

img001

When I visited the National Portrait Gallery I noticed that they were using a painter’s palette (see above) as a motif on various souvenirs and I thought it would be interesting to try and do the same with photos. To achieve the overall effect using naturally occurring colours was too much to ask in a single weekend but I used the general idea to build my colour chart as shown below.

chart

The idea is to read the colours from yellow, through orange to red then through purple to blue and onto Green and back to yellow. I found this whole exercise absorbing starting with the search for natural colours right through to looking at the wide variety of hues and selecting a set that covered the whole spectrum. I found that it sharpened my sense of colour making me far more conscious of where colour blends or mixes fit in the classic colour wheel.

I also looked back to the previous couple of weekends where I was beginning to think about collecting colours but had not settled on an approach.

chart2

That provided a quite different collection ranging from orange through red to blue.

The most obvious conclusion to this exercise is that colour is light and the intensity of light has a major impact on how we see and how we capture colour. Strong sunlight and taking a photograph of a pure red half a stop under exposed will give a strong deep red. The same object in the shade or over exposed will appear less red, paler. The object has not changed colour but the way we see that colour changes with the intensity of the light and the way we capture that colour varies depending on how much light we allow into the camera.

All in all a fun exercise, I just love colour.

Exercise 19 Implied Lines

horses

Fig 1

In the first image of the horses on a threshing floor there are two implied directions creating a dynamic meeting point.

The stronger lines are from left to right with a strong curve and thereby speed implied by the shape of the horses bodies. there is a sense of power created by the combination of this curve and the lead horse’s sight line. It is straining to increase speed.

The man is looking into the horses and both his implied eye line and his hand point in the opposite direction of the horses. The horses are bigger but also their curving shape says that the majority of power is coming from the left but the implied eye line of the farmer and his firmly pointing arm indicate that he is in control of this union.

bull-fight

Fig 2

In the second image there is an implied circle. The tangible curve on the sand behind the bull fighter tends to imply that the bull has moved clockwise around the man.

There is a clear implied eye line from the man down to the bull’s head or shoulders and the flying cape to the right amplifies the momentum of the bull.

The vertical shape of the man might also signify a dominant and strong position.

ND8_1999-graffiti-plus-line

Fig 3 Graffiti Artist South Bank

In the first of my own images there is a clear implied sight line from the artist to his hand. We cannot see his face let alone his eyes but there is not doubt about where he is looking and this implied line takes our eyes straight to his hand.

DSC_0090-fishing-at-Rodney-Bay-with-lines

Fig 4 Rodney Bay St Lucia Scanned from 35mm Slide

With the fishing boat there is a strong implied curve starting with the man in the left and ending with the direction of travel of the boat. The net floats in the foreground start the curve and the boat line finishes it off. The crew are looking at the helmsman who is watching the net.

DSC_5385-with-lines

Fig 5 Beach Scene Hayling Island

In the beach scene there is a dynamic of opposite implied lines. The three children are looking at each other and at the swirl of movement created by the spray as the left hand child tries to splash the two on the right. The greater number of lines moving to the left draws the viewer towards the face of the older girl.

Fig 4 Local Wedding on Grace Bay - 1/125 at f/16, ISO 100. 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm

Fig 6 Local Wedding on Grace Bay – 1/125 at f/16, ISO 100. 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm

The first of my two new images for this exercise is using the eye line and the implied forward movement of the photographer to led the viewer into the centre of the wedding ceremony.

Fig Kite Flying at Grace Bay TCI - 1/250 at f/11, ISO 100. 24mm-70mm lens at 34mm

Fig 7 Kite Flying at Grace Bay TCI – 1/250 at f/11, ISO 100. 24mm-70mm lens at 34mm

An alternative eye line is included at fig. 7. The pilot eyes, not surprisingly, lead us to the kite.

Fig 8 Little Ruin Sapodilla Bay TCI - 1/125 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm with polarising filter

Fig 8 Little Ruin Sapodilla Bay TCI – 1/125 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm with polarising filter

The little ruin in fig. 8 was all that remained of , what appeared to be, a large house that must have once stood on this peninsular. The twisted, wooden path leads to the gazebo and although part of the path is not in view the viewer continues to follow the line.

 

Exercise 17 Diagonals

diagonals

Diagonals, unlike horizontal and vertical lines, are often created by the photographer as the angle of view or camera tilt can convert a line into a diagonal. This gives the photographer greater control over the impact of the horizontal line. All lines in an image will ask the viewer to follow them but a diagonal draws the eye to follow it more rapidly than a horizontal or vertical line and thereby creates a greater sense of movement and speed of movement. For the same reason it is also a stronger directional signpost. It is therefore a more dynamic and less stable line than a vertical or a horizontal.

In exercise 17 I looked for a variety of diagonals to test the way they worked in an image.

Fig. 1 Breakwater - 1/100 at f/13, ISO 110. 24-70mm lens at 24mm

Fig. 1 Breakwater – 1/100 at f/13, ISO 110. 24-70mm lens at 24mm

In fig. 1 the series of converging diagonals lead the eye quickly to the fort in the distance. This shows the power of the diagonal as a leading line but also shows how parallel diagonals photographed to create perspective converge and draw the eye deeper and faster into the photo and increase the dynamic effect.

We understand that the eye reads a photograph from left to right so the shoreline is well positioned just above the the lower left corner and pointing towards the upper right. Although the fort is not in itself an especially interesting subject  it provides a focal point. If there is no focal point the converging parallels potentially need to extend to infinity so that the distance and depth become the subject, otherwise I felt there needed to be something for the lines to lead me to.

Fig. 2 Eyes Right - 1/100 at f/10, ISO 2,000. 70-300mm lens at 75mm

Fig. 2 Eyes Right – 1/100 at f/10, ISO 2,000. 70-300mm lens at 75mm

Fig. 2 is less dynamic, the perspective is much shorter so convergence is less significant. The main diagonal is created by the matching items on the Gurhkas’ uniforms and all lead us in the direction of the march. Because we cannot see either end of the lines we are left to imagine the length of the column which I think adds some interest to the photo. It is a softer use of lines, our eyes move along the column and there is a strong sense of movement but not rapid movement. There are also a lot of verticals formed by the soldiers’ bodies so there is a sense of stability as well. I find this image interesting because the composition underlines what the viewer already knows, they are marching and moving, they are soldiers so we might already see stable, solid, reliable and organised how ever they were photographed.

Fig. 3 Southsea Fort Lighthouse - 1/400 at f/9, ISO 100. 24-70mm lens at 35mm

Fig. 3 Southsea Fort Lighthouse – 1/400 at f/9, ISO 100. 24-70mm lens at 35mm

In the photograph of the lighthouse on the Tudor fort at Southsea in fig. 3 there are three lines or groups of lines and each appears to influence the image differently. The strong silhouetted lines from left to right are very powerful and lead us quickly into the lighthouse. There is a weaker and less angled pair of diagonals running from right to left and meeting at the same point but they catch the eye because they are brighter. Finally the two sides of the lighthouse converge to give a sense of height. Because the convergence is not dramatic we know that the lighthouse is not especially tall so these lines have acted as a measure. The rule of thirds is also in play so everything draws us to the lighthouse as the subject and then up the lighthouse to the green top.

Fig. 4 Southsea Fort Lighthouse - 1/400 at f/9, ISO 100. 24-70mm lens at 35mm

Fig. 4 Southsea Fort Lighthouse – 1/400 at f/9, ISO 100. 24-70mm lens at 35mm

I processed the lighthouse in black and white as shown in fig. 4 to test whether I reacted any differently to the two versions. The monochrome version is more graphic in design and seems to be as much about different and strong shapes as it is about the lighthouse but I found it difficult to find a tonal balance that gave me the strong whites that are such a feature in the colour version. I had to use a mid-tone grey for the sky to allow the lighthouse to stand out. I find the colour version a more pleasing design.

Fig. 5 Old House in Aldershot - 1/100 at f/8, ISO 110. 50mm prime lens.

Fig. 5 Old House in Aldershot – 1/100 at f/8, ISO 110. 50mm prime lens.

In fig. 5 I found a subject where there are opposing diagonals mixed with verticals and horizontals. The dynamics of multiple diagonals can become chaotic but clearly this does not happen when they point towards a single and central point. I wanted to bring out the sadly, dilapidated state of the building and have therefore intentionally left the image with quite a dark feel to it. I have used shadow and highlight adjustment to bring out the structure of the door. My interpretation of the role of the diagonals in this image is that they create a frame for the passerby, lead us to the door of the building and divide the frame between the man and the building.

Fig. 6 Old House in Aldershot - 1/100 at f/8, ISO 160. 50mm prime lens.

Fig. 6 Old House in Aldershot – 1/100 at f/8, ISO 160. 50mm prime lens.

In fig. 6 there is no passerby and I have used a portrait crop to bring in more of the building. the diagonals are less prominent and it seems a generally to be a much less dynamic image.

Fig. 7 Winchester Cathedral - 1/80 at f/14, ISO 25,600. 24-70mm lens at 24mm

Fig. 7 Winchester Cathedral – 1/80 at f/14, ISO 25,600. 24-70mm lens at 24mm

The columns in Winchester Cathedral provided an ideal subject to show the power of converging diagonals to create a sense of height and scale. The use of a wide angle lens and a deep DoF exaggerates the scale of the columns in both breadth and height. The small section of roof gives the viewer a point of reference for the height of the column and tells us that we are looking up.

Fig. 8 Boris Bikes - 1/125 at f8, ISO 560. 24-70mm lens at 58mm

Fig. 8 Boris Bikes – 1/125 at f8, ISO 560. 24-70mm lens at 58mm

I took this photo of Boris Bikes in London last year but wanted to include it as fig. 8 because I think it is a photo of a diagonal or of converging diagonals.  Rather than the lines leading us to another subject the line of bikes is the subject.

Assignment 1 Contrasts

The first assignment asks for eight pairs of images that express the extremes of different qualities and one that demonstrates contrast in one picture. We are told not to lose sight of the fact that we are aiming to produce 17 interesting images.

My original thought was to create 17 images around a single theme but this quickly proved to be too restrictive so I aimed for pairs that complimented and related to each other. I wanted each image to have value in its own right but to work better because it was part of a pair.

It is quite clear that the assignment is asking for images to be conceptualised and then sought out and captured. This in itself is a lesson in how large a gap exists between the idea and the end result at this stage in the course but it made the assignment challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

Contrast in a Single Image – Black and White

Fig 1 - The Dark Angel - 1/100 at f/9, ISO 100, 105mm prime lens

Black and White – The Dark Angel – 1/100 at f/9, ISO 100, 105mm prime lens

The Victorian section of the Aldershot Military Cemetery is a place of decaying grave markers, monuments from a time of great certainty where, even in death, the rulers of Empire expressed a black and white view of their place in this world and the next. Rudyard Kipling, a man of his time, wrote:

“Blesséd be the English and all they make or do.

Curséd be the Hereticks who doubt that this is true!”

I liked the contrast of the discoloured and nearly black angel against the statue of Christ in the background that is still predominantly white. There is an irony that time and weather is slowly creating a black angel where once a whiter angel stood and will, in time, do the same to the statue of Christ.

Rather than using the, perhaps, more obvious choice of processing in black and white I made the decision to present this as a colour image which better captured the light in the trees and made the angel more distinct against the background. The intent is to move from dark to light, from black to white.

I wanted to capture the Gothic feel of this statue and of the graveyard in general and have therefore processed the image leaving the angel quite dark. I chose a tight frame to capture the upper third of the statue to focus on her sad face and selected an angle that encloses Christ in the triangular space created by her wing.

HIgh and Low

Fig 2. High - 1/100 at f/3.2, ISO 100, 24 to 70mm zoom lens at 24mm

High – The Standing Tower – 1/100 at f/3.2, ISO 100, 24 to 70mm zoom lens at 24mm

Fig 2. Low - 1/100 at f/3.2, ISO 100, 24 to 70mm zoom lens at 24mm

Low – The Fallen Tower – 1/100 at f/3.2, ISO 100, 24 to 70mm zoom lens at 24mm

I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to capture high and low. I was helping at Sarum Academy in Salisbury on the day the old tower was scheduled to be demolished and spent the late afternoon waiting for the digger to prepare the site by raising the rubble platform to a suitable height. For the final sequence I chose a low angle to maximise the sense of height. 

In high the last part of the old Sarum Academy is about to fall, the mechanical digger has just touched the tower and the first pieces of debris are falling. The tower has been a been a local landmark for decades, placed as it was, on a hill above the largest housing estate in Salisbury. The staff and pupils saw this as an important moment in their history as one of the last remnants of the run-down old school made way for the new academy.

In “low” the tower is falling. A cloud of dust is rising and the bricks are tumbling towards the camera. It is a symbolic moment in the politics of education, an old school brought low by the development of an ambitious new academy.

Earlier in the afternoon there had been sunlight on the site and the tower was lit by a warm evening light but by the time they were ready to bring down the tower the site was mostly in shadow. For these images to work the tower and the machine had to be isolated and stand out so I used a touch of HDR toning in Photoshop to sharpen the contrast and the outlines of the bricks and then created a mask to leave the machine in colour which I then de-saturated to avoid too great a contrast.

I am pleased by the sharply defined bricks, the choice of mixing black and white with colour and the overall composition but a little disappointed that the cloud of dust raised in low makes the sky look quite different to high without it being obvious as to why. Overall I like the fact these images capture a piece of local history.

Light and Dark

Light - 1/80 at f/14, ISO 6400, 16 to 35mm lens at 16mm

Light – The Junk Room – 1/80 at f/14, ISO 6400, 16 to 35mm zoom lens at 16mm

For light and dark my idea was based the idea that these terms are often relative. I wanted two subjects with contradictory attributes so that light existed because of dark and that dark was exhibited by the inclusion of light.

The junk room in light is a gloomy corner of the props warehouse at MC Motors but I have endeavoured to focus attention on the light or lights. There are four sources of light, natural light coming from a dusty skylight in the adjoining space to the right, the star, the paper lantern and the small hanging light. Each is a different temperature and therefore a different shade so there is a also a mix of reflected light in play.

Dark Font - 1/20 at f/2.8, ISO 6400, 24 - 70mm zoom lens at 24mm

Dark Font – 1/20 at f/2.8, ISO 6400, 24 – 70mm zoom lens at 24mm

The dark font is in Salisbury Cathedral and, from the right angle, acts as a mirror capturing reflections of the brightly lit wooden bust and other artwork.  I spent a long time waiting for a moment with no one in the frame but then chose this image with two visitors by the bust because they contribute a sense of scale to the image.

Following the idea of dark being relative I needed a subject where the inclusion of light told the viewer that the scene was dark. As modern cameras deal so effectively with poor light, note the ISO of 6,400, we sometimes need to include a bright light to explain that we are in a dark place.  An example of this is regularly seen on televised cricket where the director will show the bright lights in the hospitality boxes to explain how dark it has become in the middle.

Few and Many

Few - 1/125 at f/6.7, ISO 100, 24 - 70mm zoom lens at 40mm

Few Locals – 1/125 at f/6.7, ISO 100, 24 – 70mm zoom lens at 40mm

You can guarantee to find people sitting on the steps of Teramo Cathedral regardless of the weather and I felt this image worked well, for few. Three couples and a single in front of the huge wall sitting on the broad steps.  I like the balance of the people and of the linear steps against the high wall. I know that I am drawn to symmetrical images but there is just enough irregularity here to make the composition work.

Teramo is a small provincial city on the east coast of Italy in the shadow of the Apennines. Very few tourists ever visit here so the subjects are pretty well guaranteed to be local which explains why, even on a sunny afternoon they are all wearing coats.

Many - 1/200 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 24 - 70mm zoom lens at 65mm

Many Tourists – 1/200 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 24 – 70mm zoom lens at 65mm

The other side of the country in Rome you can equally guarantee people at the Trevi fountain and if the sun is out there will be a crowd. I left a little piece of empty space in the bottom right to give a hint of context and to show that the front row were sitting on a wall.

Few asks the viewer to think about a small number of people and wonder what each little group is doing, they are quite distinct and doing something different. Holding hands, making a phone call, chatting and sitting alone. On the other hand many has so much happening you are asked to view the dynamics of the crowd, people videoing, taking photos above their heads, showing their photos to each other, chatting, just sitting, coming and going, drinking, eating and just looking. A real tourist scene.

The less obvious contrast is that no self respecting Roman will visit the Trevi fountain when the tourists are there. There may be some Italians in the photo but you can reasonably assume no one is a local.

Much and Little

Much Graffiti - 1/125 at f/6.3, ISO 5600, 24 to 70mm zoom lens at 24mm

Much Graffiti – 1/125 at f/6.3, ISO 5600, 24 to 70mm zoom lens at 24mm

The South Bank is famous for its ever changing, fast evolving and constantly replenished graffiti. To such an extent that I considered using this for “continuos” but it was hard to think of a pairing without it becoming too tenuous. Whenever I have reason to be in London I come here as, in the space of a month, the whole place will be refreshed with new street art. Banksy would be sprayed over in a week.

In much this artist was working on a new piece on one of the larger walls. I used a very high ISO rather than flash as I wanted to capture the shabby look, balance and depth is achieved by including the different walls and the big puddle. The fact the artist was hidden beneath a huge hoodie amused me, it is as if being incognito is an essential element of his art despite the fact that nobody cares about who does the graffiti here.

Few Graffiti - 1/125 at f/14., ISO 4000, 16 to 35mm lens at 35mm

Few Graffiti – 1/125 at f/14., ISO 4000, 16 to 35mm lens at 35mm

Is graffiti a noun? Can you say few graffiti ? I’m not sure. To pair with much graffiti I wanted a wall that was worth photographing in it’s own right and that had a small amount of street art. I found it on the other side of London at MC Motors which is where I also found the light junk room in light and dark.

In my day-to-day work, MC Motors is a wedding venue but its main role is as a studio that is hired out for fashion shoots and TV shows. The owners also own the venue for Dragon’s Den and I think somewhere’s next model was filmed here last year. The props are brilliant but it is the decaying paint on many of the walls that makes it so popular with photographers.

I selected this subject because it seemed that, at some point in the past, someone had cared about this strange little painting being here and had tried to remove it which was a further contrast against the South Bank. I framed it right down at the bottom to show as much clean wall as possible with the drawing significant but not dominant.

Camilo José Vergara was part of the inspiration for this pair of images. He clearly sees documenting graffiti as a way of documenting social trends and the fact the authorities leave the South Bank as a live art gallery is, indeed, a sign of the times, quite unthinkable even twenty years ago. The other Vergara influence was to leave the artist’s plastic bag in much. I better understand that this type of untidy detail is a key part of the scene.

Rough and Smooth

Rough Wheel - 1/60 at f/6.3, ISO 100, 24 - 70mm zoom lens at 36mm

Rough Wheels – 1/60 at f/6.3, ISO 100, 24 – 70mm zoom lens at 36mm

As discussed in my research I visited the Milestones Museum at Basingstoke twice in the course of this assignment thinking that there would be a number of industrial images in the final set.

In the end rough wheels is the strongest and the only industrial image to make the cut. I wanted to emphasise the rough surface so used a diffused flash gun on the floor underneath the wheel to throw the light across the surface to create deep shadows and highlights. I took a whole series of photographs but chose this composition because of the balance provided by the cogged wheel and its teeth which provided a second type of rough.

Smooth Discs - 1/60 at f/3.2, ISo 100, 105mm prime lens

Smooth Discs – 1/60 at f/3.2, ISo 100, 105mm prime lens

Because rough wheels was all about texture and lighting I needed a complimentary pairing that relied on the same elements. I chose these DVDs positioned one in front of each other to offer a similar composition. Because smooth discs had to be about texture and light I used a small LED light from the left and a hot-shoe soft box from above and to the right. This has emphasised the smooth surface and all the reflections (or are they refractions?) have changed the look of the subject and hopefully emphasised the smooth surface.

Rough and smooth are tactile characteristics so, without the ability to touch the subject, I had to use light to show  that these were rough and smooth surfaces.

Diagonal and Rounded

Diagonal Arial Dance 1/1600 at f/4.2, ISO 400, 70 - 300mm zoom lens at 70mm

Diagonal Aerial Dance 1/1600 at f/4.2, ISO 400, 70 – 300mm zoom lens at 70mm

Rounded Tumble - 1/4000 at f/4, ISO 250, 70 to 300mm zoom lens at 70mm

Rounded Tumble – 1/4000 at f/4, ISO 250, 70 to 300mm zoom lens at 70mm

These two images are selected from a series taken using a trampoline and an energetic young relative who was happy to try and create the required shapes. A very fast shutter speed was used to freeze the moment. Diagonal has captured her at the top of a leap and in a ballet-like pose. Rounded was a little harder to achieve but the close crop has focussed on her rounded shape while she is in the process of turning round, of becoming rounded.

Moving and Still

Moving Cyclist - 1/125 at f/2.8, ISO 360, 24 to 70mm at 24mm

Moving Cyclist – 1/125 at f/2.8, ISO 360, 24 to 70mm at 24mm

The moving cyclist was captured on the edge of the graffiti zone on the South Bank. Taken whilst in mid-air performing a stunt and into the light with a flash gun to fill in the shadows. The artificial light adds to the sense of frozen action but, for me, the picture is made by the spectator on the left. This was taken with a wide lens but I have cropped to balance the cyclist with the spectator.

Still Skateboarder - 1/100 at f/8, ISO 640, 24 to 70 zoom lens at 35mm

Still Skateboarder – 1/100 at f/8, ISO 640, 24 to 70 zoom lens at 35mm

The still skateboarder was taken in Aldershot. I have left the framing very wide and cropped for width rather than using a 3:2 image to enable me to emphasise the empty bus shelter backed by the white windows and to show him as a isolated and rather lost little figure. His spiderman-like shirt and batman-like hat make him look very out-of-place.

Curved and Straight

Curved Poppies - 1/100 at f36, ISO 2500, 105mm prime lens

Curved Poppies – 1/100 at f36, ISO 2500, 105mm prime lens

I have written up the shoot that led to these Remembrance Day images.

I planned to use poppies for curves and expected to use the wreaths rather than the individual flowers. In the end I liked this near-macro photograph which is a quite abstract representation of the commemorative symbols and full of curves. I wanted there to be strong contrast within the image itself which I feel emphasises the shapes and increases the abstraction.

Straight Poppies - 1/100 at f6.3, iSO 100, 105mm prime lens

Straight Poppies – 1/100 at f6.3, iSO 100, 105mm prime lens

For straight I had planned to use the lines of wreaths on the memorial. However, I watched the wreaths being laid out by three military policemen. They were laid out in reasonably straight lines leading up to the memorial, the intent being that the people laying the wreaths could collect their wreath and place it at the base of the war memorial when they came out of the church service.

This sergeant was not happy with the ‘straight” lines and kept returning to make minor adjustments until he was satisfied that they were parade ground perfect. I felt this act of straightening was an expression of everything he stood for. His military desire for order and neatness, his pride in the job he had been given and the importance he placed on honouring the fallen in a manner that he believed they would understand. Straighten that line soldier!

To end as I began with Kipling:

“You may talk o’ gin and beer / When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere, / An’ you’re sent to penny fights an’ Aldershot it;

Straightening poppies is indeed to “Aldershot it”.