On the Thames

I’m taking a short break from visiting and photographing Olympics events for a few days until the road race time trials hit my area on Wednesday. So, in the meantime, here are a batch of images I actually took a while ago, but have only just finished writing up.

For a major city with a huge river dissecting it, using the river for public transport has only recently become practical. The Thames Clippers, a high-speed river commuter service, entered into operation in 1999, but it was ten years before the service got tied into the existing Oyster card system making it a more useful passenger system.

So, last month when my wife and I decided to visit Greenwich, we decided the most interesting way to get there was by river.

Unfortunately, the day we ended up travelling wasn’t exactly a great summer’s day. But then, we’ve not had many of those this so-called summer (on the bright side, the torrential rain we had yesterday was summery rain, rather than the cold, wintery rain we’d had so far, which is, I guess, an improvement).

1/320sec, f/5.6, ISO 160, 50mm

I’ve done a bit of contrast boosting to this image to bring out the detail, which has the added ‘bonus’ of making the image look a lot more grotty than the master image.

Whilst we were waiting for the boat, a couple of small navy boats stopped near our pier. I guess they were doing some kind of manoeuvring or training for the Olympics or the Jubilee River Pageant. I took a shot of one of them and decided to try to create a tilt-shift style image using the blur tool.

1/125sec, f/8, ISO 200, 42mm

It makes for an interesting image, but I’m not entirely certain it has worked as intended.

Before long we were on the boat. They are, however, clearly intended primarily as commuter vehicles rather than tourist ones; the priory is undoubtedly for more seats rather than viewing positions, with the only open-air section being on the back of the boat, which was undercover and popular with most people travelling. It was also difficult to see what was coming, so finding the right angles on anything that came by was tricky.

Getting shots that in some way involved the boat, however, wasn’t that difficult.

1/400sec, f/8, ISO 250, 18mm

That said, at times whilst the boat was manoeuvring into piers I was able to get some shots of London’s landmarks.

1/800sec, f/8, ISO 250, exposure bias -0.67, 29mm
1/125sec, f/8, ISO 250, exposure bias +0.33, 18mm

As you can see, the overcast day made the sky, and with it the light, a bit dull and flat. I’d much preferred to have some gorgeous clouds in the background, but sadly it was not to be.

1/400sec, f/8, ISO 250, exposure bias +0.33, 18mm
1/320sec, f/8, ISO 640, exposure bias -0.67, 18mm

On some of the less interesting parts of the river, I had the chance to try some more abstract images.

1/20sec, f/8, ISO 250, 57mm

This final image caught my eye quite early on.

1/320sec, f/8, ISO 640, exposure bias -0.67, 55mm

I found myself slightly concerned that the safety plan for the boat appeared to be rolled up and stuffed in a plastic tube where no-one could read it until it was needed, not even the boat crew. It made me think that the plan basically read, ‘If you need buoyancy aids, use the passengers; if you need sustenance, eat them.’

Needless to say, we got to our destination without finding out what was on the mysterious emergency procedure scroll.

3 thoughts on “On the Thames

  1. I enjoyed your photos of the river. I hope you enjoy your visit to England and the Olympics. 🙂


    1. Thank you, but I’m not here for the Olympics – I live in London, but I enjoy doing some of the ‘tourist’ stuff with my camera!


      1. Ah, London is a lovely city. I have been there once as a tourist, but I am an American. I will continue to watch for your photos. 🙂


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