London after the Rain

My favorite aspect of The City--any metropolis--after a torrential downpour is not the brilliant sunshine that comes afterward (sometimes, there is none). It is the reflections on the pavement giving an extra--skewed--dimension to an already multi-layered urban space. Perhaps, that is obvious. Less so, however, are the little pops of color here and there, like shed autumn leaves, that become just a little bit brighter.

Considering the brevity of my photographic adventure in London, I've included two teaser images I've posted earlier. 

London's October Full Moon

We've almost reached November's new Moon, and I'm just getting around to posting some images of the full Moon I caught in London last month during my birthday weekend.  

I was surprised to see the Moon in a metropolis at all, let alone so vividly. I still have no recollection of witnessing it when I lived in Toronto, Canada for quite some time, despite the fact that I often worked late, getting home to walk my dog in the wee hours of the morning. 

So I felt like this was my present. The best kind, especially considering that parts of my brief Euro-trip were somewhat rough. This made up for it.

You'll likely find it silly, but eating Americanized Chinese food at an airport prior to departure, a fortune cookie announced that I'd be receiving a surprise gift soon.

And so I did. 

The conditions were quite windy, and the clouds moved too rapidly. The latter meant that I could only photograph using both a shallow depth of field and a very high ISO. The latter made the images appear grainy, though I think that actually adds to their mysterious quality. 

And, of course, here is the classic bulb-exposure image.

Green Park

When one of my cousins was little, my grandfather took him to the Zoo. Upon spending hours there and seeing dozens of exotic animals, the latter asked his grandson what his favorite part of the experience was. "The wheelbarrow," my cousin immediately responded.

I suppose this sort of attitude runs in the family, because after spending an entire day walking through the elaborate architecture of central London, I decided that what I liked the most were the maples in Greek Park! 

London after the Rain (Teaser)

Having literally just gotten off the plane after an exhausting and rewarding whirlwind trip to London, U.K. and the American Northeast, I probably shouldn't be posting any blogs so as to avoid utter embarrassment in my current state of sleep deprivation. 

However, I've decided to defy common sense likely because I've primarily done purely documentary photography in the last week and a half. And I'm starved for its artistic side, even if only involving aesthetically pleasing travel imagery!

So, I'm sharing a single photograph--one of my favorites from the streets of central London. You can probably tell why I've chosen this particular image: this is the Quintessential City, its geometry stripped to bare bones and and thus emphasized, contrasting the old with the new, and glistening with rainwater. 


London in Mobile Detail

A brief, haphazard visit to another place--full of seemingly random, disconnected experiences--may provide as accurate an impression as an extended one based on prior research and preparation.

I've never been to London before and, to be blunt, this place has not been anywhere near the top of my mandatory Euo-travel list (unlike, say, the German-speaking lands or Scandinavia, which I prefer). I also had to make a conscious effort to disengage myself from historic geopolitics to the best of my ability in order to fairly judge this city as such. Admittedly, this was no easy feat: for one, its currently promoted colonial anticolonialism is rather amusing. 

At the same time, London managed to defy some of its most obvious stereotypes: expecting chilly, gloomy weather, I was met by sunny skies and near-summer temperatures, certainly less moody than the mountains of the North American Northwest amidst which I currently hide...err...reside. (Don't let the hipster effects applied to my mobile photographs below fool you!) 

Despite numerous social engagements, the latter provided me with sufficient opportunity to simply walk through the streets, coffee in hand, and take in the city. Old urban areas that grow somewhat organically and in which every building seems to differ--as opposed to strict overarching planning--make such investigations more exciting. They also highlight popular architectural styles or even individual elements throughout Europe and the outliers like Russia--one of several aspects of a shared cultural spirit. I was surprised to find the kind of fence ornamentation that immediately teleported me to my beloved Moscow. I guess this aging Leviathan has some redeeming qualities after all (wink!). 

Time constraints worked in my favor, too. I stopped by a museum I truly wanted to see rather than the ones that I felt obliged to visit. A portrait gallery? No, dinosaurs and megafauna! The 19th-century organization of the Natural History Museum, housed in a beautiful neo-Romanesque Waterhouse building, also reminded me of the traditional-style zoological displays in Moscow. I was particularly impressed by the bones of numerous plesiosaurs--as an open-water swimmer with the fear of the unseen things below--and, of course, a giant prehistoric sloth (which I promptly recruited into my imaginary and ever-growing army of horrifying beasts that both protect me and do my bidding!). One complaint: the realistic, moving T-Rex model, simultaneously delighting and scaring countless children--and me--ought to be updated with some feathers. I'm sure David Attenborough, after whom one of the museum areas is named, would agree!

My favorite part of the London experience? The seemingly ancient maple trees with multicolored bark in every park of this rather green city--like many other European urban areas and unlike some of the particularly suffocating North American "boxes of concrete." 

I even met my old friend, the Moon, of the Hunter variety in its near-full phase, which I did not expect to be perfectly visible in the middle of this metropolis. It brought along a slightly belated birthday present: a lunar rainbow.