The art of rain

An entire day of torrential rain ruins a photographer’s day out. This is the time to stay indoors and try to be creative with what you have. Water – plenty of it – running off balconies, roof windows and refracting the colours behind it. Usual everyday surroundings take on a different air, and the camera finds abstraction.

When the time comes to edit your shots, you can splash a little more colour there and create new landscapes. Here are the fruits of my rainy day play…

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Scarred sundown

Scarred sundown

Scarred sepia sundown

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The first photograph I showed you from our new roof space was an angry, cloud-smudged sky.

There is a shift in mood here, to a calm evening around sunset, the chimney bristling with branches and the proud, upright TV aerial.

What intrigues is the cloud formation, slashing the sky and leaving a blunt but neat wound. It has obvious impact in colour but has strength in the sepia rendition, like a scar from an operation.

I’m beginning to sense that this skyline will often be featured in photographs, catching various seasonal moments…

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Gothic delight

Gothic facade

Take a train ride a little deeper into south-west London and you will find Strawberry Hill House. This whitewashed gem of a building was once the domain of Horace Walpole, son of Great Britain’s first prime minister.

This wealthy man lacked for nothing, and set about transforming his home into a Gothic palace, dripping with beautiful stained glass, ornately gilded ceilings – and even a wallpaper designed to resemble carved wood.

The house has undergone a lot of careful restoration in the last few years and is well worth a visit. Enthusiastic volunteers have a wide knowledge of its history. Photography is allowed and very little is off limits. Walpole’s many treasures were sold off many years ago, so the contours and rich details of this mansion are displayed with clarity.

It’s wonderful. Come and take a whirlwind tour here…

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Grit and glimmer

Neglected canopy

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A dilapidated urban scene. This pedestrian bridge is quite neglected and grotty, made more so in monochrome. Its saving grace is the symmetry, balance and perspective it has in this shot.

Just around the corner from here, and the way down offers an entirely different view. The light streams up the stairs, enticing you to make the descent. 

These two photographs show that it’s entirely possible to find a pair of very different shots in the same small space.

Descent to heaven

Gallery entrance

Yellow peril

From the old to the new. Before BBC Television Centre in west London closed for good, I captured its staircases, both well used and more hidden.

The corporation’s main headquarters in the capital is now New Broadcasting House, a hunk of glass and metal carefully spliced into the existing radio building.

I found a new stairwell at the back of the new shell, reaching down eight flights. The designers chose luminous yellow handrails, perhaps for health and safety reasons? Perhaps not, because you can find an open window next to the staircase, an escape route for those who need it…

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