Sloane Square to Brompton Cemetery


Fate – 27mm; ISO 200; 1/250 sec; f/2.8 (click image to view larger size)

Last week I attended another photo walk with the Surrey & Hampshire Photography Group. A small group of about 15 walked a route that took us from our starting point at Sloane Square to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, down to the River Thames and over Chelsea Bridge, into and through Battersea Park, crossing back over the river on Albert Bridge, along the embankment, up through Chelsea and into Brompton Cemetery, around 5 miles in total.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is the residence of the Chelsea Pensioners, former servicemen and women from the British Army. It is also the venue for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May each year, and they were still dismantling the rather large covered areas on this day. I had not realised before that the hospital allowed general public access into the grounds, although we were asked to split up into twos and threes rather than wander about en mass. Most of us meandered on our own, looking for flowers and other details to photograph. The gardens are quiet and pleasant enough for a short stroll. There is also a large, open courtyard and inside a rather lovely little chapel. Unfortunately, the museum appeared to be closed that day but a small coffee shop was open.

On Chelsea Bridge, I tried a technique where the image is deliberately out of focus (or DOOF as I like to call it). This is something I’ve been experimenting with recently. I normally set the camera to manual focus with a wide aperture somewhere around f/2.8 and focus on my hand held out in front of me. Then it’s just a case of finding an interesting composition where at least some of the elements are still recognisable, such as people.

In Battersea Park we paused for lunch at an outside cafe/kiosk, luckily finding some tables in the shade of nearby trees as it was pretty hot in the sun – the mercury peaked at about 27°C that day. I was surprised at the number of painters out in the park, especially alongside the river. The trek from Albert Bridge into Chelsea was becoming tiring and I almost diverted into a nearby pub for a cheeky pint but kept going with the group!

The shade from the trees in Brompton Cemetery meant it was a tad cooler, so taking images was not too arduous. Again we wandered mostly alone, agreeing a time to meet at the exit and bumping into each other occasionally. Parts of the cemetery are overgrown, giving interesting compositions that can illustrate how old it is. Plenty of cyclists were whizzing about as it can be pleasant and quiet, forming a cut-through in a bustling city.

And so it was, about six hours after setting off, we finally made it into a nearby pub, The Pembroke, for a well deserved ice-cold beverage and a good chat.

Here is a selection of images from the day, taken with my Fuji X-T1 and mostly the XF27mm f/2.8 lens, which I tend to favour as a lightweight walk-around street lens:

click on the images above to view in a gallery (with EXIF data)

I enjoy these outings – you always meet a friendly bunch of people with a like of photography and it’s always interesting to see what others manage to produce when given the same locations and opportunities. What did they notice that you missed? Did you find anything unique that nobody else spotted? Images uploaded by the group can be found by clicking here.

We were meant to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden, but it was closed so we’ll just have to revisit that another day!

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