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Feeling Gravity's Pull.

Ok. Sunday. A day for lounging around, mowing the lawn and slamming in the lamb.

Or, if you live near Cookham like we do, it's also the opportunity to watch some insane locals take part in the Gravity Grand Prix - basically, a build-your-own kart time trail down a steep-ish hill in which one attempts to not die horribly in front of ones neighbours.

Run since 2007, the Grand Prix is driven only by gravity (huh) meaning a quick push and that's it. This means some karts with a little more, shall we say, 'engineering' get much better times down the course. For instance, the low profile handmade by yer actual Jaguar cars team did a significantly better time than the two naked blokes in a trolley surrounded by some cardboard.

It figures.

Still, none of this really matters as most of the fun is watching to see if anyone comes a cropper around the chicane (they did) and if any carts break halfway down (they do). Awards are given for fastest time obviously, but they're also handed out for Best Novelty Kart as well so everyone can be a winner.

It was our second year watching the Grand Prix and it seemed busier this time around. I also noted the appearance of a Costa van and a National Trust tent amongst the bar and the bbq indicating it's becoming a 'thing' on the circuit. Hope it doesn't spoil it.

My favourite kart this year was the John Player Special one (memories of the 70's and 80's Lotus cars I guess) but special mention to the little VW van you'll see in the pictures below, not least because post-race some idiot local kids nicked and trashed it. This is why we're not allowed to have nice things...

So, the perennial fun day out for all the family (including plenty of dogs for some reason) with thousands of quid being raised for Thames Valley Air Ambulance and other local causes at the same time.

Check out some of the karts below and let me know your favourite...


Tech corner:

It was all about a quick telephoto - step forward Batis 85!

Big Money, Fast Cars.

Yeah, it's a rich man's world and all that jazz. Abba said. Must be true.

Well, actually it feels like it in Kensington. I'd popped up to town early before seeing the mighty Elbow at the o2 in the evening and without any particular plan, I thought I'd wander around the Knightsbridge and Kensington areas to see what happened.

I started off at Knightsbridge tube and made my way down Sloane Street. It's not the usual hotspot for either street photography or even your usual tourist snappers and a few minutes in I saw why.

Firstly, you feel ludicrously watched (yes, I know... the irony) as every high-end fashion store or 'boutique' has either a CCTV camera pointing at you or a very stern looking security guy - or bouncer - eyeballing you like you're casing the joint. Honest guv. Not me.

This doesn't lead to a laid-back shooting experience. Paranoia central.

So, once I'd chortled at some ridiculously expensive and impractical footwear in some windows, I ambled down past Peter Jones and turn towards Duke of York Square, past the Saatchi Gallery and down the Kings Road. There was a bit more life here, with the great and the posh out for lunch (big sunglasses ahoy) plus the usual rather over made up ladies with small dogs. 

I decided I had enough time to do something I'd been meaning to do for ages - visit the new Design Museum in Kensington High Street. It was perhaps a bit more of a walk up there than I thought (this area is bigger than you think!) butit did allow me to catch a couple of shots outside the Chelsea Arts Club which is currently resplendent in a fetching red starlight facade which contrasted nicely with umbrellas at the heavens opened.

Once my creaking bones had made it up to the Design Museum - which is a fantastic building with a rather magnificent ceiling - I treated myself to the still on 'Ferrari Under the Skin' exhibition. I'm a low grade F1 nut so this was a bit of treat and it was pretty fascinating the amount of history, technology and - frankly - mad amount of Italian passion that goes into the brand. There were some rather beautiful old motors too. Can't afford. Sob.

So, all revved up from some car love, I dragged my weary legs up to meet the good lady at the V&A where the ever photographic central reception area managed to give up a good couple of snaps right at the end of the day. 

I'm still a bit confused about Kensington and Knightsbridge. From a street photography point of view, I don't think I'll be rushing back to the latter area as it's not quite 'colourful' enough and despite some very nice houses it doesn't oddly scream photogenic - plus the accusing looks for those pointing a camera around. Of course, South Ken with its museums and proximity to the Albert Hall and Hyde Park makes up for this a bit but I'm wondering if I need to 'zone in' a bit to the area - I've been treated a bit too much to places like Shoreditch where the photography is much easier. Is that a challenge? Maybe.

Oh, yes and Elbow were marvellous. :-)

 


Tech Corner:
Mixed bag but mostly the Batis 85 and Zeiss Sony 55 for the outdoor shots with the stuff inside the Design Museum done on the Zeiss 35mm.