Friday 1 September 2023

An imposition?

Welcome to Installment #9 of 2023's Photo Challenge. Following August's amazing collection of phone boxes I asked you for, and I quote, ''Imposing edifices; tall buildings, masts, towers, obelisks. You name it, if it's imposing, I want to see it.'

And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, you didn't disappoint. So, without further ado...

Rol kicks tings off tis month: 'Hi John. Nice easy one this month. Attached are two pictures of the Emley Moor TV & radio transmitter, the tallest structure around these parts. One from below, with the sun behind creating an eclipse effect. 

The other in the distance on a day when the top of the tower emerged over low cloud. 1,047 ft, in case you're interested. Take care, Rol." Thanks, Rol. I kind of knew Rol would come up with this. I told him that many moons ago I worked in an office that overlooked it. I also told him that in 1969 it fell over. True story.

Next up my good friend The Swede aka TS: ''Hi John. I hope all's well. This is The Copper, located on 1st Avenue at E 36th Street in New York. Its two towers lean away from each other, though are connected by a three-storey bridge 300 feet up and were designed to appear as if they are dancing with each other, which is rather lovely don't you think? The facade, as the name suggests, is formed of live copper, which, over time, will oxidise, eventually attaining a natural green patina. I took the shot from the East River on a cold day in March. All the best..." Wow! That's all I've got. 

David runs the Nottingham branch of the Be Bop Deluxe Fan Club and has recently returned from our nation's capital. His quartet is rather wonderful... 

1. Victoria Station

2. The gentrification of Elephant & Castle

3. City extending into Shoreditch

4. One of the livery halls and 30 St. Mary Axe aka The Gherkin. David says "I guess there's some good juxtaposition of public buildings and mafia-like corporate expansion. And the livery companies and their political influence in the City of London was the original corporate mafia, second only to the Royal Family." Quite. Thank you, David.

My blogger friend Khayem has been out and about with his Box Brownie: "The Knife Angel has been toured around the UK and stopped briefly in Gloucester earlier this year. It's 27ft tall and has been 'sculpted' from 100,000 blades seized by police. A beautiful, thought provoking and moving artwork."

"Next up is the Kyneburgh Tower in Gloucester nicknamed by locals as either the CD Rack or the Kebab Stick..."

"But stand in the middle and look up and I'm immediately transported back to the 1970s and the opening titles of Doctor Who!"

"More from Gloucester - this time the docks. The art world would love you to call this piece The Candle..."

"The locals, however, had other ideas and nicknamed it The Rusty Needle! Sitting next to it reminds me of a rocket about to launch."

"This building isn't imposing because it's especially tall or uniquely designed but because it was the only building that remained standing in the area around Hiroshima following the atomic bombing of the city during World War II. Mrs. K and I visited there in 2005 and it was an almost overwhelming experience which we've never forgotten."

C from Sun Dried Sparrows has also ben hither and tither: "Hi John Hope you're well. I'm still not quite right from having Covid, it's a bugger, isn't it?! This month's photo challenge was more of a challenge than usual for me too - there aren't many tall things around here in the flatlands of Suffolk, plus I haven't wandered very far these last few weeks. But I did walk up to the church... I had to crouch amid the gravestones to get this shot of the tower, which is 118ft tall. "

"Not very tall, but taller than me, is the war memorial in the church grounds. It was the woodpigeon proudly perched atop it which compelled me to take a photo." 

"So there's nothing very high around here but a quick look through some photos from last year brought up a distant shot of the UK's tallest sculpture (and longest tunnel slide), the 'ArcelorMittal Orbit' which I took from the train window as it passes by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the way into Liverpool Street. it's 374 ft tall and it takes 40 seconds to slide down the whole thing, with 12 twists and turns, and you can hit speeds of 15mph. I won't be trying it any time soon." 

"Finally, a glimpse of Tower Bridge taken from the moat at the Tower of London during 'Superbloom' (complete with metal dragonflies) last year. The bridge towers are 213ft high. Built in the 1880s but with towers designed to look like a medieval castle, Tower Bridge was controversial and not popular with Queen Victoria, as she wrote in a letter: "To those who say the bridge will increase the defensive strength of the Tower and improve the beauty and historical associations of the place, all I can say is bosh!" Hope these are all ok! C x." They certainly are! Thank you, C.

Swiss Adam next: "From Manchester's ongoing skyscraper boom, a permanent change to the skyline and the feel of the city centre. Opinions vary about the benefits of these buildings, architecturally, visually and aesthetically and also socially- many seem empty much of the time and beyond the pockets of many locals. At a time when there's a housing crisis nationally, the building of imposing glass and concrete skyscrapers isn't necessarily the solution. But there's no doubting the photgraphic qualities of them."

"I much prefer this 1960s building, a concrete frontage from the 60s at Manchester University." Me too, Adam.

Blogging veteran and all round nice guy Martin is next up: "This is the Shot Tower in Baltimore, built in 1828 and standing 234ft high. Molten lead was poured through a sieve at the top and fell into a vat of cold water at the bottom to make lead shot."

Stevie at Charity Chic has two offerings this month: "First up is the Portpatrick Harbour Lighthouse beside the pottery shop which I'm sure you will be familiar with." I am, CC. It's a part of the world I know well. 

"And secondly we have the Langside or Battlefield Monument commemorating the said battle from 1568 between forces loyal to Mary Queen of Scots and forces acting in the name of her infant son James VI Situated above a mile from our house. Both Rachael and I previously had flats in the Battlefield Area. There are also streets and districts named after Fotheringay, Darnley and Mary herself." Perfect, CC.

Riggsby from California (who tells me he gets his kicks up in the attic with his Kodak Instamatic) never disappoints: ''Superior  Court of California in San Diego; imposing because of the purpose. But the building is too attractive.'' It is. And is it?

"USS Midway dominates the San Diego harbor but neither the scale or the size of it comes through on the picture." I disagree! But thank you, as ever, Richard.

The Number One Son, James, has just come back from a fantastic week in Beirut: "'This is the Mohammad Al Amin Mosque. I took some pictures directly below the northeast minaret to emphasise how massive it is! The mosque sits between Martyrs' Square, which commemorates the nationalists executed by the Ottomans in 1916 & the St. George Maronite Cathedral, emphasising the diversity of religious cultures in Lebanon."

Thank you, James. I look forward to seeing the rest of your pictures when we see you next. OM x

To round things off I've gone for a random trio, all straight off the bat; hopefully they demonstrate both the home and away diversity of photos currently sitting on my photoroll. And those three are...

#1. Victoria Centre Flats, Nottingham. These high-rise residential tower blocks from the late 60s/early 70s sit, together with a soulless shoping mall, on the site of Nottingham's other station (the one they pulled down) - the majestic Victoria Station.

#2. Radio City Tower, Liverpool. This amazing radio and observation tower stands at 138m tall and dominates the city skyline. I photographed it earlier in the year when I was in town to play the Monday Club; the purists will hate me, but I've given it a splash of colour.

#3. The Gateway Arch, St. Louis. Standing at 630ft it's the tallest monument in the United States. Last year we took a tram ride to the top. Note to self - before the year is out I really must write about this most amazing (and imposing) structure and post some of the 100+ photos I took that day.

So there you have it. Another amazing collection of photos from around the globe. Thank you to everyone who humours me and sends me their snaps. I'm eternally grateful. Till next time...


I'll post October's theme in the comments section below in the next few days.


  1. Great selection. I love Khayem's "CD rack". And also, message for C, she should definitely try the tunnel slide down the ArcelorMittal Orbit, it is brilliant! Oh, and like you and Adam, I prefer the 60s brutalism of the university building to the new Manc skyscrapers.

    1. Thanks, Martin. I see Manchester's ever changing skyline whenever we go thru to see James: there's a couple of new skyscrapers, at least, added to their (already) impressive collection every visit.

  2. Great variety of buildings/ photos. The Radio City tower in Liverpool is always a winner.

    1. No, don't think its been open for years

    2. They're missing a trick there, are they not?

  3. Wonderful selection, probably the best yet. Scary how many of these photos look like they come from sci fi movies though. If this is the future...

    1. I can't disagree with you, Rol. They're all impressive, and imposing, and that's just what I wanted.

  4. Marvellous stuff, this just gets better and better, and bigger and bigger! This is a particularly exciting one, thanks.

    1. I think we've found our stride! Keep 'em peeled for next month's challenge (I've got a couple of ideas...).

  5. Blimey, these are all a bit good aren't they? What a fabulous selection of photos.
    I wish I could've grabbed you a decent shot of the abandoned chimney in Park Frankendael, near my Springsteen Airbnb in Amsterdam. It had a pair of storks nesting at the top - I've never seen the like!

    1. Yep, I think we've all excelled ourselves this time; everyone's a winner, as Errol Brown once opined.