Travel Shot: 50 shades of grey

I don’t like grey as a colour to wear.

But grey as a colour elsewhere is a different story altogether. I love using grey while doing a page layout for a report or a book or even a cover design. I love the greys that one can see in a cloud covered, rain-soaked monsoon sea in Mumbai. I love it if I can bring in a touch of grey into the frame while photographing.

One day, I managed to capture not a touch of grey but a whole range of greys from a dark stormy grey to a light wispy grey, with about 50 shades of grey separating these two.

Canary Wharf, London

This photograph was taken almost at the end of a great day spent exploring the Docklands of London and travelling by the DLR. This was at Canary Wharf the heart of London’s financial district and also its central business district. The steel and glass and the moody grey skies put up a great show for photo-ops. I took quite a few, but this one remains my favourite. I find it interesting how the grey dominates the frame, but does not overwhelm or depress. And I love that little touch of red and glassy green from the windows, which adds that something special to the picture. It’s almost like poetry !

Don’t you think these different shades of grey convey power, business, purpose and beauty all at the same time?

The Docklands Light Railway and the London Docklands

The London Docklands is the name given to some areas of eastern and south-eastern London. Till the middle of the 20th century, the Docklands was where the various docks and dockyards used to be. Though the docks were originally built and managed by a number of private companies (for example, East India, West India, etc.), it was not till 1909 that it all came under the management of the Port of London Authority.

Redeveloped London Docklands near Canary Wharf. For those used to seeing a predominantly Georgian London, this view of the city can come as a bit of a surprise !

Today, the area is a mix of the commercial and the residential, and old housing estates and newer steel and glass structures as a result of massive efforts at redevelopment of an area that used to be predominantly labour class. The introduction of the Docklands Light Railway or DLR in 1987 fulled the development of an area that did not have good transport connectivity. The Docklands area has always been a trade hub for centuries; today, it is a hub of a different kind—the central business district of London is located here.

Tower Gateway DLR Station

The DLR is a fully automated light metro or light rail system to exclusively serve the Docklands area of London. It is quite distinct from the London Underground, and is also part of Transport for London. During my year’s stay in London in 2008–2009, I remained ignorant of the DLR largely because the Tube Bus took care of most of my travel requirements and I rarely travelled to the Docklands area.

Then one day, while returning to Central London from a day trip to Greenwich, the DLR turned out to be the most convenient mode of travel, and to use a clichéd term, travel was never the same again. It is a trip that I still remember, as a very different London emerged through that journey, very distinct from the Victorian and Georgian London that I had come to associate London with and love.

Such was my fascination for the DLR, that on one rainy and cloudy day, I spent a few hours travelling by the DLR, getting off at stations that caught my fancy and exploring the Docklands area on foot. I saw a very different London that day. A quieter London, steel and glass apartments, residences converted from warehouses, an airport by the river, colourful buildings, and so much more.

Presenting a sampling from that lovely day of a very different London courtesy the DLR journey that I took in July 2009 ! :-)

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