London: Software and Photography

Weather ’tis nobler

Chet Haase
4 min readOct 7, 2017


I’ll soon be heading to Droidcon London with Romain Guy to talk about Android (Android: A Retrospective) and a slightly more useful comedy talk as well. This is my fourth time presenting at this conference, so I wanted to talk about why I keep coming back. Maybe this will provide some perspective and offer a defense against possible boondoggle accusations at work.

First of all, it’s about the community. I’ve attended and presented at many technical conferences (Android and otherwise) and by far my favorite events are those that are created and run by developers. There is a different feeling to a conference whose content is chosen and organized by developers. And there is a different vibe in the session rooms, hallways, and ̶p̶u̶b̶s̶ restaurants when everyone at the conference is deeply technical and is simply there to learn.

But it’s impossible to talk about Droidcon London without also mentioning the real reason everyone goes to this particular conference: London.

Of course London has world-class restaurants, museums, and theatres (enjoyable even when spelled incorrectly). But everyone that’s been there knows what London is all about: the weather.

On previous trips, I managed to take a little time out from the conference to tour the city with a decent camera and took some pictures which, I think, capture the essence of why I love this city. I’d like to share some of them with you, to inspire you to travel to London yourself. Whether it’s for a developer conference or just for the natural beauty that you can see below, it will be worth the trip.

A view of the London Eye in the early afternoon

The London Eye stands majestic and imposing over the Thames, inviting any and all to enjoy even better views of the city from up above than the already incredible vistas that we’re able to see across the river in landscape shots like this.

Of course, some people are fond of pointing out that the weather in London is often inclement, making tourism, much less photography, difficult at best. “It’s gray!,” they say. “And wet!” But I can’t understand that attitude at all. Sure, the lighting is sometimes not as bright as one might hope for the best clarity in photographs. And yes, it is occasionally moist, even damp-ish, in the city. But a city without weather is a not a city at all. I far prefer a place that is of our world instead of some fairy-land without real weather. I’m sure the people in California spend most of the year crying out for something colder and more interesting than whatever tedious excuse they have for weather there.

But honestly, I have rarely been bothered by these wet concerns and have consistently been able to take what are arguably beautiful, representative pictures of this astounding city. As the pictures here can attest, unique photographic experiences abound. Such as this one:

Leaving the shutter open for a long duration enabled me to capture this tranquil scene looking down the Thames from near Westminster. Even with a dark filter, I wasn’t able to completely block out the bright afternoon sun so typical of this location. The result is a bit washed out, but I believe it still embodies the essence of that peaceful day.

Some say that the heart of London is found at night. I believe it was Wordsworth who was heard to say, after one of his poetic jaunts to the Lake Country, “… London [something something] night,” although I am only roughly paraphrasing him here.

So it is for the beauty of the London nightlife that I drag my camera equipment along on my evening adventures, enabling such memories as this:

The “Black Cab” is a ubiquitous sight in London. Newer app-fueled transportation threatens this traditional industry that dates back to Roman times when their excellent roads enabled this nascent industry. But the Black Cab soldiers on, taking party-goers and politicians alike to their next gigs, as seen in this typical frolic caught late at night on Picaddilly.

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the people, who are always dressed for the occasion with their umbrellas held proud and high, as seen in this typical scene:

In contrast to the earlier Thames shot, this one used a fast shutter, which enabled a startling capture of the light drizzle as well as the action shots of the countless umbrellas of all colors of the spectrum. Meanwhile, note the subtle action as everyone quietly pretends to ignore everyone else in this crowded jumble. This is perhaps my favorite photograph, and memory, of London, signaling to one and all that though the people may be damp, the humor is dry.

I hope to post more of these memories, and to take more when I am there for the upcoming, although the pictures can’t quite live up to the experience of being there. You just have to go.

Droidcon London: Come for the technology. Stay for the weather.

The subtle interplay between the morning fog and the deepening sunrise give this mystical scene in Hampstead Heath its almost surreal power.



Chet Haase

Android and comedy. Not necessarily in that order.