Ask anyone who travels a lot on business and they’ll tell you it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. After a while, every hotel room is pretty much like the last one. Driving gets tiring. Trains run late. And airports are my idea of hell.
Most of my travel is within the UK but today has been an exceptionally long one. Up at 5.45, out of the house by 6.10 and onto the first train to Manchester. Taxi across town to spend the day on a training course (soft skills stuff – nothing technical for this blog…) then travel south again (fighting to keep a VPN signal on Vodafone
‘s 3G/GPRS networks as the Virgin Pendalino sped across the Midlands and I wrote my presentation for tomorrow’s client meeting) to pick up my car and drive to London to check into the hotel that I will call home for the next three nights (it takes about half the time to travel down at night that it would in the morning). All in all, I’ve travelled about 500 miles and managed to fit in a full day’s work as well.
So imagine my surprise when I checked in to the Hilton London Docklands tonight. First of all I was greeted by name (that’s why I use that particular hotel when I’m in town – it may be a bit shabby around the edges but its within my budget limits and I’m treated well – and I don’t stay that often). Then I was told that my room had been upgraded. It turns out that “home” for the next few nights is a suite – with a bedroom, two bathrooms, a living room and a view over the Thames to Canary Wharf. It might not be the Hilton Auckland (where my wife and I stayed on the first night of my honeymoon) or the Shangri-La in Sydney (where we spent Christmas the year before – back when it was the ANA Harbour Grand) but, compared to some of the dives that my company’s booking agency puts us in, this is great – it’s just a shame that I’m here on my own!
The picture above is the view from my room. For those who don’t know London, it shows the Thames and Canary Wharf (one of London’s two financial districts – the other being the square mile that is the City of London itself). The small version of the image for the blog is a bit difficult to view, so click through for a larger version.
The final image is a cropped photomerge of three separate pictures taken using my Canon Digital Ixus 70 (not even my DSLR), cropped and resized. What I hadn’t appreciated before was just how easy this is to produce using Adobe Photoshop CS2 (even better in CS3, as Alex Lindsay describes in episode 12 of This Week in Photography) – just go to the File menu, select Automate and then Photomerge. After this, select the images, and let Photoshop work out how to join everything up. It’s incredibly simple and it even handles perspective (I don’t know how – it’s just amazing).
Business travel may be a bind but I do like it when it all comes together – especially when I get a good picture out of it.