Photographers' Blog

The world’s best commute?

July 3, 2014

London, United Kingdom

By Toby Melville

As a Reuters Photographer based in London, an average commute to my first assignment of the day – normally covering either a political or business story in the city centre – would take roughly an hour. That’s 60 minutes, to drive all of 8 miles.

These commutes take place in the morning rush hour, when I find myself bumper-to-bumper with thousands of other short-tempered drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, buses and taxis. And I do this journey while trying to get to my first job, usually in a state of tension and anxiety…

But for two weeks a year it is different. Completely different. Commuting is fantastic.  

We are in Wimbledon season and I am shooting tennis all day, every day for a fortnight at the height of the (surprisingly dry and sunny!) British summer. And actually, the journey to and from the tennis is just as good as the assignment.

Wimbledon, like the centre of London, is still 8 miles from my home. But now, heading out at 8 in the morning and back again at 9 at night I can take a route through beautiful countryside and along peaceful towpaths, tracks and trails.

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I travel along 2 miles of riverside then through 6 miles of parkland, either on a push bike or running: my two favourite recreational pursuits.

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No petrol, no car, no traffic, and no traffic jams. Instead, I can hear water, bird song and wind through the long grass and trees.

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The sights include herds of deer grazing, herons fishing, swans, geese, foxes and squirrels. Fabulous.

Add an on-site shower at Wimbledon in the press area, a canteen serving Italian coffee as strong as rocket-fuel and lockers to keep all our cameras overnight and the ‘job’s a good un’ as they say!

The pictures in this blog are all shot between my house and Wimbledon. I took them on my compact camera: the lightest way to run whilst still being able to shoot.

Here, a sign points the way by the Thames towpath.

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Boats are left moored by the riverside.

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Houseboats float by the bank.

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Wimbledon Common windmill stands next to the trail. Almost at Wimbledon tennis now…

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And I’ve arrived! Staff open gates to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

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