On my way home from taking some photos of some photos at the Greenwood, I found myself wandering along the Strand on my route to Waterloo Station. This was just after I’d bought my new 24-105mm lens, so I couldn’t help but stop and try grabbing a few photographs before I got on my train.
My first pause came at the junction where Waterloo Bridge meets the Strand. It’s a busy junction, packed with people, vehicles and cyclists running red lights almost every hour of the day. This being early evening on a mid October day, the light was already softening. So, despite the fair amount of movement and busyness of the people in the frame, I elected to take some HDR photography.
f/4, ISO 200, 24mm (HDR)
It took a little bit of playing about to get my HDR plugin to behave with the motion in the frame. Fortunately HDR Efex Pro has a ‘ghost reduction’ setting to help with these sorts of situations. Still, if you look closely you can see some ghostly spectres in the image here and there.
Fortunately, the sky has hopefully proved to be distracting enough that you won’t even notice the people walking around with slightly detached feet.
I had arranged to meet a friend near St Paul’s Cathedral shortly before sunset. He had told me of a spot atop a shopping centre that was great for shooting the well-known landmark with the sun setting behind it, and we planned to meet there and then wander around the middle of town for a bit seeing what photographs presented themselves to us.
Before I even got to our meeting point, there were opportunities along my way to help warm up my shutter finger.
When I attended London Fashion Weekend earlier this year, I pretty much assumed it would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, unless I actually make it into professional photography. So when I caught wind of another opportunity to apply for a spot at the autumn/winter London Fashion Weekend I jumped at it straight away. No shameless ‘I love my Canon’ tweets this time, I just had to drop an email to someone asking nicely if I could come. This later led to a bit of confusion when I received the info for the show without actually getting confirmation I was going, and despite further correspondence not figuring out whether I was originally supposed to be going or not, my name was put on the list.
Before I arrived at the event I was feeling a bit guilty about returning to the show. I thought I’d lucked out a bit getting a place for a second time. At the pre-event briefing I kept my head down, expecting to be spotted and turfed out at any point. I’m a bit paranoid at times. It was only when I chatted to a few of the other photographers whilst queuing outside the catwalk that I realised I wasn’t the only one returning to the catwalk show for a second time.
My fears allayed, I could finally focus (geddit? See, because it’s like – ah, forget it) on shooting the show.
I have no idea how we discovered that there was a small park very close to us, one we’ve driven past on many occasions without even noticing. Presumably it was the same way we discovered that it actually had a nature reserve in it.
‘Nature reserve’ can be a very vague term, especially in London. There’s clearly no standardised definition. It can mean anything from a large idyll like Richmond Park to a small square of grass that happens to have some rare weeds growing in it. But Crane Park Nature Reserve looked like a reasonably sized bit of green on the map so we decided to check it out.
Unfortunately, because it was so close and we’d driven by it so many times before, I decided I could navigate us there from memory. We parked up in what appeared to be a semi-residential car park and started walking in the right direction.
We found green almost immediately, and decided that was probably the nature reserve. There didn’t seem a lot there, just the River Crane from whence the name of the park originated, plenty of trees and some birds. So we walked along the river for a bit, seeing what we could see.
To properly tell the story of this post it is necessary to travel back to January, when after a random conversation with Catherine about hiring lenses I found myself checking out the website of the photography retailer Calumet. There I discovered they were running one of those ‘follow and retweet’ competitions for a chance to shoot at London Fashion Weekend. I followed, retweeted, and forgot.
Far back in the mists of ancient time, a whole week before the start of the 2012 London Olympics, my wife and I took a trip into London to see an all-night Dark Knight trilogy screening. We had a bit of time to kill before the midnight screening, so I ended up taking quite a few photographs. I’ve already posted most of them, in London at Night (Part IV) and In the Skatepark at Midnight. Earlier in the day, however, we wandered across Waterloo Bridge. It was a cloudy day, so I decided to experiment with HDR images to bring out the clouds and the sky.
f/3.5, ISO 500, 18mm (HDR)
Before we got there, however, we came across a weird steampunk show on the South Bank outside the National Theatre. It made for some interesting shots.
I am fully aware that it is (as near as makes no difference) spring in many parts of the world, but I’ve been outside recently enough to know that it still feels like winter out there, so I don’t feel all that guilty in posting, on the cusp of spring, this mostly untopical and alarmingly tardy post about a winter market.
1/1600sec, f/5, ISO 100, 48mm
As far as I’m aware, because I haven’t bothered to research this post, Winter Wonderland is a German-cum-Christmas market that happens every year in Hyde Park in London. There are craft stalls, food stalls, and rides, an ice rink and a Santa’s grotto.
I didn’t photograph a huge amount whilst we were there; it was absolutely freezing and I was with a small chunk of my extended family – including my five-year-old semi-cousin (I don’t understand all that eighth-cousin thrice-removed crap) – so I didn’t stop all that often to shoot. Still, I managed to get a few decent images.
I’m continuing to work through my backlog of images in the order that most appeals to me. Today we’re heading back to mid November and a trip to Somerset House with Catherine. Being November, the ice rink that set up there each winter was in full swing. Also, with it being November, it got dark quickly.
1/15sec, f/3.5, ISO 1000, 19mm
Much like a lot of other trips in the London at Night series, the building was bathed in strong, odd-coloured light. This is done to many of the buildings in London and, I’m sure, is mainly done to aggravate photographers using auto white balance. On this occasion, Somerset House was lit by an orangey-pinkey tint. Normally I’d consider dropping the colour temperature of the image to soften the warmth of the photo, but in this case I couldn’t do that either, because of the ice rink being so strongly lit with a brilliant blue light.
Apologies to everyone for the false start on this post earlier, I accidentally hit ‘Publish’ instead of ‘Save Draft’ and it was released to the world long before it was ready (and that time, it was called That London, very much a working title). Don’t worry, this is now the finished article. Unless I accidentally hit ‘Publish’ again, in which case it isn’t.
With All’s Well That Ends Well finally cleared from my to-do list, I can once again turn my attention back to the backlog of images I’ve been working through since summer. It’s not quite as bad as I thought it was, but I did just realise that there’s slightly more images still to be edited than I thought. Never matter, it gives me plenty to do – the main issue I have is knowing where to start.
This batch of photographs dates back to a sunny August afternoon, when I decided to combine my lunch break and the walk to a different campus for a meeting and take some photos on the way. This was a while ago now, so forgive me if my memory of this one is a little hazy.
The main thing I was interested in capturing was a shot of Tower Bridge whilst it still had the Olympic Rings on it, before they were taken down and substituted for the Paralympic Logo. That was at my destination, however, and I had plenty to see before I got that far.
Whilst waiting for my wife to finish work to go out for a meal last week, I went for a walk around Covent Garden with my camera. That’s how I kill time these days – find somewhere and point a camera at it.
Covent Garden is not far from Trafalgar Square, an area of shops, market stalls and eateries. There is an air of Borough Market about it, but not quite on the same scale. It isn’t just a market, however; there’s numerous street performers, pubs and bars. In other words, one of those quintessential London spots.
There is a central covered area containing independent stalls as well as more mainstream shop units, called the Apple Market. When I went there it was all decorated for Xmas.