We had been drinking in a pub right by the Tate Modern, on the other side of the Thames from St Pauls, which had caught my eye whilst we were drinking.There was a bit of mist in the city that day, as evidenced by the disappearing top of the Shard earlier in the day, but as the night rolled in the Shard disappeared from view completely.
This did wonders, however, for the lights used to illuminate the dome of St Pauls, which was enough to make me pull out my camera.
A little further up the river as we headed towards the station, we came across a little seating area, which was lit up better than my house at Xmas, with wonderful blue and white lights in the trees.
Post processing this shot was a bit tricky, as the desire is to bring out a bit of the detail in the foreground, but not too much, whilst keeping the contrast of the lights in the trees. The white balance also tended towards the yellow a bit and, being a predominantly dark image, it’s difficult to balance it to where it should be.
Surrounding this little seating area, there were benches, and someone had had the brilliant idea of putting strip lights under them.
It wasn’t just here that the benches were under lit like this, along this stretch of the river they were similarly equipped.
I quite like the perspective and composition of this shot, so I decided to see how it would look in black and white:
After we’d walked along this section of the wharf, I looked back in the direction we’d came, and liked what I saw.
I liked this shot a lot, but wanted to try a longer exposure, as I love the way the longer exposures give a frosty sense to the water. So out came my reasonably trusty GorillaPod, which I attached to the railing for a sturdy shot.
Unfortunately, this photo put me in one of my usual quandaries. There are lots of reasons why I prefer this shot over the previous one: the smoothness of the water, the sharpness of everything else, the flares from the stronger light sources, the detail in the shadows cast on the water that just isn’t visible in the other shot. But I had decided to frame for the reflection, and in doing so cut off the top of the building in the centre of the frame. I didn’t realise it at the time, but looking at it now it adversely affects the shot, simply because it is so central in the image, even if it is largely in the background.
So, I decided to give something a try. As the shots were so similar, I figured – hoped – that I could stitch the top of the first image onto the rest of the second.
I fired up Photoshop, and put both of the RAW images through its automated photo stitch to see what would happen.
To be honest, that’s all I really needed to do. I’d love to say I tweaked this, nudged that and worked hard to join the image together coherently, but no, Photoshop did it all itself.
Adobe Photoshop is an incredibly powerful piece of software (the Adobe Updater, meanwhile, is one of the worse bits of software ever written, and it always amazes me that they bundle one of the world’s most powerful image editing applications with such an ineffective installer. It’s like owning a Bugatti Veyron but needing to turn a crank handle to start the engine). It certainly has made me look good in this instance.
This ‘shop has done wonders and combined the best of both images. The only downside is that it has dulled the lovely lens flare from the longer exposure, but I think I can live with that, considering.
Just a short post from me this time, it was a short walk back to the station and it was very cold. I’m not sure how often I’ll get to shoot London’s night scenery in the near future as the days are getting longer, and the clocks go back in a few weeks (potentially robbing me of the joy of leaving for work in daylight in the morning).