(Briefly) Along the South Bank

After we had disembarked from the London Eye (quite fun bearing in mind they don’t stop it spinning for you do do this – I may have to start hanging around the Eye just to see someone try it in heels, with a camera obviously) we headed along the South Bank to get some food.

The South Bank can be a hive of activity. On this particular Sunday, a lovely warm sunny day, there was a whole host of people about enjoying the day.

Unfortunately, as I was with friends, I didn’t have much opportunity to stop and spend the time I’d like taking photos. I’ll have to go back alone another time.

The main thing we encountered was a group called the McGowns, playing a set by the river. We stopped for a listen, giving me a chance to play about getting some interesting angles.

1/640sec, f/4.5, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0 (+0.29), 36mm

This is where the brightness of the day gave me a bit of an issue: the light was so strong, I had to shoot a whole stop under to avoid their faces being washed out. But hey, for once I was making a conscious decision to shoot that way.

For once, shooting people, I had the confidence to get close enough that I didn’t have to resort to using my telephoto lens, and could continue to make do with my daily 18-135mm.

1/400sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0 (-0.22), 126mm (cropped)

That said, this shot has been cropped very slightly use to get us a bit closer to the action.

One thing I am often guilty of when out shooting is forgetting techniques that I am usually pretty aware of. It’s usually quite a revelation when I’m out shooting and remember, ‘hey, I could try that!’. So I was quite pleased when I remembered that I didn’t technically have to hold the camera level whilst shooting.

1/400sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0 (+0.16), 113mm

This is the first time I can remember where I’ve deliberately and consciously used this technique. I’ve used it accidentally quite often, because I’m not always that great at holding my camera level.

Ultimately, I always used the same direction of tilt, but that was primarily because their instruments seemed to suit that orientation.

1/400sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0, 92mm

Impressively, I’ve somehow managed to keep the angle the same across images. Not really sure how I managed that one.

1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0, 92mm

Seeing as these are images of people, I couldn’t help turning some black and white.

1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0, 113mm
1/500sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0 (+0.28), 135mm (cropped)

That last image is a little annoying; on close inspection it appears the microphone is in sharp focus, but the guys singing are slightly less crisp. I’m glad I’ve managed to capture some great expressions, but it’s a shame they’re not quite as clear as I’d like.

We had to move on at that point, in search of lunch before we visited the aquarium.

As we passed the under one of the bridges we came across some bookstalls; they’ve been there most weekends.

1/320sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0 (+0.18), 18mm

After I took this picture, I looked up to see that all of the people I was with had disappeared completely. I hadn’t stopped for that long – a few seconds at most – but that was apparently enough for them to completely move out of sight. The risk you take, I guess, when you’re the only photographer in a group of people who are not all that interested in stopping.

Not to worry, I found them again shortly after (although it took a phone call) and we made our way to the restaurant.

I want to return to the South Bank on a sunny weekend when it’ll be full of people (although I was there last Friday and it was pretty heaving then). I think there’ll be plenty of opportunity to take some great photos, especially if I’m not with friends who would rather eat than wait for me to faff about taking photographs.

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7 Comments

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  1. Ah, London – such a interesting & lively city. I rode the Eye when I was there in 2006 and I thought disembarkation was pretty smooth – almost a non-issue. I was with my Dad who was 78. I like the photos of the musicians and I never thought about the ability to shoot without worrying about taking pictures of other people. I’ll remember that next time I see street musicians (and if I remember my camera!). I like the angled shots – it makes the picture more interesting and helps to capture the movement.

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  2. Great post. I loved checking out the variety of shots you were able to get in such a short time. And you reminded me that I can work with a tilted camera! Haven’t really done that, look forward to trying it.

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  3. Nice- you really captured the energy of the South Bank.

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  4. sounds wonderful 🙂 I have not spent much time at the south bank yet, looks beautiful!

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  5. Great post as ever! 🙂

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