To Tower Bridge

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.

f/9, ISO 200, 70mm (HDR)
f/9, ISO 200, 70mm (HDR)

You’ll notice the return of the ‘Photomatix’ watermark. I’ve not talked much of HDR recently, but buying a HDR-processing plugin is still very much on my radar (many of the images I still have to process rely on this fact). However, I processed the images in this set a few months ago whilst I was still playing about with the Photomatix trial. Once I finally have a full version of a HDR plugin I’ll have to go back and reprocess a lot of these images to remove the watermarks.

The first thing I came across on my walk was this jetty on the South Bank.

1/320sec, f/9, ISO 100, 18mm
1/320sec, f/9, ISO 100, 18mm

If you’re any sort of regular to this blog you’ll know I love shots with disappearing lines in them. Like that one. I’m pretty pleased to have gotten the sky and ground in one single exposure, too.

A bit further along the river I came across a guy who was losing his head about something.

1/200sec, f/5, ISO 100, 45mm

Usually the buskers – the interesting ones especially – hang around in places like Covent Garden or in the section of the South Bank nearer the London Eye. Still, from time to time they show up anywhere. I’ve not seen this guy before or since.

A touch further up the river I came to Blackfriars Bridge. On the opposite bank stands Unilever House, which I totally knew was called Unilever House and didn’t have to look it up on the internet. As this was back in August, the building was flying the flags of many nations in support of the Olympics.

Flags
1/800sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 72mm

Continuing a little further on is Blackfriars Station. There, like many stations, resides some bicycle parking, for people with bicycles to park their bikes. Sorry, I’m a bit rusty.

Fortunately, no-one had parked their bike there when I came past, allowing me to capture this shot.

Alt Goes Here
1/60sec, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm

A little past Blackfriars is the Tate Modern, a gallery of so-called modern art. I visited there once, about eight or nine years ago when I was at university (that sentence alone makes me feel old). I thought it all a bit silly. Modern art, by which I mean the sort of stuff like blu-tack attached to a lump of cardboard, isn’t really art to me. In fact, my visit inspired me to write a short rant about the medium, which essentially became my first blog post – had I had a blog to post it on at the time.

The Tate Modern itself, however, is quite a nice looking building.

1/1000sec, f/9, ISO 400, exposure bias +0.67, 29mm
1/1000sec, f/9, ISO 400, exposure bias +0.67, 29mm

Presently I came to Southwark Bridge. To get under the bridge, the footpath passes through a tunnel. I like tunnels like this.

1/50sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, 18mm
1/50sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, 18mm

The next bridge along was the Cannon Street railway bridge. I’m not sure what it’s actually called; Google Maps seems to imply the tracks float unprotected over the river. Shortly before the bridge there is a pub, which, in conjunction with the bridge and the Shard in the background made for an interesting image.

f/10, ISO 200, 18mm (HDR)
f/10, ISO 200, 18mm (HDR)

Making this a HDR shot really brings out the detail in the brickwork of the pub.

Just after passing under the possibly unnamed railway bridge I came across an old building that still had hoists outside for winching things up to the higher floors. As it was mostly in shadow, I again decided to use HDR to show the whole building.

f/4, ISO 200, 24mm
f/4, ISO 200, 24mm

This is another image I had a bit of a colour/monochrome dilemma over. As ever, the monochrome brings out more details, but the colours are impressive too. I’ve stuck with the monochrome version, but I could’ve gone either way.

Outside Southwark Cathedral I sound a statue of a knight of the realm. Only, the sort of knight you’d find in nightmares (or knightmares, if I was the sort of person who considers such a pun intelligent).

night
f/5, ISO 200, 41mm (HDR)
Knight
f/10, ISO 200, 19mm (HDR)

After walking past the Shard…

1/320, f/11, ISO 100, 26mm
1/320, f/11, ISO 100, 26mm

… and attempting to get some ‘sun poking out from behind the building’ shots, which it turned out my lens was too dirty for…

1/200, f/20, ISO 100, 31mm
1/200, f/20, ISO 100, 31mm

… I found myself in a covered business district which doesn’t seem to have a name on Google Maps. The only real thing of interest was its centrepiece: a large steampunk-esque water fountain, just crying out for a semi-surreal HDR image.

f/8, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)
f/8, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)

Finally, I reached my intended target.

1/1250, f/4.5, ISO 100, 39mm
1/1250, f/4.5, ISO 100, 39mm

I quickly started shooting bracketed exposures to ensure I captured as much of the sky, water and details of the bridge as I could.

f/4.5, ISO 100, 38mm (HDR)
f/4.5, ISO 100, 38mm (HDR)
1/1000, f/5, ISO 100, 57mm
f/5, ISO 100, 57mm (HDR)

To be honest, shooting HDR wasn’t really worth the effort for a lot of these images; the standard exposures were bringing out a fair amount of detail in the river and in the sky, and details in the bridge itself were coming out fine as well. The main point it helped in is this next image, which only really works with HDR processing.

f/4.5, ISO 100, 38mm (HDR)
f/4.5, ISO 100, 38mm (HDR)

This one didn’t come out too badly for a surreptitiously shot bracketed exposure of a person, although I’d have preferred it to be a bit straighter. In this instance, straightening it in post would have chopped out too much of the bridge.

By this point I was running a bit late for the meeting that had taken me out to that part of the city. As I headed out away from the river, I found a street with a channel of water running down it, leading the eye straight to Tower Bridge. This time, I definitely would need HDR.

f/9, ISO 100, 30mm (HDR)
f/9, ISO 100, 30mm (HDR)

I also stooped a bit lower to get closer to the channel. When I do this, I look a bit ridiculous; I’m double jointed, to I end up with my head below my knees holding the camera at the ground. One day a picture of me doing it will turn up on the internet somewhere.

f/9, ISO 100, 39mm (HDR)
f/9, ISO 100, 39mm (HDR)

I also turned around and took a more traditional shot in the other direction.

1/200, f/5.6, ISO 100, 87mm
1/200, f/5.6, ISO 100, 87mm

One of the glass buildings in this direction has some interesting architecture; it seemed to have an outer layer of glass around its outside, making for an interesting shot if you stand underneath and shoot straight up.

1/100, f/6.3, ISO 100, 18mm
1/100, f/6.3, ISO 100, 18mm

The final shot I would like to share with you is one a grabbed quickly as I walked across the road.

1/400, f/6.3, ISO 100, 18mm
1/400, f/6.3, ISO 100, 18mm

I found I liked the simplicity of the shot, as well as the juxtaposition of the new, sleek glass building on the right with the more traditional structure on the left. The sole figure in the middle of the road adds something I find it difficult to quantify.

That’s the last of my images from this little stroll along the Thames one sunny summer’s afternoon in London. Somewhere in the pipeline are some images from a less sunny day just before the Olympics, and some shots from winter which I hope to process and write up whilst it’s still at least a bit cold outside.

One Comment

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  1. Nice set of shots to sum up that part of the South Bank. A place I’ve been numerous times (most recently on a wander with Richard G), but still some bits I didn’t recognise! 🙂

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