Random London

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)
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.

f/9, ISO 500, 24mm (HDR)
f/9, ISO 500, 24mm (HDR)

Fortunately I was also soon presented with some more traditional London vehicles, and HDR Efex Pro managed to deal with the motion pretty effectively. Provided you don’t look too closely.

f/11, ISO 250, 24mm (HDR)
f/11, ISO 250, 24mm (HDR)

As ever, I like to play about a little bit with the settings of the HDR processing. On this occasion I elected to keep things within the realms of realism, rather than going for the surrealism that HDR processing can sometimes produce. The difference between the next image and the last is pretty subtle (the aesthetic qualities of the different vehicle positioning notwithstanding), but the sky is a little brighter and the road a little darker.

f/11, ISO 250, 24mm (HDR)
f/11, ISO 250, 24mm (HDR)

Feeling like I’d exhausted the photographic possibilities at this intersection, I decided to continue on my route over Waterloo Bridge, continuing the street photography as I went.

1/1250, f/4, ISO 320, 24mm
1/1250, f/4, ISO 320, 24mm

One of the issues I often face with street photography is impatience. Well, impatience matched with a lack of confidence. I don’t always like stopping to take the photograph, and because I’m not always certain of the shot I’m going to take I don’t always feel its worth it to stop, so as a result I try to take photographs without breaking my stride. Sometimes I do that just by holding my camera to my face as I walk, and sometimes I shoot from the hip. Funnily enough, I seem to do pretty well shooting from the hip a lot of the time. This next photo was shot from the hip, admittedly not great but not bad for shooting blind.

1/1600, f/4, ISO 320, 24mm
1/1600, f/4, ISO 320, 24mm

I soon passed over the bridge and found myself in Waterloo Station, which is somewhere else I’ve wanted to photograph people but have rarely found the confidence, save for some impromptu Instagramming. Part of my trepidation on that front stems from me not knowing the rules of photographing in a station, which is technically (I think) private property. As I walked along the platform to my train, I chanced a from-the-hip shot.

1/400, f/4, ISO 200, 24mm
1/400, f/4, ISO 200, 24mm

Feeling a little more confident I decided to take the chance of shooting properly, aiming to recreate an Instagram shot from some time ago.

1/800, f/4, ISO 250, 24mm
1/800, f/4, ISO 250, 24mm

I think the original Instagram shot is the better one; I think the photo is just generally cleaner and gives a greater sense of loneliness. But then, I’m usually wrong about such things.

My Christmas break from work is coming up in a few weeks, and I’m hoping the weather will be in my favour and I can go out and try some more street photography. As long as I can overcome that lack of confidence I still battle with constantly.

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Related Posts:

London in the Evening
Cloudy London
London at Night: Somerset House

6 Comments

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  1. I love how you constantly and seamlessly attempt to master all of the genres of photography. Some really nice, evocative shots here!

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  2. Love the first London vehicles photo and the black and white of Waterloo Bridge the most. Familiar scenes that feel so real!
    Glad you choose the realism over surrealism in this set – the red bus stands out just right and I can almost smell the fresh cold air after the rain (fresh by London standards anyway)! The way the sun hits the buildings..the clouds… Everything just looks like it does. Great photos 🙂

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  3. Like the set. I personally would have framed a couple of pictures different, particularly the two last ones, but that’s just taste. My favourite is the Strand/Waterloo bridge corner, I like everything, both technically and evocative ,so full marks from me.

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    • Thanks mate. I agree on the penultimate shot, it’s not the best framed – in my defence, I was shooting blind and from the hip. It’s mainly included for context. I’d have preferred to see the last shot framed more like the Instagram shot linked, but I feel infinitely more conspicuous with a DSLR than a phone. Glad you like the Strand/Waterloo corner shots, you see that sight every day!

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