Tag Archives: London

Panorama of London City Hall in the Morning

Wrapping up my trip to London, I was enchanted by how perfectly the city combined old elements and new elements of architecture. I’d spent a good deal of my trip capturing the older architectural landmarks of the city, now I wanted to capture something exhibiting the new.

London City Hall and Tower Bridge in London, UK
October 2014, panorama from 4 vertical images, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 17mm, aperture f/11, exposure 2.5 seconds, ISO 100, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>

The London City Hall Building proved to be the perfect selection for a shot. If you are not familiar with how the London City Hall building looks, you may think I’m playing tricks with my camera to distort the City Hall. I cannot take the credit for this one!

Some love the odd shape of the building, some hate it – we will not go into some of the unsavory nicknames if you want a good laugh you can Google it for yourself for a chuckle. The idea behind the strange shape of the building was to reduce surface area to help save energy. As it turned out, this plan did not work out as the builders intended, and this building actually sucks up more energy than it saves.

I decided to create a composition that juxtaposed the Tower Bridge and the City Hall to show the old and new of London in one shot. To do so I traveled over to the Tower Bridge again with the intention of shooting on the other shore of the Thames. Although it was stormy again I still managed to capture a decent shot!

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London Eye and Westminster Bridge in the Evening

Visited more than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza, the London Eye is a famous part of the London Skyline.

London Eye and Westminster Palace in London. The largest Ferris Wheel in Europe, structure of the London Eye is 135 meters tall and 120 meters in diameter.
October 2014, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 22mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 66 seconds, ISO 100, ND 5-stop filter, tripod.

One can only imagine the view from the pods out of the London Eye. It is an inspirational place to visit and it appears many have taken it as the perfect place to propose. For Valentine’s Day in 2016 lighting is installed on the London Eye to make it appear like a giant diamond engagement ring. What a photo opportunity!

When I visited London in October 2014 the classic lighting of the London Eye provided beautiful lamination to the entire London Skyline with the Clock Tower and Westminster Bridge in sight.

This photo turned out beautifully, but I had major problems when taking the shot. I wanted to take long exposures with the ND 5-stop filter attached to achieve this ethereal look with blurred water and clouds. Unfortunately, the bridge I was standing on also served as a bridge for a subway. The train made me and the camera tremble as I was taking the shot. This shaking negatively impacted my long exposures and making the photos end up unsharp. I started to try capture the photo in between trains.

Also it is suddenly started to rain. Water dropped on my lens during long exposure and also cause problems. Using a cloth I wiped off the lens of my camera before each shot, but it still proved difficult to get at least one shot without drops. Finally luck turned to me this evening and I managed to get at least one sharp photo without rain drops on it!

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The Shard and London Skyline in the Evening

The Shard has become one of the most striking parts of the London Skyline. It isn’t just the size and shape that makes it stand out, although with just a shallow gaze the appearance is quite off beat.

Thames River Embankment and London Skyline at Sunset, United Kingdom
October 2014, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 35mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 5 seconds, ISO 100, tripod.

The idea behind The Shard was to create a whole city inside one tall building in London. The Shard holds retail, offices, hotel, apartments, restaurants and a public areas.

During my photoshoot of the Tower Bridge I turned my eye across the banks to the other shore a couple of times. I couldn’t help but notice one of the latest additions to the London Skyline. For a modern building, it really has added something new and fresh to the London Skyline. The shape is without a doubt unusual. I decided to get a couple of shots of it while I was in a convenient spot and the evening light was still good.

The artificial lighting sparked on once as the sun began to fall creating a pleasant illumination from the buildings across the Thames. From this perspective the whole London Skyline seemed to fit harmoniously with the The Shard.

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Tower Bridge in the Evening, London

The bridge you see before you was quite the project! It took eight years, 5 contractors and 432 construction workers to complete the Tower Bridge of London.

Famous Tower Bridge at Sunset, London, United Kingdom
October 2014, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 35mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 2.5 seconds, ISO 100, tripod.

Two massive piers, weighing in at 70,000 ton each, were sunk into the riverbed to support the bridge. For just the walkways and the framework two towers, 11,000 tons of steel. To make the bridge appear less unsightly and protect the steal, they clad the steel with granite and stones.

Although this is an iconic view of Tower Bridge I tried to take my photo in a unique way! The low water of the Thames helped me do that. As you can see the banks and the bridge show where the water usually should be! I took this photo from an area that would normally be under water.

I allotted myself a lot of time to take this short, arriving long before sunset to capture as many versions as I could with all the different light phases between sunrise and twilight and to the dead of the night. This particular shot of Tower Bridge is my favorite from this shoot due to the best balance of natural and artificial light. The sky put on an excellent performance matching the blues of the bridge. Although not perfect, I am pleased with this distinct photo.

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Panorama of Westminster Bridge, London

This spontaneous shot upon Westminster Bridge reminded me of the poem by William Wordsworth.

Panorama of Clock Tower and Westminster Bridge in the Morning, London, United Kingdom
October 2014, panorama from 4 vertical images, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16mm, aperture f/11, exposure 0.6 seconds, ISO 100, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>

I thought I’d share it to kick off this post:

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

“Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!”

I’m so lucky to visit the city which inspired the likes of Williams Wordsworth and countless others to create beautiful art. As I was crossing the Thames river after a shoot on Parliament Square, I was inspired like Mr. Wordsworth must have been by the beauty of London.

The sunrise colors were nearly faded. Luckily, the first ray of the rising sun came from behind the clouds and illuminated the Clock Tower. The Clock Tower started to radiate fantastic orange light as the rest of the sky also began to glow. Although it was an unplanned shot, I just could not pass by.

Another luck: an iconic red, double-decker bus happened to move right into the frame during my shot. The long exposure blurred the bus and gave it additional energy and sense of motion. Although such perspective has been captured many times I feel the moving bus and spectacular light make for a great photo!

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Winston Churchill and Parliament Square, London

This photo captures a sculpture of Winston Churchill in this famous spot in London. Many do not know he was actually almost maimed and killed in New York in 1931.

Panorama of Parliament Square and Queen Elizabeth Tower in London, United Kingdom
October 2014, panorama from 3 vertical images, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16mm, aperture f/11, exposure 6 seconds, ISO 160, tripod.

When crossing the road in the United States during a late night visit to a friend, Bernard Baruch, he instinctively looked to the right when he went to cross the road. Vehicles drive on the opposite sides of the road in America and Britian, so this slip almost proved fatal.

A car hit Churchill dragging him for a short distance. He escaped with relatively minor injuries. He admitted that the accident was completely his fault, not that of the driver. The world definitely would have been a different place without the leadership of Churchill past 1931.

To capture this photo I needed to hurry. I had just captured the Lloyd George statue in the previous photo then I darted over here to get one of Winston Churchill. Often when people see the serene pictures photographers capture, they think “what leisurely hobby photography must be”. The truth is the changing light is constantly keeping you on your toes to get the best photo in a limited time frame. It can actually be quite suspenseful!

When I set out to capture Winston Churchill I knew I wanted the Clock Tower included in the composition to give the viewer a sense of place. To me this perspective gives the impression that Churchill is skeptically watching over the Clock Tower and Parliament and maybe his spirit is still keeping an eye on what is going on in the United Kingdom.

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Panorama of Parliament Square, London

The sculpture in the foreground of this picture is that of David Lloyd George. The figure almost seems as it is motion, and we certainly can’t argue the leader’s legacy is alive and well today steering the direction of the United Kingdom.

Panorama of Parliament Square and Queen Elizabeth Tower in London, United Kingdom
October 2014, panorama from 3 vertical images, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16mm, aperture f/11, exposure 6 seconds, ISO 100, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>

A famous quote from George is “you can’t feed the hungry with statistics”. His attitude toward governing reflected that, and he created the foundation of the welfare state that provides a safety net for so many today.

I wanted to capture the Clock Tower and Parliament Square to make this image unique, but also immediately recognizable. Not everyone out there, especially those who haven’t been to London, know about the line of sculptures which features great politicians including the likes of Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela.

With a panoramic composition I was able to capture the foreground element of the George sculpture along with the background of the Clock Tower to show this statue in the context of famous London landmark.

I found good location which naturally offered a strong composition. The prominent diagonal shadow leads the eye to the George statue help making it come alive in the picture. From the sculpture it also leads rightward to the famous Clock Tower. George’s hand seems as if it is pointing towards the Clock Tower and instantly recognisable Winston Churchill statue in background.

This time the sky is cooperated with me! It created vibrant hues of sunrise around the Clock Tower and created strong mood of entire scene. I’m pretty happy with the result and I hope you will enjoy it too.

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Clock Tower and Westminster Bridge, London

Clock Tower and Big Ben is one of the best known landmarks in the world, but very few know what it sounds like when the clock strikes. If you get a chance, I suggest looking up a recording of the bells. For a while there the bells which ring over London everyday did not chime.

Big Ben, Queen Elizabeth Tower and Westminster Bridge Illuminated in the Evening, London, United Kingdom
October 2014, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 35mm, aperture f/8, shutter speed 13 seconds, ISO 200, tripod.

In October of 1859, a mere 3 months after bells finally were installed, the largest bell cracked due to the hammer strike. So why not replace the bell? Well, there was one small flaw in the design. In order to move the bell out one would have to remove the Great Clock and all the complex mechanisms behind it.

For a few months no one came up with a solution. Until someone suggested to turn the cracked bell a quarter turn, so that the hammer would strike a different spot. It worked out! The hammer still strikes this spot today.

Capturing a photo of such an iconic landmark is never easy, but I always must put myself up to the task. This shot was during my business trip to London in October of 2014. On the first evening I went to this location to take a crack at snapping famous Clock Tower.

Unfortunately the sky was not cooperating. It was in fact clean and boring. As a photographer I know how impressive sky is so imperative to getting a good shot! I needed to improvise, so I decided to include more of Westminster Bridge and less of the sky into the frame.

I used the diagonal lines of the bridge from the edge of the frame to create a strong composition and dynamic leading lines to guide viewer eyes to the main focal point. Although the sky itself was quite boring, the reflection of the sky on the river added in some nice texture to the photo.

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