London at Night

Big Ben and a Bus
Big Ben and the houses of Parliament from Westminster Bridge as a bus passes by.These photos were taken at night in London in the region of Parliament square, Big Ben, Wesrminster Bridge and across the Thames from the London Eye on a tour with Photography Tours at Night.

Night photography is not an area in which I done much work. So joining a 2 hour photography tour in London at night was very much stepping out of my comfort zone of outdoor and travel photography.

Given to me as a gift, the tour was a two hour session with Photography tours at Night. The tour is aimed at the beginner with a reasonable bridge camera or DSLR.

It starts with some basics of "getting the camera off auto" and using an appropriate aperture to get the right depth of field. The emphasis is on quality, so ISO is kept to minimum. The result, of course, is long exposures and a need to use a tripod, all of which is covered in the session.

Normally the session is aimed at groups of 5 to 15, but the football resulted in a number of cancellations and the tour becoming a one on one: me and Katrina Frazer, the pro photographer tour guide.

With my experience of using a manual camera, we dispensed with the basics quickly. The first of three locations was opposite parliament square (a permit is required to use a tripod in most of London’s squares), which gave a good view of Big Ben and the road intersection. It is also a location which provides a succession of beautiful, red, well lit, London buses. The result was very nice light trails, with Big Ben in the frame.

A short walk took us to a position with a good view of the London Eye. This created a good opportunity to experiment with zoom effects with the shutter open. The football, once again, worked in our favour. The London Eye was lit in red, white and blue instead of the normal plain blue colour.

Westminster Bridge provided the third and last location with a view of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Approaching vehicle produced interesting light straeks. Have a look at the slide show below for the best of my shots.

The photographic technique, once you understand it, is not complex. If you understand your camera and some basics it is easy to work out. If you can’t, maybe you should take the tour?

Art Prints

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