London after dark

I had some time off so I took a little trip down to the Thames to scope out what I thought might be good spots for some night time photos. As promised I will show you the before and after shots. What a difference a few hours make. While crossing the London Bridge the other day I noticed that there were Olympic rings hung on the Tower Bridge just down river. Seemed like a good place to start. A quick “tube” ride to the Monument stop and a short walk put me right where I wanted to be but just not at the right time. Made a note to come back this evening around dusk. Should make a really great shot.

Actually as I was leaving the “tube” I noticed that there really is a Monument at the Monument stop. A little boring in the daytime but another place that might take on a a much different look after dark. Across the river was a building called “The Shard” – sort of an appropriate name since it looks like a tall glass sliver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

None of these are much of a site at 3 in the afternoon but would seem to be good candidates for an evening shoot. Back to the hotel for some report catch up and then off to the river in time to get there at dusk (9:30pm here). What a different look once the sun sets. Worth the trip.

 

As I approached the spot on the bridge that would give me the view I wanted – it started to open and they lifted the Olympic rings to let a sailboat through. The time was right – giving me the full beauty of the dusk sky but the rings were gone. I hung around for a long time thinking they would come back down but decided to take a little walk along the river to see what else was available.

Plenty to shoot – it was not a waste of time.

The “Shard” didn’t come out as expected – Additionally there was almost a full moon – Normally an exciting thing but a lot of haze so I hid the moon behind the building. Maybe conditions will be better in a few days. I was really hoping that it would be a well lit glass tower but there were a lot of floors that were completely dark. Would have made a great subject but just proves that surprises happen on both the good and bad side.

I thought I would take a chance and go back to the London Bridge to see if they had the rings back up – by now the night sky was black and it wasn’t going to be the shot I wanted but you never know when things will change and it really should be the iconic shot of London outside the actual stadium and grounds of the games.

 

The first thing you notice is that the towers are white instead of that pretty blue that was on them at dusk. I hung around for an hour thinking that maybe the lights would change but they just stayed the same. The night sky is black and not that royal blue I wanted so I guess it means another trip to river sometime while I am here for another shot at getting the photo I wanted.

In the beginning of writing my blog I mentioned that I would share what technique I use to capture the photos when approprite. These were all with a Nikon D800 and 28-300mm lens. A great lens if you don’t want to carry a bag around with you. A small travel tripod is necessary if you are going for any kind of night shots or HDR effects. As to the exposure – you can set everything manually – take a few test shots and then you are on the way to what you want. For a quick start I shoot in Aperture Automatic and just dial the compensation down about -1.7 to start. That will usually get me in the ballpark and allows you work really quickly. Slowest ISO – if your tripod is good and most of these shots are around 1 to 4 seconds at ISO 100. It gives the water a smoothed effect.

Back to the river maybe tomorrow – I have the late duty at the Press Center (4pm to Midnight) tonight. More later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Great stuff, I really like the results from the 28-300, I’m more and more thinking it or the 18-300 for DX is a must for travel, it just frees you up to work and see and not deal with a bag, good point. By-the-way Kelby says exactly the same thnig in his new travel class! Have fun!

  2. Miles Smith says:

    Bill,

    Thanks for sharing the photos from the London Games. The pictures are great and I’m especially enjoying the night pictures around town. Great stuff!

  3. Jim Bain says:

    Great shots Bill! Really enjoying your updates.

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