Why I Re-Shoot The Same Locations

A comment I often get is "Why do you keep on shooting the same locations?"

The answer is simple!
As a photographer I'm not always 100% satisfied with my captures and I'm always looking to improve on any shoot I do. Whilst it may not have been down to the fact that I just wasn't feeling the moment, it's very often down to the elements. Maybe the sky is overcast, it's raining, it's very windy or maybe all of these made that particular shoot not as good as it could have been.

So for this particular re-shoot of London's "Girl With A Dolphin" fountain was of a shoot that I'd organised for the photo club a year ago. Unfortunately the sky on that evening was terrible and because there were quite a few of us on the trip it was a case of pick your spot and shoot from there, and at that given time I thought I had picked the perfect angle but it turned out I'd probably picked out the worst.

The main difference in this shoot was that it was going to be done very early morning, as opposed to the one before that was late evening. Catching the first train out to London was essential and going out at 5:20am is not always easy for a photographer, but if you want to get that shot then you have to get up and get out early! But once I'm out, the shock dies, and I'm usually buzzing with excitement to get to the location and hopefully grab some great photos.

On arrival at the fountain I set my self up in almost an identical spot as before with the fountain statue in the middle of Tower bridge for I still thought it was the best place to shoot it from, only to realise after two shots that it wasn't. I shifted my position about 2 metres to the right so that the fountain statue no longer obscured the middle of the bridge and bingo I'd hit the jackpot! What I'd aimed for getting in the last photo shoot I nailed on the second time round. The moon was out along with slight breeze, a perfect sky with wispy clouds. The crains had gone from across the other side of the river and this time round the fountain was lit up and working. Almost perfect conditions!
So was it worth getting up that early at 5.20? Most definitely as I was back home by 8.30 getting warm and drinking a latte!

So this is the reason why I keep revisiting the same locations time and time again.

No doubt I'll be back again sometime to have another go... 

The Girl And The Dolphin

London Walkabout With Alan

Saturday arrives and I'm usually working until 1pm, but I'm always found around London in the afternoon as it's my getaway time. Today was no different except I'd asked my club mate Alan if he'd like to come along, and as Alan had a little project he wanted to fulfil, it was an ideal opportunity for me to drag him around London! Alan has been teaching me the art of Landscape photography, as this is an area I find my photography seriously lacking, so hopefully during my later blogs you'll see some improvement.

Today was just about chilling and grabbing a few interesting shots - so no pressure! First on the list was to find a Banksy graffiti street somewhere near the BT Tower, and after some wandering, chatting to a vicar, avoiding some unsavoury characters we found it and photographed it in its rapidly dilapidating state. Moving on we attempted to photograph the iconic BT Tower, an opportunity I had missed a year back to capture in nightshoot when some old buildings in front of the tower were demolished leaving a wide open photographic view. Today there are just multiple cranes and half finished buildings obstructing the tower and trying to get an interesting angle is very hard as it sits in such a built up area. We took a small side street that passes directly next to the tower to grab the best photographs we could get.

Below is a capture of the BT Tower.



Wandering aimlessly around Euston road, we headed back down towards Covent Garden where we witnessed a Beatboxing street performer doing Dub Step, and visited a few art and photography shops.
On arriving at the Embankment we took some shots across the Thames and city skyline and Alan's 'Red' project went into action... I myself was more interested in taking photos of p*ss stinking stairways from hell!

Below is the 'Stairway to hell'


Zigzagging across the Thames day ended up by the Southbank. This is where the street bikers and skateboarders hang out performing stunts and tricks. But trying to grab a capture one of the bikers in a mid-flight trick means a lot of waiting around and just hoping one of them will do something spectacular...
Sadly it never happened so we called it a day and headed home.

Club Photo Trip: Greenwich

Greenwich park is one of London's iconic places that you can go time after time and never get bored of, and the photographic club had arranged an evening / night photo trip to the park, along the river front and up to the Cutty Sark.We started out about 7.30pm grabbing shots over the Queen's House, Greenwich, and a distant Canary Wharf from the 'General Wolfe Statue' view point. We then made our way down though the park to the river front where we watch the sun set over the Thames, photographing along the way.

It was not long it was dark and the moment had arrived that I'd been waiting for... To get that shot I'd visualised weeks earlier on a Greenwich day trip of the Thames Tunnel 'Entry Building' and the Cutty Sark.

Below is those visualisations captured.



Club Photo Trip: Canary Wharf

It was a cold night and it looked like rain, the clouds were overcast and the sky looked dull...Unfortunately this neither here nor there as the club had official permits to photograph for the night so this was a no win situation.

    So what makes a good night photo?

As an experienced night time photographer there are certain characteristics that can make or break a good long exposure night photograph, the main one being, apart from the weather, is the sky... No cloud in the sky means no cloud movement in the long exposure. So now I have to make a what could be a reasonably good shot into an amazing shot! As I'd made a pre-planed reiki the week before, the location shoot began.

Below are a few samples from the night.



Stealth Shooting At Canary Wharf

It was New Year's Day and I had to get out and make the most of the early evenings for night photography. Canary wharf is my favourite location to shoot in London at night, I can never get enough shots of this area as there is always another angle or view to take a picture from.Arriving at about 5.30pm it was already dark and tonight's mission was to shoot a few buildings I had not yet photographed. The first location was to photograph the Marriott hotel, this building has a unique curvature to it, but captured from the right spot right you can also get the other iconic buildings that make up Canary Wharf in shot too.

So I made my way from Canary Wharf DLR over to the far corner to where the floating church called St. Peter's barge is and proceeded to set my equipment up. As it was New Year's Day there were not many people about so my shoot was going to be relatively easy and quick, I think I was there for around about 10 minutes!

I next walked around past the moored boats and grabbed a few shots from the waters end, narrowly avoided getting caught by a security guard. But it wasn't long before I was to be rumbled! For I walked into a covered walkway that had view across West India Millwall Docks. This walkway had a zillion cameras in it, but there were pockets that had a great view out across the dock and out of sight of the prying cameras, and this is where I grabbed a few more shots. I had just finished photographing and was about to put my gear back in the bag when a security guard appeared and said to me in a strong Italian accent "You hava da permit please?" Responding like I couldn't understand a word he said, he again announced "Please-a don't take-a da photo, you needa da permit. If you hava no permit, you cani take a da photo". And with this said, he just walked off, and I packed my gear and left for the next location.

Below is one of the night's captures.


Next on the list was to photograph the Pan Peninsular that is located by The South Quay DLR station. The original idea for this shot was to take it from the Peppers street foot bridge at the end of Millwall inner dock capturing the Lotus Floating and the Pan Peninsular in one shot. Unfortunately the view was a little uninspiring so I wandered round to the front where there was a metal girding foot path above the water. So balancing my camera in a very narrow metal walkway with my tripod locked into the gaps in the floor, camera strap wrapped tightly to my wrist, and with only a matter of inches between it and the water, I proceed to photograph with extreme caution... Once slip and my gear was in the drink!

Below is a shot of the Lotus Floating and Pan Peninsular


I packed my gear up and was calling time on another nights successful shoot. Well, that was until I passed some shops that had a walkway with a view to the waters on the opposite side. My night eyes suddenly awoke and within a minute another photoshoot was in progress. I pitched my spot in a far corner of a covered walkway and a few more great photos were in the bag! After a quick 2 hour shoot I was back on the DLR and returning home thinking and looking around on what to shoot next...

Below is a shot of the Pan Peninsular


O2 Arena At Midnight

I've made many photographic trips to and around Canary Wharf, and this night was no different except for when I was done I decided to move on and try to find a new location along the river front to photograph the O2 Arena. On arriving at the chosen location, I noticed that due to the lack of wind the Thames was like a reflective glass sheet with the waters only ever being broken by the disco and river tour boats returning to be moored up after a night travelling up and down the Thames. The O2 looked amazing against beautiful clear night sky that had an eerie glow with a bright full moon above... You could say that the conditions were perfect! I stayed until about 1.30pm in the morning.

Below is just one of the many stunning captures of the night.


Long Daytime Exposure: The Millennium Bridge

I'm a prolific night photographer and photographing at night is technically the art of leaving the shutter open for a many seconds to capture a shot. Obviously doing this during the day would amount to severely overexposed shots that would leave you with just a plain white image. This is where an ND1000 filter comes into play, for an ND1000 is basically a 10 stop filter that allows very little light in to the camera unless the shutter is left open for a long time. Using one of these filters can make for amazing photos, for example, creating perfectly still water, making people disappear, fluffy waterfalls, for this list is endless only to your imagination. Some may recall October 2011 being rather warm, if I recall I was just wearing a T-shirt thinking "shouldn't winter be here soon!?" For this photoshoot I thought that I would visit the exact same spot as to where I usually do night shoots from, only this time it was daytime. I parked myself to the side of the Millennium bridge and with a shutter speed of 25 seconds I proceeded to shoot, and although the bridge was full of people as the final image show, it seems like it was empty...

Below is a sample of the days shoot.