Sunrise Over Canary Wharf

For those who know me, will know that Canary Wharf captivates me in a way that no other photography location does. There is something magical about it that, given the right composition, there is always something different to shoot this ever expanding metropolis.

Today was to be an early morning shoot with hope of capturing a beautiful sunrise against the backdrop of Canary Wharf. 

Starting out at 5.20 to catch the first train out I arrived at East India DLR whilst it was still dark and I took a diversion to look at the O2 arena across the river. But with the construction on the new InterContinental hotel having started, photographing the O2 will be a no go until aleast summer 2015.

Getting back on track and with sunrise coming within the hour, I needed to get to my primary location and set up asap. 

On this shoot I decided to use the Lee 10 Big Stopper filter, so that when the sun had risen I'd still be able to get that smooth look on the water in front of the buildings.
The location I was shooting from is one I'd been on several occasions before, so I already knew what were the best spots to shoot from. The sky was perfect with enough of a breeze to push the clouds slowly towards me, and the water in front of the buildings was almost smooth.
When shooting 'night', be it in the morning or the late evening, I'm always adjusting my white balance to try to match what is in front of me. With the added Lee filter giving a blue cast, I knew once the morning 'blue hour' started then I'd run into some serious colour cast problems.
I started the shoot moving from spot to spot and it wasn't long before the Sun rose behind me reflecting some of the most beautiful colours in the windows of the buildings in front. And this brings me to something else I did, and this was to capture some time lapse video whilst I was shooting using my iTouch that I'd mounted on a very small 'Spider' tripod with holder.

Today was another successful photoshoot that would not have been captured had I not gone out when I did.
Dedication sometimes leads to perfection...  


Sunrise Colours

Bridge To The City

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.


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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'


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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.

Coastal Trip: Recluver

An afternoon coastal photo shoot with Alan Parkinson. Arriving at Reculver around 6pm the sun was breaking through the clouds over the sea. I call these 'Jacobs Ladders' some call call them 'God Lights'. But unfortunately without a big stopper it's pretty much pointless trying to capture this to get a good result. As the sun started to get low I was hoping for a nice coloured sunset, sadly it did not materialise as i'd have liked, but as the photo shows, it wasn't that bad. This was probably the best shot of the day

Below is a capture of Reculver at Sunset.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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UK Trip: Day 5

Day 5: Liverpool Day 2. Liverpool: I woke up early after the previous nights shooting around the dock until 1pm, I've never slept good, and I went down for a full breakfast before a days photography began. Starting out straight after breakfast I walked around Liverpool's Albert dock as the sun was rising, it was a race to try and capture something good, but rather disappointing due to the amount of construction work going on in and around the dock. Later that day we took a trip into Liverpool, but unfortunately I was extremely tired so cut this short for an early afternoons hotel kip!

Crosby Beach - Shoot 2: Around 3pm it was decided to return back to Crosby Beach for another sunset shoot over the sea with the beach statues. Again the sky did not let us down and it was another beautiful sunset.

Below is a sunset capture of a Crosby beach statue.

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When we were finished shooting at Crosby beach it was time to battle the rush hour traffic and head back to Albert dock. It was decided to possibly grab a few evening / night shots before eating and a night out on the town camera free! As I'd failed to capture anything inspiring of the docks amusement wheel from the hotel side of the dock the evening before, when exited the multi story car park, directly to the left side was the Liverpool Echo and straight in front was the wheel. Instantly I knew this was the shot I needed to get in the bag!

Below is the Liverpool Echo and the Albert Dock wheel.

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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.

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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.

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Model Photoshoot: Scarlletta And Johnny Anglais

I'd done a few shoots with Scarlletta, one along side the skateboarders and bikers in London's Southbank a year before, but from the beginning I knew this one was going to be different. She'd enlisted the help from Johnny Anglais (a later Big Brother contestant) as the male model for a photoshoot to be used (these were never used by the way) for her new single 'Sinful'. As no location was chosen for this shoot I decided on West Norwood Cemetery, as I'd photographed a model there 3 weeks previous, and the place is really is a something to view! The idea was for Scarlletta to be the owner of Johnny the dog or 'Dawg' as I called him! The only real part I recall from the shoot is when I asked Scarlletta to act as if she was holding Johnny back from escaping... Also most choking Johnny!!!

Below are some samples from the photoshoot

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