Hope everyone’s enjoying the holiday season and staying warm. Today’s temperature here is 28.9 °F (-1.7 °C) with a windchill of 25 °F (-4 °C). If it’s colder where you are, I feel bad for you.
Just a few images here to get you into the spirit.
Yet another rainy day in London. There was some promise of sunlight for a few minutes in the afternoon but that simmered down to false hope as dusk was drawing near. You knew there was a storm coming – in fact, they had issued a gale warning today – if you look in the sky and follow where the clouds were headed to. Although the sunset brought in some colors with it, it was cloudy and eery for the most part. At sunset, I took some shots in Trafalgar Square and headed down to the nearby Golden Jubilee Bridges at which time the rain fell hard. Luckily, it stopped after a few minutes, and I picked up where I had left off.
Despite the nasty weather, I’m still glad I went to Trafalgar Square today. It’s probably only once a year I’d get a shot like this with the poppies. Today, England celebrates Armistice Day. The entire week, I’ve been seeing people wearing poppy ribbons on their lapels, and today at Trafalgar Square, paper poppy wreaths and flowers are strewn into the fountains. In several parts of London, at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” people stopped for a couple of minutes for a moment of silence. Even in the always busy streets of Trafalgar Square, cars, buses and cabs hushed to a stop when traffic lights turned red.
Here’s my take on this solemn occasion, with a little help from the poppies and the weather.
Here are two variations of the sculpture Girl with a Dolphin. I had posted the first one on Flickr, but I wasn’t sure which one I prefer. The bridge gets plenty of attention already I think, and I wanted to show more of the sculpture, which explains the first image.
As a side note, I had not planned on placing the dolphin in-between the two starbursts – that’s purely by accident. A nice accident!
We just turned our clocks an hour back this past Sunday, and that only means one thing to night photographers like me – I get to to go home an hour earlier ! In fact, how’s 5:00 p.m. for civil twilight? Yes, it gets dark early in this part of the globe, and for convenience reasons (photographically speaking), that’s a good thing for me. The only downside I could see to that is it’s rush hour in London around that time, so the trains are packed and the volume of people on the streets is more than normal.
By 5:20 p.m., my gear’s all stowed away and I was done for the day, after squeezing in every bit of that blue light I could get from the sky. I had finished off on the bridge where both foot and vehicular traffic were busy, which equates to lots of unwanted movement. I think I still got decent shots though – it’s just all about timing!
I had been wanting to go to St. Katharine Docks since moving to England. The first time I was there, the side of the bridge facing the pier was undergoing renovations and had unsightly scaffolding and wrappings. This time, everything was clear and ready for some photography, so there’s really nothing to gripe about (well except maybe the overcast skies, but that’s normal around here.)
Hope you like them!
The weather was pretty crazy today. The day started with sunny and clear skies – really gorgeous day, and ended with an unexpected, although brief, hailstorm.
At sunset, as I stationed myself in East India pier looking across the Thames directly towards the O2 Dome, I noticed a reddish cloud moving from behind me and heading straight to the dome. I set up my tripod anticipating a colorful sunset. I took more than a dozen long-exposure shots of the dome using my ND Grads. Shortly right after sunset, while walking around scouting for a different location, hail poured from the skies out of nowhere. Luckily, there was a McDonald’s just down the street to take shelter from and at the same time, grab a bite to eat.
I must say, despite the untimely hail, the weather gods were still considerate because it cleared up for the remainder of blue hour. Therefore, I was able to do the shots of East India station and part of Canary Wharf’s skyline from Blackwall Way. Perhaps not much of a thrilling view, but I’ll take a little of something over nothing at all.
QUICK TRIVIA on the 02 DOME : In the James Bond film “The World is Not Enough,” the O2 was the structure that aided James Bond in reaching his hot air balloon destination. It was also shown in the background of a sequence in the 2006 movie “The Da Vinci Code.”
A few of my photos from St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge.
I still can’t believe I live so close to London.
It had rained most of the day so it was not the best night to take photos. I still liked how most of my shots turned out though, and I’ll be posting my twilight (or what’s supposed to be twilight) shots later on, including those of the Millennium bridge – a very challenging bridge to shoot because it moves all the time – it is in fact also nicknamed the Wobbly Bridge.
Meanwhile, here’s some night shots I’ve taken of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Light trails is a popular subject for night photographers, one that I love taking shots of as well. The exposure can be tricky at times, but with practice as with most everything else, it can be perfected. I think I have found my comfort zone as far as exposure time is concerned, but what I think makes a light trail image successful is perfect timing. Buses make nice light trails, but since their light streaks extend higher than regular cars, I try not to overwhelm the scene with the streaks and give ample window to still see the subject behind them, as what I did with these St. Paul’s images. It definitely takes some patience, and sometimes luck, but it’s always fun to do especially in London where double-deckers are all over the place – that’s twice the fun!
I was happy to see how the first image below turned out. It was my last shot of the day, and was talking on the phone while I took the shot – one hand on the trigger, one holding the phone – who say’s you can’t multi-task while doing long exposures? I especially liked the image when I realized that the bus with the trails is a number 26 bus, which incidentally is the same number of the bus I took a photo of while in Valencia, Spain earlier this year. Number 26 seems to be a fortuitous number for me, so now I’m looking forward to shooting more number 26 buses, by accident.
Just wanted to post this vertical version of the same scene I had posted on Flickr. I’m still amazed how I was able to still take sharp photos considering how windy it was on the bridge that night. There’s some motion blur on the spinning wheel and the bobbing boat on the foreground, but the rest of the scene stayed sharp.
While shooting that night, I was talking to this other photographer who said he had vertigo and was having a tough time looking over the bridge and was paranoid about someone pushing him over anytime. It reminded me of the frightening experience I had in Stockholm when some odd woman stood beside me while I was on the bridge in the dark by myself. I did not have such feelings while shooting from Waterloo Bridge because there were a lot of people around. I guess that’s one thing good about touristy London – there’s safety and comfort in numbers.