Tower Bridge – London by the river

Tower Bridge – London by the river

A trip to London and with the evenings beginning to be a bit lighter (early March) another opportunity to go out and take some photos of Tower bridge and other images by the river.

I was staying at The Tower (the Guoman Hotel not the actual tower) so my logical destination was to wander down by the river on the South Bank. From there I could photograph the City of London from across the river, Tower Bridge, The HMS Belfast, and the new City Hall building (you know the one that’s not that new anymore and looks like a squashed egg).

I was shooting with my Sony A7 mkII (mirrorless camera) with the 24-70mm Zeiss lens and using my Platypod Pro Mount (an expensive high-tech version of a beanbag). This enabled me to capture some slow exposures without the risk of camera shake.

At this time of year I had about 30mins of quality light available, neither too light nor too dark, so I had to work quickly without wandering too far. Fortunately I knew the area well and had already decided the locations I wanted to work within.

City of London

I began near Tower Bridge with the classic shot across the river to the City of London buildings. I chose the location specifically to capture the old barges in the foreground. This was to provide some foreground interest and to provide a contrast between the old and new.

Tower Bridge 

Moving slightly upstream I used the same barges as foreground interest for some images of Tower Bridge. There were also a couple of red bus’s on the bridge which added interest to the bridge, unfortunately the bus in the middle section moved too much and is almost lost.

HMS Belfast 

Next, moving further upstream again allowed me to shoot Tower Bridge with the HMS Belfast in the foreground and a view of Canary Wharf in the far background. This provided me with a composition providing near, middle and far distance interest and depth to the image. If I shot this again I’d probably increase the ISO setting to allow a faster shutter speed and by doing so capture more detail on the water which has become a bit flat with the long exposure.

City Hall

Then I returned back downstream for a couple of images of the City Hall building. Here I kept the camera close to the ground the get the Cat’s Eye view of the world. I didn’t quite get the shot of ghostly figures walking past that I was hoping for, but I do like these two images. This is definitely something I will try again. [Cat’s eye view: lower than a child or a dog, but higher than a worm. Between 5-8 inches above the ground]

And back to Tower Bridge

And then this final image of Tower Bridge was as the light level was dropping rapidly. It was still just about light enough looking east to pick-up some detail in the sky and for the bridge to be mostly lit by the flood lighting. How long was the shutter speed? Long enough to leave the streaks in the bottom right from the River Launch approaching the bridge.