During my last trip to London I set myself a challenge. One window, one lens, one night, six images. I had some work, I wanted to get done during the evening; so didn’t want to wander away from the hotel. That didn’t stop me capturing the view though.
One window, one lens, one night, six images
So six images of Tower Bridge, London, all taken from the same window with a single prime lens and auto camera settings. OK, I did have to speak nicely to the hotel receptionist to get the view, so many thanks to The Tower Hotel, London for obliging.
The six images were captured on the evening of the 24th April 2018 and the morning of the 25th April 2018. The capture times were, 17:36, 19:36, 20:28, 20:36, 06:37 and 07:41 and what a difference a few hours can make!
It’s all about the light
As photographers we talk a lot about the quality of light and the fact that the light is never quite how we want it. Of course, it’s not just the direction of the light, it’s the tone, the intensity, the softness, and the colour.
All of these qualities build to make or break your picture. And this that, before you even start to consider things such as,
- lens/camera choice
- sharpness and depth-of-focus
- do I use a tripod or hold-it-steady or intentionally move the camera as I expose
- colour or mono
That’s one of the things I love about photography, so many variables and things to consider in capturing an image.
So that’s basically the challenge as I set it…One window, one lens, one night, six images. I was shooting with my Sony A7 mk.2 fitted with a Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art lens (Canon mount but with a sigma mount adapter for the Sony). The camera captures full-frame images at 24mp and the lens is renowned for it’s sharpness which is evident when I zoom into these images, the detail is stunning.
I was shooting through glass (triple glazed windows) and without a tripod, so had to be mindful of the shutter speed and camera shake. It’s a good quality sensor on this camera with excellent low light capability. Even so, I did need to ramp the ISO up to 3200 to ensure a shutter-speed of at least 1/25 second.
The six images…
The Tuesday evening was dull, to say the least, so the first two images are not particularly inspiring, yes they capture the bridge with plenty of detail, but as images they are a bit bland. They may work better as mono, but even as a mono I think the drama added by the lack of good lighting will let them down.
The two mid-evening images certainly have more drama, with the benefit of flood-lighting and darker skies so clearly make far more interesting images.
And then the final two, early dawn (06:30) and later dawn (07:30) benefit from stronger natural light.
The early dawn image benefits from the early dawn sunshine. Not yet too strong to burn out the detail in the stone, but enough to add that early morning warmth that is so pleasant.
The later dawn image, benefits from stronger sunlight also, though the warmth has gone from it, but also from the intense clouds that have formed, indicating this probably won’t be a dry day (and it wasn’t).
So, I guess the books are generally right when they suggest early morning and evenings are the best times of the day for quality light and good photography.