New year, still in London (who would have thought!) Today I spent the morning visiting the London ice sculpting festival in the Canary Wharf. Wheather was absolutely freezing, but there was a bit of sun that made wonderful reflections on the ice sculptures.
London weather is getting quite miserable and totally not encouraging going out for photo taking. Fighting the natural urge to stay in with a cup of steaming coffee, today I ventured to the famous Stables Market in Candem Town, swarming with tourists in spite of the cold and rain.
Today’s photo is a set of vintage pocket watches hanging in one of the stalls in the market.
Another graffiti by James Cochran, aka Jimmy C in the good old ‘Ditch.
The whole East London is famous for its vibrant young artists and creative community. Around these areas one can find some truly breathtaking examples of street art, ranging from graffiti to random installations.
Today’s photo is a graffiti portraying Usain Bolt as seen by Jimmy C. Jimmy has some other really impressive works in the area, so if you like his work and have a chance you should totally visit this part of London!
A couple of weeks ago, wandering by the river on the hope of catching the moment when the Olympic Rings in the Tower Bridge got lit up, I found a wide open stairwell going down to the river bank that is usually closed.
I managed to get right by the waterfront and take a few panoramic shots before the treachery grounds betrayed me and a tripod slip ended up with my lens smashed into the mud.
So, in a sense one could say that this shot costed me my lens*!
Hope you enjoy the panoramic view, the photo was obtained by stitching 9 photos with Hugin and then some final retouches with Photoshop, mostly to deal with long-exposure noise and dodging a little bit the underexposed areas.
* The lens is currently being serviced and will be back in business shortly
It is no secret that I am a sucker for steel-and-glass modern architecture. The more shocking, the better. In the Southbank of London, the long awaited construction of the Shard is nearing completion, with most of the scaffolding already gone and just a few cranes getting in the way.
With its whopping 310 meters tall, the Shard will become once finished the tallest building in the European Union, and the 46th tallest in the world. Mind you, almost nothing compared to all those South-East Asian or Arab Emirates behemoths, but quite impressive given the surroundings.
Needless to say, the irreverent Brits could never let this pointy thing sticking out of the river side get off with a boring name like “32 London Bridge Tower”, so it got immediately re-christened as “the glass shard” or simply “the shard”. A more adequate name quite on par with the Gherkin (close shot here), and the Razor.
At the entrance of St Pancras, one of the most dauntingly beautiful train stations I’ve ever seen, these two statues commemorate a scene that has happened, with different leading characters, countless times all over the world and ages. Whether the kissers are about to depart away from each other, or they just reunited after a long time away, that is for you to decide…
The sculpture is “The meeting place”, created by Paul Day in 2007.
Last month I used one of my free days in London to pay a visit to the steampunk exhibit at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum. In one of the rooms there was this wonderfully weird piece of furniture.
The whole setting, with the extremely bright lights coming from the window and the deep dark shadows under the bed, plus the textured velvety covers, was crying for some hdr treatment.
Like it? Too cooked for your taste? Let me know in the comments!
Train stations are always fun to shoot, even if sometimes the security guys can get kind of annoying. This picture is from St Pancras train station, London’s international train station where one can take the Eurostar train for a quick link with Paris or Brussels.
The whole space is getting revamped now in preparation for the Olympics, but the few spots free of scaffoldings and works in progress are still nice to look at!
The picture is a three exposures (handheld) hdr. The sky behing the glass ceiling looks kind of boring but in this case this is not due to blown highlights, but simply to the usual London cloudy thing.
This is another action shot taken in Southbank, London, not far from the place where I took the freerunning pictures.
Besides the usual action-shot photography challenges (quick shutter, hard to focus) that we have already mentioned before, this particular photo was taken under very harsh light conditions. There was extremely strong sunlight hitting directly the subject. As the biker was coming from the shadow areas, I had to guess the exposure level before he jumped, which resulted in a bit overexposed picture. I normally don’t like being so agressive with the post-processing filters, but with this photo I had no other choice.
Walking on the countryside, a bunch of the cutest little cows was nearby. They were very friendly and came to say hi as I approached, and even lingered around posing for a few shots. Cows are way nicer than ducks :-D
This is a low-angle portrait, shot with a wide angle (26mm), wide aperture (f/4) and very fast shutter (1/3000s). Even so, it came a wee bit overexposed in the top-left clouds and a bit underexposed in the ears. Rule of thumb for this kind of pictures says that one should try to get focus on the closest eye, but somehow the nose looked more interesting in this case.
Yet another picture from Lee Valley Park. Some of the activities offered by the complex are kayaking, rafting and canoeing. Now, I am not particularly fond of almost any kind o boats, but the whole thing brought some classic action shots opportunities that were just too good to let slip by.
Over the kayaking section of the river there was a little bridge that gave me the right angle with perfect lightning, so I could freeze the action with a 1/1500s shutter speed. Aperture was wide open at f/5.6 (the maximum allowed by my kit lens at 105mm). This is one of the occasions in which I wished I had brought my 70-300 along, but I decided to travel light so I had left it in Germany this time. As this was quite a long distance shot, even with the wide aperture almost everything was on focus. Lack of a closer zoom forced me to perform an aggressive crop, so the image size is about a third of the usual size.
Hope you like it!
Another picture from Lee Valley Park, same theme as yesterday. Crossing a little bridge over the canal I spotted these two swam with their little cygnets, lazily sliding over the calm waters. I was able to snap a few pictures before they went away. The swam family was quite less agressive than the geese one though; I got no hissing this time :-D
Today’s shot is a wildlife action shot. During a one day trip to Lee Valley Park, near London, we came across the cutest bunch of little goslings. I tried to approach them to take a cute shot when suddenly their mum decided I was getting too close and went in the way hissing at me like an angry cougar, it was pretty scary :-D
Unlike the squirrel, the mad goose was anything but posing, so in order to get a shot that wasn’t too blurry it was in order to go for the quickest possible shutter. Thanks to the bright sunlight I was able to shot at 1/500s, although maybe 1/1000 would have been better. Depth of field was narrow enough at f/5.6, so it was impossible to get a tack sharp focus (also the damn thing wouldn’t stay still for long enough). Overall I think it came alright.
Picture was taken under good light conditions, allowing to use low ISO in order to minimize the noise. For this kind of photo, everything that appears in the frame is in the wall at the same distance of the camera, so the aperture value is mostly irrelevant as there is no room for playing with the depth of field, so I went for a wide 4.8 aperture to compensate for the low ISO and be able to get my shutter as quick as possible (1/250s) for extra sharpness.
Hope you like it!
Today’s picture comes once more from the dPS Photowalk in London last February. We had quite the rainy day, which was a bit of a bummer but offered some chances to take different kinds of pictures. Pics of winding streets offer good opportunities to use hdr techniques, enhancing the asphalt texture and the water reflections. The technique and settings I used to post-process this picture are very similar to the ones I used for this picture from Singapore. Maybe I should turn this into a theme series or something :-D
Back in London for a few days, and enjoying the almost summery weather around here! Today’s picture was taken during a very hot spring day. I was just wandering around the city center when suddenly, out of no way, it started pouring over. As everybody ran for cover I managed to snap a few pictures, in a few minutes, as sudden as it started, rain was over and sun was shining again.
There isn’t much fancy technique going on here, just a quick shutter (1/125 s) to freeze the falling raindrops in the air, Almost no post processing besides some cropping and a tiny bit of sharpening. Hope you like it!