Tuesday, August 21, 2012

London at Night

I have been back in the United States for a week now and I am finally getting caught up on real life. It is really strange when I am at the Olympics, since it is so all encompassing that I rarely hear about anything outside the Games. Since I was basically doing nothing but shooting, editing, posting blogging and sleeping (well...a little sleep), I had no time to watch TV, surf the Internet, talk to friends...so now I am trying to get caught up.

As part of this catch up process, I am posting the last images from the trip to London. Three nights before I left, I had 20 minutes to head into the Olympic Park and take some night shots of some of the venues.

I started with my home away from home, the water polo venue. I spent many hours in this building, but had never seen the front of it from the outside at night, until this evening.

This is a photo of the basketball venue and the velodrome, taken from one of the bridges. To the left of the image, you can see a large crowd of people who were watching a large monitor showing the games live.

A closer shot of the velodrome and the crowd...

Towards the end of the Olympics, I had just enough time to sneak away for one full evening and shoot images of downtown London.I had arranged press access to the "London Eye" (which is the giant wheel that you see in the image above). This wheel has large capsules, which hold 28 people per, and provides a really nice aerial view of the city. But, since they do not allow tripods, I needed to get clearance to have my own capsule and use a tripod.

This is a view of London, facing towards Canary Wharf, where we were living for the month. You can see some of the amusement park rides at the bottom of the photo.

I took this photo to show some of the city, but also wanted to include one of the capsules in the shot so that you could see what they look like up close. (Photographer tip: I was hoping that the London Eye would stop as they unloaded and loaded each capsule, but that is not the case. The Eye moves slowly, about 30 minutes per full rotation, with people getting on and off while it moves, so there are very few points where it actually stops (usually for wheelchair access...) This means that taking a long exposure photo from the Eye is almost impossible, even with a tripod. Not only is the movement an issue, but all of the glass in the capsule is curved, which means that it is hard to get a shot through the glass without getting light reflections off of the glass.)

Once we got off of the London Eye, I ran down the edge of the Thames River to find a good location for my night shot of the Parliament Building. I wanted to get a shot of this landmark at just the right time of the evening, when I had the dark blue skies (I think it was about 30 minutes after sunset). I shot numerous images from this spot, but liked this one (with a 9 second exposure) with the streaks of light from a large bus on the bridge and a boat in the river.

And then I made my way up to the top of the bridge to get this shot, also using the lights of a passing bus to make this a little more interesting. This photo was taken with a 10 second exposure at ISO 100.

After the traffic had cleared a bit, I played my own game of "Frogger" and dodged traffic to get to the other side of the bridge. I saw that they were projecting images on the river side of the Parliament Building and I wanted to get some shots of that. Because the images were changing rather quickly, I changed the settings on my camera to take this shot with a 6 second exposure, so that I could capture one projected image on the building and not two in the same shot.

This last image was one of my favorites from the evening. I was shooting images of Big Ben from the sidewalk of the bridge, when I noticed these two girls draped in the Union Jacks. They were turned with their backs to me. I took some images of them facing in the other direction, but wanted something better. I introduced myself to them and asked them if I could take their photo. They agreed to be my subjects and we started shooting. I moved them a couple of times, to get them into the light of the nearest street lamp, and then asked them to stay very still during my 2 second exposure. This always looks cool when the subject stays still but everyone else is moving around them. As it turned out, the one girl (sisters) was working at the Main Press Center of the Olympic Park. I gave her my business card and she emailed me a couple of days later, asking for the image, which I sent her for her own memories. A fun image ending a very fun trip.

As it turns out, I will be doing two presentations at B&H Photo (the largest camera store in the world) in New York City on September 5th, and one of those will be on "Night Photography". The other presentation will be on "Sports Photography" on the same day. If you are in the area, sign up and drop on by!


Garen T said...

I found your blog as the Olympics were starting and I just wanted to say what a pleasure it was to see those two amazing weeks through the eyes of a photographer! I really loved getting to see all the different sports shot by a pro, and by the great writing to help us "feel" like, we too, we're on assignment!

A new fan,

袁俊 said...

good job. i'm reading your blog by chapter.it's helpful to me.