Monday, 12 October 2009

London by Night

I recently posted a very poor quality shot taken from the observation gallery on the 32nd floor of Centrepoint Tower in the West End of London. Now for almost any other city in any other country 32 floors would not be considered high. For New York it is positively tiny and you'd expect to get 360 degree views of the walls of the surrounding buildings. London, for some years, had a policy of very low rise and hence Centrepoint Tower affords a quite fantastic view. One day I shall sneak up there with my camera, a tripod and a glass cutter so as I can take some wonderful pictures before I am arrested and incarcerated.

I enjoy taking photographs, and so do a few others I work with. A small, but select, band of us decided to take a walk one evening in January around some of the more picturesque parts of London. When there are a few of you, setting up tripods and taking photographs doesn't feel anything like as self-concious an exercise. There is, as has been said before, strength in numbers.

We decided on the Tower Bridge area of London. It is an iconic symbol of London. It's also really windy.

For my first photo I wanted to get a shot of the traffic streaming through the bridge (clicking on any of these photographs gives a bigger image):

This was close to thirty seconds of car lights. Notice the green traffic lights. This is one of those places in the world where running a red light can result in a very through car wash.

I varied this a tiny bit for a vertical shot:

Tower Bridge is lit up like a Christmas tree. Up to a point this is fantastic for photographers, but you'll notice the star lights and glare all over this image. Incidentally there were people walking up and down the pavement (sidewalk), but because of the long exposure none made even the slightest impact on the shot.

A short walk later and we were over on the South bank of the Thames, looking back across the river towards The City. The City is what we call the financial hub of London, and is to London what Wall Street is to New York. That is, a place of risk taking plonkers who needed some serious bailing out when they discovered that they'd all been selling each other assets that on closer inspection were probably liabilities.

Fortunately this photographic trip was before the credit crunch and they could still afford to keep the lights on at night. Now they are allowed a single tea light per floor, which is lit at dusk and blown out at dawn.

Even I, a jaundiced, cynical, countryside lover has to admit this is very pretty, with all the different coloured lights. Oooh, look at the pwity lights...

This wasn't the coldest of nights, but a gentle and persistent wind wore away at us all. It was beginning to make my nose go all the wrong colour. A blue nose clashes so badly with my green eyes. It's an aesthetic thing.

From this vantage point, I could look back and get a view of the whole of Tower Bridge and a magnificent sight it was too. I hope this image captures that beauty.

From there we strolled back and I went home to attempt to get my circulation working again. I did in everything except my head.


  1. I had just been looking at some of these over on your website... simply wonderful! You have some fabulous work!

  2. Very nice entry, your pictures are ace, I like how the long exposure makes the Thames look frozen - I must check out your website

  3. Thanks for posting these. I love the first one of the bridge.


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