Following my “Photographing London” blog post, I have been busy capturing some of the other well known London landmarks. My first stop was St Paul’s Cathedral, another widely-recognised London icon. Whilst it doesn’t quite dominate the skyline as it would have done when it was built, thanks to the newly built offices packed closely around it, the Cathedral still provides a great focal point along the north bank of the River Thames.
Due to the close packing of buildings around the Cathedral, one of the best places from which to capture this stunning building is from the south bank of the Thames, just in front of the Tate Modern gallery. The Millennium Bridge crosses the river between these imposing buildings, and provides an interesting feature to draw the eye towards St Paul’s and to contrast with the baroque architecture of the Cathedral.
In all of the exposures above, I chose a long exposure (either with the help of low light as dusk and then evening approached, or using a 10-stop ND filter) in order to smooth the choppy water of the River Thames. In a couple of cases the exposure extended to several minutes, which created the silky smooth clouds and water.
Choosing the right moment to shoot is, as ever, critical to success. I am lucky enough to live and work near St Paul’s, so I was able to keep an eye on the weather for perfect conditions. I wanted sufficient cloud in the sky to provide a bit of interest, whilst having enough wind to blur the clouds motion when exposed for 1-2 minutes. It is also well worth checking the tide times, as at low tide it is possible to venture onto the edge of the river bed to find some additional foreground interest.