On Location | Photographing Covent Garden

I have often said that wandering any city early in the morning is hands-down the absolute best time to do so and London is no different. On this particular morning, I started at Trafalgar Square, on to Covent Garden then via Seven Dials, I finished my shoot in the trendy and colourful Neal’s Yard.

I set out with just my Fujifilm XT2 and XF10-24mm wide angle lens. Heading out with a single camera and lens combo is something I like to do often. Even if I have other lenses with me, I tend to stick with just one. Not because I’m lazy (which I can’t fully deny) but because after just a short time working with different compositions through the camera’s viewfinder, I find I start “seeing” the scene in that particular focal length allowing me to pick out subjects and compositions easier.

Trafalgar Square

I started the walk around a rather cold and cloudy Trafalgar Square. I wanted to capture some architecture but I then spotted some people walking in front of the National Portrait Gallery looking tiny compared to the museum building adding a fantastic sense of scale to the composition, I stood dead central on the stairs and waited for people to walk past. I reeled off about 5 different images and the shot below is probably my favourite.

It’s probably worth noting that adding people into my photographs is quite new to me and where previously, my approach would often involve a camera atop a tripod and using filters to remove people from my images, undertaking my London Chrome project has encouraged me to change and adapt and use new techniques such as this, which has almost certainly improved my photography.

For the second image below, I simply turned 180°, looking out across Trafalgar Square with Nelson’s Column perfectly central, splitting the image in two. As you can see, there is a hint of blue sky which gave me some renewed hope that I may get some good light a bit later.

A photo of The National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/105th sec
f/6.4

ISO200
10mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

A photo of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/140th sec
f/6.4

ISO200
10mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

Covent Garden

After finishing up at Trafalgar Square, I headed over to Covent Garden. If you have ever visited Covent Garden you will know how busy it gets there during the day. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions in London, capturing the area without the usual swarms of people can prove difficult but if you get there early enough and you have a much higher chance of doing so. The photos below were all taken before 8am on a Monday morning.

As I arrived at Covent Garden, the light started to improve so I wandered around the Market building seeking out different compositions.

A photo of Covent Garden, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/125th sec
f/8

ISO800
10mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

A photo of The Market Building architecture, Covent Garden, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/125th sec
f/8

ISO400
10mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

As I wander around, photographing London, I often look back at the photos and wonder about their history such as how they were built or why they even exist and the Covent Garden Market building was no different. After a quick google search, I came across this article which talks about the history of the market and why this iconic London landmark was built.

A photo of The Market Building walkway, Covent Garden, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/75th sec
f/8

ISO1600
16mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

I looked for different compositions such as the plants on a wooden cart below creating some foreground interest or as above with the symmetrical composition created by the walkway through the Market Building.

A photo of The Market Building, Covent Garden, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/125th sec
f/8

ISO640
10mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

A photo of The Market Building store fronts, Covent Garden, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/90th sec
f/8

ISO1600
24mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

A photo of The Market Building architecture, Covent Garden, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/105 sec
f/8

ISO1600
10mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

A photo of a man and a pigeon walking in the market building, Covent Garden, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/125 sec
f/8

ISO1250
24mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

Seven Dials and Neal’s Yard

As I wandered away from Covent Garden, the sky had cleared and the morning sun began to light up the surrounding buildings I found myself in the area of London called “Seven Dials”. This area, designed and built in the 1600’s is a road junction where 7 streets converge to a point. Interestingly, there is a column in the centre with only 6 sundials as the column was built before the seventh road was added to the plans at a later stage of construction.

I grabbed a quick photo of the Seven Dials junction before heading into Neal’s Yard.

Located between two of the roads that converge at Seven Dials, Neal’s Yard is accessed through a small alleyway between Short’s Gardens and Monmouth Street and is a colourful street with trendy wine bars and coffee shops.

Armed with the wide-angle lens and with the light now illuminating some of the architecture providing me some more contrast and colour, I snapped a few images of this vibrant little street.

A photo of the Seven Dials junction, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/125 sec
f/8

ISO320
22mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

A photo of Neal’s Yard, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/125 sec
f/8

ISO500
10mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

A photo of Neal’s Yard, London taken by Trevor Sherwin

1/125 sec
f/8

ISO400
10mm
Fujifilm X-T2
XF10-24mm

By the time I was finished, London was awake and I no longer felt I had this vast space to myself. With summer just around the corner, I am confident there will be many more sunny mornings to wander the streets capturing some of the colour that adorns this incredible city.

Until next time.