This is a photo of East London and specifically Canary Wharf taken at sunrise from the Sky Garden located 37 floors above London’s streets. During the winter months, you can book an early morning visit to this fantastic viewpoint from 7am making it a great spot to capture a sunrise over London.
Having already photographed the sunrise on this particular morning, I was greeted by some beautiful low-lying mist across the city creating a great sense of separation and depth. I really like the glimpse of the River Thames in the mid-ground, the strong shapes created by the buildings over at Canary Wharf and the subtle contrast from the cranes in the foreground.
See my previous article titled “Photographing London’s Rooftops” where I showcased other photos captured from this and other rooftop locations.
It’s a little tricky to get a clean, sharp, reflection free image when shooting up in the Sky Garden. With the dirty windows and no tripod rules you have to get a bit creative so here are a few tips to help you.
The no tripod rule:
Some locations that have a no tripod rule turn a blind eye to the mini tripods but having tried this in the Sky Garden, I was quickly corrected by the staff, so for this location big or small, you can’t use a tripod. Improvising, I laid my camera bag on the floor right up against the window and used it to rest my camera on. It was a little tricky but it did the trick and my images were nice and sharp.
Shooting through dirty windows:
This one is simple. get the aperture as wide as you can. Use f/2-4 if you can get that wide. Shooting these distances won’t give you any depth of field issues but even though most lenses are not their sharpest wide open, that’s the trade off to render all of the marks on the window out of focus and invisible in the final image. Also, with a wider aperture, you will have a faster shutter speed which helps combat the no tripod rule above.
Avoiding the reflections on the glass:
When taking photos though glass windows you will no doubt have some trouble with reflections. The cheap and easy way to avoid this is to place the end of the lens right up against the window. Although this might be effective, it restricts you to the angle you can shoot so you might not be able to capture the ideal composition. The alternative is to invest in a lens hood. I use the Ultimate Lens Hood which fits around the end of the lens and creates a reflection free area when pressed up against the window. I find it still a little tricky to use but at least I can capture the compositions I want.
I hope you find these tips useful in the future.
Until next week.
This post is featured in my Weekly Photo series where I post a new photo every Sunday.