Dramatic London | Weekly Photo #14

When it comes to photographing London, it’s been quite a slow summer. Apart from being busy with a few weekends away, my motivation to photograph London has waned a little during these hotter months. I’ve heard a lot of other photographers say the same but this is the first time in years of photographing landscapes it has happened to me. It won’t be long before the days grow shorter and it gets colder so I’m sure I will be out more regularly soon enough. The break from shooting London has been good for me as I have taken the opportunity to capture other locations such as Brighton as you can read about in this recent post On Location Photographing Brighton. That being said, I did manage a few trips out over the summer months and a few weeks ago I popped back to St Katharine’s Dock and took this week’s photo.

Dramatic London | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 25mm | 1/10th Second | f/8 | ISO200

Dramatic London | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 25mm | 1/10th Second | f/8 | ISO200

Sometimes a photo just comes together with only a small amount of effort, the scene’s exposure is well balanced, the light is great and it just needs a small tweak in post processing but more often than not, the photo takes much more work and this image was no different.

As with my previous visit to this location, I had originally intended to capture a long exposure photo to help simplify the image a little but after trying out a few different exposure times, I wasn’t happy with how the sky was turning out. The shapes caused by the movement in the clouds wasn’t particularly pleasing to the eye and I was much more drawn to how the sky looked as is, without the movement.

The biggest challenge I had to deal with when capturing and processing this photo was the huge dynamic range between the darkest and lightest areas. I decided to bracket the shot while out in the field but in the end, I used just the +1 exposure as the other, darker images had too much noise and lacked definition in the shadows when I tried to recover them. Working on the brightest of the three images, I darkened (dodged) areas of the image to bring back that dark, moody look I remembered while out in the field and I was able to recover most of the highlights due to Fujifilm’s excellent raw files so only a small part of visible sun remains blown out. I don’t normally like any of my images to have blown out areas but the only exception to this rule is when photographing the sun or artificial lights at night as all cameras will struggle with these and trying to recover these will likely cause the affected areas to look grey and messy. Leaving them as is results in a much more natural looking image.

If I were being super critical, which I try to do with all of my images, I would say the water, architecture and clouds create a particularly busy composition. In such situations, I sometimes take a long exposure to smooth out the water or sky but as mentioned above, that doesn’t always suite the final image.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

Until next time.


This post is featured in my Weekly Photo series where I post a new photo every Sunday.