As I sat at my desk in West London looking out of the window, it wasn’t looking very hopeful for a successful photography session in London. I’d already checked my weather apps and although it initially looked promising, by late afternoon the sky was still flat and rain was in the air.
I left work for the day and as I wandered towards the station, I was in two minds. Should I go take photos, or, with the weather so bad, should I just head home? With little chance of getting good light or a cracking sunset I almost threw in the towel but then a thought struck me. Am I giving up to easily? I stopped in my tracks and stood there whilst I decided what to do. With the conditions as they were, best case I could grab a cracking black and white long exposure, worst case I could scout and explore for next time, when conditions were improved.
I jumped on the underground which took me into central London. I decided to head towards Tower Bridge which is a great spot, providing many photo opportunities facing different directions which certainly helps when you are using the moving clouds or directional light to aid your composition. Having checked the direction the clouds were moving, I decided to set my camera up at St Katherine Docks looking west towards Tower Bridge and the Shard.
To capture the shot below, I used a Formatt-Hitech 10-stop ND filter which gave me an exposure time of 28 seconds catching just enough of the movement in the clouds and smoothed out the Thames helping to simplify the composition and allow the architecture to stand out even more. If you want to learn how to take great long exposure images, you can read my 10-step process by signing up to my newsletter here.
Top tip!! While out and about taking black and white photos, use a black and white film simulation such as Fujifilm’s Acros so you can actually see what your images will look like as you take them. It’s a great approach to get the best results when purposely shooting black and white.
It would have been easy for me to just head home and not take a single image but I’m really glad I didn’t. Many photographers reach a certain point where they don’t feel pressured to capture a photo every time they head out. I realised some time ago that once I enjoy the experience as well as the results, I don’t need to capture a “keeper” during every trip so the pressure reduces, patience increases and the results improve. It’s worth thinking about.
Until next time.
This post is featured in my Weekly Photo series where I post a new photo every Sunday.