I had nothing particular planned this weekend, and was exploring various options to get me busy and also not be ‘home sick’, given that I am already away from home for a month now. Then I got an idea of attending a photography workshop, and make use of the some free time in the weekend, and improve my photography skills. Quick Google searching for 3 key words, “London Photography Tours” took me to few sources where workshop / tour options were provided. However, options provided at The Official London Photography Tour (OLPT) got me convinced to consider them
OLPT offered multiple types of workshops, but South Bank Night Photography workshop got me interested most, as I always wanted to learn how to capture light trails. Workshop is typically offered on Saturday evenings, but this time course was offered on Sunday evening. Quick call to number listed in the contact info connected me to Luke, the photography coach, who is highly rated on Trip Advisor. Luke confirmed that he is available to take the workshop, though I was the only one to register for the class. So, I was quite excited that I would get all the attention and need not compete for the same, in a large group. It’s a 4-hour workshop, costing about 75 quid, and additional 5 quid for renting the tripod
Once confirmed on the phone, Luke me sent me an email with instructions on where to meet, along with his photograph to make it easy for me to recognize him, and few other tips. We planned to meet in front of the City Hall, which itself is a pretty nice structure to photograph to begin with. Tour/Workshop was scheduled to start at 7PM and end at about 10:30PM. I met him at the City precisely around 7PM, and he was waiting for me with his red t-shirt as said in his email. I was little concerned as dark clouds were forming in the skies, and whether we would be able to take good snaps. Luke quickly shattered the concerns saying, rain is good, and we can take some cool shots, and said let us hope for Thunderstorms. He said, he is cool, as long as I am cool with it.
Workshop started with quick briefing on art of photography, on his iPad where he discussed composition, lighting, and discussed both good and not so good photography. He mentioned many during the session hat Good Photography is all about 90% creativity in composition and 10% knowing how to use the camera. Luke was oozing lots of enthusiasm and energy when explaining about concepts of photography, in the similar lines of Kalyan Varma, whose workshop, I had attended more than a year ago.
First few snaps were about identifying leading lines, and we took snaps of City Hall leveraging the concept of leading lines. Then we took the snaps of the egg (in front of city call) and discussed how to remove / isolate the distractions (in this case two street lamps). We experimented with various exposures to accentuate the leading lines in the photograph. Then we took the landscape snaps of Tower Bridge, and got on to the bridge. Here we experimented with light trails, which was my favorite part. It still wasn’t dark, so just took few snaps, after setting up the camera on the tripod. We took all the snaps in the soft drizzling rain, with me trying to protect the camera via umbrella with left hand, and clicking with right hand. He gave several trips of ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed setting. We used 1-second shutter speed, for capturing the light trails.
Then we walked to the area where we could see Shard tower, and experimented with Dutch technique. On the way to the tower, we captured Thames River during the golden hour. Then we took a long walk to back of Gherkin tower, and took nice snaps of the tower, with ancient chapel as the foreground. I never thought about it, until he said, “See how Modern Building and Ancient Building are in the same frame”. He also pointed me to Lloyds Building, which has a unique “inside out” design and made me takethe portrait snaps.
Finally, we took a really long walk to St Paul Church. On the way, I have asked for some more light trails snaps to be captured. So we stopped on the street leading to the St Paul’s, and took some more snaps. Luke was happy to oblige. Big Red Buses helped us capture some nice snaps of the light trails. Finally we got to the top of the mall across the St Paul, and we took majestic cathedral with part of its image being reflected on the water, and Luke said ‘See how the rain helped”.
Luke said, he is always in touch with his customers on social networks, and asked me to reach him out for any further tips, or review/critic of any of my snaps. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is interested in photography, or who wants to know the ideal spots to take obstructing images of iconic towers in London. I would be definitely explored some more workshops in town with Luke, when I am here next time.
I went back to south back few days later, and capture some more snaps. They are also included here.
Grim Scenario of just one surviving tree, in front of massive steel structure
Video of the traffic on the Tower Bridge