A Gherkin and A Wedding (aka A Wedding at 580 Feet Up )

One of my favourite aspects of wedding photography is the great variety of locations at which I get to shoot - every venue has its own unique charm.

Some locations though are unique because of their rarity factor and recently I was lucky enough to shoot a wedding at one of London's most exclusive venues - on top of the iconicGherkin skyscraper.  Officially known as 30 St Mary Axe, the Gherkin is one of the most famous elements of London's city skyline - and does not allow public entry.

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Here's the 40th Floor ready for the Civil Ceremony- the polished floor, huge glass panes and stunning views, along with the reflections, really make this a pleasure to photograph.

As you'd expect, the views from the 40th floor are just stunning - the Gherkin is close to many of London's most famous landmarks and buildings.  In the photo above, 122 Leadenhall Street (aka 'The Cheesegrater') towers in the background.  I love these nicknames for skyscrapers!

I was there working with the wonderful guys at Peekaboo Events and they (as always) provided high class and orginal decor for both the civil ceremony and the evening reception.

The image above shows the fabulous setting for the evening reception.

I've wanted to get up The Gherkin for as long as I've taken photography seriously so this really was an experience to remember.  A big thank you to Peekaboo Events for the opportunity to do so - pay their website a visit (I took most of the images on there) and tell them Mo sent you!

Of course, it would have been rude not to take a few shots of the stunning views while I was up there and I managed to capture this memorable view of Tower Bridge late in the evening.  I hope you like it.

 Tower Bridge long exposure from The Gherkin

Tower Bridge long exposure from The Gherkin

 

Enjoy the fabulous weather and please tune in for another blog update in next week or so.

Thanks for reading, Mo

 

London Marathon 2017

Hello all, hope you're well and thanks for visiting.

I'm enjoying an extremely busy period right now, which is great and what's really stimulating is the variety of the assignments I've been shooting over the last few weeks.  These have ranged from weddings to portrait shoots to events assignments to one of the world's biggest marathons.

And that's just the last two weeks!

I'll be blogging in the next few days about a very special events assignment over Easter in a very special location (hint - atop one of London's most iconic buildings).  Today though,  I want to share some images from yesterday's London Marathon.

My assignment was to capture Orchid Cancer's runners who were raising money for the fabulous work that Orchid do infighting male cancers.  The roadside vantage point was perfect - a great view of the runners with London's City skyline in the background.

Huge congratulations to all the participants, who will have raised millions for so many wonderful causes. 

The atmosphere was fantastic, the weather was kind and we even saw a practical use for Batman's famous utility belt!

And here's my favourite image from yesterday:

I really wanted to nail a shot that did two things - frame the runners against the skyline and also capture a sense of movement for the runners.  Normally this means slow shutter speeds to get that motion blur.  But there's bright daylight so the camera wants to use a fast shutter speed.  Also, it was just not possible to shoot with a tripod.

So what did I do?  I reduced my ISO to 100, narrowed the aperture to F12 (to let less light into the camera), turned on the Vibration reduction on the lens and finally experimented with shutter speeds to get the right look.  In the end, I settled on 1/20th of a second for the shutter speed.

Hope you like all the images and please do visit Orchid's website to find out more about the amazing work they do.

And if you're a charity looking for a creative photographer, please get in touch and let's discuss how we can get the best possible images for you.

Have a good week, Mo

St Pauls and a faulty tripod....

Hi and welcome back.  I hope Spring has indeed sprung wherever you are - I'm certainly appreciating the warmer days and later nights.

A couple of weekends back, I was fortunate enough to shoot inside one of London (and Europe's) most famous and iconic buildings - St Paul's Cathedral.

St Paul's Cathedral was built by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th Century (in the aftermath of The Great Fire of London).  To give some idea of its sheer scale, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1967.

St Paul's is (along with Parliament/Big Ben) one of the key London sites for tourists and visitors- normally however, photography of any kind is not allowed inside the cathederal. 

This image is entirely down to the splendid people at London4All (one of Instagram's best photographic groups) for somehow arranging an after-hours visit where we could shoot away to our hearts content.  To be able to do so without hundreds of people milling around made it even more special.

To call the interior stunning actually does it no justice - several of us, rather than snapping away, took a few minutes to just soak in the magnificent surroundings.  Despite this, I know there are angles and details that I missed.

Having finally got inside St Pauls, I had the unwelcome surprise of realisng that my tripod was unusable - "frustration" is a mild understatement for how I felt!  This 5 second exposure shot was only possible becuase a fellow shooter lent me his tripod (thank you Greg!).

Having fianlly got the shot I wanted (looking towards the High Altar and featuring some of the beautiful ceiling detail), I opted for a slightly subdued edit, lowering the blacks and raising the clarity.  I hope you like the final image. 

A huge thank you to London4All for organising this visit - they're a fab bunch so give them an Instagram follow: @london4all

This image is in my London gallery and available as a print.

Please feel free to get in touch and thank you for reading.

Thanks, Mo

 

 

Shooting Into the Sun

Hi all, another image to focus in on today.  Before I start that, a quick one word review of my Nikon D750 now that I've been using it solidly for just over two months: "INCREDIBLE!"

Yes, my love affair with this superb camera continues - I'm finishing up my more detailed review to post here and should have that up soon.

So here's today's image for dissection, taken in the late afternoon from London's Tower Bridge, looking west directly towards the setting sun

 

 

I was actually on Tower Bridge photographing fund-raising runners for the excellent Orchid Cancer Charity (please check them out and help in anyway that you can - it's a wonderful cause). 

Once the last of the runners had passed me, it suddenly hit me just how vivid this particular sunset was.  Sunsets and sunrises always require luck - the clouds, the clarity of the atmosphere and timing can all make or break an image at these times.

One aspect of photography that comes with experience and practice is picturing the final image in your head well before you click the button.

In this instance, I wanted a dramatic setting sun, silhouetting both the London skyline and the boat as it lit up the sky and river.  The wake of the boat was also an attraction as it sailed towards the sunset.

But I was in the wrong spot to get the boat more central and directly in line with the sun - cue a quick jog along the bridge until everything lined up just as I wanted it.

Here are the settings I used (after a couple of trial shots):

Spot Metering (exposing for the sky); IS 80; Aperture: f7.1; Shutter Speed: 1/250 of a second

This is why the sun is clear, the skyline is silhouetted and why the clouds are so deep in colour. 

Whilst editing, I darkened the entire image which makes the silhouettes deeper and also allows the colours to become more saturated.  Of course, two different people will edit the same photo in two often very different ways.

I'm pretty happy with the final image and would love to hear your thoughts on it.

A big thank you to visit London who kindly retweeted this out to their followers:

As with all my London and Travel images, this is available as a print and canvass.  Please Contact me for more details.

Have a great weekend,

Mo

 

Composition, Luck and a test drive of my new camera

Most photographers probably have some favourite places where they like to try and capture a perfect shot or improve on previous attempts and Baker Street tube station in London is one of mine.

Dating to 1863, Baker Street is London's oldest Tube/Underground station and some of its platforms are just architecturally stunning - they almost seem to transport you back to the time of Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street's most famous fictional resident.

I've tried several times to get the perfectly composed shot here and it's never quite happened. And then onmy last visit, I got lucky.

The thing to bear in mind is that the image you see above is almost exactly what I had pictured in my mind's eye - a lone figure standing absolutely centrally under the middle of the three soaring arches.

The shot has to be taken from the opposite platform and while you can always get a friend to pose in the perfect spot, you can't control other passengers getting into your shot.

This time, I got lucky - this gentleman is obliviously waiting for his train.  In the exact perfect spot.  WIth no-one else around!

I snapped a few shots as quickly and carefully as possible and less than 90 seconds later, there were a few dozen people milling around the platform!

For me, this shot is all about a human presence in amongst the beautiful architecture - composing the architecture part is easy but the composition of the human element isn't - if the guy had been standing even 18 inches to either side, this would have been (at best) an interesting but unbalanced composition.  Equally, he could have been in the perfect spot and (as often happens) someone else could have come and stood a few feet away.

I'm really pleased with the end product, not least because it was part of testing of my new camera.  I'll blog at more length about the Nikon D750 soon but after owning it for three weeks, I'm hugely impressed with the D750 so far.

It's relatively small & light for such a powerful full-frame camera and most importantly for me, it's just astonishing in low-light conditions.

This image was shot with a Nikon D750 body, Nikon 50mm f1.8G lens, shutter speed 1/100 second, aperture f3.5 and at ISO 3200. 

I hope you like the image as much as I do (or even half as much, because I REALLY like it!).  If so, please check out my London and People galleries.

As always, please let know what you think.

Thanks, Mo

 

More Superheroes!!

As a follow-up to my London Super Comic Con blog, I'm over the moon that the official LSCC website now features dozens of my images from the fantastic event.  Please visit it here

A big thank you to Bryan Deemer and the organisers for featuring my work in this way and for giving me the opportunity to shoot a truly enjoyable event.  I'm really looking forward to next year already.

Here's some more images from the event but please do visit the LSCC Homepage to see a fuller selection.

Thanks, Mo

Blurry Eye - an experiment with the London Eye

Like any city, London has its fair share of iconic locations/buildings and views, all of which are photographed from every possible angle on a daily basis.

As an example of this, think of any iconic building in your nearest big city.  Now think of the different images you've seen of it.  Now challenge yourself to shoot a truly original view or interpretation of this building.

The point, you may agree, is that it's actually very hard to come up with a fresh view of a much-photographed icon

So what to do?  We can't all hire a helicopter or crash a posh apartment-with-a-view in the pursuit of a fresh take. Well, I can't anyway - good for you if you already have a helicopter or a posh apartment-with-a-view!

The underlying theme here is that I challenged myself to take a fresh perspective on the London Eye.  Along with Big Ben and Tower Bridge, the Eye is an iconic structure that has been photographed to death over the years.

Here was my solution:

There's nothing original about my viewpoint here - on any day, you'll see tourists and photogrpahers a-plenty on London's North Bank snapping this very view.

Where I tried to be different was go abstract, and present the London Eye in abstract form.

To do this, I deliberately 'de-focussed' the shot, playing around with different amounts of blur, in order to emphasise the overall form of the Eye and its surroundings in 'bokeh' form. 

Bokeh is photographer-speak for "out of focus" - it's that ethereal, delicate circular blur effect and is often present in the backgrounds of portraits.  Here, I just made the bokeh the main feature of the image.

So no, nothing is in focus - deliberately so, as I wanted to create an abstract image with colourful blur.

So that was my London Eye/Bokeh experiment.  I wouldn't do this for every view, landmark or building that I come across but I like it in this form, and hope that you do too.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

This is available as a print, as are all my London and Places images.  Please contact me to discuss print/canvass options.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

Mo

Powder & Wigs

Regular readers will know how I try and carry a DSLR whenever possible- mainly because you never know what opportunities you may stumble across.

Here's a perfect example - walking out of Piccadilly Circus underground station when a horse and carriage pulled up in front of me.  Even better, it was full of models in period costume!  

Rather than the splendid horse and carriage, the opportunity to grab an unusual portrait really appealed to me.

I was carrying my lightest combination (Nikon D7000 and Nikkon 35mm f1.8 lens) the greatest advantage of which is it's flexibility- it allows me to shoot cityscapes, architecture, street shots and as here, portraits.

This camera/lens combination really is great for natural light work and I would recommend it highly as a flexible setup.

Given the white tones of the models' outfits, I knew this could make a striking black and white image.

For more of my portrait work, please see my People gallery.  I'm available for individual, corporate and family portraits so please Contact me for more details.

Have a great weekend, Mo

 

 

 

Little Venice

One of my photographic aims in 2016 is to get off the beaten track more and explore London's many interesting and out-of-the-way areas.  It's always great to find an unexpected and gorgeous view and of course, it's always fun to explore - even in places you think you know well.

So, I started with a real hidden delight near the city centre - Little Venice.

Sandwiched between Paddington Station and Edgware Road, the canal is lined with houseboats and lovely little floating coffee shops and restaurants and I'd definitely recommend going there for a pleasant walk.

I was lucky with the weather during my brief visit and also the water was relatively calm.  More to the point, having only visited briefly once many years ago, Little Venice was even prettier than I remembered it to be.

Taking this image was more about the framing and composition.  Technically, it was relatively straightforward as it was a lovely, bright morning so there was no need for any camera trickery.

i always want a new aim for my photography and I'm really looking forward to exploring more out-of-the-way places in London, especially with Spring not far away.

Thanks for reading!

Mo

 

Tower Bridge

Firstly, Happy New Year!  I hope 2016 is good to you all.

I'm working on some very exciting projects for 2016 so please keep an eye on this Blog for my updates.

Here's an image which I've been wanting to capture for a while.  Of all of London's famous landmarks, I'd say that the most iconic for people around the world are Big Ben/Westminster Palace and this....Tower Bridge.

I'd been trying to capture this view for a while and finally made it there for a nice sunset on a clear night that allowed me get a nice capture of the City skyscrapers on the far side of the famous Bridge.

For this image, I used a 15 second exposure (which smooths out the motion of the water) and helps capture the detail both on the bridge and also on the skyline in the distance.

This has now been added to my London gallery and as with all my London and Places images, this is available as a print and canvass.  Contact Me for more details.

Thanks for reading, Mo

Christmas Lights

One of the signature aspects of the Holiday Season is of course, the chance to experience the beautiful Christmas Lights wherever you happen to be.

Like many cities, London has an annual Winter Wonderland and that means lots of beautiful Christmas lights to photograph.  So the next challenge is how to capture the lights in a slightly unique way?  Here's how I chose to do it - in an abstract way that highlighted the points of light.

 

 

In fact, I chose to go so abtract that the large Ferris wheel and the various points of light seem almost impressionistic.  The lights appear as "bokeh" in photography speak - that's the ethereal, circular effect on the lights and bokeh appears usually as background to a sharp person or other subject.

Here though, I chose not to have a foreground subject and to get this effect, I deliberately blurred the focus. 

i know I know, all photographs should be as sharp as possible at all times shouldn't they?  Well, no - occasionally, to get the creative effect you need, it's worth breaking the rules.

A huge thank you to the London4All Instagram Group who selected this as the winner of their Christmas Lights theme.  Given the high standard of the other entries, I'm especially delighted that this was selected.

As with all my London and Places images, this is available as a print or canvass.  Please email me on mo@mobaigimages.co.uk to discuss the options.

Thanks for reading, Mo

London at Christmas

Which great city DOESN'T look great at Christmas - especially at night?

London's no exception and I have to say, it's looking especially pretty this year.

Here's the annual Christmas Market at More London, with The Shard looming over the scene.

 

To get this image, I used a wide angle lens (Tokina 11-20mm) with the camera set on a tripod at a very low height - that's what gives the dramatic angle looking up at the modern buildings in the background.

You can make out very faint blurs of passers-by as they move along.  The 1.3 second exposure causes them to blur out.

A big thank you to Visit London for featuring this image on Twitter:

I hope you like the image - like all my London images, it's available as a print.  Please contact me for sizing and pricing info.

Thanks for reading, Mo

Santa Run for Orchid Cancer

Working with a good cause is important for me and it's something I've been able to apply my photographic efforts to for the last several years.

I'm currently working with the fabulous team at Orchid Cancer (the UK's leading charity for male cancers.  I captured their fun-raising Charity Santa run around More London this week, and it was every bit as much fun as you'd imagine.

Given that there were dozens of participants all dressed as Santa, racing around some of the city's most prominent landmarks, it made for some memorable images.  Here's a gaggle of Santas celebrating the end of the run in front of the City of London's skyline.

Please see Orchid's website for more information about this great cause, the fabulous team and how you might be able to help.

Thanks for reading

 

Always look around

I'd headed to Victoria Embankment to take a couple of shots of the London Eye but wasn't excited by the lighting- it was one of those windy, cloudy days where bright sunshine and murky grey alternated every couple of minutes.

Heading back to Westminster Bridge, I happened to glance up and was struck by the shadow cast by the Underground sign, with Big Ben in the background.  Along with the old-fashioned lamp post, I love the grouping of London's iconic symbols.

So - plan A didn't work out but the impromptu plan B was even better!  All that remained was to wait for the shadows to be at their strongest to get the contrast I wanted.

Like all my London and Places shots, this is available as a print and canvass - please get in touch via the contact me page and we'll discuss options.

Thanks for reading, Mo

 

Foggy London

Sometimes the weather doesn't let you do what you really want to.  I'd found a fabulous vantage point and was aiming to get some nice shots of Westminster at sunset.  So what happens?  As soon as I get up there and set up, the fog rolls in......and what a stroke of luck that turned out to be!

I may not have got the shots I wanted but what I did get was far, far better -  the wonderful sight of dense fog engulfing one of London's great landmarks.  Thank you weather!

Sunsets happen every day, but such atmospheric conditions happen only rarely and I feel fortunate to have captured this and other striking images.  London' famous 'pea souper' fogs don't actually happen very often but it's still a famous image dating back to Victorian times.

A big thank you to Visit London for featuring this image on their Facebook page.

As with all my London and Places images, this is available as a print or canvass - please get in touch via the Contact Me page to discuss options.

Thanks for reading,

Mo

Westminster Gothic - featured by Mayor of London's Office

I've just added a dramatic new image of Parliament and Big Ben to my London Gallery

I took this shot whilst trying out a new wide angle lens a few days ago - and where better to test the lens than around Westminster and the London Eye?  Great views in every direction and ample opportunity to get creative.

I always look for a fresh take on London's landmarks and the sun illuminating the historic lamp post added the colour I wanted and helped throw Parliament's outline into a dramatic silhouette, giving the image the imposing look I wanted.

Since I posted this on twitter, it's been featured and reposted by amongst others, The Mayor of London's office, Visit London, Visit Parliament and many others.  A big thank you to all of them for the exposure.

Like all my London and Places images, this is available as a print and canvass.  Please contact me for more details.

Thank you for reading, Mo

The Appearing Room Fountains, South Bank, London

I'm typing this on a grey, murky, wet August Bank Holiday Monday and it really does seem like the Summer is passing.  Which got me thinking: which shot would sum up my photographic summer?

It has to be this one - taken at the Appearing Rooms Fountain on London's South Bank.

Trying to be creative, I got right down to ground level and shot with the sun facing me through the water - this enabled a fast shutter speed to 'freeze' the water.  I also waited for a few people to pass between me and the Fountains - I wanted their silhouettes to add some foreground interest.

The image is now in my London gallery

I hope you like the image- like all my London and Places images, it's available as a print and for licensing - please contact me to find out more.

Thanks for reading, Mo

 

Leap - featured Image on Visit London

Here's a shot I'd been wanting take for ages but could never seem to be at the right place at the right time.

The right place is the skatepark on London's South Bank and the right time was a late summer evening when the light hits the arena and skateboarders in a very particular way.  Well. I finally got the shot that was in my mind's eye.

The key thing for me was not just to capture the leaping skateboarder, but also to get his shadow on the graffiti behind him. The technical challenge was to keep as much in focus as possible whilst also "freezing" the skateboarder in mid-air. The late evening golden light was the perfect illumination and also helps frame the skateboarder very nicely.

A big thank you to Visit London and for tweeting out this image to their followers

This is now up in my London gallery and available as a print or canvass.

Thanks for reading, Mo

 

Trafalgar Square in Silhouette

The latest addition to my London Gallery is up - Traflagar Square in Silhouette.

Taken on a gloriously sunny afternoon, the silhouettes of Nelson's Column and the George IV statue really jumped out at me.

Trafalgar Square in Silhouette

If you like it, please contact me as (like all my London and places images) it's available as a print.

I would love your feedback and thank you for reading.

Mo