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

 

watching you watching me. aka how I snapped the elusive leopard

Thanks for tuning in to my latest blog post.  Time for a change of pace - let's get away from people, weddings and London for a short while.

Let's instead head to the great outdoors.  More specifically to the legendary Kruger National Park in South Africa. 

Even more specifically, we're heading to a copse of trees where, resting on a branch, is this magnificent leopard.

This is easily one of my personal favourite images that I've ever taken for a variety of reasons.  Firstly - I'm by no means a wildlife photographer; my skillset, experience and equipment are geared towards other areas of photography.  Until this trip, I had little idea how involved, rewarding and difficult it is to get good wildlife images.

Another reason is the story behind the image - on a three day safari, I had seen a huge variety of wildlife including four of South Africa's Big Five animals - lions, elephants, rhinos and buffalo.  The fifth (the leopard) though, was proving elusive.  By nature, they keep themselves to themselves and are hard to track.

By the final day (and after multiple drives with the rangers) there was still no sign of a leopard and I was getting desperate to snap one.

And so, to the very last drive of the safari trip, with departure looming early the following morning.  A long, beautiful drive - walking with cheetahs, following a small pride of lions, coming across some very angry looking buffalo and watching a glorious sunset over the distant Draksenberg Mountains.  Pretty much everything in fact, except for a leopard.

The light was fading as the rangers decided to head back to the lodge when......a radio crackled into life.  Another ranger had found a leopard - we had to get there quick!  And when we did, there it was - a beautiful leopard, relaxing on a tree limb. 

We sat close to that tree for 20 minutes, as I alternated between snapping away and just drinking in the sight of this magnificent predator.

Photographically speaking, this was a hard shot to take as the light was fading fast and I didn't have a long enough zoom for ideal framing.

In the end, I used my Nikkor 85mm f1.8G, at f2.2 and ISO 1600.  In editing I cropped the image and added clarity and contrast to the leopard.

What made the shot so personally memorable was something totally out of my control - the moment when the leopard looked directly at me just as I snapped the shot.  Of the dozens of shots I took, this is the one I come back to – the leopard's direct stare into my lens was unforgettable; which is the other reason why this is such a personal image.

Since I've taken it, this has been one of my most popular images - it was featured by The Guardian website and is one of my most popular prints.  It's in my Places gallery - please contact me for print and licensing enquiries.

So that's the story of the leopard.  Next time, I'll focus on a portrait as I'll dissect another personal favourite image. 

Thanks as always for reading.

Mo

 

 

 

Into 2017

Thanks for tuning in and I hope 2017 is going well for you all.

Before I start on today's blog topic, I'd like to say a heartfelt 'thank you' to everyone for their patience, sympathies and well wishes while I was occupied with my Dad's illness and subsequent passing.

2017 is a new year, a new start and a chance for me to refocus on my photography in a major way.

I have several exciting projects in the pipeline and I'll be bringing them to you right here on my blog.

Expect to see a lot more events and people photography in the next few months, with select images appearing here on my site.  I will also be launching a new Instagram feed purely for my events, portrait and wedding work; my current IG account (@images_by_mo) will continue to feature my London and Travel images. The new feed IG feed is (@bespoke_imagesbymo).

One of the highlights of 2016 for me was linking up with the fabulous people at Peekaboo Events - specialists in events planning, decor & lighting for weddings, corporate and charity events (Peekaboo designed and delivered the gorgeous setting above for a woodland themed corporate party).

Peekaboo asked me to capture some of their breathtaking work for both weddings and corporate events and it's been a personal and creative pleasure.  As a wedding photographer I've seen a lot of event planning and decor - I can honestly say that I'm blown away by the creativity, attention to detail, originality and delivery of the Peekaboo team.

Above is a white themed wedding setting which I just couldn't wait to get snapping; moody directional lighting, lots of contrast, fab textures and exquisite details - all guaranteed to get my photographic juices flowing.

I'm looking forward to doing much more with Peekaboo over the next year and will be highlighting some of their work in my Events and Wedding sections.

So if you're planning a wedding or corporate event, please give Peekaboo Events a visit and tell them Mo sent you!

Thank you for reading and I'll be back with another blog very soon.  Teaser: It'll be about how I got this shot:

 

Have a great weekend,

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

 

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

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

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