Abseiling for a great cause

One of the very best things about being a photographer is the opportunity it gives me to work with some fantastic people and causes.

Case in point - Orchid Cancer, an amazing group of people who do so much good work and whom I'm priviliged to have worked with for a couple of years now.  I've covered all sorts of events for Orchid from Christmas drinks to fancy-dress charity runs to The London Marathon.  Always stimulating, always varied and as you'll see, often challenging.

Last week, I found myself on top of Broadgate Tower in the City of London, covering one of Orchid's more spectacular fundraising events - namely, snapping the brave souls who each abseiled down the Tower to raise money for Orchid.

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The sun was shining, the views were incredible and every single one of the 40 fundraisers achieved their aim and abseiled down the 541 feet to terra firma.

To get these shots, I was positioned alongside the abseiling platform and was actually straddling the very edge of the building, whilst tethered to ensure I didn't take any unplanned trips.  Was I nervous?  Yes, of course I was!

From a photographic perspective, it's not often you get the chance to shoot from such a vantage point.  Broadgate Tower directly faces the City of London's skyscrapers - just about every London landmark can be seen from here.

Technically, the shots were relatively straightforward - I shot in Manual Mode with a flashgun to enable me to correctly balance the backgrounds and the abseilers.

Well done Hannah and Manjeet at Orchid for yet another superb event!  For more information on the great work done by Orchid, please visit their website - maybe I'll snap you at a fundraising event sometime!

Oh and in case you're wondering, yes - I DID abseil myself!

Thanks as always for reading,

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

 

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

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

 

A Room with a View

So where does one go to find the best views of London (or any other city?).

Well, often to the highest places one can get to.  Towers, bridges and hills can all offer great views and in this case, I went up to the Shangri-La hotel in London's Shard skyscraper.  It's easily the highest tower in London and the observation deck has stunning views.

The lobby of the Shangri-La is over 30 stories up in The Shard and while the best views are from the various restaurants, the hotel lobby itself offers this lovely view.

Initially I took the shot looking over St Paul's Cathedral from the window itself and then realised that it would be great to have the view framed by the lobby furniture.

I'm pretty happy with this image and hope to get back up there for sunset soon.

In the meantime, I hope you like this image - like all my London and Places images, it's available as a print.  Please get in touch via the Contact page for more details.

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

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

Autumn Sunset

You may have guessed that I get a particular kick out of my cityscape photography and that sunset/twilight is my favourite time to shoot.

Why sunset?  Well.....the colours!  The light from the setting sun bouncing off the clouds gives a range of wonderfully deep colours while it's just dark enough to help city lights really stand out.

So here's a new addition to my London Gallery: the city enjoying a gorgeous Autumn/Fall sunset, as viewed from Tower Bridge. 

I used a slow shutter speed (25 seconds) to capture the movement of the clouds and turn the motion of the River Thames into a smooth blur.

From left, the landmarks are City Hall, The Shard and on the right of the image, the Walkie Talkie building.

As with all my London and Places shots, this is available as a print/canvass - please get in touch to discuss sizing & pricing options.

And a huge thank you to All About London for featuring this on their Facebook - I'm always grateful to those who help increase the audience for my images.

Thank you for reading and I hope you like the image.

Thanks, Mo

 

 

Abseiling with Orchid Cancer

This last weekend I got the chance to shoot Orchid Cancer's abseiling fundraiser at the fabulous Broadgate Tower in the City of London.

Always a pleasure to work with Manjeet and the rest of the fantastic Orchid team and to help this great cause whilst getting the chance to take some unusual shots.

Here's two of my favourite shots of the day which are now in my Charity gallery:

Firstly, looking up at Broadgate Tower as two teams abseil down, lots of blue sky, summer clouds and some great reflections  - including a 747 approaching Heathrow.

But did I get to the top?

Of course I did.....here's one of the abseiliers about to go over the side with many of the City of London's most landmark buildings in the background.