I recently returned from the UK, where I love being a visitor in my homeland.
A great delight for me is capturing a different perspective of buildings and sites that I previously took for granted. This is something I highly recommend as a photographer. Take time to be tourists, whether visiting new locations, or just in your hometown, and really absorb what you see around you.
While I am aware that you have all just read a wonderful, and informative, blog, about capturing images in London, I would like to take you on a slightly different journey, but cover some of the same ground.
I am lucky enough to have dual citizenship – UK and USA. I studied and worked in London, and have fond memories of riding my bicycle to work from the Cromwell Road to Trafalgar Square. It was what I affectionately like to remember as my ‘Princess Diana’ period, where many young girls wore high collars, pearls and long skirts that frequently got caught in the spokes of the bicycle wheel! I very much enjoyed my job as a research assistant for a Member of the European Parliament, who was also a lobbyist. But I am ashamed to admit that all too often, I took my surroundings for granted, passing iconic buildings every day without missing a beat. My job meant that I was a frequent visitor to the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and 10 Downing Street.
Moving forward many years, I now live in San Jose, California, and delight in visiting London as a tourist. I only really found the time to reflect upon the beautiful city of my birth once I left London, and revisited with my children, taking them on the bus tours, which is such a brilliant way of navigating through this great city.
Perspective is such a wonderful thing. Not only through the eyes of someone who should have lapped up her surroundings, but also through the lens of a camera. So this blog concentrates on perspectives. The images I am sharing with you are not meant to be great photographic masterpieces, rather the result of experimenting with my newly converted Canon 1D Mk III. I did not take the time to consider all the accouterments I should have included in my bag, I simply grabbed a lens (the wrong one as it turned out, but this is when you aim to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse!).
Many areas of the Houses of Parliament are being renovated, so it is hard to capture any image, let alone that perfect image. I focused in on Big Ben and the London Eye, and attempted to capture my IR shots from a unique angle (yes, this also had something to do with the lens I neglected to change before hopping on the train!). I had some epic fails, due in part to the softer focus, and my inability to accurately check focus due to the muddy reddish images reflected in my viewfinder. But I enjoyed editing a few of these using a mixture of Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik plugins. I love the contrasts that come through the IR image.
I also captured a couple of street shots, and love how the IR element makes images, that are clearly modern, appear as if they were taken earlier this century.
How many times do we go to an assignment, take the required shots, and sigh with relief once it is over? I wish I had taken more time to rest for a moment, and take a few shots for myself (and I am not talking about after assignment beverages!). Have fun with your camera, play with your settings, your lenses, and if you have become in any way jaded, find a new perspective and get excited again! The end result just needs to please you. Sometimes (as you can see in the image below) it is also great to experiment and create something that pushes the truth.
Since I am on the subject of perspective. I do so enjoy leaving work behind, if I can, when I travel. Buildings answer back in an extremely different way to humans. Buildings don’t complain if they look slightly overweight, or you capture them from the wrong angle. They may seem to groan every once in a while from the steady flow of foot traffic gawping and admiring in turn, but they are gentle and forgiving. Photographing for websites and various other forms of content is all well and good, but if this is what you do, take a break and become a tourist in your own town. You will be glad you did!