Where to photograph London’s Tower Bridge – and a farewell to the Olympics

Well…..

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  I know I don’t have a whole lot of readers or followers so it really won’t matter all that much but this is something I set out to do for the year and let’s face it I’ve definitely taken a two month hiatus.  But I do have a really, really good excuse – Adriana’s pregnant!!  We’ve obviously known for a while and it’s led to a bit of a re-prioritization on my part.  I can’t say that because she’s pregnant we’re moving house or jobs or anything else too significant, but it’s just been a little more busy than usual and things that were important to me before haven’t been all that important lately.

For example, I haven’t taken or processed a photo in a long time.  Actually wait – I take that back.  I have been taking some pretty awesome pics of Adriana pregnant (to show the belly grow and make a book) but aside from that I’ve been in a holding pattern with my camera.  I still have a ton of pictures to process from Namibia and I do promise to get some really cool ones out there soon.  We’ve also traveled to a few places over the last month and I’ve taken some snaps so will get those online as soon as I can.  Anyway – enough apologising about not posting, let’s get on with it already.

So, unless you’ve been living in a cave you’ve noticed that the Olympics have come and gone through London.  Wow, what a time to have an aversion to my camera.  I was thinking about making a big effort to do some street photography while all of the visitors were here; opportunities like that don’t come across all that often but alas it wasn’t meant to be.  Adriana and I were fortunate enough to go to a few events, and I took some pictures of men’s volleyball and the women’s gold medal football (soccer) match (which the USA won I might add!)

One of the things that I did have the determination to photograph during the Olympics were the Olympic Rings hanging on Tower Bridge.  These were put in place a month or so before the Olympics and were taken down on the 19th.  I finally dusted off my camera and got down on the evening of the 17th to make sure I got a few pics.  I was fortunate that the weather was cooperative, but the sunset wasn’t quite as outstanding as I’ve seen in the past.  So I wanted to write a brief post on where to take pictures of Tower Bridge.

The photos: 

I’m going to post four of the pictures that I took – as far as I’m concerned they’re your pretty “standard” Tower Bridge photos.

The picture above is taken on the north-east side of Tower Bridge; the same side of the river as the actual Tower of London.  I’ve seen this picture taken many times, it’s very popular on Flickr.  Sunset was scheduled for 8:18 pm so I was down there by 7:30 to walk around and take some pics.  This is a 5 picture HDR – it’s taken very wide (17 mm on a full frame camera) so the original picture was skewed.  I had to adjust the photo in Photoshop using the transform function to straighten the bridge and the flag on the right.  As you can see I didn’t fully straighten the flag; it made the transform too obvious.

This picture I quite like – this is a 7 shot HDR.  My 5d mark III can do anywhere from 3-7 bracketed photos so I wanted to flex it’s muscles a bit; can’t say I can tell much of a difference from a 3 shot HDR but maybe it’s just me.  This is taken from the exact opposite side of the river from the picture above; so the south east side of Tower Bridge.  You’ll also notice in the foreground a slick looking sidewalk with rocks – this is actually the river bed of the Thames.  Many people don’t appreciate how tidal the Thames river is.  This was taken at low tide, so I was able to walk down the stairs and essentially out into the river (obviously there’s no water).  Several hours later and where this picture was taken from would be filled with water.  I like this photo for the clouds; there’s a nice pink tinge to the clouds but unfortunately shortly after this was taken the clouds were blown away and the rest of the sky became rather boring.

I love this pic above.  This is Tower Bridge taken from a very standard location (at least for me and many visitors).  This is the south west side of the bridge, basically taken while standing in front of City Hall.  At the time I took this picture the sun was really going down (the sun would obviously be behind me here) but there were few clouds and after I processed the photo I thought it would look better in B&W.  One of the things that was really interesting about Tower Bridge during the Olympics was that the lighting was a bit different.  Apparently GE, in partnership with the City of London, has upgraded the lighting on the bridge with some LED lights.  This creates an incredible effect and I think this B&W picture brings it out better than many of the others.  Funny how a black and white photo seems to show light better than a color one…

And finally my closing image.  This is taken from roughly the same location as the one above, just further west.  By this time the sun had definitely set and the lights were coming on, so you can see the brighter cables and the Olympic Rings are well lit.  Tower Bridge really is beautiful and I believe it’s the most iconic sight in London, possibly second only to Big Ben.  Many people mistake Tower Bridge for London Bridge, which is further west along the Thames (and is also lit in a cool fluorescent orange at night; possibly an interesting picture waiting to be taken).

For all of these photos I used my tripod.  I’ve heard that there are “guards” on the south west side of the Thames that sometimes slap you on the wrist for using a tripod, but this has never happened to me.  I’m really happy that I was able to get out and take these pictures; I think they’re timeless photos of my years in London and it was a great experience to witness the Olympics firsthand.  In some future posts I hope to share some of the photos I took while attending events.  I’m not promising much as it was my first attempt at sports photography but hopefully we’ll all learn something from it!

Hope you enjoyed the post and I look forward to sharing more photos in the future.  And of course, if you’re interested in purchasing a photo for a low price (I have a baby on the way now!) you can click on the links below which will take you to a full res non-watermarked image in SmugMug.  Enjoy and keep snapping away!

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About Aaron

A love of photography and travel have led to me creating this blog. I'm also interested in science, technology and the outdoors. I currently live in London with my beautiful wife and work in the telecommunications industry.
This entry was posted in Europe, How To, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Where to photograph London’s Tower Bridge – and a farewell to the Olympics

  1. Congratulations Aaron on your news of Adriana being pregnant , hope everything goes smoothly for you both and a great set of images and write up, best of wishes.

  2. Bella Remy Photography says:

    These are amazing Aaron! Thanks for a post as there are people out there that like seeing the world through your eyes.

  3. wwwander says:

    Wow that’s great news Aaron!! Congrats!! I’m happy for you and Adriana, I hope there’s a beautiful and healthy baby on its way!
    And awesome shots! Thanks for sharing!

    • Aaron says:

      Thanks so much Claudia! We’re super excited and trying to get in all our travels in the next few months before we’re in lock down for a while! :)

  4. Leanne Cole says:

    Awesome photos Aaron, and congratulations. I remember when we were expecting our first baby, priorities do change and the baby becomes everything. I do understand.

    • Aaron says:

      Thanks for the comment Leanne – things have been very busy and we’re both very excited! Blogs have taken a backseat for the time being, I look forward to catching up with all your work soon!

  5. Madhu says:

    Amazing shots Aaron, particularly the B&W! And congratulations to you and Adriana! You guys must be over the moon :-)

  6. Kely says:

    Hi Aaron, thanks to Adriana’s post about Namibia sky where she wrote about your blog, your blog is know on my list, I love photography, and your pictures are amazing! Congratulations for these pics!
    And also congrats for Adiana’s pregnancy!

    • Aaron says:

      Thanks so much Kely! Really appreciate the comment and thanks for checking out my pictures! I’m slowly getting caught up on things and hope to be back writing and showing more pictures soon!

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