London is great to Photograph Light Trails not because the city is overrun with traffic, but because the iconic double-decker bus lends itself beautifully for this little trick. Two of the images below were taken with the Hasselblad 500cm, a medium format film camera. Digital is easy as the results are shown immediately. Using film is a guessing game, and a fun one at that. When I use the film camera, I literally count the seconds and the minutes because I don’t wear a watch. One-one hundred, two-one hundred, three one-hundred and so on…
In an earlier blog post, I listed: Oxford Street, Oxford Circus, Cambridge Circus, Piccadilly Circus (that’s a lot of circuses’!), Parliament Square, and Westminster Bridge. Today I will add to this list, and perhaps later add on even more.
Where are your favourite places to photograph light streams in London?
Old Brompton Road and Harrods. There is plenty of traffic on Old Brompton Road to be able to capture great light streams. The lighted Harrod’s building is a fantastic backdrop and makes your images all the more interesting. There is an area in the middle of the road with a railing around it so you can be safe from traffic.
Trafalgar Square and Admiralty Arch. Stand in the middle of the roundabout, which is a rather large area. It is also in this roundabout where you’ll be in the very centre of London in motion, so says the plaque behind the statue of King Charles I. The beauty of the roundabout is you can freely move about and change your perspective. There’s Admiralty Arch in the Southwest corner, The Strand to your east, Trafalgar Square and Lord Admiral Nelson’s column to the north and Whitehall. You can literally spend hours here taking photos or letting your mind go wild by creatively taking yourself back a few hundred years.
View of Battersea Power Station and Rail lines from Victoria Station. Where? Ebury Bridge Road. This road is for those who know it and not many people do. When you leave Victoria Station to walk west along Buckingham Palace Road. At the third traffic light, you’ll arrive at Ebury Bridge Road. Turn left and you’ll easily find this spot. When you arrive, you’ll be perched high above the rail lines and see numerous trains passing by, which I adore. Battersea Power Station is in clear view in the background. What a glorious view it is.
Waterloo Road. Across the street from Waterloo Station is a small park area with a curved black marble bench. You’ll also see a church facing the station. I simply placed my camera on the black marble and let the magic happen. Double-decker buses regularly turn from Waterloo Bridge onto Waterloo Road. The BFI Imax Theatre is in the background (behind the tree). The buses, tree and theatre all reflect beautifully on the bench resulting in a brilliant image.
Tower Bridge. Need I say more. London’s double-decker buses regularly pass along the bridge in both directions. Merely walk one side of the bridge, then the other side for some remarkable light stream photos. Your only limit is your imagination.
The Strand offers plenty of opportunities to take great photos. You’ll find a few red phone boxes somewhat near Charing Cross Station. These phone boxes are great to incorporate into your photograph. If you walk along The Strand toward Waterloo Bridge and even to St Mary Le Strand Church, you’ll find ideal spots to take great images.
London can be a photographer’s playground. Everywhere you turn there’s motion. I’ve put together the Gentleman’s Guide to the Twenty Best Places to Photograph London to help you on your journey through the city.
I hope you’ll share your own images with me. I’d love to see them.