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The last of my favourite London bridges, though this is not to say there are no other beautiful bridges in London.  There are, and I will explore these later down the river, as it were. 

Tower Bridge is iconic, and I would venture to say the most photographed bridge in London, day or night.  No visit to London is complete without Tower Bridge on your list of things to do.   If you are into London Night Photography, be sure to add this bridge to your must photograph list.    The views looking westward are indeed brilliant with City Hall, More London Estate, HMS Belfast, London Bridge, the City of London, and last but certainly not least – The Tower of London, in full view.

More than this, there are fantastic spots to photograph Tower Bridge itself.  Walk around City Hall, and the More London Estates.  There are numerous opportunities for various perspectives.  Also, try Butler’s Wharf area by the old Design Museum location and St Katherine’s Docks on the opposite side of the River Thames.  Also, the far north end of the Tower of London (down the steps) is a nice area as well.  The north side of Tower Bridge is in full view and you can also include the Tower of London in your photo.

Do plan to spend some time here, and take your time.  The distances from one area to the other are not terribly far, but a hike. Additionally, plan to step up, and step down, as there are a few staircases you will need to negotiate.  Needless to say, walking from one place to another to capture every possible perspective of the bridge is a good workout.  If you’re carrying heavy camera equipment like I do, the workout is even better.

If you would like to see the drawbridge in action during the day, it is entirely possible.  Try your luck, or to be sure, have a look at the Tower Bridge Exhibition website for the timetable.    

Visiting London’s bridges is a splendid way to explore the city and to be rewarded with unique views.  Throughout this London travel blog, I include Chelsea Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Golden Jubilee Bridges, Waterloo Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, London Bridge, and the Millennium Bridge.  Not including Cannon Street rail bridge, can you name the two bridges in Central London I’ve omitted?  Albert Bridge is indeed missing, but coming soon, so don’t include this as one of the two I’ve missed.

Below are a few photos of Tower Bridge and the views around the area.

For visitors, this is the place to descend upon or meet your friends.  It is a familiar place with much activity throughout the day and night.   For Londoners, Piccadilly Circus is an area to avoid.  

The layout of Piccadilly has changed drastically over the years as the city becomes more pedestrian friendly.   The vibe remains as vibrant as ever between the flashing lights of the advert board, never-ending traffic and loud voices between bits of laughter.  

After a serious look and a quick think, there isn’t much in Piccadilly Circus except a statue that was once a fountain and a massive advertising sign.   Piccadilly is the gateway to Theatreland and Soho.  It is also is a gate to Leicester Square.  There really isn’t much more to the area except Piccadilly Circus is a point where hoards of tourists congregate.  I would suggest that today it is a grand meeting point, an overcrowded place to have your lunch and appear in a hundred photographs all at once. A place to revel in the excitement and bewilderment of tourists just passing through on their way to somewhere, anywhere else.

Often I will be out with my camera into the wee hours or awake in the wee hours.  During these way off-peak hours, Piccadilly Circus is deserted.  Seeing a moving car is even rare.  The lights still flash as if to entertain the crowds though there is no one to be entertained.  This is a definite must stop if you looking for a good place to photograph London.

It is the quiet time’s everything seems a bit surreal in London.  To have one of the most populated cities in the world all to myself is odd, but odd in a good way.  It’s during this time my love for London grows beyond measure.

Did you know the Statue of Eros really isn’t Eros?  The official name of the centrepiece is the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, named after the great Victorian philanthropist Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. It was financed by public subscription, which is clearly a testament to his charitable work.  The Statue of Eros isn’t actually a Statue of Eros. As mentioned, the Earl of Shaftesbury was more of a humanitarian than a lothario so in that context it may not surprise you to know that the statue represents Anteros, the god of selfless and mature love, not his twin brother Eros, the god of frivolous and romantic love. It was the first London statue to be cast in aluminium.  And there you have it – an interesting fact about Piccadilly Circus you probably didn’t know.

Included below are a few of my favourite Piccadilly Circus images ::

LONDON AT NIGHT

Destination : London

This post is when and where I talk about laundry.
If it weren’t for my laundry and walking to Pimlico Launderette, I wouldn’t have a reason to walk along Ebury Bridge Road even though it’s near where I live.

The first time I viewed this scene I stopped and watched in awe.  No doubt my eyes opened super wide.  There she was.  A derelict Battersea Power Station standing in the background of a myriad of rail tracks.  The constant flow of trains arriving at and from Victoria Station simply add to a classic London scene.  The trains are modern but this scene could easily be one from the early 1900’s.  

I rushed to the launderette, dropped off my laundry, then rushed to Ebury Street to pick up my camera before returning to this very spot.  I didn’t want to budge away from it.  

Both trains and Battersea Power Station are fascinations of mine.  Now the two married and I couldn’t get enough.  From that day until the major redevelopment of the Battersea began this was my favourite view with my camera.  No telling how many photographs of mine there are from this very spot – both day and night.  There’s no doubt there are hundreds of images from this view at Ebury Bridge Road.

Today, Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms are undergoing a major, major facelift.  I’m pleased to know the power station will remain for many years to come.  For me, it’s a symbol of London and her early might and a time none of us should forget.  The development around the area I’m not too fond of.  What’s happening is very much “out with the old and in with the new” sweeping away locals and bringing in homogeny.  This sort of gentrification is taking place all over London and I’m unsure this is a good thing in the long run.  For a world that is preaching diversity, we are being served a homogenous life.

To arrive at this destination, travel to Victoria Station Underground.  When you leave the station, make your way to Buckingham Palace Road, which is on the north side.  When you are on Buckingham Palace Road walk westward (away from Buckingham Palace).  Victoria Station will be direct to your left.  There are three cross streets you will encounter.  At the third cross street (and traffic light) turn left.  Cross over using the pedestrian crossing which is at the traffic light.  After you’ve crossed the road, keep left and walk a few hundred yards – you’ll be walking up a slight hill.  You’ll soon reach the spot where you will have the view in the video.  I’ve also included a couple of photographs that include the view from Ebury Bridge Road.  The photos are below.

Map Showing Ebury Bridge Road Location

Destination:  London

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The fun of exploring London is winding through the many curved streets and narrow alleys.  There is a bit of mystery and suspense, especially at night.  By the way, GoPro is not that great to use at night.  In fact, GoPro is horrible in low light situations.

Without giving away future London destinations, I will simply say there are many alleys throughout the city I will share in the future.  From Brydges  Place off St Martin’s Lane (shown in the video in this post) to The City of London to Mayfair, Fleet Street, St James’s,  Bishopsgate, the top of Tottenham Court Road, and more, there are areas that will take you from 2019 back to Dickens’ days.

The key is to let the imagination run wild.  Be bold near dusk then meander through London’s alleys during the night.  The narrow passages will make you feel confined with nowhere to go.  The visual lines created by the layers of bricks add an illusionary tension during your stroll.  
But, don’t stroll.  Walk fast.  

Who is at the end?  Whose shadow is on the pavement?  Is there anyone besides you in the alley?  The glaring light at the end of the alley is a wee bit blinding, if not also mesmerising.  The narrow passage coupled with your fast movement gives a sense of mystery.  Is anyone lurking behind you?  How can you escape?  Can you escape?    I love London for this very fact.

The video included in this post shows what it’s like to walk through a darkened London alley at night.  Check back soon as I will include an entire tour of interesting alleys throughout the city. 

If you’re visiting London for the first time, explore any one of London’s alleys.  Streets in London are narrow.  They were never meant to accommodate modern day traffic.  The narrow alleys are a reminder of London’s past and well worth discovering.

Destination:  London

London is like Disneyland for photographers, especially night photographers.  

Almost 60% of the population leaves London after working hours making the city all the more easy to navigate, and photograph. Additionally, if you use a tripod, (which I don’t) you can set it up without being in the way of other Londoners.  Londoners are not so patient when their passageways are blocked.

It is safe to say London night photography has made me an eternal night owl!  I was not always this way.  I used to be a 9 o’clock sleepy time kind of guy.  

I have spent years, months, and numerous hours capturing London with my camera for an upcoming book. I know the city well.   To help you in your own quest to find the best places to photograph London at night, I have compiled the list below.  In later posts, I will expand on what you’ll find at each stop.

20 Best Places to Photograph London
(In No Particular Order)
Piccadilly Circus 
Streets of Soho
Covent Garden
Trafalgar Square
Parliament Square
Westminster Bridge
Victoria Embankment
Albert Embankment
Golden Jubilee Bridges
Southbank / The Queen’s Walk
Waterloo Bridge
The Shard
London Bridge
Old Billingsgate
City Hall / More London Area
Tower Bridge
Greenwich
Primrose Hill
Square Mile – The City of London
Hyde Park Corner

London is not short of photo opportunities so the list could go on.  The one issue I notice with visitors to London is they try to do and see everything in one short trip.  This is not possible because London offers so much in one small area.  It’s true.  My best suggestion is to make a list of the things you want to see and do, then take each day as it comes.

Also, make a list of what you want to photograph.  As I’ve photographed the city, I categorised London into areas – east, west, Soho, Westminster, etc…  In each category, there are numerous sights I wanted to capture.  By making such a list, the task of photographing London becomes manageable and you’ll end up with images you’ll love.  You don’t need to rush.  You can take your time and explore interesting perspectives.  The list works.  In fact, I still use the method because I’m not finished photographing London, nor do I think I will ever be finished.

Where are your favourite places to photograph London?

Below is a gallery of my favourite London night photos.

A video with the familiar sights and sounds of a journey on the London Underground.  This ride takes you from St James’s Park to Victoria on a District Line train.

There are many sounds you could remember from using the Underground.  Who can forget the infamous “Mind the Gap?”  There is also the announcement declaring the next stop, which in this case is Victoria Station.  There is also a whizzing sound when the train gains speed after leaving a platform or the screeching metal on metal sound when trains negotiate a curve.  On the sounds of travel page, you can listen and download the sound of the London Underground.

Years ago I rode the London Underground exclusively for anywhere I’d go in the city, yet when I hit the pavement above ground, I couldn’t navigate without a map.  I’d be on the streets clueless about direction.  The Underground might be convenient, except it doesn’t teach you London’s Point A to Point B to Point C.

When I began my London photography book project in earnest, there was no choice but to walk above ground.  Only then did I put London’s boroughs into directional perspective.  Moving around by foot made perfect sense and I learned how one area connected to another.  I may not know the street names because I navigate by landmarks.

Today, I can walk around the city with ease and – AND – take the shortcuts when necessary.  The map is now etched in my mind.  I know London better than most Londoners.  It really is liberating to know London.  As much fun as riding a tube train might be, try to limit your use of it and see if you, too, can learn to explore London by foot.

Funny how a ride on the London Underground led me to this post.  I appreciate the engineering marvel deep below London, but it doesn’t help when you really want to know how to get around.

Included below are images are taken from inside a London Underground train (old and new)  ::

 

 

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More London Riverside is great fun to explore with your camera.  You’ll find plenty of photo opportunities if you love modern glass architecture and pavement.  Situated on the River Thames with Tower Bridge in full unobstructed view, More London will keep you busy with your camera for hours.  The Tower of London, The City of London and H.M.S. Belfast are in full view offering you even more ways to capture this great city.  Is More London Riverside one of the best places to photograph London?  Oh, absolutely.

More London also named London Bridge City, is a privately owned development on the south bank of the River Thames, immediately south-west of Tower Bridge in London.  The southern exit is on Tooley Street.

It includes the City Hall, a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, office blocks, shops, restaurants, cafes, and a pedestrianized area containing open-air sculptures and water features, including fountains lit by coloured lights. The Hilton London Tower Bridge hotel opened in September 2006.

More London is 13 acres (53,000 m2) in size and has planning consent for 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2) of mixed-use space, of which up to two million square feet will be offices, accommodating up to 20,000 people. The buildings were designed by Foster and Partners architects and some are still under construction.

Where is More London Riverside?  How do I get to More London Riverside?
More London Riverside GPS Coordinates ::  51.5056821, -0.0832896

Five minutes after arriving on the main island of Venice I thought I was lost.  In fact, I wondered if I’d find my way anywhere much less back to the hotel.  The myriad of bridges over canals, the narrow alleys twisted, turned and led me around far too many corners then confused my sense of direction.  I kept walking and picking out landmarks though there was no guarantee I’d return the same way.  

Eventually, I arrived at St Mark’s Square and this is when my heart melted.  I fell in love.    My love affair with Venice continues today and I’ve visited countless times.  I still get turned around every so often though my heart doesn’t race like that first time.  Moving forward always lands me at or near the place I want to be.

My Best Suggestions To Discover The Magic of Venice ::

::  Take a water taxi from the airport to your hotel in Venice.

::  Take a vaporetto to San Giorgio then look back at the main island of Venice in awe.

::  Let out a deep sigh when you see the Bridge of Sighs

::  You’ll think you’re lost, but you’re never lost in Venice.  Toss your map and explore.

::  Be a tourist and go to the top of the Campanile in St Mark’s Square.  The view will astound you.  If you’re lucky you’ll hear the bells of the Campanile up close and personal.  They are gloriously loud.

::  Visit St Mark’s Square both day and night.  I love night best because few others are there.  You can have your own Venice moment.

::  Take in the view from the Rialto Bridge.  The bridge is overcrowded during the day, so stay up late and go at night.

::  There are plenty of squares throughout Venice.  Find each and every one and drink them in.

::  Buy a Chorus Pass to visit all of Venice’s incredible churches, then marvel at the masterpieces inside.

::  The truth is Venice is magic everywhere you turn and every corner you take.  Be respectful of the locals.  It is a living breathing functioning city.

::  The floating market at Campo Barnaba is fabulous.  Don’t miss it.

::  See where the birthplace of gondolas and where they are made by hand.  It’s fascinating to watch even across the small canal.

::  Your love affair begins in Venice and never really ends.

There are many reasons to love Venice.  If the city is on your travel list, this video presentation will help you discover Venice so you can make the most out of your time.  My best advice – open your mind, your eyes and your heart then allow Venice to do the rest.  You might also want to throw your map away.  A map will not help you much.

Destination:  Venice Italy

On a cold winter day, the clouds and the London Eye roll during sunset.  

I know.  I know.  You’re thinking I have a lifetime pass for the London Eye in my wallet.  I really don’t.  In fact, since it’s opening, I’ve only taken the London Eye ride just once. This is true!  Is it possible to exhaust my thoughts about the London Eye?

According to FourSquare and those who use the mobile app, the London Eye is the third best place in London to see the sunset.  To be honest, I wasn’t trying to capture the sunset but had visualised the rotating London Eye with Big Ben in the background for a video clip, which you can see in this post.

I have to dig deep for more London Eye facts since I’ve given so many in previous posts, but here goes ::

:: The London Eye is not a Ferris wheel. It’s the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel

:: Supermodel Kate Moss has been on the London Eye 25 times – the record for a UK celebrity

:: On average the London Eye receives more visitors per year than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza

:: You can see up to 40 kilometres in all directions (that’s as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day)

:: In December 2005 the London Eye was lit pink in celebration of the first Civil Partnership performed on the wheel

:: The 32 capsules on the London Eye are representative of the 32 London boroughs, and each one weighs as much as 1,052,631 pound coins

:: Despite there only being 32 capsules, for superstitious reasons they are numbered 1 – 33. For good luck number 13 is left out

:: The London Eye can carry 800 people each rotation, which is comparable to 11 London red double-decker buses

:: The London Eye had a predecessor – The Great Wheel – which was in working order from 1895 – 1906

:: Capsules travel at a leisurely pace of 26cm per second, which is twice as fast as a tortoise sprinting

Included below is an image taken the very same day as the video.

City Hall is part of the More London development located between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, on the south bank of the Thames. It was designed by Foster + Partners, one of Britain’s leading architects.

Controlling the heat build up that comes from exposure to sunlight is very important in a glass building. City Hall is designed to do this in a number of ways:

  • in conventional terms, the building has no front or back – it’s a geometrically modified sphere. This minimises the surface area of the roof exposed to direct sunlight, which reduces the amount of heat build up inside the building
  • the building’s spherical shape means it has around 25 percent less surface area than a cube of the same volume. This means that less heat escapes during the winter, and the building doesn’t get too hot in the summer
  • the building leans back away from the river, to present as little surface area to the sun as possible. This also means that the building does not leave the river walking in shadow.
  • the floor plates at the back of the building are staggered inwards, providing natural shading for the floor beneath.

London City Hall and the More London development are interesting areas to explore with your camera.  The estate is situated adjacent to Tower Bridge and right at the River Thames.  Indeed, the City Hall area is a perfect place to photograph London.  There are so many angles and perspectives so do plan to spend a bit of time here.  Each time I venture to City Hall with my camera I find a new way to photograph it.

Where is London City Hall?  How do I get to London City Hall?
London City Hall GPS Coordinates ::  51.5048° N, 0.0786° W