Capturing Tower Bridge

I love Tower Bridge.  A combined suspension and drawbridge that crosses the River Thames. It is an iconic symbol of London, England; and very photogenic.

Whenever I am in the UK, I am always drawn to the incredible architecture of this bridge; to just look and see if I can perhaps make a slightly different image.

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A long exposure blurs the people and captures the car’s lights, giving the red streaks | 5 second exposure | f 5.0 | ISO 100
The bridge opened June 30 1894 and hundreds of people pass over the bridge each day.  When the sun goes down and the spotlights illuminate the 65 metre high, 244 metre bridge is when the bridge really comes alive for me.

The Victorian Gothic architecture is highlighted and makes for great long exposure images.

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Waiting for a big red London bus to pass through the frame dramatically changed this image | 5 second exposure | f 11 | ISO 100
Patience is the key to photography, and capturing this bridge.

I set up my tripod, look through the viewfinder and compose my image. After making some test shots to make sure the image is how I want it, I wait. Stepping back and taking a moment to take in the surroundings allows me to look at the vehicles as they pass and think about how they will effect the final image. A five second exposure is long enough to capture the light trails from the bus, and not have the spot lights become over exposed and ‘blow out’ the image

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Comings and Goings. A bus and a taxi give this image the look I wanted | 5 second exposure | f 11 | ISO 100
For this image, I found a ‘not as dangerous as it looks’ spot to set up my tripod. I waited for a bus driving away from me, with the orange light of a black taxi coming towards me. I had to wait a long time to get the bus/taxi combination, but I think it was worth the wait.  By setting up my frame and using a shutter release, meant that I was in tune with my surroundings and not hunched looking through the viewfinder. I was able to open the shutter at just the right moment.

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The Dolphin and Angel water fountain | 6 second exposure | f 11 | ISO 100
Alongside the River Thames are a variety of places to position a camera and look at the bridge. I saw this water fountain and wanted to utilize it within an image. My equipment is weatherproof, which is handy, because both myself and my camera got quite wet making this photograph when the wind changed direction and completly soaked me.

My 5 tips for a better long exposure image of Tower Bridge:

  • Know your camera – how to use manual mode or shutter priority to allow for longer exposures (and if it is weatherproof, should you get wet)
  • Use a tripod –  Compose the image and be patient. You cannot make good light trail images if your camera has any movement while the shutter is open.
  • Use a remote or cable shutter release – this helps your capture the shot at the right time, rather than looking through the viewfinder and potentially missing the opportunity.
  • Look around you – is there a different angle to capture the scene?
  • Have a cup of tea or coffee to hand and an extra layer of clothing – being patient can get quite cold.
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Selfie | 0.4 second exposure | f 2.8 | ISO 100

You cannot visit an icon without the obligatory ‘selfie’

Now, get out there, make make some images and share them 🙂


And remember to follow my journey 🙂

#paulies365 #explorewithpaul #paulkporterphotography

Instagram: @pauliespics

Twitter: @pkpphoto

Facebook: paulkporterphotography

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