Mystic River

London would not be London without a river flowing through. We, Londoners, go through life crossing this vital waterway without thinking too much of it (or do not even cross it at all!!!). And believe me when I say crossing, I mean it – living in south London and working in Kentish Town gives me two encounters a day with the Thames. It was time to set my eyes and camera on one of London best feature : E14!
Isle of Dog was one of the largest development in East London when I landed in England and from where I live, I often gazed at these new erected buildings surrounding One Canada Square and its now famous landmark. Today, this financial district is packed up with high rise buildings and you need to set yourself on the south bank of the river to encompass the gigantisme of this gentrified  once derelict area. That’s convenient for me and I have been scouting for the best places to photograph these building in their context IE the largest river meander in London area. The Thames path is a good way to do this as it is almost continuous all around this part of river but the challenge rises when you want to add the river bank in the pictures. I was lucky to find a permanent access to one low tide muddy bank close enough so I would document both the river and these giants looking upon her. I also wanted to benefit from the sun setting these on fire (graphically speaking!!!) I rode to the place when the light started to glow, what we photographers call the Golden Hour.

High rise buildings basking in the golden light

I am a big fan of telephoto zooms whatever the subject may be but this one required the use of my old faithful 18-135 DX lens mounted on the D800 (cropped to DX). I really need to invest in a proper wide prime!

The good thing about golden hour, is it leads to another colder light not less interesting, the blue one! But I had a bit of time to spare before we got there so I kept experimenting, trying to close up my shots. You will notice that the vignetting is unbearable!!! (I lowered the cropping factor when zoomed in!…)

Or, to include elements of the river… a bit more… let’s say… dynamic!!!

The sun gives away its last direct filtered photons… It’s time to go dark! The bank I stand on has been in the shadows for a moment but the scenery facing me looks now very gloomy but no lights are visible yet to add interest to the next city pictures!
I shall focus on the water and muddy bank to plat with the shutter!

What about “cliché” blurry water and sharp rocks… Yes, I’ll do it! not for artistic purposes but because it’s a good way to explore extreme settings on this new camera of mine.

Now, the lights start showing on these towers… time to shoot them!

This was a very productive hour spanned over golden and blue hour… I need to come back with a model for portrait shots. Any volunteers?