If London’s been too cold for you lately, going up for the views from the London City Hall Promenade isn’t going change that. It’s even colder up there on the 12th floor. For some reason, I only had one glove on me this night. Not only was this outing to help me get more comfortable with the bulb setting on my camera, but it was a lesson in suffering as long as I could or until the promenade closed. I need a checklist to ensure I go out in winter with the gear to keep me warm. Hand and foot warmers are now essential. But, I am pretty sure I levelled up my ability to suffer in the freezing cold to shoot downtown London at night from above.
I took the liberty to stylize these photos quite a bit in Lightroom. A lot of colour was brought out and manipulated. I use personal photos like these to explore. If not your thing, don’t worry, I’ve got other versions that are more true to the scenes. In these images, I mainly loved how I found some different colours coming from the windows of the towers. If you’d like to see the other version of these images, drop a comment!
These photos are shot with my 24mm Tilt-Shift lens. It’s decently wide and makes Victoria Park look like it’s further away than it really is when viewing from the top of city hall. If you go up before the end of 2017, you’ll quickly notice that everything is closer than you expected due to the photos. With a wide angle lens, I really enjoy capturing a lot negative space – the sky in these images. I’m planning to go back up soon and use my 70-200mm and see the difference in what I can capture.
Overall, I am pretty happy with these images. My iPhone 6 died in the cold the second I tried to take a photo for an Instagram Story. This was troubling because I intended to use the stopwatch to time how long I had the shutter open on bulb mode. That means, I was experimenting with the long exposures and using my chattering teeth as a way to count the seconds. It’s tougher to experiment when you exposure lengths go into the minutes and you’re freezing cold. Sometimes you don’t get to shoot all the shots you see while there and that was my case. On a positive note, it all means that I have a reason to go back soon.
If you can bear the cold, the views from the top of city hall are worth it. I think there is an opportunity for the city to serve hot chocolate up there though. Maybe 2018!
If you’re thinking of checking all the lights at night, here is the hours on the City of London website: Winter Wonderland