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Apr, 2018

South Bank Sunset

Shard in evening sunlight

Submitted to Photo Contests


Won Community Choice AwardNovember, 2018
Won Contest Finalist in Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 32May, 2018
Won Staff FavoriteApril, 2018


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Behind The Lens

This shot was taken from the Sky Garden viewing gallery on the Northern bank of the river Thames, London looking across to the Shard on the Southbank.
The photo was taken on the 17th November 2017 at around 16:30 just as the sun was setting.
I wanted to wait until the lights of the Shard give a nice contrast between dark buildings behind. I avoided taking the shot directly into the sun to save on blown highlights. I did take a few hand held bracketed shots, but in the end there was enough dynamic range in the single shot to produce this image.
For this shot I used a Nikon D750 with the standard kit lens (24-120mm F4). The lens had a polariser filter on to try and cut down on the reflection from the safety glass you forced to shot behind. I was luck enough to get to the viewing deck well before sunset and managed to get close to the glass before the crowds took up all the best positions.
This photo had been in my mind for some time as I through you should get some nice views across London from the viewing gallery's in the Sky Garden at sunset and I was very lucky with the weather. The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street is a unique public space that spans three storeys and offers 360 degree uninterrupted views across the City of London and what is better entrance to it is free and the price of beer is not too bad!! Although you have to book your time a few weeks in advance, so some level of planning is required and you have to take your luck with the weather. I had also hoped to get some shots looking north over the Gherkin and the Lloyd's Building but there was a lot of development work going on around them and the cranes spoiled most shots in that direction.
This shot was process by my normal routine, firstly I import the photos into Lightroom and do the basic adjustments (shadows, highlights, whites, blacks and clarity) and the best shots marked for further processing. This shot was then opened in Photoshot and some reflections removed via cloning. The sky was cleaned up a little to remove some of the as the distracting aircraft streaks . I also used Colour Efex Pro 4 to enhance the dynamic contrast and when brought back in Photoshop I mask out the effect where it's not needed.
In my camera bag
On this trip to London I was flying in, so equipment had to be kept to a minimum. The only thing in my bag was the camera body and the standard lens I had a cable release and my trusty SRB filters, a selection of ND's and a circular polariser.
If you hope to get up to the Sky Garden, plan early and arrange to be there at least an hour before your planned shots, to give yourself time to get through the queues and scout out the positions before it gets too crowed. Tickets can be organised on-line, with booking opening about two weeks in advance. The use of tripods are fronded upon as it can be very crowed at the best photographic times. If you want to cut down on the reflection through the glass you should plan to shoot as square to the glass as possible , with the front of the lens right up against the glass, a rubber hood maybe of benefit but I didn't have one.

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