By: Brendan Van Son / Reposted from www.brendansadventures.com
I’ve been kind of bouncing around the globe of late. I was in Mongolia for a workshop, then Bali for another, Australia for a quick holiday and then back in Europe for a travel photography assignment before heading to Nepal. It’s been a bit of time zone chaos, and I haven’t felt jet-lagged – more just permanently confused. But, it has been fun. And, one of the best times I’ve had was in London where I was on a travel photography assignment with Monograms.
Day 1 – London City Tour and Windsor Castle
I’m going to break this travel photography in London down into the 2 days, just to keep things organized a little bit. Day 1 was actually day 2. But, since I really only arrived in London on day 1, it doesn’t really make sense to include it. I will say, though, that if you’re flying from Australia to London: expect to be destroyed by jet-lag. It absolutely crushed me. Give yourself at least 1 recovery day to start your trip.
A New Lens!
I started things off right in London with a new lens. I picked up the Canon 15-35mm f/2.8 is RF lens which really just launched. So, I was beyond excited to get it out and put it through the paces.
You can see the whole video from my initial test of the lens below.
Travel Photography Mid-Day
So, let me explain the assignment a little bit.
Monograms is a part of the Globus Travel family. They’re kind of a mix between traditional group travel and self-guided travel. Essentially, when you arrive to a destination there’s a local guide there on site. But, you have a whole lot of freedom to do whatever you want. There’s generally one included city tour mixed in, but then there’s also a bunch of optionals. Essentially, you can do as much or as little with a group and guide as you want.
My assignment/goal was to capture what life could be like on a trip, from a travel photographer’s perspective.
On day 1, there was an included city tour of London. So, I tagged along to see what it was all about. And, I have to say, I really enjoyed it.
I’ve spent so much time in London that I kind of took for granted the idea that I could learn things or see new things. But, the guide was awesome, and we had a really good time.
Best yet, I actually got a handful of images that I really like. Most people think that I avoid doing my travel photos in the middle of the day. However, I do actually get out and make images mid-day. I just don’t always publish them because the sunset and sunrise images are a bit more dramatic.
But, I did manage a couple photos: both on the streets and inside St. Paul’s Cathedral.
You’ll Never be This Cool
This image really puts that Canon 15-35mm to the test. And it does marvelously.
A Frame of St. Paul’s
I loved putting the 15-35mm lens to the test in St. Paul’s. I tried as often as I could to shoot f/2.8 and ultra-wide at 15mm. The results were awesome. I’m so glad this lens is now a part of my camera gear.
So Much Detail
An Afternoon at Windsor Castle
I think when you feel like a local you skip some tourist attractions that make for pretty good photos. So, when there was a chance to go to Windsor Castle as an optional excursion with Monograms, I jumped at it. I’ve never been. And, honestly, I never really thought about going. It was just one of those places that I knew was there.
But, I really liked going. It meant that I got some pretty classic travel images.
Since it was the middle of the day, I had to get a little bit creative with the imagery. But, the light was nice and moody and made for some cool images.
Playing with Depth of Field
One of the things I try to do in when taking images in the day time, is playing with depth of feel. I feel (pun intended) that it helps make an image draw your eye to whatever is most important. In this case, the towers of Windsor Castle.
It wouldn’t be a series of London travel photos without a photo of a Queen’s Guard. But, since I have the new wide angle lens, I wanted to do something a little bit different than a typical portrait.
So, I got low and went wide, like really wide.
Day 2 – A Day as a Travel Photographer on Assignment in London
Normally, I try to spend one day on a travel photography assignment in which I act like a regular tourist. Or at least, a regular tourist who gets up at sunrise for photography. In that day, I try to photography every aspect of life through the eyes of a tourist. I try to imagine myself as a tourist in London for my first time, and then photograph everything that they might – but in a professional way.
I try to photograph the hotel, the food, the attractions they might visit, and even some of the quirks of a destination. On day 2 in London, I tried to do this. But, kind of failed a bit.
Morning Photo Walk
I wanted to photography something I hadn’t before, so I set out to Blackfriar’s Bridge. I spotted a shot I liked from the bus the day before. But, when I got there I realized that the angle was better from the elevated bus.
Still, I liked how the image came out. And, maybe I actually need to come back to this shot during different light. I think it does work well with the dark night scene, though. It has a bit of a Gotham City vibe to it.
After the bridge, I had to make moves if I wanted to get a couple other morning photos. So, I ran over to a pretty classic travel photography location in London: Millennium Bridge.
And, yes, it’s a classic image that’s been done before. But, I still like it. It’s a classic for a reason.
Finally, I wanted to see if I could get to Tower Bridge for sunrise. But, as so often happens in London, the light went from beautiful and blue to flat and grey in a second. I did, however, find a really nice angle of one of the towers. And while I’m sure other photographers have found this before, I haven’t seen it elsewhere. So, I came away really happy with an image I didn’t expect to take, and haven’t seen before. That’s always a win.
I also wanted to try out my new Canon 15-35mm f/2.8 RF on a scene at city hall. It works. I do need to come back when the light is better, though.
A Day in London
As I mentioned, I was trying to share what life on a travel photography assignment in London is like. But, it didn’t always go to plans. You can see the video of the day below to see what I mean.
It’s funny. I’ve been passed the Tower of London a hundred times and never thought to go in. But, I’m glad I did. Much like Windsor Castle, it was the middle of the day and I had to get a bit creative with my compositions, but I think I walked away with some good ones.
Below are some of my favourites.
Fish & Chips
Earlier in the day I tried to photograph a popular fish and chips spot. But, I didn’t have cash, so I failed. So, at the Tower of London I photographed a much more touristy spot. But, I think the image works.
This scene didn’t even look real. Like, no one lives in these houses, do they? It’s such a classic looking London frame, and it does make the city look like a bunch of toy houses.
I always wondered where this photo was taken from. I actually wandered around London for a whole afternoon looking for it. Turns out, you just need to pay the entrance to the Tower of London to get it.
I didn’t have my tripod, so I just balanced my camera on a ledge to get this slightly long exposure image.
Another Queen’s Guard
I opted for a bit of a classic portrait of this Queen’s Guard because I liked how much of his face was covered by his hat. I honestly don’t know how he sees.
Who is Monograms?
If you want to scope a little bit more about Monograms, please check out their page here.
Also (disclaimer), I was paid to be on assignment for Monograms. But, the words I write about them are under no way shape or form influenced by them. This blog is always my opinion; positive and negative.