London is a capital filled to the brim with iconic images from red buses and phone boxes to the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and Battersea Power Station. It is a photographer’s dream location with opportunities for a great picture at almost every turn.
Capturing the atmosphere, sights and lights as the day draws to a close is a challenge but armed with a tripod and cable release the photographer can create stunning night time photos of one of the greatest cities in the world and capture the mood of London nights.
The River Thames runs through the heart of the city and many of the most famous landmark buildings sit along its banks. By night vistas of city lights, bridges and the buildings reflected in the water give the river a character not seen by day. Photographers can set themselves up almost anywhere along the banks of the river and point their lens across the water and create a memorable shot, whether it is from the south bank looking over to The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben or swapping sides and looking over from Westminster to the London Eye. Of all the bridges across the Thames, Tower Bridge is the most instantly recognised.
Further downstream from the centre of the city the Thames Barrier is a wonderful spot at night, orange lights shining on the metallic surface of these strange looking structures, reflected in the water, with skyscrapers in the distance behind.
Many outstanding buildings are illuminated at night, St Pauls Cathedral sits beautifully close to the modern Millennium Bridge, old and new together, both iconic and both striking when lit up against the night sky.
London nights can be as busy as the days so even when the streets of the financial district are quieter office buildings are lit up with work still being done. No sight is more surprising or impressive here than 30 St Mary Axe, commonly referred to as the Gherkin, all metal and glass and cutting edge architecture, standing tall with light in every window.
There are certain pictures which live in people’s minds even without having visited London. Slow shutters speeds capturing the movement of traffic across Westminster Bridge, shafts of bright light streaking across the photo with the Houses of Parliament in the background will capture anyone’s attention. And whilst Piccadilly Circus may not be as impressive a neon display as Times Square, photographed on a rainy night with reflections in the puddles it is another view familiar to those who have never even visited the UK.
London nights are busy with people going home or going out, especially around dusk. Pictures of pedestrians racing in and out of underground stations capture the hurry and hustle of it all and with the familiar underground sign overhead anyone will instantly know where the photo was taken.