Blue hour in London

Blue hour in London

Lovely London, captured during blue hour - my favorite time of day to shoot!

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Painting Big Ben

Painting Big Ben

Today I share some images of Big Ben in London - that are converted to paintings, using Topaz Simplify.  Take a look and let me know what you think!  It's been a great app to experiment with!

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Blurring past Big Ben

I take this same photo every time I go to London.

Am I redundant?  Unimaginative?  Bored?  Nope, I don't think that I am any of those.  Well, at least I hope not!  I just happen to really like the idea of this photo.  I think it represents a lot of what people think of when you mention London. (plus, I just think it's a way cool photo)

For starters, this is on the Westminster Bridge, which people may not know the name of, but they certainly know it when they see it.  Secondly, there is a double-decker bus in the photo, though you obviously can't really make it out clearly. It's in motion, after all.  Lastly, there is good old Big Ben himself.  Standing tall and proud, he's the best known symbol of England.  And he's a pretty incredible thing to aim the camera at.  In fact, I wrote a little dedication to him here once.

Even though I may show up here and take this shot many times over my many visits to London, it's really never the same shot. In addition to mixing it up a little in terms of composition, due to light and weather things are never exactly the same.  So next time you have a chance to go shoot, feel free to shoot something you have shot before.  I believe shooting the same thing over and over actually causes you to get more creative.

And by the way, this is not an HDR photo, though most of mine are.  This is just a single exposure.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Big Ben - a study in pictures

An ode to Big Ben

Morning light on Big Ben - 7 frame HDR (click to enlarge)

There are iconic symbols of great cities...and then there is Big Ben (I know, the Eiffel Tower lovers are gonna kill me for sayin’ that!  And yes, that’s a great symbol too, so there).  But I love Big Ben.  It’s bad ass.  It’s awesome.  And yes I know it is not really known as Big Ben - at least what we call Big Ben isn’t really called Big Ben.

Still one of my most favorite shots ever - a double-decker bus blurs past Big Ben (single exposure - click to enlarge)

Let me clarify...

Big Ben on a cloudy afternoon, looking awesome (click to enlarge)


The clock tower itself is called The Elizabeth Tower, named after some lady who lives in a quaint house up the street. ;-)  The bell which is inside the tower and which is not visible from the outside - that’s Big Ben.  In other words, Big Ben makes the noise.  He’s got swagger, see?  He just hides really well.

But let’s be will never be The Elizabeth Tower to any of us.  It’s always going to be Big Ben to us Americans, and probably to a lot of other people too.  You can blame Chevy Chase if you want to.  


Look kids - Big Ben!

Anyways, it’s a great symbol of a great city, and a destination that EVERYONE takes a picture (or a hundred) of when they visit London.  Basically, you HAVE to take a picture of it, and then share it on Facebook.  That’s how you prove to your friends that you were really there (or you’re just trying to rub it in).  And then you go buy a souvenir which has Big Ben plastered all over it.  It’s all part of the experience, and it’s all jolly good fun (did that sound like proper English?).

Big Ben under moody skies - 7 frame HDR (click to enlarge)

A 7 frame HDR sunset from my favorite Big Ben viewing spot (click to enlarge)

Ok then, let me zip it on the dumb commentary and get back to the pics.  I assume that’s why you showed up today - yes?  Good.  I love to take pics and share them here, and hope that someone doesn’t steal them.  

The clock face all aglow (click to enlarge)


Since my work travels have taken me to London several times over the last couple of years - and since I have a nasty habit of taking LOADS of pictures when I travel - it seems I have accumulated quite a few pics of ole Big Ben.  And admittedly, I have only processed and shared a fraction of what I have taken.  I just prefer to process (and then share) things out of order.  It’s more fun for me, and presumably my readers would get bored if I posted 100 photos of Big Ben, 100 days in a row.  Ain’t that right?  




By the way, I’m not ashamed to admit that I frequently take photos of the same things I have photographed on previous trips - like Big Ben, in this case - because conditions are always different, and therefore the photos are always different.  Plus, I feel differently each time I sit down to process something.  I can create the mood I want to create by moving some sliders arounds.  It’s all pretty damn fun, actually.

An iPhone shot of Big Ben taken from the back seat of my cab.

And yes I take plenty of pics with my iPhone too!


Like this one ----->>>>>


Anyways, I hope the fact that I repeat a lot of my subjects doesn’t mean I am unable to come up with creative, original ways of seeing things.  I like to think that it allows me to get to know something much better, and to learn how to use the “monotony” of shooting something again and again as a way to spark that creativity inside of me.  Plus, if I just really like something, I am going to shoot it 6 ways to Sunday (that is NOT proper English).

A great sunset over Big Ben, taken with my iPhone then adjusted in Snapseed and TangledFX (click to enlarge)

So, when I go to London, what’s on my list?  Big Ben.  And a bunch of other stuff.  But always Big Ben.  It’s there, it’s big, and it’s awesome.

A tilted view of Big Ben during sunset (click to enlarge)

And I would say to add it to your list, but let’s be honest...we both know it’s already there.  Enjoy it, and tell Ben I said howdy when you see him!  He'll be there waiting for ya!


Sunset on Big Ben (and on my ode to it!)

Tilted Ben

Just a post and run today folks - it’s a holiday in the US.  Hope all my American friends are enjoying their Labor Day.  For us, it sort of signals the end of summer.  Considering the heat we have been experiencing in Texas, I’ll be glad for it to be over!

Obviously, this is Big Ben in London.  It has nothing to do with Labor Day.  And yes, it’s crooked on purpose.  :-) 

Westminster blue hour

I’m guessing you’ve never seen a pic from here before.  :-)

Truth is, I know that this scene has been shot a million times, and will be shot another million times in the future.  That’s ok.  I don’t expect that I am always getting something original.  In fact, it’s probably rare that I do.  That’s also ok.  I know that I happen to travel to places that others have been to before me.  And when I say “others”, I am referring to great photographers who have likely captured amazing shots of the same places that I show up to at a later date.  It happens.  What can I do about it?

I have decided all I can do is this: take the picture, enjoy the experience, and be thankful that I was able to get there and shoot it.  That’s enough for me.

Additionally, I choose to enjoy the process of editing these shots and sharing them, because it is actually immensely enjoyable to me.  So I will keep doing it, whether it’s something new to your eyes or not.

BTW, this is Big Ben in London during a nice blue hour, but I assume you already knew that.  Seems everyone knows this place.  :-)   Thanks for stopping by today.

Morning light at Big Ben

This is one of many photographs I have taken from this spot (or nearby) along the River Thames in London.  I do love that town.  The people are great, the scenery is fantastic, and oddly enough I’ve enjoyed great weather on every visit!  Even the food has been good.  Oh, and the beer.  Yep, that’s good too.  :-)

I grabbed this one morning on my last visit over there, back in May.  I went out for a quick solo photo walk, since my hotel was just a short stroll from there.  I shoot this view on just about every visit there.  So does everyone else, as it’s one of the classic London shots.

One thing that I always look forward to when going to London is walking along the River Thames.  There are a lot of great spots to shoot from, with historic, beautiful and interesting things to aim the camera at.  It’s all very fun.

I have a list of great spots to shoot in London here on the blog, so if you ever plan to head that way, take a look and consider hitting some of these spots!

Blue hour at Big Ben

Guess where I took this photo?  :-)

Every time I visit London, I make sure and stop by this spot looking at Big Ben across the River Thames.  It’s the classic London shot, and I take a lot of them.  I know every one else does too, so it’s not special, but it’s a great spot and why not take a boat load of shots from here?  It’s a great view.

There’s a reason this is one of the “famous” spots to shoot in London - it kicks ass.  Wouldn’t you take a million shots of it too?  It’s lovely!

Big Ben bus blur

I was hoping to have something exciting to tell you about this photo, but honestly, I just don't.  It wasn't terribly exciting.  I was in London, and up on the Westminster Bridge, trying to get a shot of Big Ben and hoping I could get some cool light trails too.  Then, a bus came by.  One of those lovely double-decker tourist buses.  Worked out pretty good, actually.

London is a great town to visit and shoot in.  If you do plan to visit, be sure and check out my list of Top Photo Spots in London, which you can find here.

Twilight on the Thames

Just some spot in London I came across...can't remember the name of the place.  haha

Join me and some incredible UK photographers on our London Photowalk this Saturday...6pm local time, in front of Big Ben.  It’s going to be epic!!

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