I have been dreaming of a photography dedicated walk through London since arriving in England almost one year ago. It is a purely selfish, gluttonous desire and I know it! London has such great photography potential it deserves some dedicated time to pull out some of its secrets.
On Friday I took a vacation day and did just that. I went in with my Leica ME, Leica M6, Hasselblad 500cm and Hasselblad 903swc. I took a full photography backpack and decided to look like a tourist for the day! I still need to process the film but I thought I would share some of the digital images I took.
The plan for the trip started to take shape in my mind months ago, but a few weeks ago I began to draw it out on my Photography Notebook. I designed the route, planned the time and designed the shots. I had my list of equipment, pre-purchased the film and had my shot list.
The trip began at 07:00 am when I took the train into Waterloo Station. I arrived at 08:00 and bought a coffee while I waited for the light to improve. It was going to be an overcast day but I was hoping for no fog. At 08:30 I began my tour.
I walked to Westminster bridge to capture three images I had been dreaming about. One to the right of the bridge, one to the left and one under an arch as seen above. I grabbed more than these shots but these were the reason for my going. I then walked down Whitehall road, past 10 Downing Street, all the way to Trafalgar Square. After a few shots I decided it was time for tea and decided to try the Square Cafe in Trafalgar Square.
I then walked back to Embankment Street in order to grab a shot of Elizabeth Tower from that vantage. I captured a few shots of the Cleopatra Obelisk and then walked up Carting Lane to get to Covent Garden and St Paul's Church. It was time for lunch so I selected a wonderful French bistro. It was cold so a bit of wine was perfect to warm me up.
I then walked down the Strand to Temple Church and finally to St Paul Cathedral. From St Paul's I crossed the Millennium Bridge for a few shots from the other bank. I had wanted to walk to Tower Bridge but the light was fading so I decided to call it a bit early and get to Waterloo before rush hour traffic hit.
While I still have to develop the film, from the look of the digital images I believe I caught most of the shots from my book. I missed a few as the Temple Church was closed and the Household Cavalry guards were not out. But overall a very successful trip.
A few things I did learn:
1. My Hasselblad 500 is now broken. I will need to send it in for repairs. Just froze up on me. I am sure a bit of TLC will bring it back.
2. The Hasselblad 903swc is difficult to shoot. I am curious how the pictures come out but the fact that you have to guess at the focus distance and the viewfinder is not very good made it difficult to use.
3. Switching film, ISO and color to B&W gets confusing, especially after hours of shooting. On long trips I should simplify the setup towards the end of the trip.
4. Having a well defined path through London is the best way to go. You could be a street away from a great site and never see it. Best to have a plan, then enjoy the surprises you see while walking from one site to another.
5. Having and fulfilling these little dreams is what life should be about. It was a selfish desire and I enjoyed it. From the tea to the amazing lunch and especially the photography!
Here are a few of the digital images. All shot with the Leica ME using the Zeiss Planar 50mm f/2, Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4, Voigtlander 15mm vIII.