On the Road Again….London and Warsaw!

London and Warsaw

I’m travelling again! The first stop was London. I’ve been there many times, lived there for a while, but never attempted to shoot anything there. As I need to get more material for my Cities Project, I thought I’d have some time to devote to adding London to my portfolio.

Usually, when I know I’m going somewhere, I do some research as to what and where to shoot for the project. I know London somewhat, and had something in mind. London is tricky as there are so many iconic landmarks, it’s a case of being spoiled for choice. So what did I do? I blew it.

More after the jump…..

In my over confidence, I thought I’d just run down London and Warsawto the embankment and pop off a few shots of the London Eye with the Palace of Westminster and I’d have it in the can. I strolled onto the bridge over the Thames and set up my tripod…..

and just couldn’t see the shot. I tweaked and prodded, shifted and slouched, moved viewpoints, switched from horizontal to vertical format, tried a pano…..nothing.


It was far too late to move to a new location and I have what I regard as a mediocre result.

I’m disappointed at the wasted opportunity. If I’d been more thorough with my research, I would have done a far better job of getting a representative shot of this famous city.

On to Poland and a hectic meeting schedule for the day job. I’m in Warsaw and as I have to spend a weekend in Europe, I decided this was the spot. I’ve never been before, don’t know much about the city, so want to take a look around, catch my breath and see what’s to be seen.

Warsaw was practically flattened during the second world war, so it’s a little light on cultural landmarks. Anything that looks old has probably been rebuilt, so it’s difficult to characterize the city. There is, however, a remarkable structure that dominated the city center- Built in 1955, Joesef Stalin’s gift to the Polish people is the monumental Palac Kultury. This is a soviet style monster of a building, designed to demonstrate power. It looks antiquated now and there is a common debate on whether to tear it down as the Soviet occupation is a sore point for the Polish people. I personally think it is one of the most distinctive buildings I’ve ever seen. Having experienced it once, if anyone ever asks what is a distinctive feature of this city, it would be this building. You see a picture of it and it is immediately recognizable, so I personally feel it needs to stay. If it is torn down, then Warsaw becomes just another modern soulless city center.

Trying to find an angle to shoot this behemoth is another story. I walked around it during the day, scouting, looking for angles and previsualizing the shot. I figured either from the north, with an oblisk as a contrasting element, or from the south with trees hiding ugly signage.  I wan’t happy with anything I saw, but felt I could make it work. I had coffee with a friend who suggested I go up to the fitness center of the Intercontinental hotel and shoot through glass, but he assured me I’d get a fantastic view.  He was right, the view is good, but its unshootable, with lousy angles, multiple walls of glass and just too close! Unfortunately, I’m running out of time. The blue hour is upon me and I  have to make some kind of shot! I ran outside, got to a corner without lampposts in the way and fired off a few frames. I got creative and shot some low speeds to get light trails from traffic and got a usable image. Yet again, it isn’t great, or my best work, but it is a record shot.

I’ve felt that so far I’ve not been on form this trip. I got some “also ran” pictures, but nothing like what I’d hoped for. This isn’t the first time I’ve struggled to get images while working the day job,  but it is disheartening. Maybe London and WarsawI should sell of the Nikon and lenses and just get an X10. Sure beats carrying around a bag with a D700 and three heavy zooms!

More to come…….(probably)



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