​Light, Action, Camera!

We all like to show our best pictures however, of the many hundreds or thousands of images that we take, only a very small number end up being suitable for publishing or sharing with a knowledgeable or critical audience.

I ended up, a few weeks ago, with a photograph that I liked, however was not the one I had in mind when I set out that day.

I had a ‘scene with potential’ in mind, a place where I could envisage a good opportunity a street scene making the most of composition, light and lines.

This was on the north side of Waterloo Bridge, but down where it crosses the Victoria Embankment and where steps lead up onto the bridge itself.

At the ‘right’ time in the morning, the sun shines through the trees and lights up part of the stairs and so I felt that there could be some nice pictures of people walking up & down the stairs.

Lit by the sun coming through the trees, it was, effectively a stage.

What I liked about it were the two handrails going up on either sides of the stairs, together with the stairs themselves, providing some nice leading lines into the image.

So one morning recently, with sun up and in roughly the right place to light up the stairs, I positioned myself at the bottom of the stairs with my Fuji X100s – and started to take some pictures of people walking by. Some were walking away, others towards the camera, some were in the shade, others emerging from it or in the sunlight.

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None of these did anything for me however, they were lacking something, I wasn’t making the most of the shadows or connecting with the people I was photographing.

Finally, I got a photo of this guy, who had seen me with the camera as he walked round the corner, but then looked back at me, just as he was heading up the stairs and out of view. This was the one for me, the eye contact making it a better and more striking image than the previous ones.

It was then a question of getting back home, loading up Lightroom, converting the RAW file to black & white and doing some tweaking to get the image style I was looking for, a little cropping.

And there we are from here...

And there we are from here...

... to the actor on the stage!

... to the actor on the stage!

I wanted this in black and white as there was limited colour in the photo and I was looking to capture the shape and lines of the stairs and handrails, leading up to the man which, I feel, is better done in B&W.

Next time, I’ll try the other side of the bridge, using the evening light, and see how that changes things.


(check out my gallery here on SPL or my website!)