Tag Archives: rooftopping
Well that was a lovely, long, bank holiday weekend. I headed out to Berlin, but it was more for socializing that it was for photography and I didn’t take too many pictures unfortunately. By the time I did head out there on the final day I was exhausted, and spent most of my time enjoying just walking around and getting a feel for the place rather than trying to find a location and angle to shoot from.
I was stupidly tired last night when I got home, so my plan of processing an image for today’s post before going to sleep just did not happen. Instead, I fell asleep under my Macbook and awoke 9 hours later, so had to process this one at around 7am this morning. I chose a night time image because it simply doesn’t need to have much done to it; I simply did a bit of sharpening, counter-intuitively followed by some denoise.
I hope everyone else had a lovely weekend.
On Saturday night I headed over to Canary Wharf with Conor and Jay to try and grab a sunset…though that was a bit of a non-event on this occasion. We then repaired to a bar for a little relaxation before Jay and I continued to a lovely building currently being built. If I had forgotten how unfit I was during my recent bout of illness this was quickly brought back to mind as I ascended 28 flights of stairs…slowly.
The views were pretty good, and it was certainly nice to see this area from such a vantage point, but the better views were to be had at the top of one of the cranes, which is where this image was taken.
It was a long and late night as I arrived home at around 4am, but a fun one.
Hope you all had a nice weekend.
A very quick post today before I check out of the hotel I’m staying in up in Edinburgh. I’ve had a lovely weekend with friends and booze aplenty, I hope all of my readers have had similar.
This image was taken a couple of weeks ago from a rooftop in London when out with Jay and John. I still feel that the spotlights on St Paul’s Cathedral are way too bright, but then around 1am they turn these off so then it’s too dark.
I’m never happy me…a little bit like Goldilocks
It’s still amazing to me what you can see from a relative low rooftop in London.
Sure, the foreground of this image has the lovely Southwark Cathedral and a train about to enter London Bridge station, but check out what you can see towards the horizon. You’ve got recognizable features such as Battersea Power Station, Houses of Parliament and the London Eye; you also have a couple of interesting focal points, which are unknown items to me, that are the glow of a white light in the distance and, to the left of that, some sort of light motion which has been captured. If I were closer to it I would suggest it’s a jet of steam coming from the top of the building, but at that distance and with that luminosity I’m not so sure.
Also, this was the ‘boring’ side of the rooftop, with lovely views offered from the other vantage points.
Here we are on Friday once more, but to be honest the days are merging in to each other so it could be a Tuesday as far as I’m concerned. Work deadlines of 12th April are looming ever closer, and though that means the next 6 days will be pretty darn busy I’m looking forward to this time next week when I can relax a little.
Well, when I can’t start looking for a new place to live at least.
This was a trip up a new rooftop towards the end of last year. Entry was a little cheeky, with it being from the main road of a busy junction in a very popular part of London, but it was a good night as this was building two of three. You can see the mist coming in and that’s what put an end to play after our third stop which was of a reasonable height but with nothing we were really able to see.
Have a good weekend everyone.
This was a fun shot to do. The building in the image is the HM Revenue and Customs on the north side of Waterloo bridge.
A few of us had just watched a firework show form the top of KRT (for those familiar with my work you will have seen lots of images from that location, which is shown in this image at the top right. It’s the silhouette behind the bit of red, which is the OXO tower) and after being escorted out of there, our last successful trip up to date, it was a little early to head home. Thus, we found ourselves here before moving on to a third location.
The stream of passing cars below were a great bit of added interest, and the fisheye essential to be able to get all of the required features fully composed.
Thanks to everyone for their comments, retweets and so on over the past few weeks. Life is a little hectic just now with long hours at work, needing to find a new flat and so on – as a result my online interaction is minimal. I hope to be back into the flow after April 12th.
This seat has one of the best views in London. Millennium Wheel on one side, as you can see, and the Shard to the other – plus plenty of views in between. If you’ve been a regular follower of my work over the past year you would have seen what I mean.
My Head in the Clouds image was taken from this spot, just on a different night, and so this image will give you a better idea of how it was achieved.
Have a good weekend everyone.
Here we are. It’s been a year now and I have uploaded a new blog post every weekday without fail, and a few on the weekends too. Come public holidays, vacations, illness or a hangover the posts have been going up daily and I’ve managed to maintain a level of passion for this wonderful hobby that I feared may not last, and which has no signs of slowing down.
Whether it’s happy birthday or happy anniversary I don’t know, but I’m thankful for everyone who has stuck with me along the way and given me the motivation to continue to post my images and work hard to try and get unique shots. This one’s for you, and for the year ahead.
To celebrate this occasion it was suggested by @foolhandy and @andthesewalls that I post my top ten images and have you lovely readers vote on which of them is your personal favorite. Finding 10 is a tough task, and my recent New Year run down was only made easier because I had to choose one from each month of the year, which is not the case here.
So below you will find 10 images which I either class as my favourite or which mean something to me for one reason or the other, and I would appreciate it if you could take a moment to look through them and then vote for your personal favourite using the polls –
I’ve placed the poll before and after the images for convenience, but you can only vote once I’ve removed the bottom poll as it doesn’t appear to work too well. Thanks again for all of your support, and have a great weekend.
Which is your favourite photo?
- 3. The Day The Music Died (36%, 12 Votes)
- 10. Shard Sunrise (15%, 5 Votes)
- 4. Cell 3 (12%, 4 Votes)
- 8. Alone (12%, 4 Votes)
- 6. St Paul’s – World AIDS Day (12%, 4 Votes)
- 5. London's Burning (6%, 2 Votes)
- 2. Staircase (3%, 1 Votes)
- 9. The Bridge to St Paul’s (3%, 1 Votes)
- 1. Inferno (Dante) (0%, 0 Votes)
- 7. Double Tap (1%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 33
1. Inferno (Dante) – One of my earliest and most successful attempts at spinning wire wool.
2. Staircase – My favourite black and white shot.
3. The Day The Music Died – An image which turned out far better than I had conceived when composing the shot.
4. Cell 3 – The one shot I wanted from this urbex location, and I was pleased with it when I got it.
5. London’s Burning – Revisiting this popular spot after learning a lot more about HDR made it clear to me how I had improved.
6. St Paul’s – World AIDS Day – This shot won me 1st place in the competition held by St Paul’s Cathedral.
7. Double Tap – One of the rare shots that turn out exactly as I had conceived when setting it up.
8. Alone – This location in the far north of Scotland was awesome, and had me running barefoot through the sea to get several shots.
9. The Bridge to St Paul’s – One of the first images where I appreciated how much other people enjoy my work.
10. Shard Sunrise – My favourite view from my favourite location during a great sunrise.
Stood high up on the corner of a building, watching as the city moves quietly below is a great sensation, and a huge contrast to the regular daytime where you are pushing your way through the hoards of people fighting for space on the streets or public transport.
It’s peaceful up there, alone with your thoughts and the heightened senses that comes with standing in a location where you know in your mind you should be safe, it is just standing still after all – something you do every day, but with the knowledge that if something were to happen it would not end well.
I fainted on the tube once, many years ago. I wasn’t sick, hand’t been drinking the night before, and was just on my way to work. It wasn’t blistering heat or anything like that…for some reason I just fainted. One minute standing up, the next feeling I was in bed and trapped in my duvet, and the next realising I was on the tube. I was sick for three days after that but the doctors didn’t find anything wrong with me.
It’s that thought I come back to often when stood on the edge. I’m confident in my ability to stand, to hold, to climb. I’m not confident that the sudden blackness that I encountered many years ago won’t return for some unknown reason.
On this particular trip, as I stood on a similar outcropping section of an incomplete building, concentrating on standing, willing myself to breathe and with my thoughts on that day that I fainted I was suddenly brought back to reality by a shout of ‘Oi…Police’ and the shining of a torch in my eyes. Not the best place to be stood when someone startles you. Unable to see anything but the torchlight on one side and a 20 storey drop to the other I walked sheepishly towards the light, happy that there wasn’t a bounding police dog to go with that shout, but sad that this particular trip should end so soon after it started.
The nights are closing in earlier and earlier just now as we make our rapid descent into winter. Sure, I get to see a few less sunsets and golden hours while I’m sat behind a desk working, but at least it means I can start doing a little urbex at a reasonable time and not have to wait until it’s very late before we head up somewhere under the cover of darkness. Hopefully the mist that stopped play on Saturday night doesn’t last too long…there’s no point going up 30 storeys to find you can’t see a thing.
I hope everyone had a nice weekend, do anything nice?
One of the great things about sitting up high on a crane of rooftop is that you get to watch the world go by below you. Sure, you come for the view of the city, but it’s the buzz generated by those getting on with their lives that makes you feel like you’re watching over the wonderful capital as a guardian; you feel connected to the city, yet detached at the same time – a little like when you’re playing Sims and you know that the characters within it are under your watch, but without the godlike power of being able to remove the doors to their homes so that they die alone after a few days.
I was never any good at the Sims.
It’s not easy to take a long exposure from the top of a crane when you don’t have a tripod of any sort with you, however on this trip I managed to do so by getting a little creative with my BlackRapid strap which I wrapped around both the camera and the small metal railing that was at the top of the crane in order to hold it steady for the duration required.
By now my readers will not need an introduction to the building which is shown here towering above the rest. I normally take shot of the Shard from the West looking East, so it’s good to be able to get one here which is from the North looking South instead. The bridge you see at the right with the red light running across it is London Bridge.
Ladies and Gentlemen – this is my 200th photoblog post on this site. A huge thank you to everyone that has commented, shared and connected with me throughout this year, and who have motivated me to maintain a post and photo every weekday up until now – you guys and gals are awesome!
As this is my 200th post I feel it’s quite special, so I’m sharing an image that I find fitting for the occasion. Does it feature London? Yes. Does it feature the Shard? Yes. Is it taken from up high on an urbex trip? Yes. Does it feature a sunrise? Well, yes it does!
We had come up to this rooftop around 7 hours before this shot was taken; after spending a bit of time taking night shots of London we retreated a couple of floors into this abandoned shell to try and sleep for a few hours on the cold empty floor. I got little sleep to be honest, especially with the knowledge that my own bed which was warm and comfortable was just a 30 minute walk from this location. But we were there for the sunrise, and that meant a late entry and early rise.
The sky was wonderful this bank holiday morning…we were so lucky with it. As I was waiting for the brackets to finish I knew that this shot was going to be the one I would take away from the morning, and so quickly snapped a picture of it with my dodgy iPhone:
I was amazed how the sky was showing the blue hour, the golden sunlight and the red dawn all at the same time, all with the added interest of clouds. Not only this but the buildings all seemed to have their lights on which added to the interest of the scene.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout the last 200 shots, and welcome to those who are visiting me just for today – you’re all welcome and appreciated. Plus it’s Friday…so raise your glasses to the next 200 shots, and to the weekend ahead.
As an aside, and as mentioned on Monday, I haven’t been out with the camera for a few weeks as work has been so busy, and so I’m heading out there on Sunday for a nice photowalk. I’m starting off the day with a little Urbex trip, followed by a photowalk by the Thames and then a ‘do your own thing’ in the evening (I’ll be climbing a building ;o). If you fancy heading out there with me and a few friends then the starting point will be 3pm in Spitalfields market beside the goat statue. I look forward to seeing you there.
View murphyzPhotowalk in a larger map
On a recent Urbex trip we decided to make the most of the high building we were on and stay overnight to watch the sun coming up over London – and my word it was a very nice sunrise. I’ll be sharing other photos with you in the future which shows the lovely reds and blues that were in the sky that morning, but for now here’s one with a lot of the golden colours that were showing.
The main cluster of buildings in the image is know as Canary Wharf. and you can see the o2 Arena (previously known as the Millennium Dome) sneaking a peek through the buildings. In the foreground you can also see Tower Bridge.
I don’t often see dawn, and usually not in London when I do, so this was a nice morning for me.
I often have my head in the clouds, but not so literally as in this image.
I encourage others to do things only with which they are comfortable with. The majority of people I go on an urbex trip with don’t so much like the edges of tall buildings, or the edging out to somewhere a little more precarious. Others would do things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with, but if they are happy to do it then so be it. If you’re not comfortable doing it, then don’t – it’s that simple. If you know the risks and are confident in yourself and the situation around you then by all means push yourself that little bit further.
I’ve been in far more dangerous spots that you see here, however, as this image is pretty deceptive. I’m sat on top of some window cleaning apparatus here, and sure it may be 30 storeys up, but the apparatus is firmly on the roof and so I would only fall to the rooftop below me – it will be painful and I may break a bone, but it’s not really a fatal drop, and certainly not as high as the image suggests. By cropping out the rooftop that the camera sits on the illusion of my sitting high above London like a crazy fool is complete.
This shot was taken around 35 flights up on what was a good, but wasted, evening.
The problem with Urbex and high locations in London is that it’s easier to go in under the cover of darkness, but you really want to be up on top to take in a sunset, which means a daylight entry.
The problem with this particular location was a very high and loud fence, four guys with tripods and camera gear, and a plethora of security cameras for both the site and the Metropolitan Police around the location.
So, we got in and we got up. 9 shots later and I see a car far down below me. I study it for a while, and call over a friend to also watch. Then there are 2 security guys who we see inside the grounds – darn, we were spotted getting in – time to find a spot to hideout in.
Then a police car arrives.
Then a second police car arrives.
Then a police van arrives.
Then the dogs start barking.
Time to head down the stairs rather than wait for someone to come up. 35 flights of stairs is a long and tiring trip, we don’t really want to piss the cops off too much by making them do it – nor do we want the police dogs to be the ones who come up unleashed.
The police were all very friendly when taking our details – one of them also had to borrow my torch to search my bag; I was pleased to gain a couple of inches in the description I was given, but then displeased to see that I had also gained a couple of pounds and my ‘body type’ was classed as ‘heavy’.
It was very nice to see a new angle from London, but out of the 9 shots taken this was the only really usable one, so it certainly seemed like a slightly wasted journey also.
First up, a big thank you to Mike Olbinski who featured me as a guest blogger yesterday as part of his new ‘OneQuestion‘ guest series. It was an honour to be asked and invited, and I’m really looking forward to seeing who else is part of this series. Thanks Mike!
Some of you will recognise this image as I used a cropped version for a recent Microsoft Bing contest – although I didn’t progress to the final stages I don’t mind that as it was nice to get a shot such as this out there. One of the conditions of the contest was not to have the image submitted already posted on social networking sites, and as I usually put my daily photoblog images on Flickr and Tumblr I held back on posting this one here also.
This one is 33 floors up in the heart of London, looking down on the OXO Tower which is hidden by me standing there on the edge. The red lit building over on the left is the National Theatre, with Waterloo Bridge spanning the river Thames beside it. The Millennium Wheel/London Eye and Big Ben are just off the shot on the left. In the distance ahead of me you can see the BT Tower lit up in red and blue. The tripod is extended as far it it would go and is on a block of concrete. I put it on a 10 second timer so that I could get in position at the edge of the building and steady myself against the strong wind.
This trip was an unplanned one, as we had intended on hitting a different, much smaller building, nearby. A workman sat in a truck prevented us from accessing it when we wanted to though, so we decided to try this location which had been locked up for ages, I had been checking in on it since last November, and so we were surprised and delighted to find out we could access it on this night.
The 33 flights of stairs are pretty tiring, and on the way down we found the lift was actually still in working order. With 5 of us crammed in there it was squeaking and creaking all the way down, and as I had to try and get home, sleep for a few hours and then head to the airport to catch a flight to San Francisco I was a little worried in case it decided to give in on us.
It didn’t though, luckily, and I walked away after spending a few hours at what’s probably the best location in London.
I thought I would try something fun for today’s image.
This wasn’t the highest rooftop I’ve ever been on, and the views certainly weren’t anything special, but I opted to try and grab a panoramic shot of the surrounding sights to see how it would turn out.
Once I had the normal panoramic processed I noticed an overlap of the image, where a lot of the buildings at the start of the shot were then repeated at the end. This meant I was easily able to crop the shot so that it wrapped perfectly, and use the Distort > Polar filter in Photoshop to turn it into a nice circular planet shot that I’ve seen several times before online but never really done myself.
I quite like the effect for the fun that it is, and it allows me to add a bit of interest in to what was otherwise a pretty uninteresting shot.
Quite a few of the usual culprits are in there including the BT Tower, Centerpoint, Millennium Wheel, Barbican, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard.
Photography, HDR and Urbex all go hand in hand for me, and they are all very closely linked with my mind and my actual skill level.
I only started caring about photography when I learnt about HDR, and through HDR I learnt about Urbex after checking out pictures online. My first HDR image was taken on September 11th 2010, so nearly 9 months ago now. My first Urbex trip was on November 6th 2010.
On Monday 8th November I was reflecting on the trip I had taken over the weekend. It was up to a rooftop in London, my first foray into Urbex, and it lasted about an hour as I had someone in a car waiting for me. I checked out other rooftops to do in London and found another one which I then did the next weekend. Hooked, I was looking again the following week and found an amazing one which seemed to be popular at that time. My trip for the coming weekend was going to be to that location, and it was going to be awesome!
Unfortunately I didn’t know that you need to act fast in this game. If you see somewhere that’s open and doable – get out there and do it. Don’t sit back and wait to go, as I found out when on the Wednesday of that week the place was locked up meaning I couldn’t go there.
From then on I’ve hated seeing the images taken from that location as I saw them as a missed opportunity, and I was a little jealous that others had been up there and I had missed my chance.
I checked the place out a few times, keeping an eye out to see if it was open or not, but it never was.
Until recently that is.
The day before I went to San Francisco I was heading out for the evening with a few fellow urbexers. We were going to check out a place currently being built which I have been up a few times and quite like, especially now that rooftop access is available without netting and such in the way, offering clear views. Unfortunately a truck that was parked opposite the entry point showed no signs of moving, so we opted to check out this place once more – spurred on by the fact we had seen images of it surfacing again that week.
To our surprise and delight, we got in. I was finally able to go up to a place that I had been so disappointed by many months before, and I must say it’s probably the best view of London that I’ve ever had.
The shot above is me standing in front of the red safety light which, if I’m not mistaken is used as an indicator to planes that there is a building there. It’s the lowest exposure of 3 brackets, but processing this shot in HDR did nothing for it, and so I opted to just use the one exposure here. It’s pretty much straight out of camera apart from the fact I added a slight bit of brightness to it.
Obviously you can’t appreciate how high I am looking at this image, but I’m around 32 storeys high, with my head in the clouds. More to follow from this location.