Tag Archives: shard
Yes, the large mass of swirling black clouds in this image indicate that it was another rainy day in London. It was a cold one too, but we’ve had a lot of that lately.
I bet it’s the wrong kind of rain though. No doubt as soon as the sun pops his head out in the near future we’ll be thrust back into a hosepipe ban of some sort.
Okay, I guess it’s time to play a game of ‘name that building’. One point for naming any of the buildings in this image, and two points if you can tell me where I was when I took it – not that I was drunk and don’t know where I was, of course. If you need help you can look at the image tags (depending on where you are reading this).
Here’s another image from up at the Shard.
Watching the trains wind their way around the curved railway tracks was certainly one of the highlights from being up here. I’m not sure I would ever be the kind of person who would build a model railway, but I can certainly see the appeal of standing over a creation of interweaving paths as these metallic horses glide from place to place.
Ah, who am I kidding? I’m exactly the kind of person that would build a model railway. Only I’m also the type of obsessive that would let the rails run loose all over the house in a style most befitting a Rube Goldberg contraption.
Oh yes, just realised it’s Valentine’s day also. This one goes out to all the women reading this who love trains. As Ralph Wiggum once eloquently put…I Choo Choo Choose you!
So, after many months of waiting since buying tickets, The View from the Shard has finally opened to the public. I had pre-booked tickets for the opening day, which will come as no surprise to those who follow my work as you will likely know that I just love a good view over London.
I must say that I was pretty underwhelmed by my visit, however, so will go over a few items here.
Well, I obviously have to start with this. It’s the tallest building in Europe so you’re guaranteed to be towering over everything else and be able to see for a long way while up here. You can certainly see all of London sprawled out in front of you, and with 360 degree views you can pick out pretty much any landmark you want (not that there’s much to the south). There are a couple of levels you can go to, though at the height you’re at there is no real difference between the two, and even though I was there on the first day (which was sold out), there didn’t seem to be very many people up there and I was easily able to get to any of the window spots that I wanted to. I was also very lucky with the weather as the rain that had dominated the morning seemed to go away as I was leaving work and I had lots of clouds and a bit of blue sky for my visit. Phew.
The Photographer’s View
Well, I do sure love a view but, for me, the main point of visiting places is to take a few photos. I’ve been fortunate to take in many different views of London from the top of many buildings, some public and some as part of Urbex trips. As such, I’ve been behind glass for many, but with a clear and unrestricted view for others. I have problems with places like the Gherkin, Centre Point and the BT Tower – some are simply the fact you’re behind extremely reflective glass, some because the building design prohibits a clear photograph, others are simply too high and away from the things that you want to shoot for them to be a great spot.
Unfortunately the Shard falls into all three of these categories. It’s certainly too high to view the things you want to in detail, the double paned glass is way too reflective of the bright interior, and when you do get a clean bit of glass without reflections you’re often then faced with a bit of the awkwardly shaped building popping into the view.
Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the fact I’ve stood on some amazing rooftops without any glass in the way, but I feel somewhere like St Paul’s is of the right height and has a nice view that surpasses the Shard, especially when it comes to taking photos. Of course one of the main problems with being up the Shard and looking out is that you can’t actually take a picture of the Shard itself, which is one of the things I seek out in the London skyline now.
Speaking of the windows, they were shockingly dirty on the opening day. There were plenty of guys who were doing the window cleaning on the building as well…but they certainly didn’t seem to be cleaning up the windows the public would be viewing out of. The whole area seemed to be dirty, and sure the top floors are open to the elements but the layer of dirt that was visible there was also visible on the stairs and other levels in a way that I doubt is quite what it should be – especially on the opening day. Note also that the top level, when I say is open to the elements, still restricts your view behind glass. A glass design closer to Rockefeller Centre in New York where there are gaps to shoot through would have made much more sense to me.
Prior to going up the cost of £25 for my adult advance ticket didn’t seem like an issue. When it comes to cost it’s all relative to the individual and what some find reasonable, others find expensive. I do feel getting just £5 off for a child as young as 4 is poor, however, as is the ludicrous queue jump fee of £100.
I will certainly not be handing over £25 in the near future for a return trip, but then I’m not too sure I would be rushing back at £5 either to be honest.
No tripods or monopods are allowed up to the view. That’s not just ‘not allowed to be used’ but simply ‘not allowed up’. I wanted my tripod for the evening so took it anyway, and as it fits into my rucksack (which was within the size limits) I thought there would be no harm in trying. This was taken by security upon entry, and so the only way I could proceed was to leave the tripod with them at their security desk and rely on my ability to identify it, assuming it was still there, on the way down.
That’s cool though, as it does state in the terms and conditions that they aren’t allowed and, as the woman at the security desk stated, ‘they’re the rules’.
Imagine my surprise and frustration when I then got up there and found three people using tripods and nobody caring about it. It’s possible they could have been press and got a pass to do so, but they certainly didn’t appear to be press. I would imagine the non-tripod rule is also due to ‘health and safety’ – it normally is – and no press pass would prevent an open tripod being a safety hazard (it’s not a safety hazard, I hear you say, oh yes – I very much agree there).
The saving grace for me in this place were the staff. Every one I came into contact with were very nice. Everyone was professional, happy, and full of enthusiasm. I’m pretty sure they must have been trained in the US. It was a delight to interact with them and I hope their levels of good will for the Shard and those who pass through it every day continues for the life of this attraction.
Highlights of the trip
Watching the trains navigate their way around London on the winding tracks below.
Watching the window cleaners climb around and wishing I was doing the same.
Lowlights of the trip
Lack of ‘one rule for all’ when it came to tripods.
The dirt that was clearly visible throughout, even though it was day one.
The design of the building not really fitting together in the way I feel a viewing platform should.
Will I return there?
Not in the near future.
Standing atop one of the highest buildings in London and you still can’t get a full on view of the Shard – pft.
The London skyline has come on leaps and bounds over the past decade. It’s been interesting seeing it shift from one dynamic to another, from both the ground and the sky, and though I know there are people who dislike the number of structures being built I am in favour of them.
I was at Centrepoint on Friday night looking out over the beautiful city below and was fondly remembering the buildings I have been up over the past few years, pointing them out to a friend and indicating how the city connects. I looked in awe at the dozens of other buildings I didn’t go up but know people who have, a moment of both regret that I hadn’t, but hope that I still could for many of them.
It’s a wonderful city.
Here’s the Shard from a nearby rooftop on a particularly windy night.
The cloud cover was great, and they were moving at some speed in what I believe went up to 30mph winds. However, this did mean that it was a little too windy to get any decent shots from the rooftop (this was taken from a lower level where we were sheltered slightly), plus is was pretty darn cold.
3 months from now I’ll be stood up there taking photos…probably thinking ‘wow – I wish it wasn’t so grey and cloudy…and cold…and that some of this rain would go away’. You never know though, it may be a nice clear day.
Hope everyone had a nice weekend; mine was pretty lazy to be honest.
Some camera magazine has asked if I would be interested in putting a themed set of images together taken with the Sony NEX-7. Looking through my images taken with that camera I pulled out this one which was taken while waiting for a laser show to start from the Shard earlier this year.
I realise looking through my NEX-7 images that there really is no theme to them. Sure, I have general themes in my work; a little urbex, London, Iceland, black and white, etc. However this little camera is still pretty new to me and is not used as frequently as my Canons, even though I carry it around with me. The fact I do carry it around means the themes also haven’t quite got there yet; I have a few street shots taken on the spur of the moment, trips to various places where I had a holiday or a work trip, a few country scenes from day or weekend trips to places in the UK – but nothing that would constitute a theme. Well, not unless the theme was something like ‘images taken with the NEX-7′ or ‘images shot by Mike Murphy’.
Maybe I should start using the camera more.
Last week the whole of London was treated to a spectacular laser show from the Shard.
Well…that’s what we were meant to be treated to. Instead we had a very mediocre show, which went on for a very long time. It was quite repetitive and pretty darn boring.
Saying that, perhaps it was just the spot I was on. I think if I wasn’t stood directly opposite the building, and instead opted to go somewhere high, or a place like Primrose Hill, then the view on offer would have been that little bit more spectacular as I would have seen the lasers hitting several of the iconic London buildings.
I didn’t take very many shots that evening, and towards the end I tilted the camera to get a few with the Shard in various colours at this angle. In the end, and after seeing Inauguration by Giles McGarry* I ended up processing this in black and white anyway, so the colours were unnecessary.
I can’t help think but a few fireworks set off in line with the 60th or so floor of the shard would have made for better images, and more of a celebration. Still…they have New Year to get that right I suppose.
*After taking the Inauguration shot, Giles decided to go for a ‘last shot’ from the Thames bed as the tide was out. Wet steps meant a slip was made, a lot of gear was busted up and a few ribs were also victims of a fall with a bit of cracking. Best wishes to Giles for a speedy recovery, and shiny new gear.
As you will all know by now, I’m fascinated with the Shard. It’s a cool building that I’ve now shot from the ground, from the air and from various vantages points of different heights all around London. Unfortunately I missed the boat in going up there with a few Urbexers, mostly due to my own laziness.
They had a laser show last night to celebrate the external completion of the building. For me it was a little disappointing, very repetitive and not much actually happening – it went on a little too long. However I bet anyone who worked on the construction of it felt differently, and for them it must have been a way for them to reflect and think of a job well done. If they’re not sick of the sight of it by now.
Today tickets go on sale for the View From The Shard which will allow you access to floors 69-72 and will offer a very nice view from London. Tickets cost 5p under £25 for adults and £19 for concessions, and though tickets are on sale now they don’t open until February 1st – I still think this is a shame with the Olympics round the corner.
edit to add At this time the Shard ticket website is down, and they are unable to accept payments due to a glitch. People always underestimate how popular these things are going to be
Friday again, and also yet another month has rolled around with us now about to enter July. I must be having fun…
I thought I would post this shot today with the new that tickets for the View from the Shard are going to go on sale next Friday at 9am. Get up there quick before the windows get dirty!
The main features in this shot are the Gherkin peeking it’s head into the image, the lovely Shard, a slight glimpse of Tower Bridge, the Strata Tower and also the large new building being built which is commonly called the Walkie Talkie and which has now topped out.
I reformatted my PC last night so it’s running a little quicker, and things such as OnOne and NIK Software open and run on a first attempt and without having to wait 15 minutes per action – hurrah! (though I doubt that will last long, must start thinking of building a new one)
Enjoy your weekend everyone.
I took a quick walk around the Shard with John on Sunday as I hadn’t been up close to it for some time and wanted to see if there were any decent photographic angles coming up. I think this was the best one that I managed to find, and was pleased that a few trees allowed me to block out the buildings that were between myself and the subject.
I also found I wasn’t really in the mood to do any night photography on this trip, which is odd. I think I have spent so long not taking photos, or just using the cameras hand held during the day that I’m now used to that.
In other news, tickets have now been booked for a short trip to Iceland next month, hurrah. In preparation, and because it’s about time, I wish to upgrade a few of my items so am on the look out for the following, with the tripod the only t:
Camera bag – should be able to carry a lot of camera gear and, ideally, items of clothing – plus fit on a plane. Budget up to £200.
Tripod – ideally a 4 section which is light, budget of around £250.
Tripod head – to suit whatever tripod I get – budget up to £250.
Scott Wood has suggested checking out the Induro range of tripods (thanks), but I was also considering Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 and Giottos GTMTL8350B. Any other recommendations, or just details on what you use and if you would recommend, appreciated.
The bag is a tricky purchase and I have been holding off for a while making do with my Lowepro 300 Flipside and a Crumpler backpack. Time to step it up a little.
Today is the last day that I’m super busy at work so I’m very much looking forward to having a bit more time to relax and also get out there with my camera.
In the mean time I’m digging into my archives a little to put up today’s shot, which you should all know by now is the Shard. This one is taken during a sunrise sometime last year. Like my workload, I’m looking forward to this being finished
After a stupidly long week at work I managed to head out for a few hours on a very cold Sunday hoping for a nice sunset. Conor, John, Peter (our guest from overseas) and I headed to Greenwich and stood by the Royal Observatory to try and catch a few nice shots. The wind picked up making it pretty darn chilly, and though the sky looked like it may offer some interesting light, nothing much came of it.
I left thinking I may have taken the best shot of the evening on my iPhone (below), however upon checking the images out at home I found a couple that were salvageable, this one in particular I liked.
It was particularly ‘misty’ that evening, though we felt it was due to the London smog rather than some natural element. The most noticeable buildings from left to right are The Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Gherkin.
Here’s an iPhone shot of the scene to add a little context.
The London skyline has been changing over the past years; I say for the better.
This view is from one relatively recent addition to the skyline, and is looking at several more with the Heron Tower, Gherkin and the currently under construction Shard all in view.
I was walking past a place the other night and saw a mock up of future London and what the skyline may look like, the Gherkin was tiny in comparison to the large buildings that surrounded it. I was in a rush that day, but if I get to go past there again I’ll grab a shot of it and post it for a comparison.
I thought a blue tone on this shot made it look nice and futuristic.
So this is the last post before Christmas, which seems to have rolled around once more with the stealth of a ninja, and what better way to celebrate than by providing a shot for Santa to guide his way through the London skyline by way of a panoramic. Be sure to check out the larger view for all of the detailed goodness.
I love the skyline of this magnificent city, though must admit the Shard is an issue. Yes, it’s one of my favourite buildings at the moment and I try and shoot it whenever I get high up…but it does mean that I have to have a lot of sky in the shot above the other buildings, just to give the Shard room to breathe. Luckily this shot was taken as the sun was coming up and there were some nice clouds in the sky so it at least offered a bit of focal interest throughout the shot.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas, whatever you may be up to. Happy holidays, and happy shooting.
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.
First up, a very happy birthday to Steve who has just hit the mid-30s range of the life scale.
Second, we have a rooftop, a multiplicity of the hooded character and a London skyline – what more do you want on a Friday? If the hooded guy has 9 lives it looks like he’s already lost 2 of them somewhere along with way – hopefully this weekend won’t see any more disappearing
Have a great one everybody.
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
This past weekend was ‘Open House London‘ which is a wonderful weekend held every year in this magnificent city whereby businesses, charities and other entities open their doors for the public to come in and take a quick look at what they have behind usually closed doors.
I find it fascinating how many people share the interest of seeing things in London that they normally don’t get the chance to, evidence by the overwhelming popularity of the event which sees those places where you need to book a ticket completely full minutes after the booking site opens, and the queues to enter some of the more popular spots where you don’t need a pre-booking. I can’t help but think how lucky I am to be one of the relatively small groups of people who go up to rooftops without permission, as the queues would be quite annoying otherwise.
I visited 12 locations over the 2 days, 8 on the Saturday and 4 on the Sunday, and had a lovely time throughout.
The above image was taken on the 18th floor of Broadgate Tower and features a few common buildings from my shots up high – I guess there are limited ‘stand out’ buildings in London for me to focus on. The Gherkin sits at the left of the frame, the Heron Tower in the middle and of course the Shard at the right hand side.
Last week I featured an image called Gherkin – Sunrise which was taken as the sun was rising over London; I was around 30 floors up at the time, but quite far away.
Today’s image was taken as the sun was setting over London on Friday night, this time I was much closer and 32 floors high. However, unlike that cold morning, this one had me sat in a nice bar called the Sky Lounge, with a beer beside me and nothing but my nifty 50 to use. Of course this also meant I had to shoot through the glass, so I no doubt confused other people in the bar as I huddled under my jacket with my nose pressed to the window.
Sky Lounge is a pop-up bar and I understand they’re on location until April – hopefully they will be successful enough to make it a permanent residence, though I also hope the glass doesn’t get too smudged or scratched to spoil the view a little. There are a couple of cool doors in the walls that look as if they drop away to nothing, but they are purely for ventilation and, upon opening one of them – hoping to have a nice doorway which stood 32 floors up with nothing but the ground below – I was disappointed to find that it wasn’t a potentially fatal design flaw, but a door that acted as an air conditioning. Sure, it opened, but a piece of slatted metal in place let a bit of air in, but nothing for me to peer out of enough to take shots without glass in the way.
Still, I was pretty happy with how this shot turned out, it certainly was one of the best shots of the night. I then went to a club and tried to take some shots, but even at ISO 3200 and f/1.8 I had many issues with lighting and blurring…any tips for nightclub shots, please let me know.
And finally, fellow London photographer James Murray has just started a new blog which I hope to see continuously updated with excellent images from London and afar. James specialises in HDR and is one of the first people I started following when I was learning. I urge you to make the time to visit his blog at Think James Photo and check out his work, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Regular readers will know this building quite well, as it’s featured a lot on my blog over the past few months and, along with St Paul’s Cathedral, is becoming one of my favourite buildings to photograph in London.
Where there were many buildings that were difficult to pinpoint and take a photo of during my helicopter flight over London, The Shard is one that stood out very well due to the size. This wasn’t the easiest shot to get as I was sat on the other side of the helicopter and zooming in through the seat and my fellow passenger in order to get a shot off which didn’t feature internals of the helicopter proved tricky.
It was definitely one of the buildings I just had to shoot while up there though.
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.
Below is the large view of this shot, I included the above so you can appreciate seeing it all at once, whereas the below shot will require you to scroll down the page.
As regular readers of this blog will know, this is The Shard, which will be the tallest building in Europe once it is complete, and is something I have been taking photos of for a while now, but then it’s hard not to as it’s so huge and visible from so many places in London.
It was taken from the top of ‘The Monument’ which is a large tower designed by Wren and Hooke to commemorate the great fire of London. 311 steps and 160 feet up The Monument offers a panoramic view of London, the downside being the chain link fence that is in place which interferes with a wide angle view.
This image is a hand held HDR (3 brackets per shot) and 5 image panoramic. For a hand held effort, looking though a chain link fence and in the wind it came out quite well. Here’s a look through the chain link, followed by the panoramic image itself:
The title of this post refers to the two buildings which feature prominently. The ugly building at the far right is Guy’s Hospital. The tall pretty building being developed beside it is the Shard. The latter was designed by Italian Architect Renzo Piano. Also in the shot is Canary Wharf, the cluster of buildings at the back – and just in front of these is Tower Bridge.
I was browsing through my unprocessed images this weekend with little inspiration as to what I wanted to process. I have so many from abandoned buildings and rooftops that didn’t quite make the cut in the original ‘back from a shoot, let’s see what we’ve got’ phase that I’m a little bored of seeing them again and again when digging into my shoebox.
I headed back to shots from this location knowing I had a few in there that were definitely usable, I’m just sorry that it’s very similar to the Morning Shard image I’ve posted recently. I loved that last image, but now I think I’m liking this one a little bit more.
So I certainly need to find the time to get out there and shoot more, and I think I need to start shooting lots of different things so that I have more variety to go back to and process depending on my mood.
Of course yesterday I went out there and shot from an abandoned location…but soon I’ll get to the variety!
In other news, over the weekend I just went over 100,000 views on HDRSpotting.com. It’s a nice site that serves to promote your HDR work, and I look forward to seeing the changes that the staff have coming up there in the near future. 87% of the 100,000 views were for my urbex piano image, The Day The Music Died.
I have a few spare invites for the site, so if someone wishes to join drop me a note on Twitter to @murphyz, and it would be nice to have a link to some of your work also.