A Different Look at Photographing Iconic London Sights

After an historic run of dry weather in Vancouver the fall rains have now settled in. It’s probably a case of misery loving company but rainy days always make me think of London, my second favorite city on Earth.

One of the best tips that I’ve ever been given about photography is to try taking your pictures from different perspectives. Sometimes that means getting down low and shooting up or sometimes it means cropping in on a smaller bit of something easily recognizable. This adds interest to your pictures and stops them from looking exactly like everyone else’s photos of things. With that I browsed through some of the pictures I took on my London Bus tour and picked a few that stood out to me.

Beg Ben

Did you know that Big Ben [parliament.uk] is the name of the bell inside the tower and not the name of the tower or the clock? I thought that was fairly common knowledge but when they recently renamed the clock tower the Elizabeth tower in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year I heard a lot of complaining that it wasn’t going to be called Big Ben anymore.

Big Ben atop Elizabeth Tower

Despite the fact that the image has lost a sense of scale by cutting out the parliament buildings I like this shot because of the negative space, the bending of the rule of thirds, and the fact that it’s still so obviously identifiable.

Tower Bridge

In another example of tourists mixing up the names of London landmarks, Tower Bridge [towerbridge.org.uk] is often mistakenly thought to be London Bridge. I’m not sure if that’s because Tower Bridge looks so nice that everyone assumes that it’s the famous London Bridge or whether it’s because it looks like it might fall down. Just so you know, the current version of London Bridge is just down the river but it’s almost invisibly generic looking.

Tower Bridge Tower London

This shot was taken from the top of a double-decker tour bus. It’s probably a fairly common tourist image but I like it because the tower looks like it’s reaching out to give you a hug.

London Eye

I’m guessing that the coolest pictures of the London Eye Ferris wheel are taken from up close to capture some of the nice curves and lines. Unfortunately, since I’m not a fan of Ferris wheel rides I’ve never actually been up close to this landmark. I’m sure the views are great but I’d imagine you’d be stuck on this for at least 30 minutes and that’s all time that could be spent at nearby Borough Market instead [averagetraveller].

London Eye

What I like about this shot is the contrast in size with the lamp. To be honest I just have a strange obsession with taking pictures of lamps.

Red Telephone Boxes

I predict that London will be the last major city in the world with phone booths. They’re an endangered species in most placesĀ  thanks to cellular phones but the iconic red cuboids will probably live on forever in London. Maybe one day when landlines are obsolete they’ll convert them into charging stations or sim card vending machines? I like to imagine that Superman will retire there so he has somewhere to change.

London Telephone Booths

I shot this holding my camera over my head while walking. That wasn’t for any artistic reason but just because I liked the picture of all three phone boxes in a row and didn’t feel like waiting for the people walking in front of me to leave. I kind of like how it turned out.

This post was shared with Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Budget Traveler’s Sandbox.

11 thoughts on “A Different Look at Photographing Iconic London Sights

  1. These are great pictures! I love the telephone booth ones and the Tower Bridge. Great idea for uses of the iconic booths. The last time I went to London was last century so I’m way overdue and these were great reminders of a city I longed to return to.

  2. Lovely shots. I have a similar photo of the bridge. Great idea to hold the camera overhead. I’ll have to try that next time.
    Thanks for the tip!
    Hahaha, just noticed your funny typo — Beg Ben

    • D’oh! I looked at that a bunch of times. I knew it somehow felt wrong but I never picked it up. And now that you’ve pointed it out I guess it has to stay ;).

  3. Very interesting shots. I really like how you captured the red telephone boxes. Funny about the confusion between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. I once saw a children’s “educational” flash card (can’t remember exactly who made it, etc), but it had the wrong identification! That’s pretty bad.

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