The London Eye at Night (Geometry)

Or, as this post more appropriately should be titled:

A Dummy’s First Attempts at Night Photography

(I’ll let you know when I feel competent enough to write A Guide to Night Photography for Dummies instead. Just watch this space.)

Generally, I much prefer taking pictures in blazing sunshine – they seem to come out so much better with so much less effort. But since winter arrived in London (in as much you can call 10 degrees above zero winter), the only choice is between fuzzy-muzzy-grey or night scenes. I’ll take night any time!

The Lights on the London Eye

The other night I was seduced by the red lights and the geometric patterns of the London Eye (click the images to enlarge):


Have I Learned Anything?

No Night Photography with a Phone

Don’t bother taking night pictures with your phone: the result won’t be worth it. I have taken some perfectly good photos with my phone (see the Admiralty Arch here) but it proved a total waste of time at night. If you haven’t got a camera with you, you might as well just enjoy the lights in an ephemeral fashion and leave photography for another occasion.

Ready, Steady… (Click!)

It’s hard to take a night picture that isn’t blurred. You need steadier hands at night than at daytime. You could use a tripod of course; personally I ‘d be too lazy to drag it around even if I had one. Instead I prop the camera up on any handy fence, bollard or bin whenever I can. I once tried to balance it on the head of Young Friend of the Elephants (she volunteered) but I can’t say it worked, so I don’t recommend the top of your child’s head!…

Having to prop the camera up on or against something to keep it steady does limit the angle of your shots but at least the result might actually come out sharp. Besides it encourages you to try strange angles: in the fourth photo I propped the camera up against the pylon that holds the London Eye up.

Alternatively you can just practice steadying your hands!

Inspired by (and sadly falling short of) Geometry: Pic and A Word Challenge.  
This week I somehow ended up with a lot of photo posts: don't worry, posts about books are coming too!

7 thoughts on “The London Eye at Night (Geometry)

  1. <smile> I also really, really dislike lugging around and setting up a tripod. Though… I have recently been making an exception for looooonger exposures than I could possibly hand-hold.

    One thing you might consider is a mini-tripod. Something you could stick in your pocket which would make placing your camera on things much easier. There are those ones with bendy-twisty-wrappy legs that you could even mount your camera on posts and branches.

    Just a thought.

    On the other hand, my father always told me, “Never question results.” And your results are very good, so carry on! = )

    Thanks for taking on the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never heard of these mini-tripods but they are clearly the way to go in the future. I especially like the sound of the ones you can wrap around branches. 🙂

      But the truth is my first two goals are:
      – to be able to compose a half-decent picture and
      – to actually manage to take the picture with the correct settings the first time round, rather than taking series of 5 with various settings hoping that one of them is the correct one, like I do at the moment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. <smile> Admirable goals!

        If I can offer some advice…

        For the technical side, there are an ample number of online written and video tutorials, often geared explicitly to your camera. =)

        For the artistic side, there are also tutorials. But, often, a class which provides a critique session for your assignments offers the best opportunity to improve.

        Aside from that, take a lot of pictures; try lots of different ways of looking at the same scene. Try a number of different frames for each one.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for the advice! As it happens, I’ve got the technical side covered in the form of a book which was written specially for my camera – I had to buy it, because the settings were (still are) way beyond me to figure out without a manual! I’m working my way through the book bit by bit.

          The artistic side is more difficult and I don’t think I exhibit any striking talent but I’m only trying to get better to please myself in the end. I only realised last March that good pictures don’t happen to people by accident but you have to give some thought as to what you want to express! Or indeed that you ought to express something instead of cramming as much as possible into the frame and lament that you can’t fit everything in. 🙂 A class like you suggest probably would be very good – if I could find the time, the money and especially the guts to attend one!

          I think the thing that holds me back most at the moment is that I feel very self-conscious when I’m out and about with the camera: I feel like an impostor, a person who pretends to be a photographer but isn’t!


    1. I noticed that too! Even if I hold my breath. 🙂

      The other thing I noticed is that at night in the street where there are lots of lights, the camera doesn’t seem to know where to focus and everything appears blurred. I never noticed this during daytime. But I found that if I press the shutter button halfway down on my camera then it starts to select elements of the picture and sharpens up. You can repeat this until you’re happy with what’s in focus and then take the picture.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Forbidden ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #68 – Pix to Words

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