Original London Light Trails? Admiralty Arch

February 19, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I visit London two or three times whenever I go back to England.  My home town being very close and the city is famously rich in photographic opportunities.  There are so many historic old buildings, modern structures, ornate churches and also the wonderful Royal Parks.  The views along and across the Thames, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s, Parliament, The Shard, The Eye...the list is endless.  But there are many lesser known landmarks that are equally interesting and, after so many visits, it’s now these unique places and lesser taken views, that I try to seek out.

That brings us to Admiralty Arch, at the end of the Mall leading into Trafalgar Square.  It’s a gorgeous old monument any time of day, read here for more details about the structure.

London Light trails are very common.  Whether along Tower Bridge, in front of St Paul's or beneath the Elizabeth Tower, (that’s the one with the bell of Big Ben inside it).  Many people incorrectly call the Elizabeth Tower ‘Big Ben’, remember that ‘Big Ben’ is the name of the bell that goes BONG, not the tower in which the BONGs bong!

Anyway, mini rant over.  When thinking about other possible locations for light trails, Admiralty Arch came to mind.  I am sure shots exist, they must do, but I have not happened to come across them.  Though remember, when doing any light trails with traffic, always, always be careful!  You can misjudge things when focusing on your camera!  DON'T TAKE PHOTOS IN THE ROAD - STAY WELL CLEAR OF TRAFFIC!  Traffic can hurt!

After trying a couple of compositions, I choose this angled shot as it emphasises the full arch shape of the monument, not only it's arches, as well capturing the light trails moving under it.  

No filters were needed, by using a narrow aperture and a low ISO I was able to get the shutter speed slow enough to capture the light trails.  Several shots were taken to get a variety of traffic, both large and small, cars and buses for lights at different heights.  The final images were then merged, using auto align and then a lighten blend mode to allow only the lighter parts of each imageş (i.e. the light trails), to show through to the top layer.  The final flattened image was boosted for colours and contrast in Lightroom to polish off the result. 

If you have shots of lesser known landmarks, light trails or not, please share a link in the comments!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.


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