A dull grey Saturday morning in the City of London. 

We were shooting B/W so we didn't care much. Looking for lines and contrast - thinking purely in terms of composition and tonal range. A bright pink jacket becomes a mid grey. Yellow cranes in the background fade to a light grey in our monochrome world.  Students had the option to switch back to Colour if they felt the image required it - although in the murk of the City's old grey stone and modern but muted silver skyscrapers it seldom seemed a good choice 


We visited the Sky Gardens and then climbed the Monument before returning across London Bridge. Too dark for Leadenhall on Saturday but it's glorious interior revealed in the brightness of Sunday morning. Those with Photoshop or Lightroom spent the morning shooting colour images before converting at home. The majority, however, selected the Monochrome Picture Style. Although losing a little in depth and quality in proceeding thus - the great advantage was to be able to review the images in Black and White on the back of the camera as we shot them. It's a different way of looking. B/W is all about shapes and contrast - light and dark. And the results are pure and poetic - reminding us why even today some of world's greatest photographers will only shoot in Black and White.   

Penny and Anna R working together. 

Picture by Will Whateley   Sepia toned Walkie-Talkie building 

Picture by Will Whateley Approaching the Walkie-Talkie building 

Picture by Jess White - Sky Gardens reflections 

Picture by Jess White  - 1 London Bridge

Picture by Ollie Phillips - Sky Gardens on a security screen 

Picture by Ollie Phillips - The Monument has 311 steps

Picture by Glady Gartland - On London Bridge 

Picture by Glady Gartland - The Gherkin 

Sunday, and the sun emerges for the 9-11s 

Sunday morning in the sunshine

Much colder today but clear skies overhead meant we might visit Leadenhall Market. The 1881 structure designed by Sir Horace Jones - who also gave us Smithfield and Billingsgate. Another Harry Potter set - to place alongside the Christ Church dining hall we visited in the autumn. This market is still working hard during the week but deserted and silent at 10.15 on a Sunday morning. Emerging from the Eastern arch to find the Lloyd's building's pipes and curves and then around another corner to see the Gherkin. An amazing 50 yards through London's architectural history. Too cold though so we got the pictures quickly and hurried on to the warmth of the Walkie Talkie's 35th floor. 

Picture by Tilly Fisher - Glimpsed Gherkin and Lloyds building. The key point here is the dark left edge of the right hand building - which allows the bright diamonds of the Gherkin to leap forward.  

Picture by Tilly Fisher - By London Bridge. Almost monochromatic but the soft washed out blues of a bright sky work very well against the dark shadows.

Picture by Charlotte Smith - Photographers at work in Leadenhall Market 

Picture by Charlotte Smith - at the Sky Gardens

Edith Proud - Old and new in the City 

Edith Proud - The Gherkin and Lloyds

Picture by Edith Proud. City window reflection 

Picture by Amber Keegan. The Gherkin & Lloyds  One leg shorter than the other ? Don't be ridiculous she's used a sophisticated dynamic angle to create interest in her excellently framed picture. 

Picture by Amber Keegan   The Shard .  Maybe she does have a shorter leg. !!  But it's on the other side now. !!  Beautiful image of my least favourite London building. Least favourite for it's location (placed ridiculously on the low-rise South Bank of the Thames and dwarfing the whole of Georgian and Victorian Bermondsey and Borough )   -   not it's dramatic architecture.

NB. I processed this with an HDR filter to retain detail in the brightest and darkest parts of the image. 

Lessons learned 

How Does This Picture Work ? 

Leading lines, The Rule of Thirds and a low viewpoint combine to make this a successful image. The small boy is the main focal point : his dark clothing silhouetting against the light background of the windows to ensure he stands out. The low viewpoint serves two purposes: firstly to add drama to the picture and second to illustrate how the space might appear to the small boy. Although he is positioned deep in the frame the viewpoint is his. The pathway, wall, railings and window struts take us into the heart of the picture and the slashed V of dark foliage angling down to his figure keeps the eye anchored within the frame.  

Colour or Black & White ? 

Images taken by PH at the Leadenhall Market 

              Leadenhall Market on a sunny winter's morning. 

                                                           This image works as well in Colour 

Colour emphasises the warmth of the traditional Victorian colours


as it does in Black & White

and B/W highlights the neo-classical structure 

Graduated Colour fade to Black & White demonstrates that the image is equally successful in B/W & Colour

This Colour is SO beautiful and the balance of daylight and the artificial light of the hanging lanterns so harmonious that it would be a shame.... 

                                            to make it Black & White. 

A strange almost monochromatic shot of the Monument. The soft pastel cyan in the windows and glimpse of blue sky provide the only colour and could almost have been achieved deliberately in Photoshop.  The pigeon flew into the frame as soon I'd focused and I shot just one lucky image with it captured perfectly and rescuing the shot from too much symmetry

When a single colour distracts 

So maybe we just crop it   !! 

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Using Format