By Jon Herbert
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: NIKKOR AF-S 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G
Exposure: 15 seconds at f/16 (ISO100)
Jon says: «I wanted to capture the light trails going into the entrance of the bridge.l used a tripod and merged five exposures to create an HDR image. The longest bracket was used to get the light trails.»
LEE FROST: I love shooting at night, and Jon’s picture is a good example of why. There’ssomuch colour — in the sky.the floodlighting on the bridge and the light trails from passing traffic.
I have to say, I’ve never tried shooting an HDR sequence at night as Jon did here, but clearly it works as there’s a lot more detail visible in the final image than there would be on a single frame.lt has also allowed Jon to record more traffic trails than he could in a single shot then merge them all into one.
Jon’s timing was spot-on.too. A lot of night photographers make the mistake of waiting until it’s properly night and the sky is black before shooting, but as you can see, the results are far better if you shoot at twilight when there’sstill plenty of colour in the sky and also enough light from the sky to stop the shadow areas going too dark.
I do have two minor criticisms of Jon’s image.though. Firstly, I’mnot keen on the viewpoint as it just makes Tower Bridge look squashed — though I accept that Jon wouldn’t have been able to shoot from the middle of the road closer to the higher tower further into the scene. Secondly, I find the high traffic trails on the right side of the shot distracting and unbalancing. Because the scene is symmetrical, it really needed high light trails on the leftside, too, to balance the composition. Verdict: A colourful, eye-catching and well-timed night shot.
• DANIEL LEZANO: Tower Bridge is one of the UK’s most photographed landmarks, so all credit to Jon for trying to find an unusual way to capture it. Choosing a middle-of-the-road approach is an angle I’ve rarely seen and he’s done well to capture shake-free results as there would have been constant vibrations from the traffic.
The option to go for an HDR image also shows a good sense of creativity and I like the fact that Jon’s HDR effect is subtle rather than being completely OTT. The exposures he’s used are effective too at capturing good traffic trail effects while also revealing the colour of the sky at twilight.
However, while the viewpoint is unique, it does mean Jon has failed to fully reveal the iconic tower- the foremost is visible through the arch, but for the image to truly work, I feel it needs to be fully visible. I guess there wasn’t an island on the bridge beyond the first arch that Jon could set up on. Verdict: Technically Jon has got everything pretty much spot-on, but while I’m all for unusual viewpoints of с lassie land marks, this one isn’t quite right for me.
When visiting a potential photo spot, walk around and assess all the angles before setting up to shoot.In this instance.the archway nearest Jon is blocking the view of the most important parts of Tower Bridge — the towers! By positioning himself on the pavement on the opposite side of the first arch, Jon could have captured the traffic trails coming in diagonally and the nearest tower in all its glory against the twilight sky.