A regular client of mine asked me to get involved on the photography side of things for the recently bought St Katharine’s Dock which sits hidden in the shadow of Tower bridge and a near stones throw from the new Shard building as well as other iconic buildings like the Gherkin. It is a real hidden gem of a place as it really feels tucked out of the way from the hustle of London. The task was to shoot landscapes of the dock at various times of the day, but preferably when the sun was shining and the sky was at its bluest, nobody likes a dreary grey London!
One of the biggest challenges with shooting buildings and water together is often that the reflections are at least 2 stops darker than the buildings being reflected… This throws up a few problems and a number of subsequent solutions can be utilised..
1. You can either bracket your images, taking the best above ground exposure and the best below ground exposure and marrying then up, this can be tricky as it means a lot of post production and sometimes just not feasible if there isn’t a clean horizon line which, in my case there wasn’t.
2. You can use Graduated ND (Neutral Density) filters. This for me was the best solution, it meant i could darken down the top half and make it look both natural and it would all be done in camera (the less post the better, the problem with digital photography compared to film is over reliance on Photoshop).
This was how i proceeded with the landscapes, using a variety of grades of filter (ND Grad 0.6 and a ND Grad 0.3 and sometimes a combination of the two) a camera cloth to throw over the camera to assess exposures, which can be tricky in bright sunlight, a firm tripod and a cable release).