Yes, we’re back in The UK! And, I know that I haven’t been posting regular updates, so that might be confusing. But, we’re back England and I was so excited to go put a new lens – the Canon 35mm f/1.8 rf lens – to the test with some London Street Photography!
We had an amazing time in South Africa, and I don’t think the articles are done from there. So, look for a couple more on the way. That said, we caught a flight with Justfly to London to spend the holidays.
Of course, as you know with me, a holiday doesn’t usually mean “holiday”. I had all sorts of things planned, including heading out and doing some street photography in London. Check out the video below.
My Street Photography Lens
I added a new piece of kit to my camera bag – a street photography lens that I’ve been dying to test out. I got the Canon 35mm f/1.8 rf lens.
As soon as I saw Canon announce the 35mm f/1.8 rf my first thought was: street photography.
You see, I’m certainly not a famous street photographer. I’m known more for my landscape and travel photography. But, I absolutely love getting out and taking pictures on the street. It feels a bit like a photographic hunt. So, while I might not do it much, I’m always looking for an excuse to go out and take pictures on the streets – especially in places like London.
Street Photography in London
Now, to keep this blog post a little bit organized, I’m going to walk you through my day in London. I’ve named all my images – for the purpose of this post, I normally don’t.
I chose to do my London street photography at King’s Cross. But, it’s kind of funny, before I even hit the underground to head to that part of the city I already captured 2 images I really liked.
If there’s on thing I hate about street photography it’s that I feel like a paparazzi. Within 5 minutes of buying the lens and fitting it to my camera, Jodie and I spotted this gentleman walking down Oxford street. Of course, to get a good angle and composition of the man, I had to sort of run ahead of him and get the photo. I always feel a bit rude photographing people like this. I only wish they knew it was because they look amazing.
Reflections of a Girlfriend
Ok, I cheated on this image.
Normally in street photography you’d never “guide” a model to their location in the frame. The whole point is to capture the world in a very editorial manner. However, I really wanted to test a couple things on the lens, so I had Jodie walk past this puddle. I’m pretty happy with the result despite the brutal lighting conditions.
Street Photography on the London Underground
Again, I had no intention of taking photos on the way to King’s Cross. But, you know how it is when you have a new piece of camera equipment, you just can’t help but take pictures.
On the way to King’s Cross, I stumbled across 2 more images I really liked.
The Love of a Dog
I loved the lines of the escalator heading down into the London Underground. I was really hoping for an interesting looking person to come up that I could frame by themselves as we went down. Luckily, a lady carrying a dog in her arms came up, and it really made for a cool moment.
I would have liked the dog to be looking at us – that would have really made the image incredible. But, you take what you get, and I’m still pleased.
I honestly don’t know what it is about this image that I love. From a technical standpoint, it’s good. From a composition standpoint, it’s pretty imperfect. But, there’s just something about the “normality” of the scene that really jumps out at me.
King’s Cross Street Photography
Ok, so I finally made it to King’s Cross.
I had about 2 hours to spend walking around King’s Cross on my street photography mission. It’s a part of London I’ve really been wanting to photograph. It kind of has a bad reputation, but I think the area is improving a lot, and I think the juxtapositions in this part of the city make for great street photos.
I ended up with 25 keep images from this afternoon’s photo shoot. That honestly must be the most I’ve ever kept from a street session. Usually, I’ll love 2-3 and keep 8-10.
I’m going to share about 10 images with you.
I love when people give me a little bit of attitude when I’m photographing them in the streets. Obviously, I don’t want anyone to be upset, but a little bit of sass adds a lot to an image.
In this image, I had developed a scene with the colourful building in the background and was waiting for a subject to walk through it. This girl walked past – she was perfect. Not only did she match the building in terms of colour scheme, but she was oozing sass.
A Great Place for a Read
I love trying to find contrasts and juxtapositions in my street photography.
So, here we are in front of the busy, and often chaotic, King’s Cross station and there’s this old gentleman sitting there reading a book. There’s graffiti in the background, a modern sculpture beside him, and beautiful light. It made a great photo.
Puddles. If you’re looking for a simple and stupid street photography trick, look for puddles.
It’s amazing what you can do with puddles. You can find reflections, you can use them as leading lines, or you can use them as a distracting point from your subject. In this image, I wanted to catch the reflection of this suitcase-wielding man. I missed the reflection, but there’s something very mysterious about this image without the reflection. Again I don’t know why, but I really love this photo and what it exudes.
The Coal Office
As the sunset approached, the light bordered between challenging and incredible. I was really impressed with the dynamic range on the Canon EOS R. I feel like when I got into my edit I had a lot of wiggle room for editing.
This is one of those scenes that really works. I love that it feels like it could be a colourised photo from the 1920s if it weren’t for the advertising or street light.
I honestly don’t know why this part of London isn’t more popular with photographers. There are so many cool scenes.
There’s nothing special to how I made this photo. I just really loved the lines leading to the couple sat on the steps. And, of course, the building and the light in the background are great. But it’s the person walking up the steps that really makes this frame.
I think I might come back to this location in London at some point to photography a more travel-style image here.
There was a brutal traffic jam here, and I waited on the corner for a solid 15 minutes hoping to photograph a classic London taxi or a double-decker with this view. But, traffic didn’t move.
Then, my waiting was rewarded as this lovely lady came cruising through on her bike.
I’ve titled this photo “alright mate?” because that’s what the photographed person grumbled to me as they passed.
I’m not sure if that was meant to be a “chill out, don’t photograph me” or a “ok, I can see you’re photographing me and that’s find”. But, it was a bit intimidating.
The way I shoot street photography, in general, is that I set a scene and wait for the subject to walk in. Then, as they walk towards me, I manually focus or use the face recognition follow focus to track them as they walk.
So, I’d set this scene and this guy came through. He was a great subject, had a great look and a bit of confidence. It was obvious I was photographing him, and he let me know it.
Stop, Lemme Take a Selfie
This location was a goldmine.
I took this photo from the exact same spot as the one above. Of course, these people were a little more happy to be photographed. They came strolling past with big smiled on their face as one of the girls was either live-streaming or taking a number of selfies.
From a photography standpoint, I got lower to the ground for this photo so I could make a landscape orientation image.
King’s Cross Square
I said this spot was a goldmine.
This is the 3rd image I’m sharing from this spot – although the composition and mood is very different to the previous two. I actually kept 3 or 4 images of this this composition. I’m still not 100% sure this is my favourite. But, I do love the balance of the photo. And, the mood is cool.
I was actually done doing street photography at the point I took this image. I was looking for a couple simple images from the street without people that I could use for a background image or to sell to on of my clients.
But, some of the best London street photos come when you’re not expecting it.
This London commuter had no idea I was taking pictures. In fact, I’m not entirely sure that she knew that the world beyond her phone existed at all.
More Street Photography?
I know that lots of you follow along with my journeys for the travel photography and love my focus on landscapes and nature. But, for those interested, there will be more street photography coming fairly soon. I’m heading up to Scotland for Hogmanay and I’ll likely do a bit there. Then, later on, I’ll be in The Philippines and there will be street photography moments for sure.
Of course, there’s going to be some landscape photography up in Scotland and Iceland as well. Stay tuned. Plenty of photography on the way.