Project 20: Busy traffic

Project brief:

Choose a busy location, interior or exterior, and find a viewpoint,that will give a satisfying composition as well as a good sense of the nature and function of the space.

Spend some time watching how the flow of people works – the patterns they make, any surges or lulls in movement and numbers – and how this can contribute to the composition of the shot.

Aim to show the ‘busyness’ of the place, which might involve altering the composition, perhaps changing the focal length of the lens, or experimenting with a slow exposure (the camera will need to be on a tripod) to create blur.


P20-A: ISO 50, 92mm, 5s@f16, 6 stop ND filter. tripod, mirror lock up, long exposure noise reduction

More London has become a very popular location to visit and promenade – even on a cold and drizzly January Saturday.  Tower Bridge provides an elevated vantage point and the Thames Path provides a natural path for the eye to follow into the picture.  I experimented with a 6 stop and 10 stop ND filter – the flow on the latter proved to be too ‘thin’ for this particular scene and dull lighting.  I had many images to choose from but prefer this one in which there is movement in the foreground and relatively sharp standing people in the mid ground. This relatively broad composition also satisfies the brief’s criteria that the image should give a sense of the nature and function of the place.


P20-B: 95mm, ISO 400, 1/100@f8

This second example was made from underneath the Millennium Bridge.  It was almost impossible to predict when people would step into the frame and so I took many shots, and many were near misses.  I like the fact that in this one, the boy is looking through the bridge deck to see what I am doing.  He appears almost stationary but the feet of the man on his left show that he is moving.


This was a fairly straightforward assignment compared to others within the course.  One tangental learning point I applied was that knowing how difficult it can be to use a tripod in this area of London, I had calculated my exposure time, determined my composition, attached the cable release etc etc in advance of setting up my tripod so that it was ‘on display’ and in position for the least possible time.  On this occasion at least, this strategy worked.

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