Travel: a day in London…

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

Justin Hawthorne

London Eye

Dominated by work attending WTM London, a week long trip in November had me eek out as much spare time as I could to see the city. That entailed sunrise walks and nighttime long exposure sessions at the wharf’s. On my final day I stretched my legs properly and got to see a little glimpse into life in London Town.

Royal Victoria Dock, London

Royal Victoria Dock, London

The previous evening I’d hopped on the tube to see Canary Wharf at night. With the calm autumn weather playing along the docks reflected beautiful light as the high-rise buildings bustled with corporate humans well into the evening. This isn’t really my scene, but as it was just around the corner from my Airbnb I figured I’d still check it out.

An early morning wake up followed by another top-notch breakfast had me back on the tube and heading into the city. First stop: Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge, London

I headed straight for Tower Bridge to capture early morning activities around this iconic structure. The gloomy weather resulted in a lack of gorgeous morning light, but it brought out some of the other elements in the vicinity, such as the blues and golds on the bridge and railings. With autumn in full swing the leaves lying on the cobbled walkway certainly added warmth.

River Thames, London

River Thames, London

When travelling solo it becomes challenging to capture ‘the shot’ where a human being is a core component of the composition. This scene was just that…I had the image composition in my mind, but just needed the right person to step in shot…at the right time! I came away with two shots I was happy about, but also the frustrating “if only” feeling. Time was moving on and I had to too.

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Tower Bridge, London

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Tower Bridge, London

Crossing Tower Bridge I walked alongside the Thames and went onto Westminster where I crossed a busy bridge congested with tourists, locals heading to work and school groups.

Westminster Bridge, London

Westminster Bridge, London

I kept going to pass by a hidden-away Big Ben which was under renovation, and then brushed shoulders with numerous attendees at the opening of the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance were displaying war medals, the iconic red poppy and carrying wreaths.

Telephone booths had queues, not for making calls, but rather for getting the instashot.

St. James Park was bustling and the ground crunchy with Plane Tree leaves smothering the lawns.

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St. James Park, London

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St. James Park, London

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St. James Park, London

Not far beyond were the black swans catching travelers eyes, and then the statue of Queen Victoria sat mum under a grey sky.

The Queen Victoria Memorial

The Queen Victoria Memorial

 

Across The Mall lay Green Park which totally stole the show. Stunning pathways and avenues were covered in signs of this ‘warm’ season, and was a photographers dream. Locals catching the odd ray of sunshine sat on benches reading the latest news, while pigeons pestered at their feet. Couples sat at random across the lawns relaxing over midday as fitness enthusiasts ran by just a few feet away breathing steam as they vocalized loudly. I continued on, feeling the need for some lunchtime nourishment.

Green Park, London

Green Park, London

That took me over to Mayfair where I stopped in at The Footman for a pint of their local and a nibble. People watching through the windows from my bar stool, I sipped slowly on my ale.

Thirst quenching in Mayfair

Thirst quenching in Mayfair

Feeling the need to move on, with the afternoon disappearing, I grabbed my bag and started my journey back to Westminster passing motionless guards on horses and the press near 10 Downing St.

The London Eye gave me the elevation I’d needed to get perspective of the city, and the late afternoon light burnt golden as the sun finally broke through significantly.

I strolled out of the giant capsule after a 30 minute spin, and tossed a coin to decide which tube station I should walk to. Waterloo was a poor choice at 15:15 pm and the big transport hub suddenly turned my mellow attitude to stress levels straight through the glass ceiling! I needed to get my carry-on suitcase from a luggage hold just outside London Bridge station and then make it to Heathrow by 16:50. There was no room for error, and through the helpful advice of a few Londoners I ensured I made all the right tube connections seamlessly!

London Underground, London Bridge

London Underground, London Bridge

 

It’s what you call maximizing your time. Squeezing out every last second you possibly can. Adding a surge of panic and adrenaline just prior to jumping on board an overnight flight definitely helped me sleep soundly while adjacent to the baby seat

Watching planes fly overhead at Royal Victoria Dock

Watching planes fly overhead at Royal Victoria Dock

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