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Trust your (photographic) gut feelings

warm sunset over West London

Since I returned from beautiful Georgia, the weather in London has been pretty grim and depressing. It rained almost every day and it was generally cold and grey most of the time.

This day was no exception, and frankly there was nothing that could hint to what happened later in the afternoon. I spent most of the day reviewing and editing photos as there was no point in going out and shoot.
Grey sky, uninteresting light, I was again foreseeing a no-shooting day.

All of a sudden I see a different light coming through the window. A slightly warmer light as if the sun had tried to breach the clouds somehow.
My work room faces North, so this time of the year I’m able to see in the direction of the sunset, and indeed there was a tiny opening in the grey wall.
Now, this quite often ends up nowhere: the clouds take over again or the sky doesn’t receive any colour whatsoever.
But since my return I didn’t have stimuli to go back in the street to shoot, so I badly needed an excuse to take my camera outside.

There was very little apparent chance that the sunset could be nice at all but I somehow felt it differently. Also, I missed a few good ones in the recent past out of mere lack of trust in my gut feelings… But this time I put all my gear in my back and rushed to the nearest vantage point.
I decided I’d rather take a few dull panoramic shot (or capture some dramatic clouds had they turned stormy) than regret to miss a nice sunset.

The surprise.

Having read until now you know where this is going…
And so I rushed to my nearest vantage point, which happens to be the Shard skyscraper with its ever-annoying glass reflections and no-tripod policy. Arrived and fought my way to a good spot.

The rest is captured in my pictures:

  • The sun reflecting on the buildings around the London Eye.
    Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujifilm XF55-200mm, 1/25 sec at F/11, ISO 400
  • A helicopter flying close to the sun. Could it feel the warmth?
    Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujifilm XF55-200mm, 1/500 sec at F/11, ISO 400
  • The sun setting behind St Paul’s Cathedral with a beautiful red shade
    and another helicopter
    Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujifilm XF55-200mm, 1/60 sec at F/11, ISO 400

I posted the last image in my Instagram Stories and it ended up having quite a good response, with a few accounts reposting it. Thanks guys!

What really surprised me is how clear the view was from up the Shard: to the West you could see miles beyond Wembley. And yet some of my friends posted pictures of this sunset from the ground and it still looked cloudy.
Different points of view can produce very diverse images!

  • This is how it looked to the East, right after sunset
    Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujifilm XF18-55mm, 1/6 sec at F/8, ISO 1600

Bottom line: take your camera and go out shooting. Particularly if your instinct tells you to.


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