Day 301 – London Underground

A few days away so I want to share with you some icon photos from London. My first thought was to capture the underground – now to capture images on the underground is an interesting area – permits can be required if wanting to take professional images but there seems to be no ban on adhoc photography as long as a tripod and a flash are not used, and that you stop if requested to do so. A lot more guidelines can be found here – Photographing the underground

I was not going to plan my shots, rather just carry my camera and take a photo of a moment. I just wanted to capture my day and not really identify anywhere where the photos were taken. I wanted to capture the mood of underground in off peak travel.

The iconic sign of the London Underground is a red circle with a blue line – here I have amended the image so rather than to identify the station, or the route I took, i added my own writing….  a quick google and I came up with a similar font to the original London Underground font which was created in 1915

London Underground
London Underground

The other most iconic image of the underground is a train with its distinctive red doors – which close no matter what – and I felt that this really suited a letterbox crop. I wish here I had thought to use a CPL filter, but that would have made my DSLR even more obvious but it may have helped with the reflective glare from the station lights above.

London Underground - ISO2000, F5.6, 1/30sec - 16mm lens length
London Underground – ISO2000, F5.6, 1/30sec – 16mm lens length

Sticking to colour – “Mind the Gap” – the message of the underground … making sure passengers are not pushed onto the tracks in rush hour and pointing out the gap between the station platform and the train, I was amazed how at times you stepped up, stepped down, at different variations to board or depart a train.

Iconic London, F9, 1/30sec - ISO200, 17mm lens
Iconic London, F9, 1/30sec – ISO200, 17mm lens

Turning a photo black and white and keeping a spot colour is dated now a days, but the structure of this stair case works well in black and white but the fact that the gentleman was carrying a bright red suitcase and was on the stairs – inspired me to create that effect in Lightroom.

The red bag - F13, 1/40sec, ISO800, 16mm lens
The red bag – F13, 1/40sec, ISO800, 16mm lens

The stations to me were very grey – I converted all the images to monochrome – they are just bland places which thousands of zoombies pass through everyday…  for me going to London is an adventure, for many I get the impression it is a torturous journey which has to be done with as little interaction as possible.

The station - F22, 1/40sec ISO800
The station – F22, 1/40sec ISO800

There is plenty of advertising about … some related to the surroundings where they are advertised…. some in poor repair… most do little to improve the view whilst waiting for the next train.

Posters - F13, 1/100sec, ISO100, 16mm lens
Posters – F13, 1/100sec, ISO100, 16mm lens

I tried to capture some of the atmosphere of an underground terminal – I love the movement of some people’s feet… the idea that the crowd is moving… but it is a real balance of creating an image with a slow enough shutter speed to capture movement but not camera shake , and about 1/20th sec seems to work with this lens.

Off Peak rush - ISO1600, F9, 1/20sec - 16mm zoom
Off Peak rush – ISO1600, F9, 1/20sec – 16mm zoom

Catching an approaching train, and I used too long a shutter speed – I should have chosen a narrower aperture for this shot – which would have helped greatly, but I still wanted to share the trains arrival. It was only at editings I could really see the camera movement!

Waiting - F22, 1/8sec, 34mm lens, ISo12800
Waiting – F22, 1/8sec, 34mm lens, ISo12800

A different station – but the same idea…  1/5th second is not quite sharp enough to reduce my camera blur, but I love the fact that the passenger stood still and I was able to capture the blur of the train, all without using a flash!

Wait, F8, 1/5sec, ISO1600
Wait, F8, 1/5sec, ISO1600

On board the train and off peak the carriages have a very different feel – this newer train was light and airy and you could see down the trains entire length. The bright lights caused lots of reflections, and people seem to be in their own micro worlds.

In the tube - ISO500,F10, 1.40sec, 1mm lens
In the tube – ISO500,F10, 1.40sec, 1mm lens

Another tube, a bit busier… and people guard their possessions as well as they can – the stories that could be told… but there seems to be an unwritten rule not to speak to anyone – as when I spoke to one lady to say her rucksack was undone, she was really surprised I spoke ….

View down the tube, ISO2500, 1/40sec, F9, 17mm zoom
View down the tube, ISO2500, 1/40sec, F9, 17mm zoom

With my camera balanced on my knee, I captures this photo of the people along from me … zoombies on the underground … it is a sad world when we interact so little with the people around us … I wonder if they ever truly see the world underground, that they obviously commute through regularly!

Staring, F10, 1/30sec, 18mm lens, ISO4000
Staring, F10, 1/30sec, 18mm lens, ISO4000
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3 thoughts on “Day 301 – London Underground

  1. Wonderful post! Love the shots! And, yes, you’re correct that we do not communicate with each other anymore. Just “zoombies” in the thing called Life! It’s rather sad, actually.

    I experienced this while working in Boston (years ago), and I had to take the commuter trains everywhere.

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