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A night in London city

by Stewart Marsden

I took this shot on New Year’s Eve in London city. A friend and I had just had a run in with the police for climbing up some scaffolding on a building site in the Elephant and Castle in an attempt to get to the roof of a New Build to shoot the fireworks at midnight. But it wasn’t to be, so we continued our search for a vista.  

We later found a condemned building in North Lambeth and jumped over the fence and found our way easily to the roof. Sadly the building wasn’t located a little more to the left as I would have preferred to have a gap between the church and the building behind it.


Kit: Pentax K5 - DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR and a dodgy £5 tripod from Tesco!!

Having set up the composition, with the camera on aperture priority, and manual white balance ‘incandescent’  I bracketed for 5 shots at 2ev apart. This produces 2 dark shots, a standard shot and 2 bright shots. Unfortunately we didn’t get much time on the roof as it was swarmed by noisy kids looking for a view of the fireworks. This drew again the attention of law enforcement, so my friend and I had to make a hasty exit.

The 5 images were loaded into Lightroom for lens correction.  Then I exported them into Photomatix.  I used the Tone Mapping process with Details Enhancer.  Using the sliders, I created a balanced image trying not to make the effect too strong.  Photomatix is a very powerful tool for blending exposures and producing HDR images with a whole host of options you can produce many styles of images.

When I was happy with the effect, I opened the new image in PSCS6 and added some dynamic contrast with Colour FX pro 4 before returning the image to Lightroom for fine white balancing, sharpening and finishing.