It ranks among my top 3 London buildings for architectural design. Designed by Lord Foster’s team at the legendary Foster + Partners, it’s a landmark which makes me detour towards it every time I’m in the City.
Having completed a photoshoot nearby, I decided to set up my camera and take my own signature image for my portfolio. I settled upon, what I felt to be, the perfect composition for the shot. Basking in the soft, late afternoon sun, a section of the facade was set to a single-point-perspective. The building then extends from right-to-left towards 22 Bishopsgate in the distance. From this perspective you can truly appreciate the depth and detail of the architecture.
A couple of months passed when, as luck would have it, I was commissioned by a client to photograph this very building. It had been a project site for said client and they required a leading image for their internal case study. I presented them with the above image, which although to their liking, had one minor issue – they needed it taken at dusk.
“Perfect!”, I thought. You see, I had been thinking of replicating my initial image at twilight ever since I took the photo. So this presented me with the perfect opportunity.
This time I scheduled a specific time and date to head back to the City for the shot. Clear skies and good weather were a must (with no guarantees here in London, despite it being summertime). I set up my gear as before and set to work. Shooting at twilight is a different beast altogether. The ambient light changes by the minute as the sun drops below neighbouring buildings and beyond the horizon. This in-turn affects how the internal lights of the building, car headlights, street lights, sky and reflections all affect the scene. Being unable to light the exterior of the building myself (something I would do with a residential property), meant I had to use the varying stages of sunlight as my tool. Two hours on location and approximately 200 images gave me the catalogue of components required for the final image. These components consist of the sky, the brickwork, the windows, interior lights, facade lighting, streetlights, car headlights and the position of pedestrians across the scene.
The final image used parts from approximately 15 of those images, taking three hours to blend and complete in post-production. Including travel and location time, that makes a full 9-hour day for one image. That’s a big difference to the 45 minutes it took me to shoot and retouch the daytime version! But to my client and me, it’s the better image and if both parties are left happy, then I’ve done my job.
Both images taken with the Canon 5DmkIV and the Canon 24mm TS-E II.
Retouched using Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop.