Hammersmith Bridge at Night

Hammersmith Bridge @ Night Click image to purchase

Hammersmith Bridge @ Night Click image to purchase

This is the last image from my recent shoot at Hammersmith Bridge and was taken at the end of blue hour. It was also the shot that has taken me the longest to process for a variety of reasons.

First to the picture. I wanted to get a low angle shot to isolate the bridge against the sky, hide the cars crossing the bridge and because I’d not seen any images from this angle, problem was a 5′ wall between me and well a drop of potentially 12′ into the river (not good when carrying camera gear). I climbed onto the wall and found there was a small, dry bank had formed almost where I was and provided easy access to the river bed plus easy exit back out after.

The River Thames is still tidal this far down river and the tide was on it’s way out exposing a nice (but very muddy and slippery) area I could set up, it also exposed the wooden tracks seen at the bottom left of the image. These provided a nice foreground element and echoed the angle of the bridge. The area around here used to be light industrial in the pre-war years and this was a landing area for the Thames lighters that used to ferry goods downstream to docklands.


The image is an HDR composed from 5 RAW files taken at +1 to -3 Ev.

Files were imported into Photomatix pro for conversion to a tone-mapped TIFF before being finished in Photoshop with localised adjustments.

This was actually my third attempt at processing this image; the first felt to purple; the second (lets not talk about the second) before I got to this stage. I adjusted various settings in Photomatix before I was (relatively) happy with the result. Once I’d brought the image back to Photoshop I realised there was a lot of hot pixels in the image and this took some time to remove, I tried various noise reduction programs but found the degraded the image to much so resorted to hand removal using the spot healing tool.

Once I was happier with the result I applied a couple of filters from the On One perfect effects package and slept on it. The next day and a few more adjustments, mainly local dodging and burning, I even ‘shopped a blue moon in at one point but took it back out.

I don’t recall having worked on an image for quite so long before, I quite like the result but still feel there is room for improvement so may have another go soon. Hope you like it.




16 responses to “Hammersmith Bridge at Night

    • Thank you. That’s made the countless hours of processing and the standing in the cold taking the shots worthwhile.That’s such a nice thing to say.

  1. Mind blowing! I love this shot, my friend! That bridge just takes us right through the frame, and the lights and their reflections in the river just add so much here! Terrific tones in that night sky just polishes off the entire gem, my friend, you’ve got a real winner here!

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    • Thanks Mike, for me HDR is a tool to aid the reproduction of what I see not a get out of jail card for a failed image. As such I try to keep adjustments as minimal as possible whilst still achieving tonal range.

      • Those are my thoughts too. I’m finding HDR a useful tool in black and white images. I look forward to some more 🙂

  3. Looks great, time well spent I’d say! It’s a really unique approach to HDR processing you’ve got there.
    I’m about to embark on a series of night shots in London, Perhaps I’d better add this bridge to my list!

    • Thanks Geoff, I first found HDR because it was widely used in UrBex, however it seemed that the people that were using it were explorers first and the photography was a means to record what they saw, the shots all became more alike as the same processing was used. I look at a lot of landscapes and cityscapes now and have a pretty good idea of the package used in post production and even the filters applied, in truth that scares me, I want to create photographs that are unique, that reflect what I saw at the time, for me HDR is a tool that aids that vision but it is a small part of the process and not the end result.
      To have someone comment that I have a unique approach to HDR makes the last 2 years of experimenting worthwhile.
      Good luck shooting in London, it can be a great city at night and if you are around my area give me a shout.

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