On a recent visit to London we had a free night to explore the city and as the early evening sun began to set we ventured up London’s tallest building to capture the view from The Shard. The Shard itself is a stunning piece of architecture, the 87-storey skyscraper is visible from all four corners of London, it is a breathtaking design that offers a 40 mile, 360 degree viewing gallery at the very top.
The Shard is the largest building in Western Europe and fortunately the journey to the top is by elevator rather than the stairs. For obvious reasons you aren’t able to take a tripod or monopod to the top of skyscraper so all of the images are captured handheld with the Fujifilm X100T camera. This little camera goes everywhere and you can read just how much I love the X100 range in my 65 photos captured with the X100 Series and my Fujifilm X100T review.
The views from The Shard at night are particularly stunning and we arrived just as the sun was beginning to set. Shooting handheld at night isn’t easy but shooting handheld through glass is exceptionally challenging. Not only do you have to address the low light, the composition, but you also have the challenge of dealing with the lights reflectioning off the glass windows that protect you from the elements.
I attempted a few handheld panorama captures using the X100T’s built-in panoramic feature but it was difficult to find a stretch of glass wide enough that wasn’t going to create a substantial reflection. The image below is the best of the three images but there is still some light banding on the right-hand-side.
You can see a larger view of this image on flickr (where the reflective banding is a little more apparent). Despite the reflections I still love the image even at 4000 pixels wide. London from the Shard Panorama.
I could have stayed in The Shard’s viewing gallery would have loved to capture some long exposure photography from this height especially given the amount of movement there was at ground level. I have developed a Lightroom preset for night-time cityscape images that worked really well to correct the blacks and draw out the city lights, you can even see the evening turning to night in the series of images progresses. You can get the preset as part of the preset bundle. See more on the bundle here.
I have categorised the view from the Shard as landscape photography, although perhaps not in the traditional sense of the term I do feel there is something spectacular about the urban landscape. If you are in London and get the chance to visit The Shard it is definitely worth seeing at anytime of the day, the photographs genuinely don’t do the reality of The Shard experience justice!