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London - Is tripod safe ? low light and night photography

Discussion in 'Photographic Locations' started by GrahamR, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. GrahamR

    GrahamR Well-Known Member

    I would like to travel to London in the next couple of weeks with my SLR and TRIPOD to take pictures of the sights in low light or night photography mode. e.g Tower bridge, Big Ben, Millenium Wheel/bridge. Can you recommend any excellent locations for dusk/dark.
    Its just for my own photographic pleasure and see great opportunities of photos
    My main worry is carrying a tripod on the train, tube and then around the City.
    Is it ok, or will I be constantly stopped by security/police.

    Thanks for any advise.

  2. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    It's perfectly okay, I'm often found in and around London taking photos during the hours of darkness.

    My advice would be to go around with someone else though. A single person with a good looking camera and tripod is more of a temptation for thieves.
  3. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Morning Fen,

    Perhaps Graham might want to hook up with Tom's London Meet-up group of which I believe you and Sean are members :).


  4. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Morning Graham,

    I have never had any problems wandering around London taking pics at night...but Fen's idea of having a few other photog's/folks with you can't hurt and, if you don't have any companion's in London...here are a couple of (Photo) Meet-up groups and photog's in London:

    1) The AP Forum (most) Photo Meet-up group: http://photo.meetup.com/459/

    and there is:

    2) This list of photographer's in London (and area): http://photo.meetup.com/cities/gb/london/?from=loc_pick and the only person I know in this group is Tom --who heads the group above. :rolleyes:

    Hope you have a good trip and get some great images....which we will hopefully get to see :)


  5. Mojo_66

    Mojo_66 Well-Known Member

    Isn't it a terrible reflection on the way society as whole is going when someone has to ask on a forum as to whether or not they're permitted to use a tripod in the Capital? Common sense issues aside it should be taken as a given.
  6. Matt_Hunt

    Matt_Hunt Well-Known Member


    I was out on London bridge on Friday with a tripod and had no problems either taking pictures or communting with it.


  7. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    I thought London corporation had banned public communting?

  8. ChrisBrookes

    ChrisBrookes Well-Known Member

    I was in london in October and took these shots I have put them on the map so you can see where they were taken I had no bother from anyone about my tripod
  9. kmb9000

    kmb9000 Member


    I am based in London and quite happy to meet up with you and photograph night London. I need some interesting photos to take home to Australia next year.


  10. RichardK

    RichardK Well-Known Member

    Me too! Pass through London Bridge each day so done quite a bit along South Bank up to Tower Bridge, generally stay away from the West End!

    Have just started on the Diploma course too, so need to get out there taking photos!

  11. Steve_Bell

    Steve_Bell Well-Known Member

    I live outside London, but often travel in for photography. Your only worry re the tube is during rush hour when the trains are so packed you can hardly get in. If you're carrying a back pack with tripod attached you could do someone an injury.

    Many areas you have access to are private property, it isn't always obvious. If you are unsure, work out what you are going to photograph before getting your kit out and be quick before security guards appear, then move on. I've been challenged with a tripod at Greenwich, Canary Wharf and St. Catherines Dock. I understand they don't allow tripods close to the London Eye, and obviously you don't want to set one up in a very busy place for safety reasons, such as Westminster Bridge during the day.

    Just over a week ago I was in London for the day, and stayed on to shoot at night. I started at Tower Bridge and walked down to Westminster, tripod and medium format camera, had a great time and no problems. In the evening Westminster Bridge was less busy, and you can setup a tripod close to the bridge edge, good for shots of Big Ben and the Eye. The Houses of Parliament side had roadworks and boards up so you couldn't shoot from that side. Starting at dusk is best.

    I too have been out with Tom's London meetup group, have had some great times.
  12. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    You could consider a good monopod as an option, they are easier to carry on the tube. If you wedge it between your body and a solid object such as a bridge parapet when extended, you can get a steady shot. I use a 3 section Manfrotto with a ball head and quick release plate. It is very quick to extend and to put down, so a fast setup if needed is easy.
  13. Banitsa

    Banitsa Well-Known Member

    This applies everywhere in the world, not just London.... Unfortunately.
  14. Hotblack

    Hotblack Dead Horse Flogger

    There's an intersting news article regarding photography at the London Eye in this week's AP.

    Strangely non of us at the recent London Meet had any problems when photographing around the Eye despite the prevalence of (D)SLRs and a couple of tripods being carried. Pam and I had to surrender up our tripods for the actual flight but had no problems with the rest of our kit. I know this was during daylight hours but I was happily able to use my tripod on the Millennium Bridge with no problems as it got dark.
  15. RichardK

    RichardK Well-Known Member

    That's good to hear. I find it quite dissapointing, anger-inducing even, that we shouldn't be allowed to take photos of the most prominant landmark in the city!

    I was at Somerset House the other evening to take some photos of the Ice Skating. Within 30 seconds of getting my camera out (350D), I was asked if (told that, more like) the photos were for personal use only. The security guy was quite friendly about it as it happens, and was happy enough to let me continue.

    Unfortunately within 35 seconds of getting my camera out, I discovered I'd used up all the batteries, so a re-visit is required!

  16. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Morning Chris,

    Great shots :cool: and very nice of Mrs. Chris to lie on the ground to get
    that shot of you with the London Eye ;).


  17. Aidie

    Aidie Member

    Sorry to be a wet blanket over this, but at least I'm being honest.

    Westminster, You need permission to shoot, and also a TRIPOD permit, Public Liability Insurance is mandatory, unless you want to lie about the commercial aspects of your visit.

    Same for Tower Bridge, security is tight and you could get thrown off the Bridge, not literally of course.

    Most of this applies to other areas of London, hardly a square inch that you do not need permission for.

    A lot of Photographers want to go off half cocked about well everyone else does it, be my Guest > go ahead, but don't forget most of these areas are covered by Bye Laws, and if you want to get stroppy with Security personel they can see you get a Criminal Record in return, nice people > but they can't confiscate your gear, still the fine will be enough to piss you off.

    Best solution is to join a Club that has insurance and specialises in location photography, they should have first hand knoledge of what is needed and advise on kit and special requirements, so often I have seen makeshift groups organising night shoots and they failed before they got out of the front door.

    It's your choice !

    Aidie. [​IMG]
  18. AlanClifford

    AlanClifford Well-Known Member

    There's a good view from the Monument. Please excuse this really bad photo from 2002 but it shows the view.
  19. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    This is a very old thread 2006. :D

    But let us not forget there is a ban in Trafaglar Square as well.

    Was cover last year by AP when someone got stopped.
  20. Aidie

    Aidie Member

    There is not ban in Trafalgar Squre, I was shooting there in November and had my colar felt, the Security chap was a bit put out as he had never encountered an organised Photography Club before and was really lost with how to deal with us despite the Bye Laws, there was nothing he could do legally and walked off muttering about stopping us shooting if we were " Professionals " LOL.

    I could have threatened him with disrupting a person who is working, I believe that falls under the street workers act, but it was not really worth my time, however obtaining permission for shooting in Trafalgar Squre is farsical, as it falls to three separate authorities.

    Aidie. [​IMG]

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