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Over the years I have spent climbing I learned that there are two ways of how to take good pictures. You can enjoy yourself, climb, have lots of fun and have camera somewhere handy all the time. With some luck sooner or later there would be an opportunity to take a nice shot. Another approach is to think about the picture in advance and then prepare everything according to your idea.

There are some disadvantages with both ways. In the first case you have to carry the camera all the time with you and some of them can be pretty heavy. More importantly you may miss lots of good opportunities just because you are not ready or camera you have is not good enough. I personally think that the second approach works much better. Of course there are some drawbacks, too. There is not much fun unless you consider taking photos as fun. More importantly it is often hard work and can take several hours to gain one image.

This time we decided that we needed some good images to promote our homeSEAhome project.

Our criteria for pictures’ content were quite clear: the us two with our kayaks and paddling gear, river Thames, and somewhere within Tower Hamlets. The final photos also had to be suitable for a poster, a postcard and blog header.

Once we knew what we were aiming for, it was time to do some research. From two obvious choices of a background: Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, we decided on the second one. So one weekend we cycled around Isle of Dogs to find the best possible viewpoint of Canary Wharf, and found two nice places which would work really well during low tide. Since we chose time close to sunrise or sunset when sky is not too clouded, we were looking for weekends when low tides coincide with the sunrise/sunset and preferably with good weather forecast. Fortunately this was easy to work out with the help of world wide web.

It was last Saturday morning when finally all aspects worked together. Now we only had to pack the camera and our boats, get to our local beach and paddle to O2 Arena, where we had to be at 6:30 am.

The photo taking itself was the easiest part. I only had to put the camera on tripod on manual setting, set up the interval shooting for 20s and place the remote flash closer to our position. There was just one challenging decision to make: the length of the exposure. Longer exposure times make water surface look very nice and smooth, but we had to stay still for the whole time during the opening of the shutter. In the end 5 second seemed as the best compromise.

To stay still proved to be difficult.

That is it really. The rest was simple. We  had to move around and pose while the camera was doing all the work for us.


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