I’m back from London where I attended the 2013 London Istockalypse. I had a marvelous time getting back together with good friends and shooting my ass off for 6 days. Did I get everything I could out of it? Probably not, but I have enough to work on for months to come. Next will be another Orlando minilypse in February, and then no more Lypses for a while unless I get bucketed again: I have a gigantic backlog of photos to edit as you all know.
So what did I shoot while in London? Here’s a list of subjects you will see appear over the next year:
Day 1: After a long commute to my hotel (the London tube is disappointingly slow, when you combine the often irritating distance between the street and actual subway ramp, and then the time it takes to reach another ramp when you transfer… plus buses are stuck in dense traffic if you want to avoid subways… I had to count 2 hours of transit whenever I wished to go somewhere. That’s the biggest downer of the trip really), I picked up my camera bag and hopped on a bus to London Bridge. Overcast day, not ideal for tourism shots, but then sooo London. Maybe someone’s looking for gray weather shots. Anyways, that’s what I got so I tried to make the best out of it. I did a bunch of editorial, realized I was surprisingly rusty, and quickly switched to architecture mode as I walked down the South bank looking North towards the Tower bridge, pictured above. Oh and that shot is the first to make the Vetta collection out of what I hope is many. On the way I stopped at The Scoop and More London and shot the City Hall, nicknamed the glass testicule, and surrounding buildings. By that time the sun was setting, so I crossed the Thames on the Tower Bridge and covered the Tower of London, views of The City and Southwark and the bridge itself, until it was full dark. Since I hadn’t brought my tripod, I called it a day, went to eat at Brown’s (which was not as delicious as I remembered from Cardiff in 2011), and went back to the hotel.
Day 2: Up early, it’s sunny outside and down I go to the City, enjoying the fact that on early Sunday mornings, everything is deserted. Lots of empty street shots for composites, some architecture stills and views from the modern buildings under construction in the area. I also covered an empty Leadenhall market which attracted my sight from the bus the day before, and then I did what I could around the Gherkin, Lloyds of London and other buildings in the area. I then walked down towards the bank and stock market where I shot buses and general London city life. St-Paul cathedral was not far so it became next on my list, I had lunch on its front steps and was soon surrounded by a flock of pigeons that enjoyed my Marks and Spencer scone more than I did. Back up on my feet, I crossed the Thames on the Millennium bridge and walked towards the Globe theater and an empty Borough Market. I then got on the tube and lost half an hour finding my way out of Westminster station and shot the Palace of Westminster, the abbey and cloister. Unfortunately I couldn’t visit the cathedral because it was Sunday and tourists aren’t allowed. Of well. I walked and photographed the very posh Westminster residential area nearby (so Mary Poppins) and headed to St-James park, which had been deemed the most photogenic park by a local I met earlier that day. It was a bit blah, so I walked back towards the Thames and got some shots of The Eye and crossed the Westminster bridge to get the photo everybody does with the buses and Big Ben. Mine isn’t very good and will undoubtedly flop, but hey, no photographer would go to London and not try that shot. I spent the sunset hour shooting the Palace from across the Thames and waited for Lorraine to arrive. We got on a bus, back to Shoreditch where we stayed, selected a packed Inidan restaurant and waited for Adrian to join us. Thus the big fun began. Cocktails, stories and laughter galore.
Day 3: I didn’t shoot a thing that day. It was all about education at the Lypse and social activities with friends and colleagues.
Day 4: Adrian, Lorraine and I decided to head to the first official shoot to an urban garden. We spent an hour shooting transit scenes on the way there since we had to take the overground which afforded great light. Once there, I was lucky enough to shoot the models taking a break and having tea, which gave me a few very natural shots that I think only three of us exploited. I then shot gardening nick-knacks and joined the mob of 20 or so photogs for the ruthless paparazzi-style shoot of two beautifully dressed women planting grass in late October (!) and interacting in a number of ways. I tried to not get bumped too much by the others all crammed up in a big pile of artists and get a few good shots out of it. I then moved away, as this is decidedly not my kind of scene. Lorraine, Adrian and I then tried to find the second walkabout, which was about transit, and so covered a few of the Shoreditch streets on the way. I staged a little romantic scene in Autumn leaves at a local park and shot a few store fronts. We never reached the walkabout. So we went to lunch instead and a bus ride later, we were downtown shooting on the London bridge again. The idea for that afternoon was to climb up to the top of St-Paul for sunset, which we did – and it’s a lot tougher than you think – to get some great views. Back at the hotel, I staged a series of self portraits as someone doing business in a hotel room in underwear and a dressed shirt using laptop and mobile phone.
Day 5: The official shoot day for the bucket winners and invited artists. I got to shoot first so I had to get up at 5:30 to get to the suburb where the shoot was by 8:30. I shot a few portraits against a wall to be composited into both London and Paris, using the background shots I did there in September. I then spent the rest of my 45 minutes shooting romantic couples interacting, also with composites in mind, although the scenery was quite beautiful so a few will find their way as they were shot. I helped out Adrian who was up next, and did a few shots with his idle models. I then set up my return to London early, as I wanted to catch the last hour of sunlight somewhere downtown, which I did in Hyde park with Lorraine. Although by then we were so tired that we just ended up eating a pizza by the lake and calling it a day.
Day 6: Last day of the Lypse. I showed some of my work to my art director who was quite happy with what I did and was looking forward to seeing the composite images with the models. Lunch at a good Dim Sum place and then I parted ways with my friends to go shoot buildings alone in the residential Shoreditch area. The feverishly fun evening was spent at the Halloween farewell party at Cargo. Huge thanks to everyone involved in getting this event together. These are so much fun, educative and surprising… I had a lovely time.
Day 7: I couldn’t sleep so I decided to head downtown for the sunrise. I shot in the West end, Piccadilly circus, around Buckingham palace, in the Green park, and went to Royal Albert Hall before heading back to the hotel to start the long transit back to the airport.
There you have it. It was one of the most fun Lypses I’ve attended, even though it was the least productive. But that’s all on me. I still should have a good number of very useful images. Stay tuned!