18 August 2017

Central London Photo Walk with Mapin

As you might have gathered from my South Kensington and Regents Park Insta-walk series, one of my favourite things to do in London is go for photo walks.  I love that it forces me out of the house to go explore new places, learn something new and find beauty along the way.


But what about well traveled places?  As a Londoner (I’ve been living here a year and a half so I’ve not really earned that title but go with me) I am guilty of avoiding tourist hotspots.  They are overcrowded and full of slow walking people stopping to get selfies.  We can find ourselves thinking we are above all that, and then we miss some of the most gorgeous parts of our city!  There’s a reason tourists flock to these places after all, they are stunning and choc-full of history.  Truth be told I never get bored of seeing the places on top of tourists wish lists, even if it’s not the newest, most hipster spot in town.  On Saturday I met with blogger and photographer Kaye and set off on a photowalk to some of London’s most viewed spots to find a new way of looking at these landmarks.  It sure was a learning experience, here’s where we headed:
Covent Garden
After meeting at the Brigit's Bakery we headed for one of the most famous areas in London, Covent Garden.  As a child this was always the area we’d come to with my parents, without really knowing why, it just seems to draw people.  When we arrived at the square there was one show in full swing with a large audience.  We had no chance of getting close-up shots through the crowd, but Kaye informed us of how to use people to frame your shot to create atmosphere.

In the 20 minutes we had to explore I actually didn’t get very far into the market at all, choosing instead to play with the architecture near the entrance.  There was some really interesting angles and symmetry to play around with here, with just some imagination you can make a well photographed street look completely new!  Of course there’s plenty of street photography opportunities here which isn’t something I’ve tried much, but I do like this shot of street performers on a break which I captured.
Seven Dials
This is a place I run through a lot, but usually only when on my way to the theatre or one of the gorgeous shops nearby, so I don’t often take the chance to stop and look at what’s around me.  On this particular day Benefit had a pop up event and I loved how the colours of their booth matched the bunting brightening in the area.  I’m also a big fan of the contrast between the red floral pub and the harsh black building next to it.
Neil’s Yard
Heading towards our next stop we accidentally stumbled upon the insta-famous Neil’s Yard and just had to make a slight detour!  Such a world of colour, I can’t believe I’d never seen it before.  Colour instantly makes me happy so I loved snapping away here as I chased Milly around trying to get with her hair in frame, I think really adds to the photo don’t you?
Chinatown
Chinatown is just a great place to be, it has a lively atmosphere, great food and really stands out from anything else in the city and trying to capture that can be difficult.  Seeing the traditional market sellers mix in with the tourists made for some interesting street shots.  
Cecil Court
We headed back to our start point via Cecil Court, which is a place I’d visited on my Harry Potter Walking Tour as it’s said to be one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley.  I wasn't totally happy with how my photos for this area came out and it’s left me craving a new lens so I can get a better aperture and really play with focus.
Back at Brigit's Bakery, and the smell of Chinatown had left us all starving!  Thankfully we were invited in for a full afternoon tea, (including prosecco naturally!).  All was delicious but boy did the desserts really steal my heart, each one was delicious and so delicate!  I was so stuffed in the end I had to reluctantly take my mini scone home for Harry, I was just so full!


In total I took 196 photos that day and found narrowing it down so hard!  I must have almost 75'000 photos split between my laptop and hard drive, so trustworthy storage space is a must!  If you're in the market check out Maplin's storage solutions to save those precious memories, I know I sure need more!  


The walk would have taken 37 minutes exactly without stopping/ dodging tourists so Kaye informed us, so it’s a great central photowalk to do if you’ve got a spare hour or so.  Even better the likes of Piccadilly Square, Leicester Square and Big Ben are super close by so can easily be included if you want more to shoot.  This short session has made me more confident taking pictures of strangers, looking at things differently and not being dismayed when there’s people in my shots, it’s real life after all!


A big thank you to Maplin for inviting me on this walk & Kaye for being so talented and giving with her amazing photography skills.  What is your favourite thing in London to photograph?  
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