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London at Night

image of a metal railway overpass above a street with a historic mural
Street and Overpass, London

One of the things I appreciated about London was the ease of its Underground system. From most places in the central part of the city, it was a short walk to the nearest station. The closest station to our hotel was just around the block, which made getting to places I wanted to explore easily and efficiently.

So one evening, I packed up the camera and tripod and ventured out to try to get a photo of the Tower Bridge, a mere five stops and 20 minutes away on the Northern Line.

There are some English folks who chuckle at the idea that Americans think everyone in the country is posh. But the phrasing of the announcement that played every several minutes on the Underground only seemed to reenforce that notion. It was an announcement that one would hear at most airports, train stations and other transportation facilities around the world, “if you see something, say something.”

The Underground message had a very British bent: if you see something unusual, send a text to the British Transport Police, “and we’ll get it sorted.*” I had a difficult time imagining New York or Chicago police getting it sorted. They’re just not as posh, really.

With full appreciation that the British Transport Police had any suspicious matter sorted, I got off the metro at the London Bridge Station, a short walk to the Tower Bridge.

I was a little disoriented leaving the station. It was rush hour, traffic was going in the wrong direction, and I didn’t know what direction I was facing. Fortunately, I was facing the Southwark Cathedral, a Gothic church built in the 1200s and home to Hodge the cathedral cat.

While the skies were overcast during most of our stay in London, it was clear that evening, but I managed to catch one last cloud hovering over the church.

When I finished photographing the cathedral, I turned around and noticed the composition of the railway tracks leading into the London Bridge Station and a vintage sign painted on a brick entryway. With the camera already set up on the tripod, it was pretty simple to turn around and photograph that composition.

As I continued toward the bridge, I passed by the Tower of London. Seeing it in the dark, it’s easy to think about the building’s history, even though it stood against a backdrop of modern architecture.

I set the tripod up for a photo of the tower and managed to get one exposure in before one of the security guards cleared everyone out for the night. As luck would have it, I found a different view on the opposite side of the tower and was able to click the shutter to my heart’s content.

With a lack of clouds in the sky, I didn’t get the image of the Tower Bridge I had hoped for, but I snuck out the next morning to capture it at sunrise. (I’m glad I did!)

When we left London two days later, I knew I could have easily spent many more hours and days roaming through the historic city. It is a place I’m looking forward to seeing again! I am continuing to add more images from London to my website, so be sure to check them out.

* I discovered later this messaging was part of a media campaign, “See It, Say It, Sorted.” After nearly 20 years of attending higher education meetings, I can attest to the fact it must have taken one whopper of a committee to come up with this tagline.

black and white image of the Tower of London at night
Tower of London, London

black and white image  of the Southwark Cathedral at night
Southwark Cathedral, London


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