Category Archives: My London

The Cutty Sark..

The Cutty Sark at Greenwich - World © Geoff Wilkinson

The Cutty Sark at Greenwich – World © Geoff Wilkinson/All rights reserved

You may have realised by now that I am keen on thinking, only about pictures I hasten to add, anything else just seems to slip by. So when I decided to photograph The Cutty Sark I really had to put my thinking cap on.  The world famous tea clipper is in dry dock at Greenwich and had been refitted after a terrible fire, my challenge as I saw it was to get her out of dry dock and get her back in the water, just photographically of course. Although the ship in berthed near the river Thames I couldn’t see a satisfactory way of getting the ship and the river in one picture the distance is just too far. Even from the other side of the river using a telephoto lens for compression it just wasn’t right, it wasn’t the picture I had in my mind. I needed a different tack if you’ll pardon the pun.

As I often do when confronted with a large building, bridge or something similar instead of backing off to get it all in I went and stood directly underneath the ship. I often find that gives me a different perspective and in this case it was different and more interesting rather than a straight  on view, however it still wasn’t what I had in mind  though. There had to be a different way.

To one side of the ship I found a water feature, very shallow and not that big but definitely worth exploring. I found that by crouching very low and I mean very low I could almost make the water reach up to the ship, would it work through the camera though. Remember the camera does not see exactly what your eyes see and vice versa, so I just had to make the camera see what I was seeing. I put my Nikon 10\24mm, which I love, zoom lens on my Nikon D7000. At 10mm this gave me equivalent of 15mm on a full frame camera, seriously wide angle territory. By holding the camera very carefully just a few millimetres above the water and  performing some strange acrobatic contortions I was able to get a look at the live view screen. The result is the picture above, just what I had envisaged in my mind the Cutty Sark in water. I would have been happier if I could have go more water on the right hand side of the picture but It wasn’t to be, still I’m very happy with the result

Technical stuff: Nikon D7000 camera in aperture priority with a Nikon 10/24mm zoom at 10mm. The shutter speed was 1/200th of a second with an aperture of f18 (to get a lot of depth of field) The ISO was 200. I shot the original picture in colour, as I usually do, the conversion to black and white was made in Photoshop CS5.5

If you fancy a photography day in Greenwich I am running a workshop later this month, you can find details below.


Greenwich Photography Workshop/Walk

Sunday June 28th 2015

£75 pp


Following on from the fun and success of the Carter Lane/Fleet Street photo walk we are moving East for the next. Along the river Thames from central London is Greenwich the destination for the next photo walk/workshop.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is great for photography. From the Cutty Sark the famous tea clipper by the river Thames to the Royal Observatory high on the hill in Greenwich Park. Our day will cover both and everything in between. The first picture opportunity will be from Island Gardens look across the river toward the old Royal Naval College, this was founded in 1873 and with its English Baroque style of architecture and the river in the foreground makes an excellent picture. From there we will walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel under the river Thames, an experience in itself and arrive by the Cutty Sark. This is where the picture opportunities really start. Aside from the ship itself and the photography opportunities that it affords, there is of course the river, plus some wonderful architecture to be photographed. Before we leave to head off up the hill there are the gardens of The National Maritime Museum, St Alfege Church and some lovely streets to be explored. We will make our way up though the park to the Royal Observatory where apart from the building itself there are great views across the river to East London and Canary Wharf.

This is a full day workshop meeting and leaving from Wanstead tube station at 10am we will wrap up on location at 4pm. There will opportunities for coffee breaks etc during the day. If you are not Wanstead based it’s not a problem you can join us at Island Gardens or Greenwich.

As usual I will not be there to take pictures, maybe the odd snap, but to give you support with things like composition,  white balance, exposure compensation etc. Of course I’ll chuck in a few ideas as well..

This workshop is limited to just six places.

To book a place on this workshop you can either ‘phone the Gallery on 0208 530 1244 or e.mail me at

I was able to get the picture that I had envisioned all along.




Seize the moment !

Evening traffic on Wanstead High Street

Evening traffic on Wanstead High Street

Always carry a camera, there’s really no excuse these days. Approximately 93% of the UK population have a mobile ‘phone and there’s every chance most of those ‘phones have a camera. It’s said that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you at the time, so your ‘phone is fine. If you are serious about your photography there’s really no excuse.

I took this picture one evening on my way home from the Gallery. It’s actually taken from a car, I wasn’t driving, and shot through the windscreen. It first appeared on my blog Wanstead Daily Photo and received comment from both France and America, here’s what I wrote at the time.

“I shot this picture yesterday evening on my way home from the Gallery. I was in stationary traffic near The George pub.No particular reason for taking the picture except that I was really  drawn by the colours, lights and reflections of the traffic, it made me think of chaos. It was just a gut feeling. One of those moments in photography when it all comes together in front of you with very little time to think so you just react. As I often say ‘not everyones cup of tea but I like it…’

I am always telling student or anyone who will listen for that matter “always think your picture through’. Decide on the angle, the lens, the light, landscape or upright, I have books filled with notes, sketches and diagrams for every shoot, it’s kind of one of my rules. Rules however are made to be broken and this is a prime example where I just went with my gut feeling…

Most importantly you will see from the technical info below that I used my  Leica for this picture but I could just as easily used my ‘phone!

Technical info: Leica D Lux 6 camera with an ISO of 200. The shutter speed was 1/5th of a second handheld and the aperture was f2.3. The focal length was appx 75mm (35mm equivalent). Normally photographing with a shutter speed of 1/5th of a second would produce camera shake, however with a little care and the D Lux’s built in VR it was manageable, it’s always worth trying..

The power of the close up

Close up photograph of a pelican

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

I was walking through St.James’ Park near Westminster in London the other day with some of our students. The pelicans who have made themselves at home, were sitting very close to the path next to the railings around the lake. Lots of tourists were taking pictures with their cameras and iPhones. Moving between the students giving them advice, I thought it would be interesting to do a really close-up picture of a pelicans head to show them what could be achieved. After all, it’s not everyday you get the chance.

Crouching down Continue reading

Going up..

LR L1000173 copy

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

I took this picture while I was teaching a night workshop on the south side of the river last year. We were working around Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market, the students were getting some great shots. I managed to grab this while moving between groups. As you will have guessed the building on the right of the picture is The Shard, obviously what appealed to me was the arrow of the ‘one way street’ pointing up as well. I think having a little of the Cathedral with its old stone creeping in on the right hand side provides a nice contrast as well. It was quite a difficult picture to compose, there wasn’t a lot of room to manoeuvre to get everything in. I ended up using a wide angle lens to make it work, worth the effort I think.

Technical info: Leica D Lux 6, 24 to 90mm zoom (35mm equivalent) at 24mm. The exposure was 1/250th of a second at f1.4, the ISO was 800.


Old London…

LR L1000673 copy

World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

This is the sort of picture I really like, it can be a photograph, drawing or painting I really don’t mind. With strong rich colours, lots of atmosphere and mood, I’d be happy to hang this particular photograph on my wall. I took this picture in Ezra Street just of Columbia Road in the East End at dusk, I was driving when I spotted the reflection of the street lamp in the window, and of course I just couldn’t resist it. To me It’s a pretty timeless image , apart from the fact the street light is now electric, it could have been taken twenty, fifty or perhaps even a hundred years ago. I just love finding a bit of old London that hasn’t changed.

Technical info: Leica D Lux 6 with 24 to 90mm lens (35mm equivalent) at 90mm handheld. The exposure was 1/50th of a second at an aperture of f2.2, the ISO was 400.

Please check out my other blog at for Wanstead photograph.

Please check out my other blog at for Wanstead photograph


Ferry across…

L1000878 copy

You may have seen the picture of the River Thames and Docklands that I published a couple of days ago while waiting for this ferry. This one is taken on the Woolwich Ferry as it prepares to depart for the short trip across the river. A nostalgic trip for me but I’ll save that for another day.

I like almost everything about this photograph, there’s a lot going on, it’s full of content, lots to look at and discover. The glimpse of the jetty outside through the aperture and the splash of sunlight coming in completes it for me.

Technical info: Leica D Lux 6 handheld 24 to 90mm zoom (35mm equivalent) at about 35mm. The exposure was 1/80th of a second at f8, the iso was 200.