Tuesday, February 17, 2009

London & the Ghost Tour

This is the home stretch, the end of the 3rd day in London. After Hard Rock Cafe, we headed over to Harrods. By this time, I was too tired (and grungy looking) to enjoy wandering around shopping in this very fancy, impressive, store filled to the brim with unpleasant-looking security guards. For awhile, I stood by the escalator and took photos. . . until I noticed the sign that said "no photography." So then I headed off to their book section, skim through a book on night photography, and went outside to try this technique:

While holding my 28-75mm lens in my hand, I pressed the shutter, and rapidly changed the distance setting from 28 to 75. Try it! My photo came out looking like this, but it might work much better with a tripod.

Then Dianna, Brian, Emily and I headed off to the Holburn Tube exit to meet Richard. Richard was listed as our Ghost, Gaslights & Guiness tour guide through London Walks. You exit the Tube station, look for the guy holding the LondonWalks brochures, and ask the secret question, "Are you Richard?" I saw this man with brochures, decided he probably wasn't really Jack the Ripper, and asked, "Are you Richard?", and he said, "N-o-o-o." Before I shouted anything calm like, "Run for your lives!" someone else approached, and asked, "Are you Charles III?", and again he said, "N-o-o-o." Ok, others started gathering, and if he wasn't our tour guide, we were going to draft him, by the authority of his holding 6 brochures and collecting our money.

He was Peter, a former actor, and he took us on a 2 hour walking tour of London, hearing about lots of historical gore, the history of the term "drawn and quartered", various places of hauntings and sited ghosts, and eventually stopping at Nell's pub for a Guiness.

Nell was a character done off by Charles Dickens. People were obsessed with Nell, as Dickens doled out tidbits of his story in his serial, with much concern about whether Nell would survive Dicken's plotline.

Of Nell, Oscar Wilde wrote: "he has a heart of stone, who can read about the death of poor Nell. . . without laughing." Good ole Oscar Wilde!

I thought I'd try my hand at panning as this cyclist whisked by in the night, and I liked its ghostly effect.



Covent Garden at night. . . yep. . . it's haunted.




I liked the tophat this guy was wearing.



This alleyway is still lit by gaslights. They're different from the ones from the London of old, which would emit a greenish, fog-like vapor, partly accounting for the pea-soup atmosphere of London at night.

And then we headed back to the hotel. If you ever get to London, there're a number of different types of evening walks, some focused on history, some on literature, and some just on pubs!

13 comments:

Liz said...

I always know when I come to your blog I am going to be traveling. Little did I know I would get a walking tour of London!
Thanks so much for taking such wonderful photos to share with us all!

Jena Photography said...

Thank you for the London tour. I felt almost like I was there. That's neat you found a book on night photography. TFS!

HLIP said...

I have really been enjoying your photos from UK. I dated a Brit for 5 years & almost moved to London. I feel absolutely in love w/it as much as him...

Your photo with the focal length zoomed made me stop. I posted about that last weekend. I found a link about it - calling it 'slap zoom'. I want to play with it because there are some really neat effects.

I look forward to seeing more photos!
Laurie (scuba Laurie, laulley, heyladyinpurple)

Amy said...

More awesome London shots! That first shot was fun, I've done that trick with flowers, but during the day. The ghost tour sounds like it was fun, I think you did amazing photographing at night. :)

Jeanne said...

Awesome photos! That you took them at night impresses me even more!

Mandy said...

Oh these night views are such a treat Love! Thank you. Your blog has been my blessing since you have gotten back. I seriously stalk it several times a day to see if you posted.

It really looks like you had a thoroughly GREAT time.

Nicki, said...

Thank you for this wonderful tour. I especially liked your photo in this grouping of the fella with the top hat. Your share has engaged and entertained.

Reds said...

Thanks for taking us with you on your awesome trip to London!! Love your night shots - I struggle with taking photos at night - guess I need to find a book and learn!! :)

pat said...

Oh, so cool!!! Love the Harrod's sign shot--I think you're right that a tripod would've made a difference, but a cool effect nonetheless. Covent Garden looks so neat at night--and that alleyway, and the charming shops... The guy in the tophat looks like he stepped right out of Edwardian times.

Mom2Drew said...

I've BEEN there, wow...bringing back tons of memories! Thank you for posting.

shirley said...

Again, I love your pictures of London - these were wonderful - I love the night scapes - yours turned out great. I'll have to try out that zoom trick.

Suzy said...

It's so cool to see London through your lense! Its so neat you found a book on night photography to! I want to read something like that!

Maria said...

Love the shot of Nell of Old Drury. It seems like something out of a Sherlock Holmes novel.