The Falls of Yellowstone and The Best of London?

Where are the best places for photography in London?

Update: See the POLL here !

I’m going to start a poll soon, but I wanted to go ahead and get the list together first! I’ll be in London for about a week, and I’m excited to have that big PhotoWalk on Friday, Sep 10th at 6 PM. Exact location to be announced soon! I look forward to meeting photographers from London and going out to have some fun, and get some great shots! As usual, I’ll be talking through my process, answering questions, and all that good stuff.

But, since I will be there a full week, what are some of the best places to go for some awesome photography? You guys and gals already know the kinds of things I like to shoot, so let me have it! I don’t mind going a bit out of the city either. So rattle off your suggestions of cool spots, architecture, places at night, secret places, etc, down in the comments.  Soon, I can put up a poll in coming days to see what gets the most votes!

Daily Photo – The Falls of Yellowstone

This is a very famous waterfall in Yellowstone National Park. I was there smack dab in the middle of the day, which is just about the worst time to take photos. So be it, Jedi.

I got out the old trusty and handy 200-400mm lens to take a shot. It’s not that big. It’ll fit right in your back pocket. (BTW, see my Nikon 200-400 Review for more).

The colors of the freshly spawned earth are beautiful, especially when right up against the beautiful water from the falls. I believe I shot this with the Nikon D3S, and I got a little video while I was at it too. I’m not sure what the heck I’ll do with the video, but I have a few ideas. Mostly bad.

HDR Photo

  • Stunning! I love everything about the composition too; great leading line. I wonder why the trees are so sparce on that slope?

  • 1seashell

    Wonderful picture! It’s better to not even think of swimming there for a second. I got a photo from the same lookout years ago, but yours makes the water appear to be in motion over the falls! Excellent. I enjoy all of your photographs. Thank you very much.

  • Rimmer

    Really great picture. The scale of the waterfall is really amazing.

    I also like that it doesn’t look like the typical HDR images you see on the net. The effect is more subtle here.

  • A back pocket lens, huh? Only a little stretching???

  • Now that Photomatix 4 is out in a public beta, have any tips for working with it? Haven’t had much success with the anti ghosting features…

  • Hi Trey, love the yellowstone shot.
    I’ll be there on the 10th in London, couldn’t afford to join the workshop but won’t be missing out on the photo walk! Look forward to hearing the details.

  • Trey, I would love to see what you could do with a photo of the great court and its roof at the British Museum! Probably tripod issues in there though…..

    your not going to be stuck for photo oppertunities in london! Im sure you must have some places in mind already?

  • Wow amazing waterfall!

    I’ll be there for the photowalk on the 10th so I look forward to seeing everyone then. I’ll be getting there early and conducting my own walk around ‘The Gherkin’ building, London Wall and Bishopsgate so i can get some cool shots of the modern buildings.

    I also like Piccadilly Circus and the West End at night. My other ideas may be a bit obvious and ‘Touristy’ so i’ve attached a link to my recent London Photos to give YOU some ideas.

  • Brilliant shot, as usual! I don’t think I’ve even seen a natural waterfall in real life…

  • I will try to join you for the photowalk on Friday, looking forward to it!

    Now, I guess every single travel guide will tell you about the well known touristy spots of London (and certainly there isn’t a shortage of them around here!), so I will rather point at some of the more raggedy ones.

    In the South bank of the river, going west from the centre, there is the abandoned Battersea power station. Impressive industrial looking. If you happen to have a sunny spell all the walk following the river bank from Vauxhall or Chelsea bridge till there is well worth it. Amazing lighting around sunset; probably also at dawn, but never been there that early in the morning.

    Also in the South bank, but close to Waterloo station, there are some kind of hidden Graffiti tunnels. Some of them are closed in the late evening, so try to get there earlier.

    For the weekend late evening, there is a “secret” artsy club under London Bridge. It is located inside some abandoned train tunnels, and on a typical weekend night they devote each of them to a different kind of art performance, ranging from painting workshops to live theater performances or experimental music. My first thought first time I entered it was “damn, I wish I had my camera here right now!”. There is a 10 quid cover fee, but well worth it.

    If you are in steel and glass mood, you can take some nice pics of the Gherkin or other building in the City, or go a bit further to the Canary Wharf to feel like you are in a little Manhattan. They also just inaugurated the Strata tower (though everybody call it the “razor” because of its shape) near to Elephant and Castle.

    Perhaps more well known, best views of the river and St Paul´s Cathedral and sunsets in the river are from Tate Modern´s cafeteria in the Seventh floor (or the terrace garden in the Sixth).

    If the city gets too busy and you crave for some landscapes (and the weather permits) go for some landscaping at Epping forest. The lake is truly breath-taking. This is better suited for a small party as there are many wild-life shooting chances that might be scared by a large group.

    I could go on and on, but better to stop here 😉

  • haveacupoftea

    *The Monument* is overlooked by many, or little known : the tallest free-standing column, large bags are not easy to take up the stairs, you’re in a kind of cage at the top and I don’t see how you’ll setup a tripod up there, but it’s worth enjoying a different view of London –;
    *Borough Market* : Thu, Fri, Sat – (note that I’ve experienced some shopkeepers not keen on having pictures taken of their displays);
    *Globe Theatre* : you can visit the place during the day but I’d suggest going to a performance if you find a play you like (not sure about the rights for taking pictures then) – that theatre is a bargain starting at 5 GBP standing and almost feeling going back in time –;
    *Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, St Paul* : all three in a straight line across the Thames;
    *Fleet Street, the Strand* : set aside a couple of hours to walk their length, there are tons of side-streets, small churches, and both modern and timeless façades;
    *Victoria Embankment* : parallel to the Strand, along the Thames, look for the camel benches and don’t miss the obelisk that sank in the Bay of Biscay when brought back from Egypt;
    I stop for now 🙂

  • Amit

    You could try Primrose Hill for a view of the entire city

  • Chad

    Ok, this spot is amazing. We stumbled through this hotel courtyard by accident and both my wife and I lost our breath. Near the Tower Hill tube station, there is a hotel/bar courtyard just off of Cooper’s Row. I think just past the Wine Library. In this courtyard are the remains of the stone wall that once surrounded the City of London (the 1 square mile). The wall is lit beautifully because there is a glass walled Martini bar at the opposite end of the courtyard with cool blue lighting. At dusk, it looked killer. Tours (Jack the Ripper) pass through there frequently, so crowds of people aren’t shewed away.

  • Chad

    Ah, found the name of the hotel, The Grange City Hotel. See above description

  • no idea on London but brilliant shot!!!

  • Gail in Montana

    Sounds like you are getting some good suggestions for photos in London, Trey!!! We were just at the falls last week, but up on top at that lookout. We missed the turnout to see them from below. So I have a photo in my Yellowstone Trip album on facebook, with me in it, ugh. Hubby always wants me in the photos, but I would rather not be, lol. This is an absolutely stunning photo of the falls. It will be one of my favorites!! We saw them in 1984 when we took our kids out West. Hubby celebrated his 40th birthday in Yellowstone, and there was snow on the ground on one of the passes. On June 21st! Thanks for sharing this one as we didn’t get that view this time!! 🙂

  • haveacupoftea

    Some modern architecture.
    *Serpentine Gallery Pavilion* : each summer they commission an architect to design a temporary structure, a pavilion free for all to wander around and through, and this year’s commission went to Jean Nouvel –;
    while you’re in Hyde Park, besides loads of commemorative columns, temples and assorted monuments, there’s also a Peter Pan statue;
    *Central Saint Giles*, completed this year, is Renzo Piano’s latest building, actually a block of buildings around a plaza, that somehow has a Lego-feel, colorful on the streets sides, gray and rather cold on the inside (maybe there are not enough tenants yet);
    Renzo Piano has also designed the possibly tallest building in Europe, the *Shard London Bridge* (above that station), but it’s still under construction and there’s basically just the concrete core to see at the moment;
    Piano’s former partner in crime Richard Rogers (Pompidou Centre in Paris) has designed a significant amount of real estate in the City (and farther) : it started with the *Lloyd’s building*, but there are many more around (I’ll let you research by yourself, if I may suggest).

  • Hi Trey,
    London is just an amazing place to take photos :), i recommend, that you get “lost” in soho (great access form the oxford street), there are so many interresting people and buildings. The london eye can be a catchy theme too, especially if you get far away from it. I also loved the Kew Gardens, it´s a bit futher out of the center, but it´s a lovely and wonderful place full of extraordinary things ( i think you could get some awesome shots in the palm house).
    The leadenhall market is also a nice little place, it´s a bit tricky to find, but it is just around the corner of the modern buildings, and it looks best at night.
    If you would like to shot some moder architecture go out to the canary wharf! I loved it there!
    You can get on top of london in the st. pauls cathedral, it is really worth it to go up there and have a look around.
    I hope i could help, we spent a wekk there, and definetly are going back, i missed some places that i would love to visit next time :).

  • Nice to see you take as good “regular” photos as you do HDR. 🙂
    Looks like some cloud cover proved to be very fortunate exactly when you wanted to take the photo. And I would LOVE a lens that could just fit into my back pocket. I think it depends on how tight or loose your pants are! ha

    NEK Photography Blog

  • As I said on the other page you posted this shot on, beautiful!

    I’m with @matt – I’ve been using photomatix 4 daily for my daily postings since beta 2 and I *still* and having zero luck with the partial de-ghosting mode. Full auto works better than in the previous version, but the partial one fails for me every time… All it seems to do is lighten any “ghosts” I select, not eliminate, and that only makes things look even worse. Better to do full auto or do it myself in photoshop. Any tips, Trey?

  • I have some HDR Spotting codes if anyone would like one. Contact me via link above.

  • haveacupoftea

    *The Monument* is overlooked by many, or little known : the tallest free-standing column, large bags are not easy to take up the stairs, you’re in a kind of cage at the top and I don’t see how you’ll setup a tripod up there, but it’s worth enjoying a different view of London –;
    *Borough Market* : Thu, Fri, Sat (note that I’ve experienced some shopkeepers not keen on having pictures taken of their displays);
    *Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre* : you can visit the place during the day but I’d suggest going to a performance if you find a play you like (not sure about the rights for taking pictures then) – that theatre is a bargain starting at 5 GBP standing and almost feeling going back in time;
    *Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, St Paul* : all three in a straight line across the Thames;
    *Fleet Street, the Strand* : set aside a couple of hours to walk their length, there are tons of side-streets, small churches, and both modern and timeless façades;
    *Victoria Embankment* : parallel to the Strand, along the Thames, look for the camel benches and don’t miss the obelisk that sank in the Bay of Biscay when brought back from Egypt;
    I stop for now 🙂

  • Dayton

    Very nice shot. It’s making me very excited for the Yellowstone trip I’m planning. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been before.

  • If you’re still around the weekend of the 18/19th it’s definitely worth checking out details of London’s Open House weekend – access to all kinds of places that aren’t normally accessible.

    The weekend before, when you’ll be running the workshop, is the Thames festival on the Southbank. Still worth a walk from Tower Bridge to Waterloo at any other time, though you might get some hassle from over zealous security guards around the More London (which, incidentally has the BEST staircase you’ll ever see. Probably).

    Can I also suggest Greenwich Park – fantastic views over Canary Wharf and the O2. You could get a boat there from the Tate Modern (on the Southbank) if you have time.

  • Maria


    There is an old pub that Charles Dickens used to visit, its in Fleet Street and very old. It’s name is the Ye Old Cheshire Cheese. It has an underground part and really cool. There is also a pub around downtown London that used to be a bank, its really huge and two stories. There is also a pub in Westminster that has an underground section that is totally gothic and haunted house looking. So, stick with the pubs….the pubs have some really interesting elements in them.

  • Maria

    Oh and I also forgot, the parks are also beautiful, Regent’s and Hyde Park are the best and they have a lot of beautiful gardens!

  • Go to Hyde Park and there’s a small little cottage on the Bayswater Road side that is truly sweet. It would make a fantastic photograph.

    I would also recommend Harrods…anywhere inside or out. They have AMAZING ceilings, if you can get in and take some photos without security catching you. We took some photos, but nothing like you would do.

    Keep in mind the Victoria & Albert museum has some great stuff and the bulk of the museum you can take photographs inside.

    Oh! Chinatown has some great color! Stumbled upon it by accident and it’s so pretty. It’s out near Covent Garden, which even if you don’t do any photography, go! It’s such an amazing place. I recommend Ben’s Cookies. 🙂

  • These are great suggestions! I’ll do my best to compile them all into a poll so I can get some kind of a ranking! 🙂 But, the secret places that some people don’t know about may not get many votes… but that does not mean they are off my list!

    Matt & David regarding Photomatix 4 – I have played with the ghosting features. It is a bit different how you circle up the bad area with the dotted line, eh? I think there is an invisible feather there, so I grab a little wider than necessary.

  • My favorite area in London is anywhere along the Thames from around St Paul’s Cathedral down to the area of Tower Bridge. Tons of great views day and night. St. Paul’s Cathedral is a personal favorite, but you also have some wild new architecture along there like London City Hall.

    Actually, a great walk, just start at Big Ben and spend your day working along to Tower Bridge.

    Hard not to find something interesting in London, old architecture mixed in with modern and everything in between.

  • casusan

    Wow that water in the falls looks powerful – beautiful spot Trey! Lots of good suggestions for photos in London!

  • Gurpreet

    Hi Trey,

    For street photography type shots I recommend along the Southbank of the Thames from Tower Bridge, all the way along to Waterloo (or the other direction) – the bonus of course is that on that route you can also photograph Tower Bridge, the Egg (City Hall), the City (financial district) skyline on the opposite side of the river, St. Paul’s Cathedral (opposite side of river), Millennium Bridge, the Shakespearean Globe Theatre, Tate Modern gallery (same side of river), the London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament from Waterloo diagonally across the river. Also Aldgate, Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Whitechapel areas (all near each other) are good for street photography & old Victorian industrial architecture (Jack the Ripper area) – they’re just North-ish of Tower Bridge, as is Camden for street photography and canals gives you access to Regents Park & London Zoo.

    A lesser known spot worth checking out is Greenwich – from the top of the hill in the park you can photograph the Observatory (home of Greenwich Mean Time), and have a sweeping panoramic view of the Royal Park below, the historic Cutty Sark clipper boat, the river Thames, the Millennium Dome (now the O2 arena), and the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf (Londons 2nd financial district) in the distance. With a bit of photo merging and stitching these can all be in the same panoramic shot. Another lesser know tip is, if you’re in the area at night, there’s a green light beam that shines from the Royal Observatory to the Dome or in that direction-ish representing the line of Greenwich Mean Time.

    A great, & rarely photographed view of Canary Wharf is from the Hilton hotel at Rotherhithe, though not much else to do or see round there. From Canary harf itself, there’s a spot outside the Four Seasons (or even better from the right rooms in the hotel or inside Ubon Japanese – sister restaurant to the Nobu in the West End) you have amazing sweeping views of the river towards Tower Bridge to your right & towards Greenwich village to your left…although there’d have to be a lot of photomerging to get this all into one panorama. Word of caution though – Canary Wharf area, though open to the public, is technically private land owned by the Canary Wharf Group & patrolled by security guards, and they don’t like pro or pro-looking photographers taking photographs without a permit (so they can charge you for the permit, or only sell photos of the area themselves) – don’t let it put you off though, as they should just politely ask if you have a permit & ask you to stop if they stop you at all. Also I think the Thames path and the Four Seasons are just outside that zone.

    There are lots of hidden gems of architecture & history (including pieces of the ancient Roman wall from the original Londinium, pubs that were once the hangouts of old spice & suger traders) in the City (financial district) in addition to the modern office buildings – I’d love to join you actually & happily show you a few, though it’ll depend on whether I finish work by 6pm that day.

    Borough market nr London Bridge (best on Fridays & Saturdays) is a vibrant place to do more street photography, people, food, generally fun to hang out at.

    Obviously views from the London Eye, the bar on the top floor of Tower 42, and Galvin at Windows at the Park Lane Hilton provide stunning views. If you know someone who works in an office in 30 St. Mary’s Axe (the Gherkin) you can checkout the spectacular 350? views from the top floor as their guest.

    I think I’m going on a bit too long – there are lots more possibilities, such as Alexandria Palace, Battersea Park & power station, St. Pancras Eurostar terminal, Royal Albert Hall especially at night after rainfall, but I’ll stop here & leave space for others 😛

  • Hi Trey, how are you doing my Flickr’s friend
    A superb shot as usual, I follow you at Twitter (every day 🙂
    Greetings from France!

  • Trey,
    This is a great photo, hope to see you soon! Ken

  • Thank you all so much!

    Phillippe – good to hear from you too – I’ll be in France in a few weeks — I just dropped you an email! 🙂 (Communique-electronique)

  • The Natural History Museum in London has some AMAZING architecture!

  • Tips for photographic London:

    – The great hall of the British Museum

    – The Gherkin and other parts of the City (meaning the financial district).

    – The Millenium Bridge with Tate Modern Museum in the background.

    – The Tate Modern Museum on the inside (gigantic hall, free museum too!)

    – Millenium Dome (02 Arena)

    There are certainly more secret spots but I don’t really know them. These, however, are absolutely great and not as completely standard as the Tower Bridge and the Big Ben. Westminster Abbey however might be great for HDR too!

  • Hi Trey. This shot is really fantastic. I tried to do a waterfall shot some weeks ago and it wasn’t as great as yours. It seems like you remixed the waterfall so that we can see the details and not have washed out water. Also, I really love the overall lighting!

    You might take a look at my latest photo which I am really proud of:

    I would really like to put some of my photos on your hdrspotting site but cannot seem to find a code even if I follow you on tweeter.

  • A few Ideas:

    – Highgate Cemetery
    – Imperial War Museum
    – Regent’s Canal
    – Camden Town (on a Saturday)
    – Hampton Court Palace
    – Canary Wharf

    You also might try the London Eye & London County Hall from the Victoria embankment
    This is what I was able to get with one exposure.

  • Amazing suggestions everyone – really good stuff… and thanks for the comments on the photo too !

  • Love the photo- I have a pic from the same site a few years ago (not HDR, alas) and I remember the colors of the ground well. You did a great job with this one! I also love all the London photo site tips…. how about you organize a site for all of the secret good photo spots in different places? With all your free time, I mean 😀 I’ll be taking notes from the ideas given here, though! I hope to visit London next year.

  • Here’s a link to my most recent London album with most of the above mentioned spots! The HDRs aren’t that great, but some shots are quite ok.

  • Neil

    I’m with Gurpreet, his suggestions are spot on, the Southbank also has the skating bowl, with some awesome art on the walls there!

    An interesting place to visit if not to shoot is the all year Christmas Shop across the road and right from the dungeons, strange, but sweet in a surreal kind of way.

  • Hallo Trey,

    Really like your travels shots, your an inspiration for an aspiring travel photographer like my self. Just 3 days ago got back from a 11 month trip around the world (s-africa new zealand and big part of asia), and i got bitten by the travel photography bug. I read on twitter that you are going to be doing a walk in London on Friday. Seeing London is my last stop before going back to Rotterdam Holland i had a city session planned as well. Hopefully you can appreciate me being frank, when i ask you if it would be possible that i tag along for the day and learn from the master. I would not bother you to much just observe and learn. If this is not possible i understand but for me it’s an opportunity i can leave without trying.

    if you would like to see some of my work please have a look on

    Hopefully you can grant me the chance to see and learn, like probably you had somebody in your past who gave you a break when beginning photography.

    just name a time and place and i’ll be there.

    awaiting your anwser,

    greets Tymon Ferenc de Laat,

  • Great !! Thanks for the link there too Tymon – will check it out….

  • hi Trey,
    great idea to poll suggestions for the photowalk, it’s going to be fun, i’ll try and be there.
    My suggestions (in random order):
    – British Museum hall
    – Parliament from Waterloo bank
    – London Eye from Embankment
    – Lloyds building + Gherkin
    – Millennium Bridge + St Paul’s
    – Battersea Power Station

    Here is what they look like (a few also in HDR) with map locations:


  • Tom Dinnella

    Hi Trey,

    Please stay with CCL licensing, it allows us to introduce a wider audience to your images and HDR as a photography style.

    When in London and wanting interesting things to photograph, I suggest a visit to the Imperial War Museum. Go on a weekday, suspend your concept of war, enjoy the potential imagery.

    Tom D.

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