Approaching London

Enforced in London

Well I’ve already been nearly to jail twice in London. And yes, just for taking photos.

My UK friends have warned me about how insane the rules are here, and they are right! I wouldn’t mind if there was ANY logic or reason to it whatsoever. But it’s artistically and personally offensive to me.

The first time was inside the first 10 minutes of shooting in Waterloo station. A security guard came right up to me and said, “This is private property.” I said, oh, that’s nice… It’s a train station and 3,000 other people are taking cell-phone pics at 5 megapixels and up. Then he sent me to the big boss, who was busy eating dinner behind a row of monitors. I asked him if I could take photos for my blog. He said absolutely not that it is a security risk.

And then I went over to the London Eye (the big ferris wheel). Two security guards came up to me there and said, “No tripod.” I asked why, and they said it was a legal risk that if anyone tripped, they could be sued. But there was no one near me within 50 yards except for the security guards! So I took off the camera and held the tripod, asking, “Can I hold it in my left hand while taking a photo with my right hand?” He said, “Absolutely not.”

These are the two reasons I hear again and again… Security Risk OR Legal reasons… just more evidence that governments and lawyers (especially, working in concert) are inane entities.

London Photowalk Tonight!

I’ll meet many of you soon! Looking forward to it! For details, see the London PhotoWalk Facebook Event!

Daily Photo – Approaching London

Despite being accosted by imbeciles on multiple occasions, I’m still having an amazing time in London. I go out just to take photos for a few hours, and then end up staying out past midnight! This great city has been on my list for a long time… so I am happy to finally make it.

The afternoon yesterday had a typical London rainshower. But it cleared up just before sunset to reveal magnificent clouds. I crisscrossed the Thames River many times to find the right light. After the sun dipped below the horizon, the light finally fell behind Westminster with a delicate palette.

HDR Photo

  • casusan

    Oh wow this is beautiful Trey – one of my favorite places I saw many years ago when in London-thank goodness you didn’t get arrested! Guess you’ll need to be careful on the photowalk too! Have fun – wish I was there!

  • Beautiful photo! I’m so jealous, London is one of my favorite cities in the entire world. Been once and it was an incredible experience. So sorry you had problems with your camera and cops, when I was there I had a blast wandering the streets and taking pics. I can’t imagine how you are going to do the photowalk with all the rules… hope it works out well though. I am sure we will here about it soon- can’t wait!

  • DaveR

    Point your camera anywhere near a child over here and security guards or lawyers are likely to be the least of your worries.

  • Dayton

    That is a spectacular rendition of a classic London sight.

  • Hi Trey, I’ll be at the Photowalk this afternoon so see you there! I’m sorry you were immediately faced by idiot security guards, remember the only ones with authority to arrest you are the police! Security can only really ask you to stop and/or move on. They don’t seem to stop the random tourists, just those who look like they know how to handle a camera. I haven’t been stopped in London yet, despite working here and being out many times with my trusty DSLR, but then I don’t usually carry a tripod, so maybe the key is to not attract attention….photowalk should be fun then considering it looks like they’ll be about 50 of us! ha ha

  • Gareth

    This doesn’t surprise me especially as they are private security guards causing the issues. The Government issued guidance to the Police forces last year regarding photographers and the Met police in London actually published on their website as well as circulating it. Same as everywhere in the world private guards don’t feel they are accountable to anyone.

    The other common excuse you’ll hear is Health & Safety, which is a hedge because it’s more down to insurances and fear of being sued.

    See you this evening Trey, hope it brightens up. No tripod for me unfortunately as it self destructed the other weekend and waiting on warranty replacement. In West End and The City today doing site surveys so if I see a person with Nikon and tripod being harrassed by security I’ll try and come save you!

  • I cant wait to hear how they cope with 50+ photographers and tripods on your photo walk tonight!! I can only imagine the melt down on the South Bank! It could be hilarious. . .

  • For some reason, even though I’ve heard countless stories of people being harassed by guards and police in London, it’s never happened to me (knock wood). My only encounters have been in the states… I agree the security concern is asinine – what terrorist in their right mind would choose something that stands out like an SLR when they could get images just as good with a cell phone or point and shoot. Ah, but logic fails to defy the bugaboo of fear and terror…

    At any rate, much jealousy of your being in London – it’s been too long for me at two years.

    And WOWOW – what a fantastic view of Parliament! Well done!

  • very nice

  • fran

    There’s a good site here, which tells you your rights as a photographer in the UK – it also has a handy card you can print out and carry with you.

    Fantastic shot Trey – I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your London photos.

  • Hey Trey,

    one of my all time faves of yours. I’m always astonished how you fix the ghosting of moving objects (people, cars, water). Have you been using the HDR Efex Pro Beta version to process that one?


  • Hey Trey, you have captured a classical view but the difference is the colourful tones and shooting at the magic hour. Congratulations!

    About security guards, my last encounter with one was in Barajas Airport Terminal T4, on the way to departures just after leaving the underground. The midday hour light was reflecting on the metallic surfaces, so I decided to take some pictures of the structures – The arcuitecture of this terminal is so awesome and futuristic (See my flickr page)- Then, a guard appeared and said to me that I should not take so many photos to the structure. I ask him – Why, So many ? He didn’t say that I could not. He said just no so many. Late, he said, “Security reasons”. After that, I told him that police said to me that I can shot pictures in the airport. In fact, I had a conversation with one another time when I was using my camera on a tripod and he said the only forbidden places were the control zones. So I think that the problem is always that it’s not clear what is the law and what this security staff can say or do or not … I am really tired of this too.

    Nice photo-shooting in London, Trey.



    P.S. I don’t still have any news about the shipment of your book

  • Thanks all!

    Sergio – Sara Jane Todd can help you out there – I don’t handle any of it I’m afriad….

    Ingo – no this one was photomatix – although I do try all HDR programs… all the time! Still working on a full review there

    everyone else – interesting comments as always – thanks!

  • PeterG

    Sounds fun ๐Ÿ˜‰ I packed my tripod when I saw that our UK trips coinceded. It looks like grey day here in West End but hopefully it clears for the walk. See you there!

  • It’s always nice to catch a break from the rain.

  • Brilliant shot! Perhaps the best of the Westminster Palace I’ve ever seen.

  • Thx, Trey. I am waiting for Sara reponse about the book issue.
    I am also waiting to try Nik HDR Efex, it seems to be great.

  • That is the most amazing photo, such vivid colours, almost surreal.

    I can’t believe the ridiculous scenarios in which you were prevented from taking photographs. I also find it artistically and personally offensive to you (and me – I am English).

  • Owen

    I was once stopped taking photos of the crowds at a football match, unfortunatley I was shooting in the same direction as a group of police, who called me over. They didnt like not seeing the photos on my film camera, and was sternly told to move on

  • Anthony

    What does “artistically offensive” mean? Is it just a more pretentious way of being offended?

  • Beautiful, my friend! One day they will just ban cameras over there! Madness… This is a great example of how HDR done right, can capture the feeling of a scene. Have a great time over there.

  • This is beautiful and sharp and no fuzziness. Cool

  • Trey Trey Trey, Haven’t you learned yet that when taking a trip to countries like this that you should bring someone you really don’t like with you. (yeah don’t ask me wise guy)
    Why? You have them 500 feet from you at all times and when someone comes up and says “You can’t shoot because it is a security risk” point to the guy with you and say “More of a risk than that guy over there taking a picture of you talking to be about a tripod?

  • Trey, that is London! I took a few shots of the Parliament Building and was surrounded by 3 security guards last year. Then I walked across the bridge where you took this shot and 2 more guards told me no photos were allowed with a tripod. Then I had to fill out paperwork explaining many details about myself. Ah the fun of London! Time to get pissed at the pub!! LOL

  • Its a bit totalitarian here, yeah, but as long as you know whats good and not good you’re fine.

    Just to let you know… its illegal to take photos in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square if its for business purposes, so if you’re asked, you’re just a keep enthusiast!

  • Nigel

    Welcome to London Trey. Sorry to miss your walk tonight,hope you have a great time and try not to get arrested.

    Love the first London hdr…..

  • Karl Fredrik

    Trey, I stumbled upon this vid on a norwegian tech news-site, might be interesting to you ->

  • Sorry to hear about your troubles in London, but from what I’ve read elsewhere this doesn’t seem surprising. Unfortunate, stupid, but not surprising. The picture is terrific, I love the colors and the sharpness. Nice!

  • Dad’s Dad

    What a great picture. I think it will rank among your best. Wish I was there too. Keep us stateside up to date.-Love,Dad

  • Richard (Oldhickory)

    Wow.. golden hour anyone? Beautiful shot in spite of the lock-down mentality that seems to be prevailing there. It’s a shame what’s happened to europe. I’m surprised you were able to get that close to the bridge. Looking forward to more shots!

  • More reasons why I like Landscapes, no tree is ever going feel threatened by your shutter. No deer is going to ask you to leave and threaten you. I’ve heard so many stories of security guards asking people to stop shooting at train stations. Not sure why. My most recent encounter was shooting a smallish power generating dam. The security guard was asking me what I was taking pictures of which seamed obvious. I think their lives are spent sitting and waiting so much that any obscure opportunity to feel useful, they jump to action regardless if they’re really providing real security.

    Are the laws in the UK similar to the US where if something is in public view you have a legal right to shoot a picture of it?

    Great shot btw, have a good night!

  • Wonderful image, the best one of Westminster Palace and Big Ben that I’ve seen! I found that when I can’t bring a tripod to a location, I use fences and other things as a tripod. I was there summer of 2001, it looks like things have gotten harder now with having a big camera. I carried my Nikon SLR around with no problems back then. Still I would love to come back, a wonderful place to visit!

  • I’ve heard about such harassment in England for quite a while. Sorry to hear that you were caught up in it. Chief Constable Andy Trotter wrote a letter to all other chief constables to remind them of our rights, but I have little hope for any impact. We’ve seen similar letters written by authorities here in the USA and it seems to do no good at all.

  • Ed

    Trey, that’s a fantastic image of the houses of Parliament. Last time I was in my mother country 2 years walking along the South Bank I didn’t get stopped once. I was using my DSLR but no tripod. However, I am returning for Christmas and really worried about the escalation of this. Photographers are really getting hassled, even after Section 44 was suspended:
    It’s shameful really that law makers and those who enforce the law don’t act with more due diligence and assess the situation better than blindly following orders. I’d suggest the best way to deal with it is to be disarmingly polite, ask for why you are being stopped and reason with them why it should be ok for you to take some photographs. Being aggressive about it will only provoke an aggressive reaction. BTW did you encounter anything like this in Paris?

  • Gareth

    Posted this on to the Stuck in Customs Facebook post (and noticed several hours later someone else posting exactly the same link!) but this is how things stand following issue of Home Office/ACPO guidance issued last year:

    All forces should have had this guidance, the Metropolitan Police who deal with central London appear to have been the most pro-active about making this information publically available.

    Needless to say I’ll have this available on my phone tonight … just in case. However it seems the average private security officer believes that this information doesn’t apply to them. Wonder if there should be some co-operation between the Home Office, ACPO and SIA (the last group issue licenses to said private security officers/bouncers/etc) … wait there goes a pig past the 7th floor window!

  • Noah

    Hi Trey,

    I was just there 2 weeks ago about mid day, halfway across that bridge with thousands of other people. I’d love to get the opportunity to go on a photowalk with you some time. I can’t believe I missed this walk by such a close time frame! Anyhow, amazing shot with amazing light. You are the man!

  • It would appear as if dumb authority remains the same the world over – its not easy to reason with someone who displays the same mental agility as a solidified bag of cement!

  • An amazing photo. The lighting is perfect.

  • Alex

    I’ve got to be honest – although I enjoy a lot of your work I think the colours in this photo are over-saturated to the point of garishness. This is the kind of overdone HDR which has proliferated on flickr and unfortunately given the technique a bad press. Not to my taste, sorry. But as I say, I normally enjoy your work.

  • Hi Trey,

    I hope you are well my friend!!
    My jaw is on the floor ๐Ÿ™‚ (Once again) Love the details here, superb work!
    DVDs are too good, really too ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have a great weekend!
    Greentings from Strasbourg

  • I agree with Alex. Parliament and Big Ben seem a bit oversaturated in this photo. I don’t think it hurts it since it never sees that much sunlight to begin with. LOL! Enjoy the photo walk and watch out for police batons.

    BTW Trey, don’t know if you heard, but some company seem to found out how to create HDR video. Here’s a link:

  • grs

    I was in London a few months ago and got some good photos. Not to defend the police photo policy, I will say I learned they are very security conscious. You won’t find any trash cans in public areas and especially in London Underground stations, out of fear of bombs. I did get some HDR photos, using my tripod, at Piccadilly Circus without incident.

  • david

    Hi Trey, couldnt make the photowalk today as iv started teacher training this week, but dont let the security idiots spoil the capital for you. im from newcastle and have been stopped twice for that kind of thing. its an absolute joke isnt it, are they going to stop everyones phone-camera’s. too much power, not enough to do. Love the pics though trey, hope your trip is an enjoyable one.

  • Great!

  • Alex

    Regarding the police and security guards in London: I live here and totally agree, their behaviour towards photographers, coupled with the dense population and high levels of crime, makes London particularly hostile to tripod-, architecture- or night-based photographers. Whenever I return from abroad it feels immediately more uncomfortable being out and about taking photos, and I’ve been stopped by bored, interfering officials on countless occasions, with or without my tripod. If it’s not these people hassling me, it’s kids or drunk people.

    By comparison, photographing big cities in mainland Europe is so liberating – it feels safer, there’s heaps more space, you get minimum hassle and the architecture is generally more interesting and varied anyway.

  • davidl


    Truly stunning image!!! I am a frequent visitor to London, as my business takes me to Europe from the US 12 to 14 times a year, and more than half the trips include time in London. Absolutely my favorite city in the world and so far — touch wood — I’ve not yet been hassled by either the police or ‘security’, though on business trips I am typically shooting with a G11, so much smaller than a dSLR.

    My absolute favorite thing to photograph in London is the London Eye, so I am hopeful that you will be able to get some shots — with or without tripod — of it. Handheld, even with a dSLR (the latter when on holiday), I have never had any problems. With a tripod you might try shooting from the Hungerford Bridge, the footbridge which parallels the railroad tracks to Charing Cross Station.



  • Neil

    Trey – amazing exposure…as we expected, processing is spot on…as we expected…..the British authorties are imbiciles… we expected…on behalf on the long serving British nation please accept our sincere apologies. Onto more positive things, when do you expect to be teaching again in the UK..I’d like to be one of the lucky ones next time around…keep up the good work.

  • Thomas

    check out this blog… Look at the top.

  • Wow…………….. I have no more to say… This is an amazing sense of light and artistry… Trey I envy you…

  • PeterG

    Thanks Trey, for a great walk tonight. It was amusing watching the concerned faces of the security people around parlament.The Invasion of the tripods…

  • Thanks for a brilliant evening Trey, really enjoyed it. My problem now is wading through 200 pictures (some, admittedly are HDR combos but still…) and picking 5.

    Thanks from the pixel “my pictures aren’t sharp – don’t worry about it” peeper.


  • Great ! Thanks everyone !!! We had a great walk tonight! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks everyone for coming out…. very very fun!

  • SeanP

    Hey Trey, fantastic shot! I have a new desktop pic ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I hope the walk was a success, can’t imagine you having too much hassle off of security in a large group ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m gutted to have missed it though as i’ve only just got back off holiday this evening!

    Can’t wait to see many more pics from London, I’m so glad you’ve finally made the trip over!

    However, as great as London is and as much as i love it, the rest of the UK has some fantastic sights for HDR. If you want some great landscape shots i know of some superb spots in the north of England and Scotland that you can shoot till your hearts content!

    Make sure you come back and explore a bit further afield next time you’re here!

  • Wonderful shot, Trey!

    Now I want to go to London….

  • Gareth

    Thank you for your time and knowledge last night. Next one for me if I can manage it is to have a walk round Geneva in December near to similar “sunset” time as we did last night.


  • I have stood at that same place many times for many hours and Never ever have I had a sky like that. Great image..Thanks.

  • John Riley

    Hi there
    There must be tripod marks in the concrete at that photo point it would have been nice to see a more creative composition.I think the colours are over satuated too but it does have good exposure.

  • Pingback: Business And Travel » Blog Archive » DK Eyewitness Travel’s New Back Roads Travel Series()

  • Pingback: Egypt Live Report | Construction Methods()

  • I’ve been in London last weekend and I could take this picture from the same place ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pingback: Approaching London - Plucking out the best stories at Repluck - Latest News()

  • Pingback: Approaching London | Infoware 101()

  • Pingback: London | Viral Pics()

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!