Cyclist in Sunlight

London Bridge | Canon EOS R : RF 35mm f1.8 IS : f/13.0 : 1/80s : ISO 1600 

Bridges can be a great resource for street photography. They often act as a magnet for shadows and interesting silhouettes. London Bridge is one of my favourite go-to bridge locations in central London. It is a maze of interconnecting tunnels, pathways and staircases. It is also nearly always bustling, meaning there is a pool of people coming and going that are potential subjects. I find the best time to shoot is when the sun is low in the sky, casting its long shadow under the bridge. Winter an ideal season for this as the sun is generally low in the sky for most of the afternoon.

Although there is constant road traffic in Borough High Street, even with Covid-19 restrictions, there are still plenty of ways to capture interesting subjects. On this particular day, the low sunlight had formed an interesting sunlit triangle under the bridge. I could see that it was highlighting cyclists are they rode northwards towards the Thames. I positioned myself at the far end of the bridge on the opposite side of the road and waited for suitable subjects to enter the frame.

I was particularly careful with the exposure, taking a number of bracketed shots, as the dynamic range of the shot was high. I wanted to capture the full tonality in both the sunlit areas of the shot as well as the shadowed area under the bridge.

The right moment came when the traffic lights were red and there was no traffic save for a lone cyclist in the frame.  I worked the tones in B&W relatively hard in Silver Effex Pro as can be seen when compared to the tonality of the original RAW file shown here. I wanted to ensure that the triangular shaft of light was the primary compositional element leading the viewer’s eye straight to the lone cyclist.