London: The City, the Monument & the Bridge

Last year I took a rather hectic course in Health and Safety and I promised myself that I would reward myself with a photography course when it was all over.  Of course, that was followed by a rather hectic nine months (some of which you can read about here) and suddenly it was August and I hadn’t done anything about it!  Well, luckily I found out about The Photo School through  The Photo School offers an introductory composition workshop which is currently only £20 for three hours. 

I attended the workshop on Saturday and I found it to be massively informative and helpful.  The class was a nice mix of people who ranged from absolute beginners to a portrait photographer.  There were only two of us with “point and click” cameras and everyone else had SLRs. 

We met at The Crosse Keys Pub in Bank which is across the road from the old Victorian Leadenhall Market.  What an amazing place!

Click on any of the photos below for an enlargement.

Interior of the Crosse Keys Pub

The Crosse Keys Pub is exquisite.  I am starting to think that I need to go on an introductory architecture course or something as I would love to place the styles inside the pub.

Leadenhall Market, London

One of the things they told us about on the workshop were lines and perspectives.  The Leadenhall Market was great for that.


As I left the market, I came upon the ugliest building I have ever seen in my life.

This is the Lloyds Building, also known as the “Inside Out Building”.  I’m not entirely sure the building has any redeeming qualities to be honest and I am a huge lover of architecture of all types and styles.  I was trying to play with perspective again in this photo and using my corners.

I thought it looked quite nice reflected off the Willis Building though.

I found a British flag!!  I might have to ask Lloyd’s of London why it was flying at half mast though.  (In case you’re confused, we were talking about flags in this post).

St Andrew Undershaft Church contrasted against "The Gherkin"

We learnt about contrasting old and new in the course and I just love this photo.  The proper name for “The Gherkin” is 30 St Mary Axe

We also learned about the rule of thirds.  This couple was having their wedding photos taken at the foot of “The Gherkin”.

I thought this was the archetypal London photo!  I liked the flags too.

The Crosse Keys Pub from the outside

More flags!  We all agreed this photo would have been better if the car were further on into the photo. 

Our teacher liked this photo.  It made me want a better camera so that I could get the depth of field right.  I promised myself that I would learn to use my camera first before I got a new SLR camera though.

After the workshop, I decided to walk to London Bridge station.  It is approximately a fifteen minute walk.  I got to see The Monument with my own eyes for the very first time!

The Monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built to commemorate the lives that were lost in the Great Fire of London in 1666.  It was built between 1671 and 1677 and was a celebration of the rebuilding of the City.

It is lovely and I would certainly like to go back one day when it is open.  They have an observation deck at the top which only costs £3 for adults and £2 for children.  Can you imagine how beautiful the view must be of the grand old City of London?  Oh look!  You can see a webcam of the view!


How beautiful is that detail?

It was just a short walk further until I arrived at the Thames.


That is the Southwark Cathedral you can see there in the distance.  I have a real soft spot for the cathedral as I photographed it on the day I first interviewed for my job in 2007.  I got the job and in fact, started there two years ago today.  The cathedral is therefore a sort of good luck charm for me.


I walked under London Bridge and took one last photo of Southwark Cathedral before taking a little corridor back up to the top of London Bridge.

Creepy ancient corridor and Southwark Cathedral


London has such beautiful structures and buildings and I was glad to have a chance to appreciate it.  Despite my insistence that I work in central London, I still find myself taking a lot for granted.  This little excursion on the weekend really opened my eyes again and I can’t wait to go on my next adventure.

Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast (peeking out behind the cruise liner) and the Mayor's Office

I wonder if the day will ever come when I tire of taking photos of Tower Bridge?  I doubt it and I certainly hope not!

41 comments on "London: The City, the Monument & the Bridge"
  1. The one on the Gherkin is definitely my favorite! Love the contrast of the old and ugly. lol

    Leadenhall Market follows closely behind. Will often heads towards there for lunch. The bizz over there during lunchtime is just rejuvenating.

    C K

  2. You certainly covered a lot of ground in one day...great job...I like all the shots but I'm taken by the London bridge and ships scenery... thanks for sharing this.
    It's great you're taking a photography course, so am I.
    You might also want to consider joining these guys on's free of charge have a look at it. I did and they are great.
    Digital Photography School

  3. This takes me back to my trip to London--I can't get enough of the Tower Bridge either. So quintessentially London!

  4. I read every word and gazed at the photos. I, too, love London and hope to return there. I have many pictures from my past trip but I enjoy photography so much more now. Tower Bridge is hard to resist! Beautiful...

  5. Great photograph Emm, like usual.

    As for the holding off of the DSL. I don't think it really matters if you hold off on it or not, because you're just going to learn a whole new set of features/rules.

    That's my experience thus far. The sooner you get one, the better you'll get with it. At least, that was my idea when I got it. I think I'm slowly improving.

    Still looking into schooling (and finding nothing) a short course is probably the way I'm gonna go, but need to find something that will fit my time/budget.

  6. Great Work! I tend to agree with you on the Lloyds Building the minute i saw the building I instantly thought it looked as if it belonged in Gotham City (Batman). lol Although the Willis Building looks intriguing with the perspective of that shot and the reflection! Again nice work!

    Your shots are of much inspiration to me as i am planning a trip to London later this year and love places that are historical and scenic! Especially for photo taking! So thank you so much for sharing!

    I have to save up some money to be able to take a photography class but is has been up there to save for! Seems photography classes are so much money on this side of the globe! lol

    anyways great work and happy blogging!

  7. Fabulous photos! You really have learned a lot!! My husband's office is right in the midst of all of those lovely buildings :-) The Passage here in The Hague is very similar to Leadenhall (a great place for lunch).

    BTW, if you can swing it, get the SLR now. I'm serious about this. It will inspire you to take more photos. Such a huge difference. I got a 14.7 mp point and shoot back in May. It has more pixels than my Rebel, but I still love the photos that come out of my SLR best. I think the difference is the lens. Just my two cents!

    Keep clicking!

  8. Ciao Emm, I like you posts. Full of photos, but also a nice writing. Yes, I MUST to visit anglophone countries. You let me dream with NY and now London. Beautiful photo, the Saint Andrews one, maybe we have to think about to build new things in old cities.

  9. The Monument looks almost exactly like one we have in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.! Our is dedicated to our fallen soldiers, and stands in almost exact center of downtown Indy.
    I loved seeing the pictures of some of the buildings in London in this post. My favorite was the one of the old church and the "Gherkin".

  10. Dear Emm
    You had a great value out of this little course, as it is showing in ur photography, Lots of beautiful architecture shots. Good work!!!.

    And thanks for ur comments on my blog, And thanks a lot for pointing out the issue with comment posting, I never checked it.

  11. Looks like you're off to a good start! Lots of great shots, especially like the one with the big pickle (gherkin, you all call it, right?)--old and new is one of my faves.
    Have a great weekend!

  12. Emm what a great selection of photographs and what a valuable course. I want to do something similar since I got my new canon DSLR. Its proving quite a big step up from my point and shot.

    My favourite is definitely the "old/new" with the Gerkin and church. That said many of the "lines" are excellent.

  13. Nice post. I've been to London in January and I keep checking your posts to get closer, even with the ocean-distance. Hope I'm writing correctly, btw. Cheers.

  14. Your post is like a walkabout through London.

  15. Emm - What a bloody amazing day out you had, how did you manage that, finding a British flag is what I'm talking about...amazing.

    The photos are something special and do the 'Smoke' real proud. Were you instructing the course or taking it because your pictures are top class. London should give you an award for promoting it in such good light.

    Your post is very topical to me as I have just done a post on my very own camera and its amazing capabilities, in my own special way of course. You may like to check out the photos and perhaps update your camera to the one that gives me so much joy. Must go as I have to remove my tongue from my cheek. Best wishes.

  16. Thank you, Emm, for sharing "your" London, your beautiful and stimulating London with us. I really enjoyed this entry, it made me want to come to London, and follow "your" itinerary.

  17. Hello, just leaving you a comment as I've so enjoyed looking around your site and reading your lovely posts. Great pictures too !

    Thank so much for sharing them and I hope you have a fab weekend (well, the rest of it anyway...)!

    Best wishes to you

  18. wow! nice pics, emm! :-)
    and yes, amen! i also hope u never tire of taking the pics! i certainly dont think so!

  19. Really Nice Photos Emm.
    why no Tate Gallery Photo ?
    aaahhhh it's across the river.

    great shots, really nice depth and
    good explanations.

  20. Emm, I've never heard the "real" name for The Gherkin . . . and I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm not going to remember it. Never mind. What a great picture contrasting the old and the new.

    Your course sounds like so much fun. I took a similar one last spring, but honestly, I feel like I've learned the most from looking at great photos on blogs. You have some really wonderful ones, here -- despite the point and shoot!

    Like you, I'm starting to feel that my camera is inadequate. You should have seen the array of Nikons and lenses at my Blog Camp last weekend. (The hidden cost of blogging, right?)

  21. There is nothing like wandering around in central London because there are literally thousands of photo opportunities. I think i need to invest in a spare battery because I take so many pics mine usually goes flat.

    I love the look of the Crosse Keys pub, it seems like my sort of place, and I shall my venturing in there next time I'm down that way.

  22. @ C K: Oh, I wish I wasn't such a workaholic and tha I took lunch sometimes! You seem to do so much!

    @ Baron: Thanks for the link! That site looks awesome.

    @ slynnard: I agree!!

    @ Carolyn: Thank you for reading and visiting!

    @ Phoenix: You're not "slowly" improving. Your photography develops exponentially by the week! Ste wanted to buy me a camera at duty free (he is in South Africa) but I asked him not to. I still think I have a couple of things I want to figure out with this one. Maybe a couple of short courses will be a good idea, maybe it'll help you pick a good full course.

  23. @ Jenna: I think photography classes are expensive here too - that was just a summer special! How long are you going to be in London?

    @ JaPRA: Oh cool! I didn't know your husband was a City man! I'm just going to wait a little longer before I get a SLR. Maybe for my birthday or if I save up for it.

    @ Italo: Yes - I like the St Andrews one too!

    @ Anna: Hi there! Is your monument that high? Because this one is huge.

    @ Manmohan: Thank you! Did you sort out your comment issue?

    @ ProdigalWife: Heh! It seems no one knows the real name of the "gherkin". We call the mayor's office the "onion".

    @ Mike: Thanks! Let's watch this space and see in a year how you and I have progessed!!

    @ Doute: Your writing is just fine! Thank you so much.

    @ gaelikaa: Yeah, it was a load of fun. I like walking and photographing.

    @ Martyn: Heh!! Thanks! See now, that is probably why I haven't got an SLR. My eyesight is SO bad that all my photos would come out with stunning clarity like yours!

    @ Celeste: Hee hee. And I am always willing to play tour guide!

    @ Elise: Hi there. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! You have a great blog!

  24. @ Ash: Ha! It's not likely that I'll ever tire of taking photos.

    @ RE: Naah, it's just that the Tate Britain and Tate Modern are nowhere near there.

    @ Bee: Ha! Yes, I have to look it up each and every time I blog about it! It is always interesting to go to these meetups and to see what kind of cameras everyone has.

    @ William Wallace: I use lithium batteries - they last so much longer! I'd definitely recommend the Crosse Keys.

  25. The Cathedral is breathtaking. I have really been getting more interested in the fortifications and churches in England. I'm on a quest.

  26. Oh I love your photos! Hope I could visit London someday...

  27. These pictures remind me of my last trip to London. :-) London is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the world and thanks to your course, it helped you photograph it in a lovely way. My favourite: The "Gherkin" contrast!
    All the best, keep it up Emm.

  28. Great photography. London is such a fun place to visit with a camera and for sight seeing.

  29. I've been up the monument a couple of times, it is well worth the climb, although it doesn't tower above quite so much as at would have when first built.

  30. Darn it, Emm! You're making me miss England!!! When we lived there, I made my dear husband take me to London as often as possible. One of my favorite places in the world :)

    (fabulous photos!)

  31. Hey Emm, well now... there are some really good photos in this batch. I really like the one of the wedding couple. The bright green of the tree leaves and the whiteness of her dress look great together. Also, I like the way that you've included the upward-facing road sign in The Gherkin photo. Nice touch!

  32. Sorry for the late replies guys! I blame it on moving house!

    @ Lauren: I agree with you completely - I just can't get enough of old churches etc. I really, really like ruins too.

    @ Olive: Hi Olive, thanks for stopping by! I do hope oyu get to visit London one day.

    @ Bourne: I agree - that is my favourite pic too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    @ Barry: I agree wholeheartedly of course - it is why I started this blog! Thanks for stopping by.

    @ Elliot: Hiya! Well, if it is worth it then I will definitely go back during opening hours.

    @ Cowgirl: Thanks! Where abouts in UK did you stay?

    @ Paul: Hiya! I like the road sign in that picture too - I took one without the road sign but prefer this one.

  33. Thanks Emm for this post, I love the photos and information about London you posted! Hope some day a could visit this beautifull city.

  34. Hey again Emm, I am back again browsing through your treasure trove of photos of England. I love them! As I mentioned once before in a post regarding Dr. Who, I live in Florida and would love to retire in the UK. I however sadly believe that the closest I will ever get to England, or the UK in general is vicariously through places like your blog. So, thank you dearly for your great work and keep it up! Believe me it is truly appreciated!

  35. Hey again Emm, I am back again and browsing through your treasure trove of photos of England. As I meantioned once before while visiting your page regarding the Dr. Who exhibit you visited and photographed, I am from Florida and would love to one day retire to the UK. I however am afraid that the closest that I will ever come to England, or the UK in general will have to be vicariously through photographs posted on blogs like yours. So, I would like to let you know that your work here is truly and greatly appreciated! So thank you and please keep up this great work!

  36. Hi Silver Wolf! I'm sorry - you must have thought that your comment wasn't posting!! I have comment moderation switched on for my older posts to prevent spam (not that your comment was spam!!) Thank you very much for you kind words and for finding me on Twitter.

  37. I don't recognise Leadenhall Market, despite having lived in London and the Home Counties for a few years. Which is a shame, since I really love the look of the architecture and the decorative elements.

    I will go back to my own posts on elegant shopping arcades eg Burlington, and compare with Leadenhall Market. Isn't blogging just a great way to learn about a fabulous city :)

  38. @ Hels: I simply must go to Burlington Arcade one day!! Leadenhall is quite unique in that they really take care of it so the colours are so vibrant. I often notice Victorian structures that you might not readily notice because they haven't painted them so nicely.

  39. I really love these pics; you've captured aspects of our working vicinity from a perspective I havent seen, and some sights I havent seen at all! I love the shot of Leadenhall Market and what looks like an arch. I LOVE the picture showing the gherkin and church, it almost looks fantasy-like! Monument detail is also very striking...

  40. Hey CiBi! I can't believe how far behind I am in replying to the comments on my blog. Oh, well, better late than never.

    That photo os the Gherkin and the church is amonst my favourites too. We should go for a photo walk one day!


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