The View from The Shard, The Shard, London Bridge, London, England

This is a the night time The View from The Shard which opened its doors on Friday. Friend and photographer Mark Hepples came down from Yorkshire as we both booked tickets to go up here and also do a photowalk around London after. We were both really looking forward to it to our visit. We went on Saturday evening.

When we arrived at the base of the Shard, we went in and they checked our tickets and before you go up the building you go through airport style security, sadly this is when my tripod was taken off me :-(. I had to leave it with security so if you do go your probably best not taking yours with you. Not having a tripod was going to be a problem for us as we were going up at sunset/blue hour but we were expecting that I wasn't going to be allowed to take the tripod up so was prepared to bump up the ISO quite a bit once at the top.

After the security you go up two ultra fast escalator and before you know it your right at the top of the Shard (well almost) floor 69 that is. At the top of the Shard there is two viewing platforms 69 and 72, not much between the two view wise unfortunately however in the evening the lower one is enclosed completely and warmer and the upper one is slightly open to the elements but not much. When we arrived at the top there was a beautiful sunset and had no chance of getting to the windows to see it let alone photograph it so we went upto 72 thinking it would be better but no joy, we just had to wait our turn to get to the front of the window. When we eventually got to the window we started taking images however there was one major problem for us photographers, the window glare off the lights from behind you. It almost made it impossible to take a decent image without getting the shadow of a person or reflection of a steel beam and this got worse as it got darker outside. The second problem was that the windows were also filthy, not out side but inside with greasy finger prints which also made the images harder to take. Sadly there was no one cleaning these up there. Really to help with these two problems is to turn the lights down or off every 30 minutes so people can get the best views and also just clean the glass regularly. We decided to go back down to 69 floor and wow this was so much better on two side that you looked out. The lights were dimmer and the walls darker so it didn't bounce what light was there onto the windows as much and this photo was taken from floor 69.

One other annoyance up there (and I have heard this from other photographers) was the use of tripods. We had seen someone up there using a tripod even thought Mark and I had ours taken off us. Sadly no one asked him to stop it once he started using it.

To be fair to the Shard they have only been open one weekend so far so hopefully with feedback from people that can improve the experience in future.

Apart from the little annoyances above it was a very enjoyable night out and got a few good photos up there. Also I recommend if you do want to go try and plan it around sunset as if your lucky enough like you'll witness a stunner and see the lights all turn on in the city in the blue hour. Tickets cost £25 per person when we booked however did notice when we got there if you turn up on the day it will cost £100 per person!!

Also if I was to go up again I may use a telephoto lens as sometime I feel with my ultra wide lens the detail of the city can be lost so I would recommend take both with you.

Had a really enjoyable weekend touring London with Mark, we had a good time in St Pancras International Hotel too so we both have a lot of processing to do :-). Have a good Monday.

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