The early bird.....

Our last day in the city got off to a promising start. Our room faced east, so I could see there was potential for a nice sunrise. Usual habits kicked in.....freshen up, get dressed, grab camera gear, out!

After being treated to a really nice sunrise over the houses of parliament, I headed into the city to take advantage of the quiet streets, and when I say quiet...I mean dead! Walking around during golden hour in such a normally busy city such as London was quiet surreal. I don't normally have the best of luck with sunrise photography, or getting up early in general to take photos! Thankfully this time it paid off!

The rest of the day was spent wandering around areas we had never been before, and enjoying the beautiful weather to cap off a great stay in London. 

Notting Hill Carnival

I must admit when I planned our bank holiday in London, I had no idea that the carnival was on the same weekend. It's never been something I had ever thought of making the trip to London just to visit, but as we were here, it would seem rude not to visit one of the world's most renowned street parties! 

If there is one tip I can pass on to those thinking of making the trip there......go early!!

Not only was it really surreal to walk around all the completely closed streets, normally filled with cars and traffic, but we encountered very little crowds or queues on the underground. By the time we left, the crowds pouring out of the underground stations was unbelievable. Trust me, go early and make a whole day of it - there's a lot more going on than you might think.

If you ever needed a camera to capture the smells and sounds of an event, then this would be it! There were barbecues and street food everywhere. I'm glad we skipped breakfast so we could make the most of just a tiny part of it. There were almost as many speaker systems as barbecues too. Loud, and smelling amazing. Those would be my initial observations as a first timer!

We visited on the Sunday, supposedly the 'quieter and calmer' of the three days. Despite this, the party atmosphere was amazing, there was such a positive energy and feel about the place.

Something you have to feel for yourself.

Bank Holiday in the City

I had this trip planned for a while, but I had to squeeze a work trip in before this one, nothing major, just a two week trip to New Zealand and Australia! All being well, I would land back in the UK early Friday morning, go home, re-pack and catch the train to the city. That was the plan anyway.....

Early Thursday morning I began my trip home from Brisbane, connecting in Singapore before ending at Heathrow. Unfortunately, things didn't start well. Our first flight back was delayed....significantly! 8 hours in fact. This meant I would miss my connecting flight. I spent the 8 hour flight to Singapore feeling frustrated, doubting whether I would make it back in time to enjoy everything I had planned.

I was eventually put on a flight back to London, meaning I would arrive Friday evening. There was no time to head home, instead making the most of what I had with me, as I went straight to the hotel from the airport.....

....after over 40 hours of travelling. I was beat.....

The hotel itself was fantastic, located right on the Southbank of the river.

Our first evening was spent just relaxing along the river itself, I knew an early night would be on the cards after that journey!

I was tempted to wake up early and hope there'd be a nice sunrise to make it worthwhile. In th end, jet lag made the decision for me, as I struggled to sleep past 5am. Definitely worth it though, and it was great to shoot in an area normally brimming with people. 

The main plan for the day was our first visit to Kew Gardens. The weather was uncharacteristically good for a bank holiday, so things kept looking up!   On the subject of looking up, Kew Gardens is by no means the quietest place in the world! Being on the approach to Heathrow airport, brief moments of tranquility are interrupted by the sounds of jet engines every couple minutes. As I spend so much time in airports, the noise didn't bother me, and the gardens were really nice to walk around, certainly somewhere you can escape for a few hours if you've had enough of the crowded streets of London. 

All photos taken on a Fuji X-T1/2 with 23mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 lenses