The Millennium Bridge has become something of an iconic landmark along the River Thames in London. Officially called The London Millennium Footbridge, it is a contemporary, steel suspension bridge for pedestrians that stretches from the Tate Modern to St Paul’s Cathedral in the north.
The innovative “blade of light” design was created by Arup Group, Foster and Partners, and the English abstract sculptor Sir Anthony Caro. Immediately after its first opening in 2000, Londoners quickly nicknamed the bridge the “Wobbly Bridge” as pedestrians experienced an alarming swaying motion. Whilst this was largely rectified two years later, the bridge still shakes when it starts to get busy. It makes shooting the bridge during the day extremely tricky, in fact … practically impossible.
I therefore decided to shoot the bridge around dawn, and in August, that was around 6am in the morning. I rather like London at this time of day, it’s full of magic and atmosphere, and old ghosts from yesteryear seem to haunt the empty streets. Shooting at this time also enabled me to avoid people and to record the ambient sound of the seagulls, St Paul’s Cathedral’s bells and the early morning traffic. These atmospheric sounds are an integral part of the experience, but are quickly overpowered when the noise levels rise and hussle and bussle of city life kicks in a few hours later.
Once again, I chose to shoot a high dynamic range (HDR), 360 stills photograph, rather than a 360 video. 360 stills photographs allow me to capture the wide range of contrast needed to create an aesthetically pleasing image. 360 HDR video is still in its infancy, and whilst the resolution is slowly increasing, it can still only record a much narrower range of contrast and tones. This technical limitation reduces the beautiful rich colours of the breaking dawn sky, and would produce an image that is visually less appealing.