I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a previous post or not (without going back and re-reading my posts), but the main reason I took a December vacation to London was because I saw a photo, earlier in the year, of the 2015 fireworks over the London Eye. I was so taken with that image that, as a photographer, I knew I had to be right there for the 2016 fireworks.
In case you aren’t aware, they now ticket this event (£10), and if you don’t have a ticket to present at the event, you don’t get in. After I’d purchased and received my ticket to the Embankment (blue) section, it turns out the hotel at which I stayed bestowed to its guests wrist bands to the same section, lol. I definitely was assured entrance to the event.
I spent about 45 minutes waiting my turn to go through security at the first checkpoint, and then went through a couple more checkpoints before being lucky enough to squeeze in between a Chinese tourist on one side and a family from the Midlands on the other. I then waited 4 hrs 15 minutes in that same spot (no, I never once felt like I had to pee, thank goodness). I could feel the press of the crowd behind me. I had a nice visit (should I say “chat” instead?) with the young lady behind me and the father of the family beside me.
During the long, chilly wait, a kaleidoscope of colors kept splashing against the London Eye and the buildings beside that iconic landmark.
At one point, to keep the crowd from getting too restless (remember, it was a 4-hour wait), the speaker challenged us all to turn on our smartphones and show the bright screen to the sky and the BBC helicopter. To the right of the London Eye in the image above is a line of bright smartphones all along Westminster Bridge.
And then, the countdown …
The show was INCREDIBLE! And I was right there in front, taking it all in. I can’t describe what a cool feeling that was – all I can say is that every time I stare into space and think about the fireworks, my smile gets wider and wider. When I do this at work, people wonder what the hell is going on with me (grin).
Oh, and that white semi-circle you see in the mid-left portion of the photos: that’s the waning gibbous moon.
I’d capture a series of photos with my Canon 1DX and 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, then take the camera away and drink the experience in with my eyes, then take some more photos. I did this for the next 10-11 minutes as the fireworks and music and cheers and ooohs and ahhs carried on around me. At one point, I remember looking down at the young son of the family next to me standing a little bit in front of me, who in turned looked up at me to see me with wide eyes and a silly grin on my face as I watched this spectacular pyrotechnic display.
These photos are just the start. I captured a gazillion different fireworks images that I’ll publish in the next blog post (ok, maybe not all gazillion of them, but a few).
Happy New Year, London and Everybody!