I’ve always said that an alarm shouldn’t start with a 5, unless you’re going on holiday. On Sunday I broke that rule… I’ve been meaning to visit the ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ display at the Tower of London for some time and until now hadn’t had a chance, in reality there’s no excuse not to visit and pay your respects. Thousands have fallen in battle so we can have a future, it’s the least we can do. At 5:12am my alarm went off, I felt pretty rough but a glass of water and 4 Frubes later, I was ready. We drove to Morden tube station which has a free car park on Sundays and caught the tube from there. I knew it was going to be busy so wanted to get there as early as possible, we managed to get the first tube from Morden and were on our way. As the stations passed the train got busier, I could hear people talking about their plans for the day, how they were going to see the display, what stop they were getting off at and which way they were going to walk.
Battling the crowds wasn’t something I was looking forward to, ideally I’d want to take in the display and capture some thought provoking images at the same time. I’d already seen plenty of photos in the news and on various websites in the last couple of weeks, I didn’t want to post another photo of the castle and the poppies, I wanted to be creative and provide some contrast to the images that we’ve been exposed to. My mind was racing with ideas, I kept on returning to one particular idea, I was confident that I could pull it off and I wouldn’t need to worry about crowds or being short on time. It was going to be awesome.
An announcement came over the loudspeaker; London Bridge station was closed, we could either wait and get off at Bank or depart at the next stop which was Borough. I’m impatient and I’d much rather be above ground walking than on a tube for any longer than I have to be, so we jumped off the tube at Borough and walked from there. It was a calm and pleasant walk from the station to the Tower of London, it was about 7:30am when we walked over Tower Bridge and got our first glimpse of the crowds. It was pretty busy, even at this time. We wandered around and I took a couple ‘standard’ photos of the display and then decided it was time to grab some food. We had some breakfast in Brasserie Blanc which is just over the road, by the time we came out the crowds had grown even larger. Looks like we made the right decision getting up there early. The below shot was taken with my fisheye lens.
With a full stomach and a good dose of inspiration and pride it was time for me to get on with my own tribute. It’s incredibly moving and emotional to see the display and it puts into perspective the sacrifice of those who lived before us. Seeing the display made me so proud and so thankful to live in an amazing country like this, it was a beautiful sunny day and the whole city had a really special feel to it. It almost felt like a celebration, a show of unity and strength. London is an amazing city full of iconic buildings and landmarks. It was my mission to capture these landmarks, to walk the streets, to be free, to be happy and to live my life in a way that is only possible thanks to the heroes that protect and serve this place we call home.
The photos below have been taken using my 60mm lens, the effect is known as a ‘double’ or ‘multi’ exposure and is all done in camera, there’s no editing or trickery here, I take two images in sequence and the camera merges them together. Providing I set the exposures of each individual image perfectly I can create a silhouette of the poppy and fill it in with a texture or landmark. I’m really pleased with how these came out, I took about a dozen on our walk but these are my favourites. I hope you enjoy my tribute and my take on Remembrance Sunday in London.