Sometimes it is the most unlikely associations that get you assignments. I have been trying to forge a relationship with London’s TimeOut magazine from the moment I moved to the big smoke. I was labelled “the water man” by their picture editor at our first meeting and then heard nothing. Nothing, that is, until last week when TimeOut called and said they had a job for me and that there will be plenty of water.
TimeOut have a rather excellent brief for themselves - show the best of London to Londoners and visitors alike. This, from my understanding, means trying London out. Literally. This time a TimeOut journalist was joining a group of keen kayakers for a sunset paddle on the Thames. “Brilliant”, I thought and then when the practicalities of it hit me I faced a few new challenges.
1) night time paddle means zero light
2) Canoes are not known for their spaciousness, so not much equipment could be used
3) Paddling is a two-hand job. So is photography.
Luckily the team at Moo Canoes was ready to help. I was given an expert canoer as my guide and principal paddler and off we went. I used all the city lights possible to light the images and my guide’s canoeing experience meant he could somehow paddle for us and hold a flash at the same time. I packed light for the shoot and together we made it work.
London’s skyline viewed from the calm surface of the Thames at night is quite a sight. We canoed under Tower Bridge and up the river coming back down along the South Bank. I don’t know about the journalist as I have not read the review yet but the group we went out with certainly enjoyed the experience and despite the technical challenges I had great fun too. So there, if you feel you have done it all in London, I would recommend a sunset canoe trip under the London bridges. Not your average Saturday night out.