Commons talk:Photowikimeetup in London during Wikimania 2014

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Let's begin[edit]

Hello! I'd proposed to meet on Friday and, if the participants then, agree on that, have a follow-up the second day, what do you think?. Regarding tour guide -similar to HK- I would wait, since there are some good photographers in London and maybe one of them would like to join and can, at the same time, give us some hints about the best way to get to different sites. Other opinions? Poco2 17:23, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

I'll help where I can in giving travel direction, but 1) I'm not a good photographer and 2) I'm not sure how much time I'll have given I will be busy at the conference itself and with Wikimedia UK. -- KTC (talk) 10:14, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Hablamos con User:Diliff! --Ralf Roleček 13:34, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I talked to him some months ago and I fear that he will not be in town during Wikimania, a pity. Poco2 16:01, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, you are right :-( --Ralf Roleček 16:51, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Actually my plans have changed and I will be in London. :-) But because I was expecting to be away, I never registered for Wikimania. Diliff (talk) 09:00, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
This shouldn't be a big problem. --Matthias Süßen (talk) 14:31, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Time to set up the itinerary[edit]

I think that it is time to begin with the planning for the photographic tour. The focus should be subjects that are especially well illuminated in the night, since we are leaving in the evening. A tripod is therefore extremely useful!

  • KTC, as you offered yourself about giving indications, do you have an initial proposal about what to see in a tour of approx. 3 hours?. Does anybody else have a proposal about must-sees? Poco2 15:12, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
    • @Diliff: any proposals? Poco2 20:57, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  1. Leadenhall Market. --Matthias Süßen (talk) 19:48, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
London can be tricky to photograph because the streets are often very narrow and there isn't a lot of space around the buildings. And it's a big city so of course a lot of the attractions are not near each other. There are two main areas in London. There's the old city (City of London) which is mostly a business district these days but has some historic buildings, and there's the West End (Westminster) which is mostly entertainment and shopping, but also government buildings. Here's a couple of other must sees that would be nice to photograph at night:
  1. Tower Bridge and Tower of London
  2. City Hall and other modern and architecturally interesting buildings at More London. I believe it is privately owned land but I think if you explain why you're photographing, the security won't bother you.
  3. Tate Modern and the Millenium Bridge looking towards St Paul's Cathedral
  4. The view from Waterloo Bridge towards the city is probably the best in London.
  5. Houses of Parliament
  6. Westminster Abbey

Hope that helps. I may be able to join you on the photo tour! Diliff (talk) 09:00, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Diliff for your hints! It would be lots of fun if you can actually join us. On the other side, I hope that your availability is due to a re-schedule of your original planning for those dates. Poco2 17:26, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
We should keep these times in mind:
Golden hour: 7:45 pm - 8:37 pm
Blue hour: 8:53 pm - 9:40 pm
I guess we will be travelling during Golden hour, or we should find interesting western facades nearby, which would be great to photograph in the warm evening light. For Blue hour we should find a good vantage point. Tate Modern and the Millenium Bridge looking towards St Paul's Cathedral I have already singled out for myself, which doesn't mean I won't join you again. We should also have a Plan B for bad weather. Leadenhall Market or something similar could be a good idea for that. --Wuselig (talk) 20:04, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Some famous things people like to photograph. -- KTC (talk) 20:34, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Outstanding! thanks for your comments and to KTC for the effort to prepare that map. We have a lot of options now, probably more than time available. I do agree that a plan B is a must and that we should consider the timing and therefore get to a first area with different subjects shortly to still manage some shots before the sunset. Poco2 21:57, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
That's a good map to work from, thanks KTC. I agree that it would be a good idea to choose just one location for blue hour because it doesn't last too long (the best part is much shorter than 50 minutes!) and you don't want to be moving from one site to another and missing the best light. Leadenhall Market would indeed be a good Plan B if it's raining. Because there is some natural light coming in from the roof and the sides (it's quite open), the blue evening light does make a nice contrast with the orange interior lighting. How many people would we be expecting to come? The market isn't very big. Diliff (talk) 22:00, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Joining even if not participating Wikimania[edit]

Hi everyone,

I can't attend Wikimania during the weekdays because of work, but as I currently live in London only 1.5 miles away from the conference center, I like to ask whether I can join the photowikimeetup even if I don't attend Wikimania.

Cheers, --Mad melone (talk) 13:23, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Of course. You are welcome. --Matthias Süßen (talk) 14:15, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Concrete schedule proposal[edit]

Hello all, based mostly on the feedback of KTC and Diliff I propose the following schedule for Plan A (reasonable weather):

  • 7:30 pm meeting time in Barbican
  • 7:45 pm leaving towards Barbican Station
  • 8:15 pm arrival in Westminster Station (Circle Line goes directly from Barbican to Westminster): take some pictures of the House of Parliament / Big Ben / London Eye / Westminster Abbey in the golden hour then cross the Westminster bridge
  • 9:00 pm short get to the Waterloo bridge to get nice blue hour shots of the City and/or Cleopatra's needle
  • 10:00 pm short walk to get to Tate Modern / Shakespeare's Globe / Millenium Bridge / St Paul's Cathedral

I think that we should keep the amount of metro drives as low as possible (lesson learned from Hong Kong's meeting), since making sure that everybody is there requires a lot of time. In Hong Kong some didn't make to the second transfer. Furthermore, if somebody gets lost they have an idea where the group would be and just need to walk. The only one thing I'd probably change is the starting time, I think that it is better to leave from Barbican earlier, maybe at 19:15. What do you think about the schedule and starting time?. Right now I assume that we'll be around 20 people. Poco2 20:32, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree we should leave at least 30 minutes earlier, if not 45'. The nearly full moon will be at an elevation of about 16° to 18° in the south-east during blue hour. In other words looking from Victoria Embankment, closer to Waterloo Bridge, right behind the London Eye. --Wuselig (talk) 23:01, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

For the plan B (rain), I have my doubts. The Leadenhall Market looks really nice but if I am not wrong the opening hours are 10 am - 6 pm. If I am wrong, we could follow this plan:

  • 8:15 pm arrive in Bank Station, photograph Royal Exchange and Bank of England (on the way)
  • 8:30 pm Leadenhall Market
  • 9:30 pm Monument to the Great Fire of London, Tower Bridge and Tower of London
  • 10:30 pm Golden Hinde II and Southwark Cathedral

What do you think?. Maybe some of the proposed places do not make much sense because the have no or very poor lighting in the night. Poco2 20:32, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

If the Leadenhall Market is actually closed we could try our luck e.g. in the King's Cross Station. Maybe there are also other interesting stations. Poco2 18:39, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Take care. To whom it may concern: Harry Potter used platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station to get to Hogwarts. --Matthias Süßen (talk) 06:39, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
As a further idea, maybe there is some overlapping with the map of London articles without a picture? https://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://tools.wmflabs.org/kmlexport/%3Farticle%3DCategory:Wikipedia_requested_photographs_in_London --Mad melone (talk) 07:41, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
The link didn't work for me, but this one. I also added the useful link in the photowikimeetup page. Thanks! Poco2 20:28, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

I would love to join you guys but I'll be on holiday in Scotland then. Both itineraries look quite packed and if you are taking night shots with tripods then I wouldn't underestimate how long it will take you to find the best spot, take your photos, herd your group around and travel. It can be difficult to photograph buildings well in London since it is hard to get far enough away from them to get the whole thing in. I'm sure Diliff will be a fantastic guide if he can make it. I think Leadenhall Market will be open but no market stalls at that time of day and many shops closed. I don't think I've been there on Friday but other evenings it is often packed with City folk drinking which is fine if you want that to be your subject but not if you want a clear view. It is very close to some good tall city buildings:

You could wander round about these buildings without travelling too far. Btw, the City is very quiet on Saturday/Sunday (no offices open, many shops shut) which is a contrast to the rest of London which is very busy.

I see London King's Cross railway station has been suggested as an alternative and is a good choice if the weather is bad as there are good photo opportunities there and in nearby buildings, many of which will be suitable for WLM. The main station itself has been cleaned up and the horrible front extension demolished allowing the front of the building to be seen. This front also has a covered area where you may be able to stand if raining and photograph people in the rain, perhaps with a red London bus or St Pancras railway station in the background. The main station building is often only accessible now if you have a ticket but in the evening the barriers are often opened and you can wander inside. You may be able to see in this photo that there is a raised walkway halfway down the station, which you get to by escalators and lifts. So you have a viewpoint on ground level and a raised viewpoint at another level. The new western departures concourse is wonderful modern architecture and there are plenty opportunities to enjoy the structures and commuters for images. Again, this has a raised walkway wrapping round two sides (linked to the other one) offering a high viewpoint in addition to ground level. As noted above this contains the Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4 where there is a trolly sticking into the wall -- during the day this is busy with tourists getting their photographs taken but in the evening it may be quieter and you might enjoy being a fun tourist getting your own snapshots rather than always being a serious photographer here :-). Across the road is St Pancras railway station which has a famous front. Inside is huge and worth a look. There are also some modern statues inside, and a large shopping complex that is a bit like an airport (because it is an international station). Next door again is the British Library which is a massive brick building. The building opposite St Pancras is perhaps not so appealing to some tastes, but even then there is scope to create an interesting image. -- Colin (talk) 19:09, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

It is a shame that you cannot join us Colin, and therefore the more I thank you for passing by and giving us so much information.
After looking again into the attendees list I agree with you that it is pretty packed for such a big group of photographers and their gear. I will "publish" the proposal in the main page with less targets. As mentioned and confirmed above I'll schedule it 30 minutes later in order to photograph without stress during the golden/blue hour. I hope this is not a big issue for anybody.
Looking into the weather forecast it is right now difficult to say but it could actually rain. Hoping that it will not be a non-stop rain I would suggest the Leadenhall Market but rather with the itinerary proposed by Colin, there are a lot of interesting architectural works in that area. Poco2 16:42, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
I hope you have a good time. One thing to watch out is that a lot of "public areas" surrounding buildings are actually private land. Sometimes there are subtle marks in the pavement (e.g., brass dots) to indicate the line where public land becomes private. Don't be surprised if a security guard pops out of a building and asks you to move on or at least off of the private area. They are allowed to do this so politely ask where would be ok for you to stand. Also, you mustn't block the street and the police may ask you to move if you are an obstruction. You are however quite free to photograph buildings and people in London. See the PDF guide linked from this web page. Also, you may see some street artwork from Scupture in the City. These aren't permanently on display (about 10 months I think) so I suspect images focusing on them aren't allowed on Commons. -- Colin (talk) 09:22, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with Colin that 30+ people is going to make many of the areas tricky to photograph. Leadenhall Market never really closes, it's open air and there are no gates that could be shut. Of course the shops are closed but this isn't a problem because the lighting is still on and it looks quite nice (for example, like this at Christmas). Colin's suggestions are good. It's very tricky to come up with a simple itinerary though because there are a LOT of minor attractions that we could photograph. As with most cities, the best locations are the ones you stumble across on your own (not as a group of 30! ;-) ). Diliff (talk) 09:55, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
    • Also, just looking at the 'bad weather' itinerary, the only location that actually provides some shelter from the rain is Leadenhall Market. Everything else is going to be no better than the good weather itinerary, surely? Guildhall (the building itself) won't be open at night, only the courtyard (Such as this). Diliff (talk) 10:01, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
      • If it is pouring with rain, you really want to be indoors. Both Kings Cross station and St Pancras station are easily big enough to accomodate you all and are right next to each other. Also some people might just want to have a chat and not take pictures all night. One suggestion is to go to Kings Cross and make the Giraffe cafe on the mezzanine floor your base. You can see this cafe in the far right of this photo and it is the place where I took this photo. There are some seats and it is a good spot if you are trying to locate someone! You can wander from there through the walkway to the main station and take images of the train hall. If you go downstairs and cross the side-street then you end up in the "airport terminal" part of St Pancras. Better to walk down to Euston Road and enter from the front (or find your way inside) as the station itself is much more intersting than the shops on the lower floor. I don't know how you'd get on using a tripod there, but I managed to balance my camera on the ledge. The old parts of Kings Cross and of St Pancras are WLM listed buildings, but I don't know about the new bits. -- Colin (talk) 10:33, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
        • I see, so you are recommending a tour in King's Cross / Pancras St option. No problem with that, you can judge better than me. I will update the plan B accordingly if nobody has a problem with that. Poco2 19:11, 4 August 2014 (UTC) Btw: I still think that we will not be more than 20 people...
          • Just suggestions, as I won't be there! What interests me might not suit others. But I'm not sure many folk will want to wander about in the rain. Perhaps David has ideas for another indoor venue. -- Colin (talk) 21:57, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
            • I think that you are anyhow right, and I fear that it will not stop raining. At least that is what the current weather forecast says right now...Poco2 18:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
              • It is sad that we've had a wonderful July and now the weather is changing. The weatherman says I should pack a cagoule and midge repellent rather than shorts and sunglasses for my trip to Scotland. -- Colin (talk) 19:20, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Showers. Heavy showers. Might get lucky mind and some people might want to take the risk.Geni (talk) 04:05, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Not just showers. A warning from the MET office: Thundery showers, standing water and risk of travel disruption... right in the middle of when we're going to be out. It's not looking good! Diliff (talk) 08:26, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
The forecast varies so quite changeable. It might all be cleared up by the time you are going out. Or you might get lots of photos of people in the rain. Remember that this month's photo challenge is Holidays (specifically, going or being on holiday) and London is full of tourists. So it would be great to see some entries for the challenge from you guys. -- Colin (talk) 13:32, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
hmm looks like we will have to leave it pretty late depending on the weather.Geni (talk) 23:35, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Maybe it wasn't just a typical light rain in London last night... Diliff (talk) 10:43, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Ok, after seeing that I think that we were actually lucky.
By the way, I was told today, that the other half of the attendees (14, all Spanish speaking) were just behind us the whole time...Next time we'll have to go out hand to hand :) Poco2 13:58, 9 August 2014 (UTC)