A number of Cork street photographers travelled to London on Saturday to photograph the populace of this sprawling metropolis. If you don’t know, Cork is a city in Ireland, home to roughly 400,000 people and served by an international airport where flights to London in the UK take a little over an hour or so.
From left to right, at the back are Rory, me (Donncha), Colm, Pat and Robert. In front is Shahriar and Stela. This group photo was taken in Stansted Airport at the end of a long day when we were all exhausted. Except Pat. He could keep walking for ever!
Proper British Photographers
The idea was originally Pat Falvey’s. Cork Street Photographers went to London for the day the year before (or was it two?) and Pat had been with them. So, early in March I asked some of the Cork Street Photography Meetup Group if any of them were interested in going to London on April 9th. We’d get the first flight out of Cork at 6:25am, and fly home on the last one back at 8:35pm. There was immediate interest!
A few hours later I created a Facebook event, posted a few links there and invited people to go. We used the event page to talk about logistics and planning. I posted some links to street photography in London. We researched our transport options. Stansted Express has a discount if buying four tickets at once which we took advantage of. The Ryanair flights were cheap, from 25 Euro to 37 Euro depending on when they were bought. (Paradoxically, they went down in price after most of us bought our tickets!)
It was somewhat confusing looking up information about Oyster Cards. The visitor ones offered discounts but it turns out they’re more expensive if you’re only going for one day. We eventually bought regular Oyster cards in Liverpool Street Station and topped them up. According to the TFL website our charges would be capped at £7.70 for the day no matter how many journeys we took.
I made out an optimistic schedule two days before leaving, first in a Facebook update, then in a Google spreadsheet. I started a Facebook messenger group chat to get feedback.
We wanted to visit the Victoria & Albert museum to see the Paul Strand exhibition there but by the time we got there it was sold out. Half the group had stayed outside making photos around the area so those of us inside the museum wandered over to the cafe and were awed at the beautiful room. It was then a quick hop over to the Science Museum where I got a photo of their chunk of Moon rock, Stela took a photo of me with it and we ran back to meet the others.
We left the museums around 5:15pm and found the underground station at East Kensington packed because of a delay. Thankfully it didn’t take long and we soon made it back to Liverpool Street Station, and then back to Stansted Airport.
The schedule was overly optimistic as I knew it would be. We never got to Trafalgar Square, Westminister, or Tower Bridge. In planning I had used the TFL website to plan our journeys and inserted short links to them in the spreadsheet which I could load in the Google Drive app on my phone.
You won’t need much roaming data on the day, so if you can buy a 100MB or 200MB upgrade for a few Euro before leaving that will take care of checking Facebook, or uploading a few (resized) photos.
Trying to keep track of seven photographers was problematic. We have a tendency to wander off when something catches the eye. Trying to get through the crowd near the London Eye is almost impossible, taking a good half hour! 🙂
It was an eventful day. I thought I had shot more than 880 photos, but Lightroom says it was 859. The vast majority of those will be consigned to the trash can, but I’ve already worked on 25 images I’m happy with and there are lots more to look at yet. It was great being with a group of enthusiastic and friendly photographers too. They really made the trip worth while.
I didn’t spend much. I brought £100 with me and came home with £40. That covered buying small gifts for my family, lunch, Oyster card, tips for street performers and an (overpriced) sandwich and bottles of water at Stansted Airport.
I’ll be posting photos from the trip over the next few weeks. You’ll eventually find them all here.
- I’d like to keep the group smaller, or insist that most everyone have roaming data so it’s easier to ping people. It’s cheaper than calling or texting when you can’t find someone. There was one time when three of us were waiting for another three to come. We were watching them looking back from the direction we had just come and shooting photos sporadically. Turns out they were waiting for us but didn’t know we were behind them..
- We walked a lot. Rory’s pedometer says 18.25km but I suspect that’s too high. Google Fit on my phone said 6.8km which is way too low, so it was somewhere in-between. Next time we won’t walk so much and we’ll take more breaks. Go to two places rather than four. Try Camden Town and then photograph the tourists in the city centre. Work an area first.
- Definitely use online resources. The Facebook event page was very useful in gauging interest. A spreadsheet lets people see in realtime how the plan for the day is evolving.
- Check the weather before you go.
- and more when I think of it..
Going over to London from Cork and back in one day was exhausting, but well worth it. You should try it, go visit a city you can reach by a short one hour flight. You get bonus points if it’s in another country!
Edit: I used GPSLogger on my phone to track where we walked in London. Lightroom allows you to import GPX files and geo-tag your photos. Here’s where we went in London:
||Canon EOS 6D