There are choices to be made here. Driving into the city centre will get you close to something iconic; the Albert Dock or the Liver Building maybe, or the more modern architecture of the Catholic cathedral. I’m sure with some local knowledge you could easily dot from place to place and capture them all, but for me as an outsider I wasn’t going to have the time to be wandering randomly around each of these venues trying to find the best vantage point. I decided against that option in favour of trying to capture everything in a single shot.
To do that of course you need to be able to stand back a bit. Quite a bit. That however is the advantage of a riverside city – you can cross the river and look back at where you came from, and when that river is as wide as the Mersey then it becomes a question of needing an element of telephoto too! Newcastle and Gateshead are so close because the Tyne is quite narrow at that point: the tunnels and ferry are quite some way downstream. Liverpool is closer to the river mouth, and a larger river at that.
Next choice then is where to shoot from. Birkenhead seems closer, but my ignorance of the area means that Wallasey looks easier to gain access to the riverside. This narrows down my choice of Mersey tunnel, but even having crossed the river it took a while to get to the riverside, where I am rewarded with a long stretch of promenade with great views across to Liverpool. Downside is that I seem a bit too distant and I can’t drive along here. I’m unwilling to go hunting further however so let’s make the best of what we’ve got.
Setting up the tripod I shoot with a telephoto originally, which allows me to frame the shot nicely. I aim for long exposures to smooth out sky and water, and bracket too to give me options for HDR. A few more shots zoomed in further to capture more detail, and at the back of my mind the possibility of stitching images together to get a larger output. Again the exposures are bracketed. Finally a change of lens to 50mm gives me a wider view than I really want, but out of a sense of experimentation I open the aperture all the way.
I end up with relatively few images, but the long exposure times coupled with repeating each shot three times means that it has taken 20 minutes. I am freezing from the wind chill and happy to return to my car. What I find later is that the wind has done more than just sap the heat from my fingers, it has shaken the tripod sufficiently to lose the sharpness of some of the pictures. Never mind. I went there with the intention of getting just one good shot. I ended up with this which came close. Job done as far as the tools would allow!
The following morning I spotted this on the way to work. From arrival to departure, less than 5 minutes.
Good Day Sunshine, as some local minstrels might once have sung!