London, England – St. Pancras Station – HDR

London St HDR_small

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

When I was in London a few weeks back, I had a day where I had to catch a domestic train that left from St. Pancras.  As I took the escalator up and witnessed this beautiful station – I knew I wanted to capture it in HDR!  I had another chance as I had to take the Eurostar train from St. Pancras to Brussels, Belgium (3 hour ride).  My train left at 7 AM.  So I figured to get there early and grab a photo.  As you can tell by the clock…it was about 6 AM.  Amazingly there were people walking about!   I set up my tripod and cable release and snapped 5 exposures.  I did one more set and the security guard magically appeared and told me that tripods are not allowed at the station.  I agreed and had to close it up.   I tried a few more shots hand held.  After post processing…it goes to show how much sharper your HDR shots can be with a tripod!  In lower light situations, hand held can get blurry.  Mine were not even postable.   But luckily…this tripod version above was my first shot!  Nice and sharp! 

My suggestion in places where tripods are questionable due to security(trains stations/churches/airports/stadiums/etc..)…line up your shot with your camera first & check out your surroundings for security – know what angle/composition photo you want to take the most…make sure to take that shot first!  Then if you are stopped at least you took your favorite picture!   When I was in London at the Westminster Abbey Church…I was snagged right away as I was opening my tripod.  So I didnt even get off a shot!  My fault as I wanted to quick take a pic and get out – so I did not check my surroundings.   The guard was probably only a few feet away.  Another option is to have your camera all set on the tripod as you walk in – quick set it up after looking around and snap away!  I used this method in Notre Dame.  Got one set of shots off!  I just wish it was easier for us photographers.  Oh well…it makes it challenging!

As for St. Pancras it is a domestic and international train station.  So if you are heading to Paris, Brussels or anywhere else in Europe via train….this is the station you will use.  Here is some info from the web:  It was built in 1868. One of the most recognizable features of St Pancras station today, the red brick Grade 1 listed Gothic front facade was created as part of a competition in 1865 and became the Midland Great Hotel designed by Sir Gilbert Scott and built between 1868 to 1876.   In 1935 the Midland Grand Hotel was closed and the building became railway offices, and known as the St Pancras Chambers. The station performed an important role during both world wars, acting as a meeting place for troops, a departure point for soldiers off to war, and to help transport children out of London to the safety of the countryside. During WWII the station was hit during the Blitz on London. Despite the devastation, London Midland and Scottish Railway engineers soon had the platforms working again. St Pancras Station and St Pancras Chambers are popular locations for film and television productions, appearing in Harry Potter, Batman Begins and the Spice Girls’ first music video.

Beautiful train stations are great locations for HDR’s…maybe there is one near you?…hope you enjoy!