New Zealand is very lucky to have such an abundance of beautiful water pretty much everywhere you turn. It is a country surrounded by ocean and sliced up by rivers. I grew up in an area of New Zealand in which we had 5 major river systems within arms reach of one another. For this reason rivers always captured my imagination. Most of my free time was spent hiking in the back country and fly fishing with mates. In Basel (Switzerland) it was the Rhein the fascinated me and here in London, the Thames has just found me.
It is the largest river in England and is fairly unique in the sense that it has a huge tidal section. Meaning that the seawater pushes up the river before receding with the tides. Normally the level of a river changes due to the amount of rain in the catchment area. More rain = more water. But upon walking along the Thames I noticed that even over a period of one day the level of the river would change by 5-6 metres! (See the tide table below)
This tidal change has a measurable effect on the colours of the river. A lot of the tidal mud and grit is pushed up and down the river causing it to have a perpetual milky tea colour (nice British reference :P).
So I decided to focus on some black and white shots. Here are some of the highlights from my most recent walk along the river. All of the shots were captured on a Canon 5D mIII with 24-105 and 70-200 lenses. I took the RAW files and converted into black and white using "Silver Efex Pro 2" from Google. This software does the best black and white conversions I have ever seen. After tweaking the contrast levels I was very pleased with the results.The focus for this lot (where possible) was freezing the motion of the water with very high shutter speeds of less than 1/1000 of second.
It is safe to say that the Thames has captured my fascination and no doubt many people before me. Personally, I can't wait to get back out there and get some more shots. Next time I think I will look at capturing the flow of the river with much slower shutter speeds and less light.
If you are interested in learning about how to do black and white photography leave a comment below or send me a message on twitter @benkepka. Also if you have any questions about any of your own workflows or gear I am always happy to help. Sign up to receive notifications about when new articles go live by putting your email in the box up top and read more of my work here. Thanks for reading!
The Cultured Kiwi