Wednesday, 09 May 2018 00:00

Norfolk - A Photographer's Guide by Joe Lenton - By the River Wensum in Norwich

Written by  Joe Lenton
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Norfolk - A Photographer's Guide by Joe Lenton - By the River Wensum in Norwich

Norfolk is very popular with photographers. It is easy to see why. We've got stunning coastline, the broads, mills & windpumps, lovely villages and a city full of character to name but a few of the highlights. Whether you are coming to Norfolk on holiday or are lucky enough to live here, there is always something worth exploring with your camera in hand. Over the coming months I will be sharing some tips for locations that I've enjoyed photographing.

We start the series in the city of Norwich by the River Wensum. If you like variety and a range of architecture, then I can highly recommend a walk along the river. From ancient buildings to very modern homes, the river shows the blend of old and new that Norwich does so well. There are car parks dotted at various locations on or very near to the river so you can easily pick your own starting point

For this photo journey we'll start near the football stadium by the Carrow Road bridge.  We shall be revisiting some of the locations in the next post when we look at the river at night. For now, we are thinking of daytime photography (including sunrise or sunset if you wish). Many properties were built just a few years ago down by the river near the Carrow Road bridge. Some of them look a little futuristic so lend themselves well to effects that bring this out more

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The streaks in the clouds and the smoothed water are caused by using a 10 stop Neutral Density Filter. This is essentially a very dark piece of glass that goes on to the lens so that the shutter has to stay open a long time to get a picture. For this kind of shot you need your camera to be mounted on a sturdy tripod so that it won't move while taking the picture. You can't do this handheld as it needs to be perfectly still for quite a few seconds (or, in some cases, minutes!). By converting the image to black and white it makes it more about the shapes and the contrast, bringing out the metallic feel of the building. We will revisit this location for some night shots next time, but for now we move along the river towards the city centre.

It is worth going on to the bridge and looking back down the river. Even here you can see the old and the new side by side with historic ruins standing next to modern buildings. We continue to the other side of the bridge, behind the swimming pool.

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More flats loom over the river from the opposite bank, casting their reflections into the water. This made for another interesting long exposure image. Look out for interesting light falling on the buildings. Nearer the sunrise and sunset the light takes on a more golden hue so that can give you some lovely highlights on architecture.

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Further along the river you come to another bridge (Millennium Bridge) and then the Riverside restaurants, shops, flats and the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge. Look out for interesting shapes from modern architecture. See if you can compose using the lines of the bridges as leading lines to draw you into the frame. Look out for interesting viewpoints other than the obvious eye level from the main paths. Sometimes getting down low opens up a new and much more dynamic perspective.

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Further along the river past another bridge by the station leading to Prince of Wales Road, we then come to an older area. Past the weeping willows you arrive at Pulls Ferry. This historic landmark is a photographer's favourite and can be photographed well from both banks of the river.

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If you carry on along the river on the same bank as Pulls Ferry you will then pass behind the playing fields of Norwich School with views over to the Cathedral. With the many trees along the way you can create interesting frames within your image within which to place the cathedral.

Norwich_Riverside_during_the_day-5.jpg

Continuing along you come to Bishopgate with its ancient bridge crossing towards Gas Hill. In spring there is usually a good display of daffodils along the riverbank near the bridge. Next up is the cow tower. This ancient building stands on a bend in the river and can be challenging to photograph well. You might like to include a person in the scene or a bench in the foreground to give an idea of scale.

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The next bridge is at the back of the Adam & Eve car park. This modern structure arcs across the river in a smooth curve. It can be used as a leading line taking you to the building on the far bank, for example.

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Round another bend we come to St James Mill. The weeping willows can catch the light nicely and it is another historic landmark worth photographing. Look out for interesting reflections in the water.

Norwich_Riverside_during_the_day-7a.jpg

You might like to couple the old with the new again here and include the modern glass structure in the frame. If you want a bit more contrast, try to get light reflecting off the glass.

Norwich_Riverside_during_the_day-7b.jpg

Beyond Whitefriars bridge (itself worth exploring for details and wider landscape images) we come to Friar's Quay. The multicoloured houses provide plenty of photo opportunities. Look out also for foreground objects near the wall by the river.

Norwich_Riverside_during_the_day-8.jpg

At certain times of the year, sunrise and sunset can line up perfectly with the direction of the river at various points. In this instance, sunset lined up in late November with the view towards Fye Bridge. If you want to be able to plan for shots like this then it helps to do some research first. I recommend looking at www.suncalc.net where you can enter any location on any date and see the predicted angle of sunrise and sunset. You can also get apps for your phone that do a similar job. This helps to avoid a wasted trip if you are after a particular photo.

Norwich_Riverside_during_the_day-9.jpg

Sometimes the light at some of these locations can be very contrasty. This might be too much for your camera to balance all in one image. So, you could end up with your brighter areas going too white or your darker areas too black. One possible option is to choose HDR mode on your camera to tell it to blend images to produce a more balanced photo.

Next time we will revisit parts of the river at night time.

© Joe Lenton, May 2018

Joe Lenton is a professional photography tutor and commercial photographer. He has won many international awards for his images and been featured in exhibitions around the world. He runs photography workshops and teaches various aspects of photography and images processing one to one . For more free photography tips and to enquire about photography training please visit Original Art Photography .

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 January 2019 19:10

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