What can I say about the shard except WOW… What an amazing building.. But to start lets get some Shard Facts out of the way…
The Shard in London at 1016ft (306.9m) high is the tallest building in Europe, the total floor space adds up to 27 acres, 72 habitable floors plus 15 more floors within the open tower area, it has 44 lifts, 306 flights of stairs and 11’000 glass panels.
Photography & The Shard !?..
I took the opportunity to visit the Shard with my Nikon D800 and 14-24mm while I was working in London.
Whilst approaching London and working in Greenwich I could see the tapering silhouette of the Shard dominating the London skyline. I approached the building underground so did not see it gradually get closer. As I emerged from London Bridge station on the Jubilee Line directly underneath the building I looked up and nearly fell over.. It isn’t the tallest building in Europe for nothing !!..
The first surprise was that the building security around its base didn’t come running over at the first sign of a camera and try to prevent me from taking photographs of it. Cameras are welcomed and tripods are also allowed, on the ground at least. I set the tripod up in various places and rattled off several sets of 9 frame exposures for later HDR mangling.
Personally I found getting a good angle on it a bit of a challenge as the building tapers.. and then it tapers again with perspective.. so from the ground it seems to just vanish into the clouds.
It would have been rude not to visit the viewing platform on the 72nd floor and so I headed inside to find out more. At this time (August 2013) the cost to get to the top of the building was £29.95. A little steep I thought but paid it anyway for the experience.
Was it worth the £29.95 in my opinion… Yes. For the experience and the views, although if your sole intention is to take photographs up there then you may be disappointed. Upon entering reception I was told I cannot use my tripod up on the viewing platform, but that I could take it up with me as long as I didn’t use it. I can understand concern about tripods as people could trip over an unattended one, but to hand hold my camera I had to open the legs and stand the tripod at the side of me whilst I took my photographs.. So work that one out !?…
The views as you would expect are fantastic, however… fingerprints, dirty glass and reflections make it almost impossible to get an arial image of the city worth keeping. The photographs below are here only to demonstrate the finger prints and reflections that are only an issue if your trying to photograph the view..
The lifts are an impressive and memorable part of the trip up (and down) as they are so quick it makes you feel a little queasy. 36 floors in 24 seconds or something like that.. then change halfway up.
I found some of my favourite views of the Shard whilst walking away from it, but again the extreme apparent perspective makes it look taller than it actually is.
I headed past Jamies restaurant and the London Bridge Hotel and looked back to see the view below. I liked the contrast of the old and new and shows the extremes of architecture within a short walk.
This last image was taken at the Shard end of London bridge as the evening sky was descending and the building was just starting to light up. My visit was a bit rushed on this occasion as I fitted it in between other work, but I intend to revisit London very soon with a few days set aside purely for photographing some of its amazing architecture.