Dodging Security at Canary Wharf

My first venture into London since moving in the area was in Canary Wharf, which is quite an odd choice for me since I know it was going to be quite a challenge to shoot there. Some places in London are off limits to photography, especially if you have a camera bigger than a point-and-shoot. And forget about tripods in plain sight, they will surely set off alarm bells.

One of those delicate places is Canary Wharf – the financial district of London. To give you an idea of its importance to the city’s financial landscape, Canary Wharf’s tenants include: ONE CANADA SQUARE – the current tallest building in the UK, CABOT SQUARE or Credit Suisse, and HSBC or 8 Canada Square which is the global headquarters for the HSBC Group, the world’s largest company by the Forbes Global. Over 90,000 people work in Canary Wharf.

In short, I knew that staying as far away as possible from those buildings is the smartest thing to do. So I scoured the area and settled for South Quay, Heron Quays and Millwall Dock — distant enough, I think, to dodge security. But honestly, I think I was just lucky tonight.

Just down the steps from One Canada Square heading towards Jubilee Place, you'd come across these 6 clocks.This installation is based on the iconic Swiss railway clock; each face only has one numeral and they are all set to the same time. Designed by German designer Konstantin Grcic who is better known for his furniture and product design, his style is both modernist and elegant. On this shot, I opted to use a slow shutter speed to blur the rush-hour crowd. At 5:30 p.m. on a Friday night, everyone was either rushing to head home or party the night out. Shot handheld at 1/8 of a second as there were guards just across from me.

One Canada Square directly behind the clock, and the HSBC on the right.

I think it was a little bit brazen of me to set up a tripod in this area especially that it was still light out. This is the South Quay footbridge heading towards One Canada Square. The bridge was the winning entry in a competition for the design of an opening bridge to span West India Dock between South Quay and Heron Quays in London's Docklands. It was completed and opened in May 1997.

I went on the footbridge this time for my last few shots of the night. I used a slower shutter speed and higher ISO as it was very windy and the bridge shook each time someone walked past me.

The skyline, viewed from Millwall Inner Dock.

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2 responses

  1. Try shots south of the river in Rotherhithe across the water. No photo restrictions (just a number of menacing looking kids from time to time) but still getting a great view of the skyline.

    Canary Wharf Fog

    • I had planned to do that the next time, hopefully on a clear and windless night (which is I think too much to ask for around here). Thanks! 🙂

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