We were lucky enough to meet up with Canon Ambassador David Noton to explore low light photography. Using the Canon EOS R and RF 28-70mm f/2 lens, we investigate how the compact, full frame, mirrorless camera helped capture photos of London at sunset.
Photographing London at sunset
Using the last of the daylight, our first shoot was based on the Millennium Bridge, looking back at St Pauls as the sun was due to hit the famous Dome.
We then headed over to the bustle of London Bridge during prime rush hour – as hundreds of Londoners headed across one of London’s iconic bridges. This offered a cauldron of exciting photographic prospects; rich, sunset hued sky, ambient lights from buildings starting to shine, and plenty of human interest.
The whole route was planned according to the light (angle, height, and tones), and for this type of shoot, this pre-planning allows you to then concentrate on getting the right human interest in the foreground.
People make the shot
We discussed the importance of adding human interest in our ‘5 ways to Improve your Photography’ blog, and it’s a sentiment that David is keen on.
“These kind of pictures, they’re always made by just one person, being in the right place in the frame at the right time. You never know who that person will be”
|The EOS R’s dynamic range let’s you lift the shadows|
Embrace city life
When we were discussing shooting cities, it was interesting to hear David’s views on capturing people within the frame. Long exposures or early morning shoots can look pretty, but they also make the city appear empty.
To be honest, we were initially a bit surprised by the choice of shooting London Bridge at rush hour – we thought it would be far too hectic. But when we stopped, braced ourselves, the opportunities to catch candid shots immediately became clear.
With the light and location doing their job, the shoot on London Bridge could then focus on capturing the right characters in the foreground.
|Planning ahead (location and time) lets you focus on finding the right subject for your shot|
Work that Dynamic Range
One of the real benefits of using the Canon EOS R is its impressive dynamic range. As well as offering great overall performance in low light conditions, crucially it also allows you to pull details from the shadows without introducing noise.
We explored the EOS R’s low light capacity in some detail at the glorious, neon-drenched launch – find out more about the EOS R (or simply admire the neon-utopia world Canon created) in our blog.
David’s preference is to shoot in Aperture priority, as controlling depth of field is key for considering the look of his final image.
At the Millennium Bridge, David was shooting at f/8 at 28mm. This allowed for the views across the bridge to remain in focus (including that all-important sun-drenched St Paul’s dome), while also keeping the foreground in focus.
|Millenium Bridge, with St Paul’s dome catching the early evening sun|
Canon EOS R – shoot handheld in low light
As David says in the video, shooting cities using a tripod can attract unwanted attention. David’s been using the EOS R as his go-to camera for a few months now (and was involved in the launch, back in summer 2018), and has been impressed with its small size.
As an experienced Canon DSLR user (Normally switching between a Canon EOS 5DS R, 5D MK IV and a 1DX MK II), using the EOS R has freed up David thanks to the extra portability.
In low light this particularly comes in to play – its ability to handle high ISO without introducing noise means you can still shoot handheld, even when the light is fading. Paired with the RF 28-70mm lens, it’s a great combination – using a wide angle zoom with fast f/2 aperture is a great, if unusual, experience.
It’s not the lightest lens, but it offers incredible clarity for a popular focal range, with impeccable autofocus to boot.
We’ve been impressed with R’s ability to handle low light from the off, and it’s pleasing to see that this view is also reflected by pro photographers too. Mirrorless technology is still evolving, but it’s small, lightweight body, discreet shooting style, fast AF and excellent dynamic range made it a great choice for this scenario.
About David Noton
David Noton is a Canon Ambassador, known for his stunning landscape and travel photography. You can see more of David’s work on his website.