Glasgow Nights

Taking advantage of a business trip to Glasgow I took along my camera kit with the intention of capturing some images from along the River Clyde. I had used a previous visit to scout out some promising locations and took a series of Mono shots. This time I hoped to capture the iconic buildings of the Clyde in colour.

The River Clyde is often glassily calm offering the chance for some spectacular reflections. I was lucky, and despite a light breeze there were enough moments of stillness to allow some long exposure experiments with the illuminated buildings.

The first set of images below show variously the SSE Hydro, (purple jelly mold), the Clyde auditorium, (green armadillo), BBC Scotland building, and Venus rising over the Science Centre.



The Clyde has its fair share of iconic bridges along this stretch, and each of them is fascinating in its own way. With their very modern, sculptural architecture they offer themselves up to some interesting photographic angles in all conditions. This was the first chance I’ve had to take them at night though.

First up is the graceful Bells Bridge:


I have used the arched central canopy for a set of mono shots by daylight in the past. The underlit steel spurs take on a different character by night, also casting illumination onto the hand rail.  In the background are the joyously gaudy Clyde auditorium and the SSE Hydro centre. I used a Tokina Wideangle at 11mm to capture the full width of the image. A relatively narrow f5.6 was needed to keep the focus, pushing up the ISO to 400. The only post processing in this was via Define2 to take down some of the noise.

Arce Lights:

This magnificent structure is officially named the Cyde Arc, hence the title of this image, “Arc Lights”. Nobody in Glasgow calls it by its official name though. Thanks to its fabulous, double curved arch and offset span, along with some teething troubles with stability when it first opened, this bridge will also been known to Glaswegians as the “Squinty Bridge”. I wanted to capture both the bride and its reflection in the Clyde alongside the interesting riverside apartments on the right. this ended up being a 30 second exposure. Pleasingly, I also caught the tail light of a passing bicycle which can be seen through the railings on the right.

The second shot to show how that amazing arch crosses the carriageway.

Tradeston Bridge:

I would imagine a lot of time and money is spent by various committees and working groups when coming up with a name for new buildings and bridges. They are wasting their time in Glasgow where the locals much prefer their own romantically descriptive monikers and completely ignore the official names. The maps may have this as the Tradeston Bridge, but everyone hereabouts calls it the Squiggly Bridge. In this image I used my wideangle to try to show the lazy S shape of the bridge as it snakes across the river. The reflection shows this even better than the bridge itself. I was pleased with the amount of detail I managed to catch in the underside image too.


The Black and White shot is another wideangle image of the Squiggly bridge that was surprisingly difficult to capture. It is ridiculously difficult to take a long exposure, low light image of this bridge when you are actually stood on it, even with a tripod. The bridge wobbles. It wobbles a lot.

Every time a pedestrian or cyclist begins to cross it noticeable bounces up and down! I had to up the ISO to allow a faster shutter speed and time my shot very carefully so that it wasn’t wobbling about for the duration of the shot!

The Millenium Bridge


This is Venus rising over the Millenium Bridge just before Christmas. I had originally thought I would call this “following yonder star”, but when I opened it up I was struck with the resemblance between this view, and the scene at the end of Star wars when the X-Wing fighters are flying down the canyons on the death star to fire the torpedos into the exhaust port! So I named it “Death Star”

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