Photographing (East) London at Dawn

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Invited by East Village, I spent a few extremely early hours of Wednesday morning participating in a London at Dawn workshop, snapping my way around Hackney Wick and Stratford and taking a sneak peek tour of the soon to open East Village development. The Village, which was formerly home to the Olympic athletes during the 2012 Games, will open as a residential neighbourhood later this year. I hate waking up early. But once I am up I love having a wee hours start, especially if it leads to an opportunity to play around with my camera and learn a thing or two about photography. I got all that and more with the workshop and tour.

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Now I reckon I was lucky. Wednesday was an absolutely gorgeous morning – dry and still with plenty of sunshine eventually brighting up a very blue sky and illuminating everything beneath it as night yielded to a spectacular and lingering dawn. The colours, the range of light, the quiet … this was perhaps London at its most serene: an otherwise ever raging beast toned down and tranquil. Honestly, I think I would have had a great time even if the weather had been a less accommodating. Except for a total downpour, any sort of conditions at that time of day would have probably presented a scenic chance to take great photos.

I found our guide, Anthony Epes, to be knowledgeable, affable and impressively capable of going with the flow and adapting to the dynamics of his group (there were five of us on the tour representing just about every skill level and with a variety of camera models). And Hackney Wick – with all the graffiti, the canal, the Olympic Stadium as backdrop, the post industrial vibe – was a particularly photogenic setting.

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Of course, it was super cool snooping around East Village too. Opening in a matter of weeks to its going to be an interesting place to live to say the least! With its own wetlands, loads of outdoor space (every flat has some sort of terrace or garden), Westfield at it doorstep along with very decent transport links (not to mention its proximity to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park), the development is worth paying attention to, whether you’re considering settling around that part of town or you’re simply keen to monitor the London housing market. I certainly intend to keep following the East Village story as long as I can.

I really got a lot out of my early a.m. ramble round Hackney Wick and Stratford – and think my the experience resulted in some awesome pics as well. I’ll be publishing some of the photos from the day over the next couple of weeks in my London Daily series. Hope you enjoy!

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About tikichris

London-Based Writer/Photographer

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