Mobile Geeks

Travel Smartphone Photography Around London

The sophisticated cameras in our smartphones are changing the nature of travel photography. Today, I take on London – a photogenic metropolis full of color and character with my Huawei P9 and its Dual Camera Leica lenses.

Great travel images capture a destination’s culture in a compelling way, and with a smartphone in hand it’s easy to take a shot quickly and inconspicuously. For my trip to London I wanted to fill my Instagram with some English classics, flower drenched pubs, the touristy landmarks (that I’ve never visited before) and of course, food!

Classic Selfie, boring and safe.

Pointing or tapping is more fun than the same old same old.

Armed with my Huawei P9, I’m going to start my day off at London Bridge, grab a time lapse by resting my phone on my water bottle — if you’re going to take a selfie, try to have some fun with it!

On my walk from London Bridge, where I captured some selfies holding the top of the Shard. There are some cool stops to make that aren’t as touristy as these ultimate “I’m in London” photo series! Take a minute to stop by Maltby Street Market.

A photo posted by Elaine Lin (@elaineiclin) on

I caught this shot on my way from the London Bridge tube station.

A photo posted by Nicole (@nicolescooter) on

Next stop, Camden. No trip to London would be complete without an obligatory pub photo. The Elephant Head is a great choice. First I tried a wide shot, but it’s missing the floral drama, so I got a bit closer. A tip when you’re editing buildings: adjust the framing by tilting to get a nice flush shot.

Nearest Stop: Camden Town

Why Stop By: Classic English Pub in a great area.

Try taking some shots from close up and other shots from further away, including interesting objects in the foreground to create a sense of depth and lead your eye into the image. Sometimes you’ll need to fix problems where parts of the shot appear crooked or off-centre. In case you didn’t know, Instagram has this features in Edit.

Camden is actually full of interesting people, cool scenes, and the Camden Lock is a classic. Few tourists leave the main road, so authentic London is sure to greet you.

Being a gorgeous day outside, indoor activities are low on my list. I decided to multitask and check a few things off my cultural to do list. The  Hawkley Arms has an outdoor patio and rooftop and it’s a local watering hole for many notorious musicians, including Amy Winehouse, who used to pulled pints here. I went for a pint of Cider and a Scotch Egg. This soft boiled egg is encased in meat and blood sausage. A top down pic will do, but a close up from the side showing of the crispy exterior is what I went with. I like to give food photos a bit of structure to really show off the textures.

Now, if you’re serious about getting the ultimate summer time pub photo, it is worth while to take a trip to the Churchill Arms. It’s probably the craziest pub I’ve even laid my eyes on!

When you refuse to accept you’re a pub!

A photo posted by Nicole (@nicolescooter) on

Nearest Station: Notting Hill Gate.

Why go?: Because it might just be the most beautiful pub in London, and once you’re done taking your photos, you can go inside and drink.

Another great spot is Neal’s Yard. I didn’t make it on this trip, but that was because I got caught at the pub for an extra pint!

Nearest station: Covent Garden.
Why go?: For the vibrant colours alone, but also because it has some great little cafés and boutiques. You’d never know it was a minute’s walk from Shaftesbury Avenue.

Another great stop if you happen to be in Chelsea is Bywater street. It’s a residential street with a very colorful palette.

Nearest Station: Sloane Square.

Why it’s worth going: It’s just a little residential street, but since it’s just off the King’s Road, the pretty pastel houses definitely make it worth a quick visit.

For sunset I’m back to the Eye where I opted for a black and white photo to show off the textures of the clouds.

It’s easy to forget that the 2nd lens on the Huawei P9 does amazing black and white photos. If your sunset is average but has clouds, it’s easy to add drama.  To give you a bit more information on the Huawei P9, it has dual 12 MP Leica Summarit lenses on the back, one with an RGB sensor specifically for color reproduction and the other purely for capturing black and white detail. The lenses are specially designed by Leica with an f/2.2 aperture and 27 mm focal length. Both sensors are 1.25-micron Sony IMX286 sensors. So you’re all set for wide-angle and monochrome photography, too. There are three different focus modes on board too: laser focus, depth focus and contrast focus as well as a dedicated depth measurement chip. This means that both lenses can focus individually (along with the laser focus) and the P9’s improved ISP will automatically choose the best result. It’s something that in daily use I wouldn’t even know was in play. The focus is fast but it’s not quite as quick as the auto focus on the Samsung Galaxy S7 series, if you’re familiar with that.

If you’re not already following me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter why don’t you go ahead and do that! And if you have a great photo spot in London let me know in the comments!

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