The U.K. recently experienced an incredible lunar eclipse by the name of “super blue blood moon.” Here, one professional skyline and cityscape photographer, Michael Tomas, aka London Viewpoints, talks us through photographing the momentous event, as well as his other impressive works.
In the weeks leading up to the night the moon would appear above London’s skyline a shade of blood red, Tomas began his research. His first port of call was MoonCalc.org, an online directory that helps photographers hoping to photograph the moon by giving specific dates and times the moon will be rising. He determined Richmond Park would fall in line for the blood moon, giving him the opportunity for the perfect shot.
Aware he’d need a long focal lens, Tomas armed himself with a Nikon D850 and 200-500mm Nikon lens. He told me that with his lens choice and a teleconverter, he was working with 1,000mm, full frame, and 45 megapixels. Doing so left room for cropping later, should he need it.
He describes the experience of watching the red moon rise as “insane.” Moons, he said, “make the whole composition [of a skyline] that much more exciting and unique.” Compensating for the moon in your image often darkens the buildings along the skyline into darkness, forming a silhouette of their outline.
As someone who specializes in architectural photography, he uses lots of wide-angle and tilt-shift lenses. However, it’s his prime lenses and zoom lenses he credits skylines and time-lapses of skylines. Nikon’s 200-500mm is a particular favorite due to its great sharpness, even when shooting from afar. Tomas also recommends Google Maps’ Terrain Mode, which helps users locate vantage points by illustrating hills and higher ground that may be suitable for skylines.
And super moons are not Tomas’ only subject. He’s the photographer behind an Instagram account you may already be familiar with: London Viewpoints. With over 131,000 followers at the time of writing, the account currently places as the fifth most engaging in the photography category in the U.K. Of his success obtaining such a following in less than two years, Tomas admits that many Instagram users believe his profile to be a features account, with many contacting him in the hope of a post in their honor. In posting to the page, he began to tag the location from which his images were taken. It’s this formula, he said, that led to the organic growth of his following. Tourists and resident Londoners alike have been vocal of their enjoyment of his geotags, with many admitting to using his images as means of determining where in London they should next visit. Laughing at his new found responsibility, he says his feed has become like a “map gathering location service” of sorts.
But despite the runaway success of his work on Instagram, he is adamant it won’t change the content he posts. He’s found much of his client work from location tagging, often hired for that very reason, with businesses wanting him to showcase the views from their venue. In between jobs, he tries to spend as much time traveling as possible, finding new spots with nice views. In sticking to posting what he enjoys, a “natural selection” of followers is attracted, who stick around to see what he does next.
All images copyright Michael Tomas and used with permission.