The Real First Rule of Photography… or Lost Opportunities Over London

There are any number of contenders for the First Rule Of Photography. Using the Rule of Thirds to properly compose your shot, for example. Or ensuring the correct exposure. Or something more basic, such as being careful to hold your camera still and straight.

Several smart people out there advise something more fundamental: always take your camera with you. But I recently learned that even this simple rule needs refining…

In March, we flew back to England in a brand new 787 Dreamliner, to visit Rich’s family. Our approach to Heathrow took us on a flightpath we’d never before been lucky enough to experience… right over the heart of central London.

We came in from the northeast, banking over the Tower of London and Tower Bridge in a graceful arc to the right. I got my first ever glimpse of the Shard, so close below us I felt even I could reach out and touch it. Then we were curving around the South Bank towards the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. And the whole time I could see the whole historic heart of Britain’s capital, right there! What a view it was!

2 - Pride of London coverAnd for me it had an even greater significance, because that one view took in every location from the second Jaspa’s Journey novel, The Pride of London.

What an incredible opportunity to take some photographs – perhaps a single shot – encompassing the whole map from the book. Especially given the Dreamliner’s bigger than average, unscratched windows. What a brilliant way to help promote the Pride of London. And all the Jaspa’s Journey books, for that matter.

Map from Jaspa's Journey 2: The Pride of London. The red dotted line roughly shows our flightpath.

Map from Jaspa’s Journey 2: The Pride of London. The red dotted line roughly shows our flightpath.

And what a terrible time for Rich to decide, probably for the first time ever, to give himself a little extra legroom across the Atlantic by putting his camera in the overhead bin! Even his cell phone was turned off, and so wouldn’t have powered back up in time.

To be fair, we’ve made this particular flight numerous times over the last decade. And although I still love looking out of the window, how many photos of southern England can you take from thousands of feet up in an airliner, right? How were we to know that on this particular flight we’d be treated to a spectacular, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime view of central London?

So my First Rule of Photography is this: Always Take Your Camera With You… And Have It To HandWhen Travelling!

That way you won’t have to feel like Rich, who’s still berating himself over a month later. Especially as he remembered – once we were already on the ground at Heathrow, of course – that the iPad in the seat pocket in front of him included a camera. Not ideal, but it would certainly have been better than nothing.

The one that got away!... Central London from the air (photo by eigen werk, 2004)

The one that got away!… Central London from the air (photo by eigen werk, 2004)

On the bright side, images of that breathtaking view will be burned into my memory forever. If only I could get them out to show you…

Lesson learned - swirls of icebergs off the east coast of Canada, on the way home

Lesson learned – swirls of icebergs off the east coast of Canada, on the way home

Close up of Iceberg Alley

Close up of Iceberg Alley

While you’re groaning at Rich’s error, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels – including The Pride of London – to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

Jaspa's Journey Logo (Bigger Bucket)

About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Publishing, Travel, United Kingdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Real First Rule of Photography… or Lost Opportunities Over London

  1. Kongo says:

    so many opportunities…so little time.

  2. Followed on Instagram! 😉

  3. sueslaght says:

    Oh I can feel the disappointment at not having a camera handy. As you say you have the image in your mind. the one you have found is amazing. To capture all of those bridges!

  4. cyardin says:

    I prefer the iceberg shots. I haven’t ever seen that stuff (must always be flying over the Northern hemisphere in the warmer months)

  5. Angeline M says:

    I hardly ever think to have my camera out when on a flight; I did the last time, but there was nothing really significant. I’m sure you will always remember now 🙂 But what a thrill to have seen the city this way.

  6. My most lamented ‘lost shots’: 1) A house fire just extinguished, wisps of smoke still curling up and around, and firefighters sitting and relaxing on the roof. 2) Road accident just happened, a transport slamming into a car, the truck driver cradling a child just removed from the car. (Would I have taken the latter if I’d had a camera? Journalist in me says ‘yes’, personal me says ‘no’.) (The ‘to shoot or not to shoot?’ dilemma explored in my novel, Scab.) What would you have done?

    • Jaspa says:

      I had that same car crash dilemma about 18 months ago. I would have loved to have had a photo of the incident for the blog I wrote about it. Yet, although no one was hurt, it seemed a bit too ambulance-chaser-ish for Rich to get his camera out and start snapping pictures. (Going to have get a copy of Scab to see what Julian decided to do.)

  7. Debbie says:

    I never tire of the views over London as I fly home.

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