Rush hour on the M25

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The other day I took myself off to do a little nighttime photography. My aim had been to do one of two things: either get some further practice of photographing reflections or get an interesting picture taken in a forest in the dark.

Surrey, M25, photography, night time photography, North Downs, Surrey
The M25 motorway photographed during the evening rush hour. In the distance is Surrey and the North Downs.

As you can perhaps tell from the title of this post, I returned with a completely different image altogether. Without any available light, the camera simply refused to work in the woodland spot I had selected. I was also unsuccessful in finding a reflection.

I therefore retreated to a nearby bridge that crosses the M25 motorway and decided to take a shot of the moving traffic. I wanted to get something similar to this image, although minus the camera shake.

The timing was perfect as it was the evening rush hour. There was plenty of traffic on the road and so lots of lights to bring colour to the image.

The camera was mounted on a gorillapod on the roof of my car. I had also tinkered with exposure time and ISO which were set at 30 seconds and 100 respectively.

While the moving traffic is eye catching, what appeals to me about this image is the mist and the hills of the North Downs in Surrey in the background. I took other images with much lower shutter speeds and all you could see was the traffic on the M25.

Have you much experience of night time photography? If so, what’s your favourite image and what tips do you have?

I have linked this image to the #MySundayPhoto linky hosted on the amazing Photalife blog. I recommend you click on the badge below and pay the linky a visit.




34 thoughts on “Rush hour on the M25”

  1. What a fabulous photo! I wouldn’t even have noticed the background if you hadn’t pointed it out.
    I have no experience of night time photography! One day, when I have some free time (so in approximately 10 years) I will try to learn a bit more about photography because I’d love to take better pictures.

    1. To be honest Sarah, it was blogging that’s got me back into photography but even then my skills are very basic. Good luck finding the time, I hope it doesn’t take a decade.

  2. This photo actually made me ‘oooh” when the page popped up. What a fabulous capture. I think I’ve taken two photos at night. You really have to know your camera settings to be good at it, which you clearly do 🙂 #MySundayPhoto

    1. There’s no better praise that making someone go “ooo”. I can assure you it’s more trial and error than knowing my camera settings.

  3. Hi John, OooOoooo I do like your photo. Apart from trying to photograph the night sky, with little success, I have had no experience with night photography…. I’m not sure I’d like to be hanging around a wood at night. Have you seen Blair Witch?


  4. You’ve made the M25 look so beautiful! I’ve only done this once very accidentally and it didn’t turn out like this!

  5. That’s a stunning photograph! I have little experience of night time photography, mostly sunsets. I have no luck at all when trying to capture moving objects or people, it’s something i need to learn.

  6. Love the shot, I’ve tried a few long exposures but never traffic. I think I’ll have to give it a go #MySundayPhoto

    1. Oh give it a try, it’s not that difficult to be honest. You do need a tripod and either a remote or set the camera on auto or else you will get camera shake.

    1. Yeah, it’s odd how the long exposure time phases out the vehicles. I like the stray red light on the very left, clearly it was fixed on the roof of a lorry but the vehicle itself is nowhere to be seen.

    1. A lot of people seem to like the way I’ve portrayed the M25. I must have done something right as it;s clearly the most hated road in Britain.

  7. I usedtocould as the rednecks say, but I have had almost no nighttime experience in the last several years. That is one impressive shot and a gorilla pod? Cool cool cool! This year I got a cheap tripod from Amazon and have almost dropped my camera off it more than once. But getting better and finally got something going around Christmas. It’s just so cold though, touching metal and having to figure things out in the dark is a challenge.
    There is a lot going on in your photo, it has real depth.

    1. I love that phrase, think I will use it later tonight talking to my wife. And yes, figuring out the settings in the dark was very awkward!

    1. You’re quite right Louise. I’d rather be on a road bridge admiring the rush hour traffic below than driving in it!

  8. Brilliant photo. Theres actually something brilliant about the colours and then the contrast that the background creates. Sorry for the late comment! Been a busy week! #mysundayphoto Martyn

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