A Photographers Location Guide to Kingston Upon Hull
The great city of Kingston upon Hull is my home town and somewhere I'm immensely proud of. Hull is City Of Culture 2017 which is very exciting for everyone and should offer some unique photo opportunities throughout that year. More information can be found at http://hull2017.co.uk . You may be visiting the city on a designated trip or just passing through, it is a gateway to the continent after all but whatever your reason for being here your sure to find plenty of photogenic buildings, locations and even the people are really quite friendly! Here is a short guide to five popular locations along with parking guidance and a bit of a lowdown I hope you find helpful. The first four are all within walking distance of each other if you park in any of the recommended spots mentioned below.
First up is The Deep. A very popular location with photographers and one almost every local photographer will have in their collection time and time again. If you're visiting the city your going to want this one. If you fancy an early start you can catch the sun rising behind allowing for a nice colourful composition if you're lucky. There are a few different angles you can take however the classic view is from the Pier walkways at Hull's waterfront. If you want the long exposure smooth water composition you should be mindful of the tides and check on high tide times (you can check at https://www.tidetimes.org.uk/hull-king-george-dock-tide-times ). It's also worth noting that this is a really nice night location with The Deep lit up on most evenings. I think the lights are turned off around 10pm so I would advise arriving before this. If you head on to the pier itself this offers a unique view at night with Hull's tidal barrier also lit up. There may be some restrictions in the area at present in the build up to City of Culture 2017 as there is a lot of renovation work being undertaken in the immediate area of the pier and fruit market. There is car parking right on location at the pier or you can even park at the deep for a small fee. Parking on the pier is free but is restricted to 2 hours and has a limited number of spots. If you arrive early enough parking is not a problem. Pier Car park Sat Nav code HU1 1XE.
The second location is Victoria Pier situated very close to The Deep. The pier dates back to the early 1800's although it has been altered many times since it still offers a traditional view with many varying compositions available from the many nearby locations. I typically like the side on shot however the pier itself also offers a great view of The Deep and in spring/summer it is decorated with various flower beds and pots. Sunrise and sunset can be caught here however depending on the time of year you may want to compose and pick your shot accordingly. In the darker months the sun sets over the Humber and you can also catch a view of the Humber Bridge from the upper part of the pier with the sun going down behind. In spring and summer the sun sets too far to the west to place it over the water but you may still catch a nice sky! The nearby pub (The Minerva) is worth a visit offering traditional real ales and a nice riverside beer patio area on those summer evenings. I wouldn't normally mention the public conveniences however the old Victorian toilets on the pier are quite unique and are few and far between these days, a rather pleasant place to spend a penny if needs be! Parking here as above for the Deep with the sat Nav code HU1 1XE taking you straight to the closest spot.
Following on from the pier a short walk away is the marina. Located to the south of the city centre it is easily accessible from the city or from the pier depending where you have parked. If your in the town centre you will need to cross Castle Street, a busy main road running through Hull providing the link from the motorways to the ferry port and beyond to the East Yorkshire coast. At the minute there are two pedestrian crossings with a possible footbridge planned in the future. If you meander from the pier it's a very short walk around the back of the Minerva pub and your there. There are many different views of the marina and endless possibilities for a unique composition so time to get creative! There's the old Spurn Lightship at Castle Street and the gun turrets at the Humber end of the dock. With many private vessels gracing the berths and depending on the time of year you can also catch the Royal Navy training ship HMS Explorer. Again sunset and sunrise can provide a unique opportunity if the weather is with you. Pictured here is the small marina basin at sunset, to the west of the main berths taken from the small footbridge. If you head here first parking can be found on the various streets around the marina, for a start you could try Humber Dock Street with a Sat Nav code of HU1 1TB.
Situated in the heart of the city centre is the famous Queens Gardens. Once a large dock in the boom of the Hull shipping days but now a picturesque compilation of gardens, fountains and lakes and also home to the modern BBC Humberside building. There's something for everyone here and an opportunity to catch a bit of architecture with the nearby museum quarter and Wilberforce monument standing proudly at the end of the gardens on Wilberforce Drive. The museums are a day out in their own right and be sure to check out http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/museums for more information. The area can be busy in the summer months with the gardens full of people catching the sun or picnicking as well as hosting some annual events, providing an opportunity for some street photography. The gardens are usually full of flowers in spring so be sure to pack a macro lens for those detailed close up shots. Parking in the city centre is quite plentiful but does come at a cost. The nearby Princess Quay shopping centre offers quite reasonable rates and has some nice eateries if your feeling hungry after all that photography! Check out some local pubs too with The Empress and Punch Hotels within touching distance of the main fountain. Traditional fish and chips can be found nearby and the smell from The Golden Fry in Saville Street is often hard to resist. The closest car parking is located in Guildhall Road Sat Nav code HU1 2BP but again is very limited on street parking with a 2 hour restriction.
The final location is The Humber Bridge on the way in to Hull. The chances are you've already seen this on your way in to the city whether by rail or road. If you arrive by ferry it's around a 15 minute drive to the west, just follow the signs for Leeds. This is by far the most photographed landmark in the area. On the banks of the Humber there is a country park and foreshore viewing point. The foreshore is the popular vantage point for photographers and a wide angle lens would be useful here. You may want to check on the tides again as it does vary and a slack tide offers calmer waters to get the elusive reflection shot. The country park has some nice walks and further vantage points of the bridge however your view may be restricted by the ever growing trees. Sunrise here can be quite productive from the western side of the bridge and sunsets in winter can be captured however the summer months the setting sun is too far in land. If you wish to make the short journey over the bridge sunset is best caught from the south bank and a toll of £1.50 each way is payable but with free parking at Barton upon Humber by the river it's a small price to pay. Pictured here is a view from the south bank. The bridge can be beautiful at night and is well lit often reflecting in the river below. Parking at Hessle foreshore is free and there are plenty of spaces to go around. Sat Nav code HU13 0HB should take you to the car park. If you fancy the south bank view Sat Nav code DN18 5BE will take you to the car park at Barton Waters edge.
Useful parking locations
Princess Quay Shopping Centre. HU1 2PQ - Right in the heart of the city with most of the locations within 5 minutes walk.
St Stephens Shopping Centre. HU2 8LN - Located to the west of the city centre it's a bit more of a walk to the locations above however is handy for the KC Stadium and offers a wide range of eateries and shopping.
Albion Street car park. HU1 3TG - With around 150 spaces this is conveniently located to the city centre with Queens Gardens within 5 minutes walk. It is quite reasonably priced but does get busy through the day. Handy for Hull New Theatre and Central Library
The Deep Aquarium. HU1 4DP - An alternative parking spot for the pier and Deep. Well worth a visit in to the aquarium if you have a few hours. Handy for photography on the river Hull and Scale Lane Bridge.
Humber Bridge Country Park. HU13 0LN - Alternative parking for the Bridge with a café in the car park. With a monthly farmers market you could combine your visit and grab some fresh local produce or visit the on site nature reserve which can offer a spot of wildlife photography as well as some nice woodland scenes. Another popular location with photographers.
Coming soon, further Hull location guides!
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Hi Kirk, many thanks for the kind words. To be honest I haven't done much street photography in Hull although I have covered a few events in the city centre which is slightly different. I have seen some great street work though and I think it's about being in the right place at the right time to catch that unique moment. I think I'd shoot street in the old town areas, maybe Land of Green Ginger and Lowgate simply because the backdrop is nice and would add to the image in my opinion. With regards to actually taking peoples photographs you could take a few approaches. I know photographers that shoot from afar with a long lens and others that like to get up close and personal and actually ask for pictures. It's always worth carrying your business card to pass on and can also help in awkward situations if someone takes a disliking to you taking their picture. Read up on your rights about photography in public and remember to enjoy it!
like the photos Neil. What's your thoughts or photos in relation to street photography in Hull.
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