Bristol at Night

These photos of Bristol at night look absolutely awesome

Taken from the phenomenal Phil Watson Photography, these 10 photos of Bristol at night show the city looking ruddy brilliant. We caught up with Phil to hear about Bristol and photography.

On Bristol:

I moved to Bristol in June this year (2015) with my fiancée, we love living here! There’s always something going on and quite often the larger events are free, we very much enjoyed the Balloon Fiesta and the Harbourside Festival was just incredible. I’d never been to a city festival before, simply amazing how the city pulls together and works are a team.

Bristol has some amazing views and landscapes, the water reflections are outstanding and the colours that are used in architecture especially in the lighting are just a delight to work with. I was always told the city lights would ruin any night photographs but I think it enhances them and puts a different perspective on the places people see every day on their way to work, popping to the shops or going out for the evening to enjoy themselves.


On photography:
The week before we moved I upgraded my camera to a full frame Canon which I use with a wide angle lens (17-40) which is great for landscapes, distorted close ups and especially good in small rooms/spaces.

One of my pet hates is people in landscape/cityscape photos, the night seemed like my only option in such a vibrant/active city. I started exploring, at first staying quite close to home but soon venturing off all over the city and now can occasionally be seen cycling up to 60 miles to find the right location, getting home just in time to have breakfast with my fiancée before she leaves for work.


Here are my collection of Bristol at night photos taken in the summer of 2015.

1. ‘Star Maintenance’

Clifton Suspension Bridge at nightThis was my first ‘successful’ Bristol at night photo, taken 3 days after we moved to Bristol. I love the thin layer of cloud that captured the light pollution of the city but also allows the brighter stars to shine though. Also this shot includes the scaffolding around the Clifton side tower on the Brunel Bridge, most people don’t like it but it does make 2015 unique.

2. ‘Still Harbour’

Bristol Waterfront at NightTaken on an incredibly calm evening the reflections transform this view of the harbour, I also like the small amount of movement in the boats, this is personal preference but I love long exposure with subtle movement.

3. ‘Retired but not Redundant’

Bristol Carriages at NightI was very excited to see this display of carriages had been left out on such a beautiful Bristol night, it would have need a crime not to shoot them.

4. ‘Observatory way’

Bristol Observatory at nightThis shot was a massive breakthrough and quite a surprise!
I returned home very late, later than normal, shattered! I crawled straight into bed not giving my camera a second thought until morning. When I did upload the shoot to my computer, a smile appeared on my face. I still smile every time I achieve a shot like this… a faint glimpse on the Milky Way. I wasn’t sure it was possible with all the light pollution but there it was, a good day/night! The city glow also adds a lovely contrast to the night sky.

5. ‘Dockside cranes’

M Shed Cranes at night

Simple but effective, everyone recognises this view of the M Shed cranes. It’s a classic.

6. ‘Shaun in the City’

Much fun was had when my brother and his girls came to visit – we spent 2 days on the Shaun hunt, most of which on foot, which was quite an achievement as the girls are only 7 and 5 years old! We found all 70. This was shot on a different occasion.

7. ‘Toll Stars’

Clifton suspension bridge tollDon’t try this, security will not be happy!

8. ‘Calm Reflection’

Hotwells at night Another calm Bristol night on the water, great reflections and blessed with a mostly clear sky.

9. ‘The Night of the Single Meteor’

Bristol Meteor ShowerAt the peak of Perseid Meteor shower in August I headed off up to the observatory as it’s the darkest place I know in the city. I tried out several angles but as there were a lot of people about I decided to go straight up with the observatory as a close up focal point. I set the camera to take a series of 200 frames over a period of time while I sat back and froze. I was lucky with the lack of clouds but not so lucky with the amount of meteors, I saw 4 the camera saw 1… I decided to stack the images that produced this strong star trail effect with the single meteor slicing through the trails.

10. ‘Dismaland’

Dismaland at nightAs I’m sure a lot of you have been disappointed that you couldn’t get tickets for Banksy’s ‘Dismaland’, I am in the same boat. I visited after hours earlier this week this with the aim to take this photo, mission complete.

That was 10 stunning photos of Bristol at night from the brilliant Phil Watson. You can also find Phil on his Twitter & Facebook.

If you’d like your photos featured on the Best of Bristol just send us an email to [email protected].

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