And I saw a great light

On my way back to Euston Station to catch the train home last week I walked past St Pancras church and thought I would have a quick look inside. What I saw was something really quite extraordinary and it was a truly unique and spiritual experience.

Looking up the centre aisle to the Chancel, at first glance, I thought the church had installed a glass wall of water that was lit by a powerful beam of light. It was only when I got closer that I realized that it was a huge hanging sheet of semi-transparent gauze fabric, although there is also a pool of water on the floor in front of the hanging. What was more extraordinary was the sight of my shadow thrown onto this fabric. I stood there, rooted to the spot for some time, before starting to capture this scene.


The image can speak for itself. No tripod of course, and because the overall low light these were shot at ISO 800. I shot several with my Canon G10 but I also had a Nikon with an 11-16mm wide angle lens. On the viewfinder they all looked fine but back home the noise on the Canon images was very noticeable. The image shown is a Nikon image with the lens set at 16mm (film equivalent).

This installation is a revelatory feature. It is called ‘Column of Light’ by Bob Aldous and will be in place until 27 Jan 2013 – click here to go to Bob’s website for more information on this installation.  Click here to go to the Church’s website, and if you have the opportunity in London within the next week, go and see it.

And who was St Pancras? I have walked past St Pancras mainline station hundreds of times and never given the name a thought. Outside the church there is a plaque that explains the origins of its name.


I would be interested to hear your comments on today’s image.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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26 Responses to And I saw a great light

  1. Wow, Len. What an experience and chance encounter to capture this image. Sometimes things seem to happen for a reason and you were certainly in the right place at the right time. Your shadow adds a sense of spirituality to the shot. So glad you included the plaque from outside with the church’s history. It’s always interesting and fun to read about historical places such as this.

    Nice one, Andy!

  2. This is terrific Andy. The image has a bit of an out worldly look to it.

  3. seekraz says:

    I thought I heard the turning pages of a holy book…and what an incredible image, the stuff of myth, truly…and your angelic form is showing, Andy…need to be careful with that…. 😉

  4. oneowner says:

    This is really a fantastic installation and an interesting self-portrait as well. And it’s amazing how many saints there are we know nothing about.

  5. munchow says:

    This is truly a spiritual image, almost out of this world. I had to look twice to actually see what was going on. Beautifully captured, Andy. And yes, the small point and shoot cameras have a problem with higher iso, even as low as 800 I have hardly found a camera that produces smooth pictures. The DSLR’s are of course a different story, particularly if it’s a full frame camera.

  6. Marcie says:

    WOW…this is absolutely magical. Such a wonderful..ethereal..spiritual creation. Bravo!

  7. janina says:

    Why was Pancratius martyred….I can’t handle signs that tell us nothing about the person and everything about stuff we don’t want to know about….grrrr!! 😉
    Well, if you are inclined to seeing things, and a lot of saints were a little like that, then I guess you’d think you’dve had a revelation. I think it’s a wonderful illusion, well captured. 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Janina. Yes, It would be interesting to know more about Pancratius, but it’s also extraordinary how much history has been preserved over all those centuries even about people who, in the wider scheme of things, were not that important I suspect.

      • janina says:

        “…wider scheme…” — ordinarily, perhaps; however, he has a church, street and railway station named after him; I somehow doubt he was that unimportant. Perhaps there the architecture is more important than the person! Just my view…. 🙂

  8. Wow Andy that quite a shot! Very interesting too.

  9. bob says:

    Hi Andy. Pleased you liked this. If you are in the area again you may like some of my work in Camden Peoples Theatre . It is just around the corner fron St Pancras Church. It also has a strong spiritual dimension to the imagery. All the best. Bob

    • LensScaper says:

      Bob, it was good to hear from you. It’s not often that I stand rooted to the spot in the face of an image, installation or other art form – but this was one of those moments. St Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus came into my mind. It really was a very powerful installation and I could so easily have missed it. I was pleased to be able to able to publicize it on my Blog. Thanks too for the information on Camden – I must take a look there when I next have the opportunity. Regards, Andy

  10. Len says:

    This is so cool Andy. Sometimes magical things happen and the great photographer captures it. Love it.

    • LensScaper says:

      This is an image I was talking about in London earlier today – strange that you should have found it today. It was an extraordinary find and the only occasion I recall uttering the words ‘Oh My God’ and realizing that those words had a genuineness about them on that particular occasion. (I’m not sure the appellation applies – I only had to walk through a door and do what any of us would have done, finding ourselves facing this scene).

  11. Phillip says:

    Interesting image Andy. I love your shadow!

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