Alive with Light

Never underestimate the power of light. It makes the world of difference to images from all genres of photography.

I regularly walk through parts of central London. The street scene seems to change at remarkable speed. Recently I visited the London Bridge area – home to The Shard. But also home to Guy’s Hospital where I spent three years as a medical student over 45 years ago. This area of London has changed out of all recognition except that the old central buildings of the hospital are just as I recall them all those years ago. It brought back a lot of memories.

I hadn’t realized quite how close The Shard is to the hospital – it towers over it. I still haven’t got a decent shot of that iconic building, but as I walked back to the station, sunlight was reflecting off a newly completed building a few steps away and it was a remarkable sight. The building seemed to shimmer with light.

_DS79525I picked up the train and got off at the next stop – Southwark. Just to see what I might find there, always curious. Across the road from the station exit another office block was directly facing the afternoon sun. It was quite an extraordinary sight. It felt as if the sun had hit the building and exploded – a bit like a paintball shot would. Except this was light not material.

_DS79517_1Take away the effect of light, and both these buildings would lose the power to amaze. We take sunlight for granted so often, but we would miss so much if the sun didn’t shine through.


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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27 Responses to Alive with Light

  1. John Linn says:

    Seems to be a very unusual reflection in the second image. Both are nice pictures.

    Perhaps you will get some interesting reflections off the Shard some day? I think that may be a difficult picture as it just kind of juts out of the nearby landscape.

    • LensScaper says:

      I think the glass in that second image has given a double image of the sun, but I can’t quite explain why there appears to be a flare of light. To get a good image of The Shard I think you need to move away from it until you can get a clear view. I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. Thanks John.

  2. shoreacres says:

    Nice images. I wonder if the nature of the glass itself contributes to the interesting second image. Some photographers I know have commented on the way techology has affected photos of the Houston skyline. After Hurricane Alicia in 1983, when windows were blown out all over town, there was a search for glass that would stand up to storms more effectively. I know that some products used now meet different specifications, and if you’re driving toward downtown at sunrise or sunset, you can notice differences in reflectivity between old and new buildings.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Linda. Float Glass was invented in the 1950s in a process that resulted in glass that was very flat and of even thickness. Theoretically when it is used to front a building, as it is very commonly these days, logic would suggest that the reflections should be true. But the reflections tend not to be true. Why is that? To some extent this must be due to alignment of individual panes within their mountings being less than 100% true. And also warping of the reflection within individual panes of glass must mean that the glass is not truly flat. Sometimes when I view glass-fronted buildings I can tell it’s the mountings that create the distortions, sometimes it’s the glass itself and sometimes it it a mixture of both. In this second image, I suspect it is chiefly a fractional misalignment. Personally, I’m glad the glass isn’t always 100% true – the disrupted reflections add interest. Sorry – a rather technical answer but it explains what we see.

      • shoreacres says:

        There’s no need to apologize for a technical answer — especially when it sheds a little more light on the subject. You’ve reminded me of what fun it can be to drive through some old towns around here. Many of the historic homes still have old, wavy glass in some windows. It’s easy to see which panes have been broken and replaced over time.

        • LensScaper says:

          Our house is 150yrs old and we still have some of the old wavy glass in some of the old window frames, You wouldn’t get current window frames lasting that long!

  3. Eden says:

    Great reflections in these 🙂

  4. Love the reflections Andy but I also love the way the patterns of the windows intermix with those reflections.

  5. The second shot is very intriguing. I don’t really associate it with The Shard – this is quite an achievement.

  6. Len says:

    That reflection in the second image is quite unusual. Nice catch Andy.

  7. Phillip says:

    I really like the reflection in the second one.

  8. poppytump says:

    That ‘paintball’ effect of sunlight on the windows is super Andy I like the idea of the conforming window grid being distorted like this .
    Just the thought of sitting inside there if there was such a happening and that as a result is enough to make one jump sky high 🙂

  9. seekraz says:

    That second shot is incredible, Andy…almost looks supernatural…or some type of stellar explosion. Very nice….

  10. Chillbrook says:

    Very good memories stirred I’m sure Andy. I haven’t been back to this part of London in a good while. I’m looking forward to a visit to the Shard. Wonderful pictures.

    • LensScaper says:

      We are hoping to get up the Shard before the summer is out. It must be twenty or more years since I walked some of those streets – hardly recognizable in places. Thanks for the comment, Adrian

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