Inside the Luminarium

Today’s post features images taken inside Pentalum – a Luminarium, designed by Architects of Air, and sited in Milton Keynes recently as part of a Major Arts festival.

A Luminarium is a monumental inflated sculpture of labyrinthine passages and large domed spaces, made of plastic through which the outdoor light shines. It is an intense visual experience, assisted in this recent example by David Bickley’s superb background sound. I had heard of Luminaria but never visited one. If you ever get the opportunity to visit one, then do go – you will not be disappointed. Cameras are allowed. For more information visit Architects of Air – click the link in the first paragraph above.

_DS79840It is the colour that is both dramatic and also ethereal in a Luminarium. The whole experience is immensely calming. Children are enthralled, and many disabled people also visited this Luminarium and it was easy to tell how much they had enjoyed the experience.

_DS79856Photographing a Luminarium is not easy. Images are everywhere, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and trying to evoke the experience is not easy.  I made two visits – one with the Canon G10 and a second one armed with my dSLR. There were no problem using a camera, and people and children were not difficult to photograph. A high ISO was required, and I found the Nikon was not good at judging the exposure, blowing the highlights repeatedly, while the Canon contained them. It was an experience that also required patience: waiting for people to move. But also there were times when the inclusion of a figure added that vital extra dimension.

Enjoy the extensive gallery that follows. Click on the first image and then navigate 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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31 Responses to Inside the Luminarium

  1. These are truly amazing Andy. My favorites are the ones with people in particular the image with the small child.

  2. Really cool images Andy! What a fun and probably frustrating at times, place to photograph! 🙂

  3. mark says:

    What a cool set of images. I think I prefer the one’s with someone wandering through, usually tilted a bit as they balance themselves in the odd shaped landscape.

  4. John Linn says:

    Like the other commenters have said… these images are really unique and interesting. Love the intense color and the great compositional opportunities you were able to capture. I would love to experience these sculptures myself… maybe one day.

    • LensScaper says:

      Luminaria from Architects of Air do visit other countries so it is possible something like this will visit north America – but north America is a very big place! But if you ever do hear of one, John – don’t miss it. It’s so totally different from everything else.

  5. John Linn says:

    Follow-up… did you get any shots from the exterior?

  6. Eden says:

    Interesting. I’ve never heard of a luminarium before. What a great place to get abstract shots 😀

  7. Andy – these are amazing, otherworldly. Even after reading your explanation, my mind still had a hard time making sense of the images – which isn’t a criticism at all!

    • LensScaper says:

      This is a place that has to be seen to be believed and to understand the images. They are really abstracts and the colour is extraordinary. Add figures and it takes the experience to another level. Thanks for commenting Melinda.

  8. says:

    Really different for you! Quite nice Andy! I wanna go!!!!

  9. oneowner says:

    Terrific shots, Andy. A vere interesting place to visit. There are no bad photos here. I have had problems with my Nikon as well with highlights so I keep the exposure compensated by 2/3 stops. Lightroom does a good job of handling exposures in the files very easily.

    • LensScaper says:

      I normally set exposure compensations to minus O.5 stops whenever I am in the Alps because of the strong light, But I wasn’t expecting the problem to occur in the Luminarium to the extent that it did. Thankfully presets in Topaz Adjust very effectively helped rescue images. Many thanks, Ken.

  10. Nelson says:

    Very interesting photos

  11. Wonderful set of images 🙂

  12. Lisa Gordon says:

    These are wonderful!
    I love the color and light.

  13. poppytump says:

    Light … isn’t it just wonderful . Add colour and …all manner of effects transpire .
    I keep thinking of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai or sword blade with one of those shots Andy !

  14. Adrian Lewis says:

    Beautiful images, Andy. I can well believe that the Nikon blew the highlights – the new D810 is supposed not to do that. I hear the new Capture NX-D software is dreadful, so I’m going to have to stick with NX2 until it explodes! Adrian

    • LensScaper says:

      I’d better stick with NX2 too. I struggled to understand how a camera would fail to deal with these colours, none of which were particularly bright – it was just ambient light (no sun) filtering through plastic.

  15. I am BLOWN AWAY at this catalog of shots, Andy, each of them is an absolute winner for varying reasons! Each picture is unique and when taken in as a complete collection this is a set that kept me busy for quite some time exploring!

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