St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is a dominant feature on London’s skyline. There are also lines of sight at ground level as you approach the Cathedral from a number of directions.

In addition to all that, local development has very cleverly employed glass so that not only is the Cathedral viewed directly, but also by reflection – in one instance, both at the same time.

Most people who visit St Paul’s Cathedral logically head to the main entrance at the west end of the building. And I am no different in that regard, usually. However, last week my route towards the Cathedral from the Bank of England brought me to the NE corner of the site, at the top of a street called New Change. Here there is a huge shopping development called One New Change. It’s described on its website as ‘a modernist building by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Jean Nouvel, with 6,500 floor-to-ceiling glass panes in varying shades of red, grey and beige, flooding the floors with natural light’. What that brief statement fails to mention is that the glass also appears to vary in its reflectivity.

As I walked down New Change, looking up at this building, the Cathedral’s reflection hoved into view, and as a I walked further I reached a point where the building was slightly angled, resulting in a double reflection. The Cathedral appeared to be rising through layers of tinted mist. There are moments that momentarily take one’s breath away – and this was one of them.

_DS81603_2The day I visited was dull and overcast, and that has added to the ethereal quality of today’s image. But I look forward to visiting on a sunnier day to see how the image will change.

Modern Architecture really does have the power to excite the senses. It creates new inter-relationships – is it not reasonable to suggest that glass facades have the capacity to create a ‘fourth architectural dimension’?


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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22 Responses to St Paul’s Cathedral

  1. Etherial. Delicate. Lovely. Thank you, Andy.

  2. Norma says:

    This is wonderful Andy! Really nicely done 🙂

  3. Wow, what an outstanding capture, Andy!

  4. oneowner says:

    I think the overcast day provided excellent light for this, Andy. Great shot.

    • LensScaper says:

      That was my thinking too. I want to see it on a better day – but I’m really not sure whether I will find an image that betters this for atmosphere. Strange how dull days can really work in our favour. Thanks For commenting, Ken.

  5. Meanderer says:

    Ethereal is the perfect description for this, Andy. How very beautiful. I can see why it took your breath away.

  6. lemanshots says:

    Great capture, congratulation!

  7. A really wonderful shot – the colours are beautiful and great to see a new view of St Paul’s 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks Lisa. This image was a real surprise to me. Just at the entrance to this vast complex there is an extraordinary view of St Pauls that features the real cathedral and two reflections of it. I’ve seen an image of it published (but until my recent visit I hadn’t even worked out where it was taken from). The Pro who took it I think might have had a little help in capturing it – a lift platform perhaps. Certainly it requires a wide wide-angle lens with shift-tilt capabilities. I haven’t got a lens quite like this but I will take my 11-16mm zoom with me on my next visit.

  8. ehpem says:

    This is sublime Andy. Not only side by side but reflections within reflections that give a lot of depth. A bit like capturing and caging the reflection. Good modern architecture is wonderful. I imagine in a location like this the architect thought very carefully about reflections.

  9. shoreacres says:

    It took a while for me to identify what kept drawing me back to this photo. The light, the colors, the lovely, ethereal nature of the image, of course. But finally I truly “saw” it — the differences between the two images. It’s a commonplace to say that two people will see a given object in two different ways. But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a capture that shows one object, seen by one person, in two different ways!

    I really would like to know if the architect envisioned this in the planning and execution of the building. I’ll give you 50/50 odds on it, but my gut feeling is that it’s been a surprise for the architectural team, too.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much Linda. I was so pleased that I managed to get an image where one of the reflections showed the cross on top of the dome so clearly. I guess we will never know what the architect intended, but I am sure he must have thought he would get a reflection (that’s not rocket science considering the relationship between the buildings) – but whether the result is exactly how he intended it to be and whether he understood that a pedestrian walking up this road would see it…well we will never know.

  10. Len says:

    As you know, I love reflections Andy and this one is really cool. I remember seeing St Paul’s every time I have visited London.

  11. Chillbrook says:

    This is a fabulous image Andy! Fantastic.

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