Tigger has a new camera that does time exposures so she wanted to try it out this evening with some night shots. I think I would have preferred to stay at home and made tea but – what the heck – let’s give it a go.
We went first to London Bridge though by the time we arrived the light had barely begun to fade. The blocky brown building (it is made of polished granite) is called No 1 London Bridge. If you stand beneath it, it is huge. The Shard, however, dwarfs it as though it were a footstool.
This is a more traditional view from London Bridge, taken amid a crowd of tourists all clicking away too. To the left of the three buildings on the left (the one with the pyramid top is Canary Wharf) you may see a light in the sky. (Click to see a larger version.) That is an aircraft taking off from City Airport.
A glance upriver shows the sun beginning to set, silhouetting Blackfriars station and the BT Tower, whose rotating restaurant right at the top of the tower, has been closed ever since the management became afraid it might be a terrorist target.
I find there is something magical about the city at night when it is dressed all over with lights of many colours in many different patterns. As the sky darkens and the lights start to come on, it is as if a new city awakes and takes over from its daytime partner.
We caught a bus to St Paul’s. Once one of London’s tallest buildings, it is increasingly dwarfed by skyscrapers devoid of the architectural inspiration that Wren brought to his masterpiece.
Its full name is the St Lawrence Jewry Church Fountain and it was built in 1866, designed by John Robinson and with a bronze sculpture by Joseph Durham. While the Guildhall was being redeveloped, the fountain was dismantled but has now been re-erected.
Joseph Durham’s sculpture, being black, is not easy to make out in low light conditions. I reluctantly used flash, something I avoid as far as possible, but it may give an idea of the piece. If you can work out the meaning, you are more knowledgeable than I.
I imagine that this sculpture represents St Lawrence but I could be wrong. If you have better information, please let me know.
What happened next was as amusing as it was unexpected. We had noticed that there was filming in progress in the area but had ignored it to get on with our own business. Near the fountain was a technician fiddling with two huge projector lamps. He suddenly switched these on and one of them was pointing at the dome of St Paul’s which it illuminated brightly! We accepted this opportunity to take a few photos…!
Beside St Paul’s is a famous group of statuary representing Queen Anne (who was on the throne when St Paul’s was completed) and figures representing the countries she reckoned she ruled. Or rather it is a copy, made in 1866, of the original sculpture that had to be done away with because it had badly deteriorated.
For some reason, Queen Anne is very popular with tourists who like to photograph one another standing in front of her. I don’t know why this is unless it is because the statue is smaller than St Paul’s and therefore more manageable. Either way, getting a clear shot of her is no easy task, even at night.
Walking down from St Paul’s towards the Thames, you come to the Millennium Bridge which looks a little eerie dressed in low-level lights.
The big chimney is an unmistakeable feature of the Tate Modern gallery, an interesting place to go, as much for the building itself as for the artworks contained within it.
The Millennium Bridge provides a platform for viewing – and photographing – the river and its surroundings. By now though, it was getting a little chilly so we decided to head for home. I took one photo however, and this allows me to end, as I started, with the Shard. Monstrous as it is, it too benefits from the magic of the night and night-time illuminations.