Friday, January 20th 2017
When I went to pick up Tigger from work this evening, I assumed that it was just another typical weekday evening and that we would go straight home. I had made no preparations for anything else and, in particular, had not brought my camera with me. It turned out, however, that Tigger had a Plan, a Plan she had not thought to apprise me of…
A longish ride on two buses brought us to our destination which lay in the heart of London’s Docklands
We disembarked at Canary Wharf, once part of the London Docks but now rebuilt and repurposed for residential and commercial use with huge modern blocks replacing the old warehouses. Though we had come by bus we passed in front of Canary Wharf Station which was extremely busy as office workers were making their way home.
Not having my camera, as I mentioned above, I had to fall back on using the camera in my iPhone 6. All the photos in this post were taken with it. It is not an ideal instrument, especially in low-light conditions when long exposures are necessary and holding the camera up in front of your face inevitably leads to blurring.
We made our first stop at Reuters Plaza where we had an early supper in the branch of Carluccio’s there. By now, the daylight had faded completely and the landscape was illumined solely by electric lighting. (The above photo was taken by the iPhone in ‘panorama’ mode and there is some distortion of perspective as a result.)
Tigger explained that she had brought us here to see the Canary Wharf Winter Lights. This is a major exhibition, spread over a large area, and we managed to see only one part of it, that centred in Jubilee Park. We may go back to see more next week.
There are also Christmas illuminations and, being caught on the hop, I wasn’t (and still am not) sure which were part of the Winter Lights and which were part of the street decorations. I just photographed the scenes that appealed to me.
We made our way towards Jubilee Park where part of the exhibition was to be found. An information board described it thus:
A new commission by light and text artist Elisa Artesero for Winter Lights at Canary Wharf. A cluster of glowing neon words appears to be floating in the dark among the foliage in Jubilee Park. The words make up a fleeting poem that reflects the transient effect of the floating neon.
I’m not at all sure that this was the effect that I received and I just wandered hither and thither photographing whatever caught my attention.
We entered the park and strolled along the paths. Though darkness had fallen, there were enough lights in and around the park to enable us to make our way about though the effect was dramatic in places.
A watercourse runs through the park. I don’t know whether it is actually a flowing stream or a static, elongated lake. It is unusual in not being at ground-level but in being raised about three feet above the ground and confined by walls. Along its length are fountains that are illuminated at night.
I spotted this sculpture on the grass. It is a more permanent resident of the park. Entitled Fortuna, it is by Helaine Blumenfeld.
There were several illuminated ‘Angels of Freedom’ in the park, each consisting of a pair wings and a halo. They were obviously designed to tempt people to stand in front of them and have kitsch photos of themselves taken as angels.
Here are some of the ‘floating words’ mentioned in the description quoted above.
This bench projects the word ‘DREAMING’ onto the path in front of it. I assume this is part of Elisa Artesero’s Floating Words.
The egg-shaped Ovo is not just to be looked at: you can step inside and experience it, though I am not sure what you experience as I did not try it. For more details, look for its description on this page.
I took a moment to capture this view looking across South Dock. This now still and silent dock would once have been busy with ships and cargoes.
We passed through Canada Square Park on the way to the bus stop. Here were light-festooned trees and illuminated benches.
There is a skating rink here and it seemed quite popular. I was cold enough out here without venturing onto the ice!
Illuminated benches have been installed in Canary Wharf and may be permanent, not just for the Winter Lights event. In this picture they are shining blue and the intensity of the light has caused them to be whited-out in the photo. Digital camera sensors also tend to be over-sensitive to blue light, hence the somewhat strange appearance of the scene.
Thus ended our brief foray to Canary Wharf and its Winter Lights. I was quite pleased when the bus came and we climbed into its warm interior!