London – City Of (Half) Light

London, Observatory


These London pictures by Katarina Stefanović are astonishing for an unusual reason. They’ve been sensitively photoshopped in terms of light source, so that they look as London might look if it was on a geographical parallel with Paris.

The very thing most tourists comment upon when they come to London for the first time – the muted softness of the light – is the very thing I spend my life trying to get away from. It affects our moods, informs our art and seems to encourage a mood of reflection. I certainly do more thinking here than in any other city, and I’m sure this is connected to the low light levels, rather like retiring to your favourite chair and putting on a reading light. But it can also make you depressed.

Having lived in a city with too much light (Los Angeles) and one with just the right amount (Nice) I am now back in my birthplace complaining along with everyone else about the dark afternoons. These pictures go some way toward rebalancing the level – if she could do it for real, how would it change the city?

Katarina’s amazing photostream is on Flickr, here.

7 comments on “London – City Of (Half) Light”

  1. I’m rather surprised such a paltry distance overground translates into such a difference in daylight. And such a yellow tinge to the light, as well.

  2. Brian says:

    At frst glance I thought they were HDR photographs. Not actually convinced that they aren’t so am also rather doubtful about the Paris angle.

  3. I.A.M. says:

    Brian: HDR can sometimes produce similar effects, but the light has to be strong. These actually look vastly different to comparable HDR stuff, the lack of shadows not withstanding. Have a look at the angle of light in the City image, as well as the very bright reflection on the Westminster Palace Tower above the face of Big Ben, and it’s unlikely that one could see something like that in August in the capital city.

    For images from London taken in March using HDR, head here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianalexandermartin/2986086096/ or here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianalexandermartin/4524336420/ or here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianalexandermartin/4523734777/

  4. Anne Fernie says:

    Nuance of light in cities is so important. It’s astonishing to flee Manchester where the light just feels ‘heavy’ somehow (never mind the relentless grey) to just 30 miles away in Liverpool where it has some of that sparkly ‘diamond’ quality to it that you get on the west coast. You can feel your spirits lifting. Nothing compares to driving into Cornwall though – you hit that light and know your soul has arrived home…….(sorry for the rhapsody but I’m sitting here at 5.30pm, pitch dark outside and lashing with rain……)

  5. Helen Martin says:

    “Pitch dark and lashing with rain” That’s it really, isn’t it? When the sun is shining things are pretty good, but the daytime darkness of rain in November just puts one into the pit. Even Cornwall in the rain would likely be a bit of a downer. If London had the light in those pictures it wouldn’t be London, for sure.

  6. Steve says:

    I’ve been in London *sniff* in November *sniff*. The memory alone makes me *sniff*.

  7. BangBang!! says:

    Wow – that’s actually quite amazing. I don’t know if I’d like it as much in such stark contrast as that. I like the diffuse edges to things in London. It makes it seem like everyone is a bit more cohesive. I’m trying to be a smartarse – Helen got it right. It wouldn’t be London.

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