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Winter Lights at Canary Wharf 2024

I love light shows. I think they are magical. They brighten the darkness of the night and can spark the imagination. Back in January, my friend Elli and I went to experience the spectacular light installations and immersive art at Canary Wharf. They called the experience "Winter Lights."

Our first stop was to check out the work of Squidsoup at Montgomery Square. The piece was called Submergence. This was a pretty cool experience that was true to its name, as you could move between lights, which changed colour at different times. It was just blue when we were there, so it felt like we were submerged in an icy landscape.

Our next stop was to check out the work of Juan Fuentes at Water Street where his piece, Kinetic Perspective, stood. This one was a lot harder to shoot because many of these lights were actually installations that involved movement and sound. I took the opportunity to just shoot the scene instead of just the work itself.

I have to say that Union Square was particuarly good to capture a bit more of street photography at night. I really loved the warmth that was coming out of this Korean Fried Chicken stall. I don't think I mentioned this, but we were there on the coldest night as it was -5ºC!

Also in Union Square you could see two additional art installations: Geist by This is Loop and Idle Time by Marcus Lyall. Idle Time was projected on a wall and it looked like forms were moving in space. Again, this was hard to capture on a photograph.

From Union Square we went to Crossrail Place Roof Garden, a great semi-indoor garden to go to if you have not been there. There were three interesting pieces here: In-Between by Daniel Popescu; Biophilia by Frankie Boyle and Vessels by Limbic Cinema. You can see them here in this slideshow.

I may have gone a bit experimental with trying to capture my own interpretation of these pieces with intentional camera movement (Biophilia), or looking through the lights into scenes (Vessels).

The last part of our walk around Canary Wharf took us to the Riverside and Westferry Circus. One of my favourite pieces was On the Wave of Light by Those Guys Lighting (yes, that is the name of the collective! I swear I am not making it up!). The panels on the riverside lit up only when people walked by them! I was lucky to see the bike coming towards me, so check that photo out in the slideshow below.

The second piece in the area was that of Juan Fuentes' called Neuron. As the name indicates, the piece was an installation where the pieces moved, changed colour, and there was also a sound component. Again, not so cool on photographs, to be honest, so I used this piece again to attempt my version with intentional camera movement. I have to say that I really loved the results on this one! The abstractions are very evocative and the lights of the city behind them just gave them a platform to stand on.

On our way to our final stop, we spotted the permanent exhibition titled Shine Your Colours by Tine Bech. This was also a cool piece because of the way in which people interacted with it. It is there all the time, so you can go and check it out.

And last, but not least, was the installation that made it feel like the whole circus was on fire! This was Sign by Vendel & De Wolf. It was located at Westferry Circus, in the middle of small garden. Of course, I also attempted to do intentional camera movement with this one because it just looks cool! Check it out on the slideshow below.

I think that there were other pieces that we did not have a chance to see. By the time we reached this one it was too cold and I was ready to go home to a warm bath and a glass of wine!

My final observations are these: Canary Wharf's festivals of lights are intersting and usually a worthwhile experience. Seeing them in person is definitely better as many are amazing installations that need the temporal/in person aspect that will give them their meaning.

For those who care about the tech stuff: these photos were shot with my Nikon Z6, 24-70 mm, f4. I used a very high ISO as I did not shoot with a tripod. The photos were processed using Lightroom and colour is not my forte, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.

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