Nights Of Sodium And Crystal

Photography Atmosphere/Mood posted on Apr 11, 2020
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There is something amazing about being able to discern individual light panels through the high windows of a city tower. Technology isn't totally evil. Though, this might be how the Brotherhood of Machines gets Humanity to drop its guard. I like the contrast of the murky side walk scene juxtaposed with the crystal like towers in the sky. Of course this effect is not just about the differing lighting technologies but, the foreground is also moving much more as are my hands holding the camera in this long exposure. I took this shot on a rather pleasant (but still cold) winter's walk along Front Street in Toronto between this past Christmas 2019 and New Years 2020. Across the street (to the right) is Berczy Park adjacent to the Gooderham Building. This is an old part of Toronto though you might not be able to tell here. It is a far cry from the 19th Century photos where cities and towns, of all sizes, proudly displayed strings of huge incandescent lights. They illuminated blocks and blocks of muddy horse drawn streets and boardwalks. White hot tungsten filaments suspended in an atmosphere of argon gas, they were as inefficient as they were ambitious. And they were an essential fixture for both municipalities and homes for nearly five (5) generations. Many of us still remember incandescent street lights. And, here and there, we all still have such lights in our homes. They remade our civilization. Then things changed. I blame the Age of Aquarius. Yes, I'm that old and I'm Sagittarius so I'm jealous. Yes, Sagittarians can become jealous, don't get me started on Karen and Scott, "the perfect couple". Er, um- just having one of those flash backs to the dark times of the Reagan era. I suppose we all have to walk through Hell to make it to Heaven. I hope that sounds profound. In this modern picture there may be one or two discrete places lit through black body radiation. The rest is a curious mix of technologies and qualities. Street lights were converted to the efficient amber glow of sodium vapour lamps during the energy crisis of the 1970's. Funny in this scene they play act at being gaslight. Many a business sign is back lit with fluorescent tubes, another 70's era retro fit for indoor lighting. Other establishments go old school with the buzzing, unworldly jewel tones of excited neon gas. But slowly yet inextricably pushing them all aside, the crisp hues of light emitting diodes - LEDs. Solid state technology, enduring, tunable and more energy efficient than any predecessor. They now adorn vehicles, traffic signals, billboards and the decorative snow flakes over the park. In some places communities even forgo poles to adorn living trees with a galaxy of pin point lights. I predict that in ten (10) years it will be LED lamps play acting as sodium lights pretending to be gas on old Front Street. Apologies for being absent. Working from home these last couple of weeks seems to afforded me less spare time than more. Counter intuitive as it may seem. But, at least I don't have to roll out of bed and drive my car for a half hour every morning. For now. Cheers! And stay safe everybody.

Comments (8)


tetrasnake Online Now! 6:50PM | Sat, 11 April 2020

Great capture!


eekdog 7:54PM | Sat, 11 April 2020

must have been taken before the mask era. cool TOD capture.


ACue 12:32AM | Sun, 12 April 2020

Great insights about lights in the city, "illuminating" elements of city lights I had not considered. Even staring at them every night from my living room window, looking west on Jarvis, surrounded in the warm glow of new and old high-rises, lighting the circumstances of people's lives and homes. I know the neighborhood depicted in your evocative photo, having lived on Lombard and having an office just up the street at King and Victoria for many years. Thanks for posting Clayton.


crender 12:57AM | Sun, 12 April 2020

Wonderful !!!


bucyjoe 1:46PM | Sun, 12 April 2020

good exposer happy easter


PandaB5 2:08PM | Mon, 13 April 2020

Fantastic photo - I like the sweeping view from the people and stalls on street level all the way up to the tall buildings.


RodS Online Now! 6:14PM | Mon, 13 April 2020

Beautiful photo and fascinating narrative.. Hopefully someday we'll be able to do things like this again...


Cyve 8:04AM | Wed, 15 April 2020

Great capture !!!

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