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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Floodlit as in olden days

This is a nice memory from a couple of years ago. When I was in my twenties, I used to work in an off-license on Friday evenings. After finishing my shift, at around 10:30 p.m., I used to jump in the car and make the hour’s drive into central London, camera in hand, to take photos by artificial illumination. Not the kind using flash guns, but the kind provided by the city’s floodlights. Searching for brightly illuminated subjects, I’d roam the streets – often around Covent Garden and Leicester Square – looking for subjects.

A couple of years ago, I was in London for the weekend and I wanted to re-visit this erstwhile hobby. After dinner in a nearby Italian restaurant, I hit the streets… to feel the rain start to fall, and me without a waterproof jacket. I headed for an archway to wait out the worst of the shower and while I was waiting, I listened to the faint sounds of a choir practicing in St. Paul’s. The light in the shade of the north side of the cathedral was just sufficient to be able to expose the adjacent courtyard. The exposure range of my X100 was also wide enough to be able to retain detail in the floodlit dome, so that I could edit the brightness back down to get this end result.