We challenged acclaimed instagrammer @peppyhere to explore London’s Lumiere Festival – a vibrant display of artistic installations & extraordinary light works spread across the capital. Find out how armed only with her Xperia Z5 she managed to capture these outstanding low light images:
This weekend us Londoners welcomed the first ever London Lumiere Festival, an exhibition of light shows, neon installations and vibrant displays. The event spread across London’s most iconic areas and saw King’s Cross, Piccadilly, Mayfair & Westminster each used as a canvas for the displays.
It marked what I saw as an unmissable opportunity to see the city in a new light (literally!) and set the challenge of capturing some fantastic low light images.
Due to the event being busy I knew the likelihood of being able to set a tripod up & capture some long exposure shots were slim, and that carrying my equipment through the crowds would be no easy chore. With this in mind I set off with only my Xperia Z5, knowing confidently from my experience at Rise Festival that it’s low light capabilities would be perfect for the job.
So Xperia Z5 in hand & my interactive Lumiere map loaded I set off…
First Stop: Westminster abbey – The Light of the Spirit by Patrice Warrener
This piece really emphasised my favourite element of the festival – that each of the light projections highlighted the architectural mastery of the buildings they were broadcast on. Here, detail was key, and with 23 megapixels and 5x clear zoom I was able to capture a clear detailed shot of the architecture.
Neon Dogs by Deepa Mann-Kler in Charing Cross
I took this photo of Deepa Mann-Kler’s Neon Dogs at Charing Cross, but found the glass behind the display caused a nasty reflection. I still loved the shot so I simply edited and removed this using Google SnapSeed on my phone.
Garden of Light by TILT in Leicester Square
I found Leicester Square had been transformed into a beautiful tropical garden kitted out with giant luminous plants (each made from recycled materials). The glow of the plants made the place feel warm and suddenly it felt like the cold winter was gone and that spring was here.
This was by far the busiest of the displays, and when I found myself climbing up a wall to get the perfect shot, using a smartphone rather than anything bigger made everything a lot easier.
Luminéoles by Porté par le vent in Piccadilly Circus / Regents Street
Next on my journey was Piccadilly Circus, where Regent Street was covered in brightly coloured LED lit fish. They looked gorgeous against the dark sky but I knew capturing them would be tricky due to them gliding and moving in the wind. Xperia Z5 successfully managed to focus in the low light and its quick autofocus ensured the scene was captured perfectly.
195 Piccadilly by NOVAK
It started lightly drizzling as I was photographing this installation but thankfully I had a waterproof jacket and the phone worked fine throughout so that my photography wasn’t compromised.
1.8 London by Janet Echelman / Studio Echelman at Oxford Circus
Strung between buildings at Oxford Circus hung this enormous net sculpture. The piece was named after the astonishing impacts of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and kept changing colours against the dark sky.
Shaida Walking by Julian Opie located at Soho
This illuminated work was located on Broadwick Street opposite Carnaby Street, the pedestrianised shopping zone that is always crammed with people. The light display here really tied in with the setting and I did my best to capture the atmosphere of the event.
Next stop Mayfair – Brothers & Sisters by Ron Haselden
These were portraits of siblings, which the artist had transformed into large sculptures using LED embedded light-rope. I took a quick photo and decided to spend some time absorbing the atmosphere – sometimes it is nice to watch and enjoy the moment, a rare phenomenon for a photographer I would say!
It can’t be denied that Lumiere Festival certainly brought some light into the city, transforming the month of January from bleak to beautiful. I can’t wait to see what installations it brings next year.