Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #166: Artificial Light

Before we invented civilization our ancestors lived mainly in the open out under the sky. Before we devised artificial lights and atmospheric pollution and modern forms of nocturnal entertainment, we watched the stars. There were practical calendar reasons of course, but there was more to it than that. Even today the most jaded city dweller can be unexpectedly moved upon encountering a clear night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars. When it happens to me after all these years it still takes my breath away~Carl Sagan

It’s true as Carl Sagan says that the stars and planets in the night sky can take our breath away. But artificial light has its unique and often stunning beauty. This week Ann-Christine has invited us to explore artificial light, so I’ve collected a few photos (some old, some new) captured on evening walks here, there, and everywhere.

Rockefeller Center, New York

New York City has always been driven by a restless energy, powered by its citizens, its vision of the future, and its machinery. Rockefeller Center is no less impressive at night than during the day.

Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

A Rainy Night on Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

Even on a rainy night in Chicago, Michigan Avenue is flooded with light from cars and high-rise buildings that line the street. Here you can see the reflection of the colored lights from the Uniqlo store “painted” on the street.

Il Duomo, Florence, Italy

Italians embrace the evening, and fill the streets walking, chatting, and drinking wine. I captured this image of Il Duomo from our first rental apartment in Florence several years ago. Its architecture is breathtaking day or night.

Canada Place, Vancouver, B.C.

This last image was captured a few weeks ago on an evening walk past Canada Place in Vancouver Harbor–an iconic landmark in a beautiful city.

Melbourne, Australia

Shot Factory and Mall, Melbourne, Australia

Clever architects in Melbourne designed a shopping mall around a historic landmark. The former Shot Factory at night is a spectacular sight.

As I went through my archives and current images, I realized I hadn’t taken many photo walks in the evening for the past few months.  Fortunately Ann-Christine’s challenge has sparked my desire to go out more.  Thanks, Ann-Christine!  We hope you join us this week for her wonderful “Artificial Light” challenge. Be sure to visit her site and see her inspiring and beautiful images.

Last week, you really went wide! I loved your images of wide-angle views of cities and nature close to home and around the world. Thanks to all of you who participated in the challenge.  The variety and scope of your photos were terrific.  

And finally, next week, it’s Amy’s turn to lead the challenge, so be sure to stop by her beautiful Share and Connect site next Saturday at noon. Until then, have a safe and inspiring week!

74 replies »

    • Hi, Margaret. I guess you can tell that I love NYC at night. It’s just magnificent day and night! The lighting and architecture are just stunning at Rockefeller. Always a treat. Many thanks for your thoughts on these images. Always appreciated. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My two favourites are Il Duomo and Michigan Avenue. I like how the dome of “Il Duomo” stands out against the dark blue night sky. I like the way the coloured lights reflect the wet blacktop on Michigan Avenue.

    Your photo of Atlas at Rockefeller Center made me realise that the last time I was in New York City was in June to visit The Highline and Hudson Yards Vessel. That was the first time since 10 March 2020, which was just three days after Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency and three days before President Trump declared a national emergency.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Khรผrt. We were in NYC around the same time…February and early March 2020. What a strange time that was. We were hearing the news from Europe about covid and just decided to cancel our trip to Europe that was supposed to start on March 7th! So crazy. I’m glad you got to see The Highline and Hudson Yards. I love the walk along the Highline. So beautiful. And thanks too for your thoughts on my photos here. The Duomo is always beautiful–day or night!!


  2. Wonderful examples Patti – I loved your perspective on Rockefeller Center and had never heard of the Shot factory which is really cool! I see we both included images of Vancouver’s Canada Place, but from totally different viewpoints which was really interesting. When we were there all of the lights were blue. Either way it’s a really beautiful example of interesting architecture and lighting. My favorite of these tho, is Il Duomo. It really is such an iconic masterpiece and I love seeing it lit for the night. Terrific!


    • Hi, Tina. Yes, I see we both posted an image of Canada Place! That’s a first! I like that we both shot it from different perspectives. I’m delighted you like my collection this week. Now I’ve got to go out and take more shots at night! And yes, the Duomo is magnificent day or night. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€. Have a good week back at home. ๐Ÿ˜€


  3. Hi Patti

    I love the impressionistic mood of Canada Place reflected in the water. It has a very painterly feel about it. You visit so many fascinating cities and your capture of Il Duomo is beautiful โ€“ that rental apartment sure had a fantastic view!

    Hereโ€™s my offering for this week. It features a GBH of course, but also includes two full moons with artificial lights.

    Beautiful Great Blue Heron Breaks into Flight

    Best, Babsje

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Babsje. Many thanks! Yes, we’ve been fortunate to travel a lot and hopefully we’ll travel more in 2022. Fingers crossed. The Duomo is just gorgeous day or night, isn’t it? Thanks as always for your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That first shot’s impressive and I like the one in Florence as well. (I like them all, but you know what I mean.) There’s so much ambient light everywhere these days that I really love being at the cabin in Wyoming at 7,000+ feet where there’s nothing but the sky filled with stars and more at night. And don’t ask me how I know that the sky in Minnesota at night on the interstate looks much the same. It might have something to do with a flat tire years ago.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Janet. Oh a flat tire on the highway! Sorry you had to go through that. And yes, with so much ambient light it’s getting harder and harder to see the night sky. Wyoming must be beautiful. Glad you enjoyed this set! I’ve got to get out more at night to shoot!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the reflection on the street. And my favorite was Canada Place in Vancouver and the fact that you captured it from a bridge or across the river made it more special. It looks like such a good city to wander through. Even though we lived in WA for a time we never made it there. Very pretty. Donna


  6. Inspiring post again, Patti! Love your angles and perspectives, and the thoughts from me are the same – why don’t I go out more for night photography? The simple reason is that I live in a small village where there is nothing spectacular to photograph. Travels are the only possibility – so maybe someday…
    Love all your choices, but my favourite is the rainy night and the majestic Il Duomo. That image feels almost unreal in its colouring and distinction. It looks like a paper model in front of a dark background. A theatre. Remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Atlas with huge muscles! Yes, I wouldn’t call him handsome, but he is strong. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€. And yes, the Duomo. Big sigh. I love it too. Thanks, Jo. I hope all’s well back in Portugal.


  7. These photos are quite dramatic. I think I love the first one taken in Rockefeller Center best, but really it’s a tough call. They’re all so marvelous. You do well with night-time photography, a skill I need to work on. Thanks for inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Rusha. Thank you!! Big smiles. I am so delighted that I’ve gotten positive feedback on them. I have made a resolution to shoot more in the evening/night. Thanks again for giving me that boost of inspiration.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh My! these are fabulous photos! The rainy night in Michigan is probably my favorite. It reminded me of the American film tradition of hosing down the streets with water whenever they are shooting at night and even in the daytime they do it. Seems they like to have shiny pavements. Anyway all of the photos are wonderful examples of artificial light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anne. (Big smile.). Thank you!! Oh, I like that tradition. Glistening streets. It was such a pretty sight that rainy night. I love those lights. I’m delighted you did, too. I hope all’s well!


    • Hi, Siobhan. Oh you were there, too. It must have been a wonderful time during the Expo. The architecture is striking here. Every building is different. The skyscrapers are still going up all around the city. I hope you’re having a good week.๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, IJ. I’m delighted you like the reflections here. The colors were so beautiful–in both cases. They change the colors of the lights in Canada periodically. I haven’t caught a different color yet. ๐Ÿ˜€. I hope all’s well with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. WOW, these pictures are just wow. Your angles and lighting capture make everything look so amazing. I need to go to Italy, I have a passion for history, there is so much to see there.

    This challenge seems so unique…I will gather some photos! ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Patti

    Your image of the Rainy Night on Michigan Avenue, Chicago, is compelling, both for the row of people or mannequins lined up on two stories bathed in light, and also for the reflection on the wet street below. I like it very much.

    Hereโ€™s my offering with Mute Swans and artificial light, but not in the same photos:

    Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem

    Best, Babsje

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Really impressive pictures for the topic, Patti. I like the perspective on that last shot taken in the mall. I’ve always struggled with night-time photography but you have captured these artificially lit scenes magnificently.


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