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By Jasper87  
Spectra is a beam of light generated by 49 searchlights installed in a 20-metre grid at Victoria Tower Gardens. On Monday, 4 August, the centenary of the start of the First World War, it appeared at dusk, unnanounced, for Londoners and the South East to see in the skies. The project was created by Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikeda.

The power of the piece is partly due to the convergence of the 49 beams. The number 49 has a resonance in many spiritual traditions in Tibetan Buddhism, the soul is supposed to spend 49 days in the bardo state between existences; the Virgin Mary was by legend 49 years old when her son ascended to heaven; and for mystics like Boehme the number 49 represented, as the square of 7, the number of Paradise.

v1... 'beam me up, Scotty, taken from Lambeth Bridge (tripod)
v2... taken from inside the installation looking up at the convergence of the beams (17mm wide-angle lens) (handheld, max ISO)
v3... shot across the 'viewers' towards Victoria Tower (hand held, max ISO)
v4... not the best I've ever taken of the Thames! but it puts it into context. (tripod)

The white specks are moths and other flying insects attracted to the lights.


Tags: Photo journalism London Night Spectra Light sculpture

Voters: NDODS, phillG, whatriveristhis and 95 more

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NDODS 7 5.1k 125 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 7:43AM

A pretty awesome set of captures Dave, image one being the pick of the bunch, superbly composed and exposed with wonderful electric colour and clarity.

Regards Nathan GrinGrinGrin

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phillG Plus
11 145 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 7:52AM

Quote:A pretty awesome set of captures Dave, image one being the pick of the bunch, superbly composed and exposed with wonderful electric colour and clarity.

Says it all really
12 Aug 2014 7:57AM
Remarkable. I'd love to have been there for that.
Terrific set, Dave. I gave my award earlier to Linda, otherwise you'd get it.
12 Aug 2014 8:06AM
Super set Dave,
RLF Plus
8 18 4 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 8:07AM
Fantastic shots. Were those lights really there on Big Ben?
Nigeve1 Plus
5 1.4k 101 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 8:20AM
Awesome set of images, Dave.
franken Plus
15 4.6k 4 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 8:27AM
These are amazing!!
12 Aug 2014 8:38AM
Wonderful captures!
fentiger Plus
16 918 24 England
12 Aug 2014 8:47AM
A really superb set of images.

Richsr 11 91 223 England
12 Aug 2014 9:02AM
Good set of images from this event Dave, certainly powerful lights in play here
12 Aug 2014 9:06AM
What an amazing spectacle to have witnessed!
This collection of images conveys the meaning of the artist's work perfectly.
Thanks for sharing, Dave.

barbarahirst 9 27 12 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 9:26AM got there
12 Aug 2014 9:38AM
Excellent set of images.

6 3 8 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 9:53AM
So glad you where there to capture this great spectacle, superb imagesGrin
12 Aug 2014 9:58AM
good work here Dave like all however V1 is the winner for sure well exposed in all

rontear Plus
15 8 8 England
12 Aug 2014 9:59AM
You get about don't you Dave, excellent set !!!
Tish1 Plus
5 16 4 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 10:09AM
Absolutely marvellous Dave, I love all the images, but my favourites by an edge are V1&2; they are quite spiritual in their presentation and of course all, are expertly presented.

However, you did forget one the most important meaning of the number 49, it is the age at which women get no older refusing to cross the threshold.

charlotte 13 34 2 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 10:40AM
Superb set of stunning images Dave. V1 is my fav.

9 10 10 England
12 Aug 2014 10:46AM
Superb set - what a wonderful experience to be there and be able to capture it so expertly.
12 Aug 2014 10:55AM
This is something very special and excellent , Dave . Never seen anything like that before ! -If one must be picked , so V4 it is. SmileGrinSmileGrinSmileGrinSmileGrinSmileGrinSmileGrinSmileGrinSmileGrinSmile --- Jukka.
richmowil Plus
9 335 2 England
12 Aug 2014 11:18AM
A Stunning set of varied images. All very good but V1 edges it for me Dave.
CaroleS Plus
7 433 3 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 11:33AM
Well captured!!!!!!
TrevBatWCC Plus
9 12 12 England
12 Aug 2014 11:40AM
A very interesting set Dave, so different! I think V3 has to be my fave Smile
Trev Smile
mikbee 11 3 8 Scotland
12 Aug 2014 12:05PM
An interesting set Dave.
And do not forget there are 49 numbers in the lottery !!
Irishkate Plus
7 41 114 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 12:38PM
An informative narration (didn't know about powers of 49) and superb images - V4 being my favourite.
Kate GrinGrinGrin
marktc Plus
7 101 15 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 1:05PM
4 Amazing images Dave, just a superb exhibition of low light photography.
Nikonuser1 Plus
5 151 16 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 1:29PM
A superb set OF images DaveSmile

capto Plus
6 5.1k 8 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 2:03PM
Incredible set of images.Smile

CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
12 Aug 2014 2:38PM
A superb set, Dave, especially V.1. Carol
SlowSong Plus
9 7.3k 30 England
12 Aug 2014 2:45PM
Bottoms. It's gone now. I meant to go Monday, the last night, but the weather was so awful I didn't in the end.
Superb shots, glad you got them to show us.
derekhansen Plus
9 210 24 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 3:45PM
A really effective set Dave. The spire on the right in V1 provides some balance to the composition. My favourite is V2
danbrann Plus
13 637 17
12 Aug 2014 3:53PM
Outstanding Dave. You've done it again.
taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
12 Aug 2014 4:44PM
Spectacular images, I am stunned!
JuBarney 6 26 3 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 5:45PM
An amazing set and splendidly captured.
12 Aug 2014 5:57PM
Just wonderful! I love v1 - beaming up!!!
IsabelC 3 51 10 Denmark
12 Aug 2014 6:00PM favourites are V1 and V2, especially V2 has an "otherworldly" feel to it... Smile
12 Aug 2014 6:03PM
Brilliant set of images Dave with V1 being my favourite Smile
12 Aug 2014 6:03PM
Fabulous stuff Dave, excellent images one and all, VERY well done.

12 Aug 2014 6:27PM
Fantastic set, Dave.

An amazing sight to behold.

myrab 11 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 6:41PM
Oh Dave, this is something special, how great you could be there and share it with us.

An outstanding set of images, Dave. Your narrative adds great context. Perfectly presented

12 Aug 2014 8:42PM
Have my humble badge to add to your collection for the overall impact and excellence of this wonderful set. All are excellent.
12 Aug 2014 10:13PM
Outstanding images Dave, sorry I missed this..Lin
jasonrwl Plus
8 1.1k 10 United Kingdom
12 Aug 2014 10:34PM
This a a superb set Dave and well worthy of all the awards. Love them all but especially v2
LynneJoyce Plus
9 20 99 United Kingdom
13 Aug 2014 7:50AM
Brilliant (yes, the pun is deliberate) and well deserving of all those awards.
BarbaraR 11 17 1 England
13 Aug 2014 12:49PM
Super to see.
Thank you for the first class set showing off this spectacle.

banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3866 Canada
13 Aug 2014 5:41PM
Excellent images, well done.

If I gave you a UA I wonder if one of the others would fall off...

dmhuynh72 10 44 3 United Kingdom
14 Aug 2014 7:56AM
spectacular light and beautiful captured series Dave.
Chinga Plus
7 3 1 United Kingdom
14 Aug 2014 12:52PM
Speachless here Dave! WOW! Grin
How amazing....
14 Aug 2014 4:08PM
Brilliant set of images
morpheus1955 11 3 2 United Kingdom
14 Aug 2014 7:46PM
Spectacular set of images, it must have been something to see let alone photograph

Lillian Plus
8 22 17 United Kingdom
15 Aug 2014 3:56PM
amazing Dave, all of these, the colours are so good
has to be V4 for me
FeatherFriend 10 38 217 England
16 Aug 2014 1:26PM

Quote:Spectacular light and beautiful captured series Dave.

My thoughts too Dave, congrats on the well deserved awards,
Rende 11 38 4 Netherlands
17 Aug 2014 11:27AM
Spectacular set, beautifully captured Dave; looks like a celestial elevator Smile
almiles 8 38 102 United Kingdom
18 Aug 2014 10:53AM
I can see why you led with V1, it's spectacular but throughout the series you have controlled the exposures expertly.
18 Aug 2014 3:36PM
A stunning set of images, Dave!! Vi really stands out!
Alison_S Plus
12 339 United Kingdom
19 Aug 2014 10:20AM
Stunning set of images, and absolute treat to see. Love them all!!!!!!!!!
titchpics 6 7 England
19 Aug 2014 5:33PM
Quite amazing image, No1 for meSmileSmileSmileSmile


xwang 8 56 8
21 Aug 2014 10:50PM
That's wonderful shots, Dave. Very nice Noise control, great work. Personally I prefer V1.
helenlinda Plus
10 360 22 United Kingdom
22 Aug 2014 6:24PM
Stunning shots Dave v1 and then v4 are my favourites SmileSmile
A stunning set of images. I only wish we could get something like this in the East Midlands. V1 for me, it has the haunting search lights that is seen in many war films.

Spot on.


Kim Walton 14 145 30 United Kingdom
2 Sep 2014 10:30PM
Nice set of images.
10 Sep 2014 9:27PM
Truly King of the darkness.............well in photography terms.....stunning set mate.


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