Cambridge at Night: A photo post.

11Oct06

Cambridge takes on a bit of a different character at night: the many little alleyways become dark and mysterious, bicycles are just a bright LED followed by the sound of bells (useful for alerting pedestrians as you make sharp turns onto the aforementioned alleys), and the river Cam is just a reflection of the lights above it.Last night I went to bed and couldn’t figure out why there seemed to be a spotlight shining into my window. It turned out to be the moon on a really clear evening, illuminating everything in its glow. For those of you whom this is not surprising, you have to understand that coming from Los Angeles, there was no such thing as moon light… at least not compared to street lamps. Even Stanford was remarkably well lit from the ground. At Trinity, however, where the path to Burrell’s Field is as dark as “darkest Peru” (that’s a Paddington Bear reference), one really learns to appreicate the Moon’s albedo (that’s a geophysics reference).

Anyway, that’s all just an excuse to post some more photographs.

Below are some photos from tonight’s photo adventure with my neighbor Anna. I was using a camera lent by my other neighbor (PJ).


Saint Johns from the Burrell’s Lane bridge. I don’t know what the bridge’s official name is, but I’ve heard it called the ‘orgasm bridge,’ but I can’t figure out why.


The same image taken with Anna’s camera. Anna’s camera has a night-time setting which will hold the exposure for as long as necessary to get a suitable image. Hence the sky is a little bit orange, despite it being absolutely dark to our eyes. I pulled Anna out of her room to join me on a photoadventure just for this shot; I really like how the lamp sends fingers of light through the leaves of the tree.


Anna decided that these three photos were meant to be a triptych, as each is a subtle improvement of the previous photo. The lightning-like streak in the last two photos are all that was picked up from the bike lights of passing bicycles. That also gives a good sense of how long these exposures were.


This is the last image from the previous set. The effect of the bike light looks just like a tear in the photograph.


This is a photo of what I think is the Wolfson library at night. You can tell just by the silhouettes that the building has a unique architecture.


This is a photo from the so-called ‘orgasm bridge’ onto what I think is Burrell’s Lane. To the left is one of the back entries to Trinity. I believe the buildings on the right hand side belong to Gonville and Caius. For historical reasons (namely town-gown friction at Oxford) colleges  are built like little fortresses. Walking down these alleys with their heavy, wooden entries  closed and  columns of small windows make me feel like I was walking in between two pirate ships that are about to start firing at one another with cannons.

But then again I’m a little bit odd, sometimes.

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3 Responses to “Cambridge at Night: A photo post.”

  1. 1 Marat

    Just a clarification.
    The college on the right in the last photo is Trinity Hall, and the one before is the afforementioned college’s library.
    Just here to make sure your Caius facts are on the level.

  2. 2 *man

    The Orgasm sits between Trinity College on the left and Trinity Hall on the right (it was actually built by Trinity Hall). It is on Garret Hostel Lane and is therefore known at Garret Hostel Lane Bridge. Burrells field is… a field, not a lane or street etc.

  3. 3 Heinrich

    Nice report with nice pictures. Unfortunately I’ve never been in Britain, but I’m going to visit Lake District and Scotland in July next year. It is strange, but I am always moved by pictures from Britain just like yours. Maybe I’ll visit Cambridge too some day :)



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