The nighttime park

The nighttime park

Night never really sets in thoroughly in Chicago.  We get closest to dark in summer, when the trees’ shadows leaf into a canopy, blocking out some of the streetlights’ glare.  The lights are overly bright, to the point of making it hard to sleep.

How would we be affected were the city naturally dark at night?  If the streetlights were fewer or more puny?  For stay-at-home types, it would be quieter, more soothing; for live wires, much more an adventure to be out on the town.


photograph of an ordinary street at night (Credit: Celia Her City)

What accounts for the appeal of a particular picture?  I like this one because of the different colors and sources of light and the many textures; the way the smooth metal lamppost accents the irregularity of the illuminated tree.  Above all, this picture captures something of what it’s like to be on an ordinary Chicago street at night, with its heterogeneous and inharmonious sights.  Even the slightly skewed perspective is in keeping with what I actually perceive.

Click image to enlarge.

Yellow and Blue

Locust at dusk (Credit: Celia Her City)

At night, Chicago is absurdly over-illuminated, to an extent that the landscape looks like something out of a Maxfield Parrish painting.

A light the color of cantaloupe flesh falls over the surface of the city, turning it lurid.  The conditions make it hard to sleep at night but do create opportunities for photography.  I imagine every city has a distinctive night-time look, depending on what kind of streetlight it has.

Here twilight mixed with the streetlight and the colors of the building and locust tree to create an almost surreal blue and yellow study.